Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Phew! It's not just us.

Steelskins Victory Post at Metcalf Up the Middle

In the same vein, we have the most convincing argument yet for going "Gillooly" on Tom Brady: (hat tip: cnnsi.com)

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Why Yes, I'll Have Some More Gogoplata Please

Brad Imes, a heavyweight MMA fighter who lost out to Rashad Evans in the Ultimate Fighter 2 Finals (Evans is now a top contender at 205), has won his second fight via the very rare Gogoplata submission. Only a few fighers have won via gogoplata, and none back to back.

But the question remains about the quality of competition for Imes, who is fighting outside of the UFC, and when on TUF 2 was very raw, and quite possibly gay (see picture).

Apparently there are many versions of the gogoplata, and in the interests of full disclosure, SteelSkins brings you two of the most representative:

This is the gay version (which Imes may well have used):
And here is the Real Man's Gogoplata:

Monday, October 29, 2007

Whatever you do, Tom Brady, don't go on PTI

From Michael Wilbon's chat wrap on the Washington Post website:

Tom Brady's Knee: I can understand Bill Belichick's desire to crush every team in the NFL, but why keep your franchise QB in there to do it? One cheap shot helmet to the knee and it's goodbye Super Bowl unless Cassell suddenly gets good.

Michael Wilbon: You're absolutely right. And if I was on the opposing team, I'd hit Tom Brady with everything I had as late as I could and take the penalty and join the fight that would surely follow. Football is a violent game and there's got to be somebody out there sharpening his fans for the Patriots Golden Boy in the 4th quarter one of these weeks.

Stevensville, Md.: What are your thoughts about running up the score? In my opinion it's a teams job to put up points, not save their opponent from embarrassment. The Redskins' players are cashing million dollar paychecks just like the Patriots', so they have no one to blame but themselves for the blowout.

Michael Wilbon: Your thought is my thought. You want somebody not to run it up...don't let 'em. On the other hand, Belichick is a cheat and during games behaves with little class...If I was on the other side my goal would have been for Brady to be helped off the field, by whatever means necessary.

Arlington, Va.: Let me get this straight - you're suggesting blatantly trying to injure a player on the opposing team for no good reason other than you can't compete head-to-head. What kind of message are you trying to send?

Michael Wilbon: I'm saying football is a violent game and I believe in an eye for an eye. You think Sam Huff wouldn't have taken out Brady yesterday? And when I say "take out" I don't mean go for his knees; I mean a clean shot with every once of force one can summon...right in the strike zone. You think Butkus and LT and Bednarik would have stood for that stuff? No way. No chance.

Are the Patriots the BEST TEAM EVER? Or do they still have a ways to go before they become the New England Brett Favres?

This article from a while back tries to describe the secret of the Patriots success from a defensive standpoint--oft overlooked in the Patriots previous Super Bowl victories was that their offense, which was dangerous in the clutch mainly because the defense had kept it close through the 4th quarter.

What I didn't know, and what that article mentions, is the success that Belichick-coached Giants defenses had against Joe Montana. (you'd think this would have gotten mentioned once or twice over the 6 year period when Belichick owned Peyton Manning) Granted, it seems their favorite ploy was to knock him out of the game, but when the greatest QB ever struggles against Belichick, no matter how evil he is, or perhaps because of his evility, all QBs must BEWARE!!

Remember: Bill Belichick = Evil

Sunday, October 28, 2007

You Have GOT to See This

Last play Millsaps vs Trinity TX DIII game

Friday, October 26, 2007

SteelSkins Picks for Week 8

Let's see how our picks for Week 8 stack up against those boys from Metcalf Up the Middle. We still owe them a post for kickin' their Brown asses in Week 7. Maybe Boss Hog should get on that one! Here are our picks for Week 8:

Boss Hog:

SUN, OCT 28

Lions at Bears

Bears

Steelers at Bengals

Bengals

Giants at Dolphins

Dolphins

Raiders at Titans

Titans

Eagles at Vikings

Vikings

Browns at Rams

Browns

Colts at Panthers

Colts

Bills at Jets

Jets

Jaguars at Buccaneers

Jags

Texans at Chargers

Chargers

Saints at 49ers

Saints

Redskins at Patriots

Skins

MON, OCT 29

Packers at Broncos

Packers


Aaron:

SUN, OCT 28

Lions at Bears

Bears

Steelers at Bengals

Steelers

Giants at Dolphins

Giants

Raiders at Titans

Titans

Eagles at Vikings

Vikings

Browns at Rams

Browns

Colts at Panthers

Colts

Bills at Jets

Jets

Jaguars at Buccaneers

Bucs

Texans at Chargers

Chargers

Saints at 49ers

Saints

Redskins at Patriots

Pats

MON, OCT 29

Packers at Broncos

Broncos


Sean:

SUN, OCT 28

Lions at Bears

Lions

Steelers at Bengals

Steelers

Giants at Dolphins

Giants

Raiders at Titans

Titans

Eagles at Vikings

Eagles

Browns at Rams

Browns

Colts at Panthers

Colts

Bills at Jets

Bills

Jaguars at Buccaneers

Bucs

Texans at Chargers

Chargers

Saints at 49ers

Saints

Redskins at Patriots

Pats

MON, OCT 29

Packers at Broncos

Broncos

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Did Someone Say NFL Power Rankings?

Okay, so the big question is, why do I have a tie for first place, when all season long I've had the Pats #1 and the Colts #2.

First off, I don't believe in this bull crap about how the Colts should be #1 because, after all, they are the defending champs and they are undefeated. Who the hell cares who the defending champs are, that was last season?! Just ask the Chicago Bears how much last season matters. Or the Saints.

Secondly, the Pats have blown everyone out of the water, whereas the Colts' games against Tennessee and Houston were both relatively close (score-wise, at least). By the way, Brady is averaging 3.857 TD tosses per game. If he keeps up this pace, he'll break Manning's 3-year-old single season TD pass record of 49...by 12!!! That's right, he's on pace to throw 61.7 TDs this season (per his average). Thank God I'm a genius and drafted him in BOTH my fantasy leagues. Suckers.

Anyway, back to reality. All of these things are why the Pats were solo #1 on my list this entire time. On most people's list, I'm sure. Until now.

On Monday night, the Colts manhandled their division rivals 29-7...in Jacksonville...at a time when the Jags were coming off back-to-back-to-back-to-back wins. We can talk about how the Pats did the same on Sunday...only their division rivals are arguably the worst team in football. Hell, all three of the Pats' division rivals (all of whom they've manhandled) have a combined record of 3-17. Way to go, Brady, next time why don'tcha kick the fat kid while he's down.

The Colts' division rivals, on the other hand, (all of whom they've faced and beaten) have a combined record of 11-8. If the season were to end today, 3 of the 4 AFC South teams would make the playoffs, while the 3 of 4 AFC East teams (all except the Pats, of course) would be preparing their draft picks, which would be (roughly), #1, #3 and somewhere between #5 - 11 (seven teams are all 2-4).

Yes, the Pats have played amazingly. Kinda like how the Colts were playing in 2005 when PeyPey's D learned how to stop sucking it up and all the pundits were calling him Jesus Christ resurrected in a #18 jersey.

Sound familiar? Insert Brady. Repeat each year, inserting the most amazingly unstoppable team ever to take the field for the first 8 weeks. Call me crazy, but I'm not willing to pop a boner for the Pats just yet, unlike all the talking heads...every single season.

Do you see where I'm going with this?

Why don't the Pats deserve #1? Besides the Cowboys, who have they played?

San Diego? Yes, but in Week 2 the Chargers were playing like the Saints. Is it just me or has anyone else noticed LT's chronic slow-out-the-gate syndrome plaguing him each year? Plus, a new coach playing against the well-oiled machine that is Indianapolis? Please, the Chargers were lucky to have scored 14.

And guess what, take away the Cowboys and the Chargers and what are you left with? The Cleveland Browns. The Cincinnati Bengals. And, of course, the Triple Powerhouse: the Bills, the Jets and the Dolphins. I think I need to change my shorts. Tom Brady, thou art Apollo.

Compare that with the Colts. They've beaten all 3 of their division rivals on the road, most recently destroying the Jags on both sides of the ball. They've also hosted--and crushed--a Tampa Bay team coming off 3 wins (they've also hosted and crushed Denver and New Orleans, who are about as good as the competition facing Brady and the Pats thus far this season, which is why they're not worth mentioning).

Bottom line: The Colts are playing terrific ball against better competition than that facing the Pats. Yes, the Pats look even more impressive. And so would you, if you were playing the equivalent of the Bay City Rollers in cleats, Dallas Cowboys aside. I also think the Colts are going to grind that Patriots bangwagon to a screeching halt, come Week 9.

That said, my Power Rankings:

1. (tie)/1./1. Patriots 7-0 (NYJ, SD, BUF, CIN, CLE, DAL, MIA)

1. (tie)/2./3. Colts 6-0 (NO, TEN, HOU, DEN, TB, JAX)

3./4./4. Cowboys 6-1 (NYG, MIA, CHI, STL, BUF, NE, MIN)

4./5./5. Packers 5-1 (PHI, NYG, SD, MIN, CHI, WAS)

5./3./2. Steelers 4-2 (CLE, BUF, SF, AZ, SEA, DEN)

6./7./21. Chargers 3-3 (CHI, NE, GB, KC, DEN, OAK)

7./6./8. Jaguars 4-2 (TEN, ATL, DEN, KC, HOU, IND)

8./9./10. Panthers 4-2 (STL, HOU, ATL, TB, NO, AZ)

9./11./23. Giants 4-2 (DAL, GB, WAS, PHI, NYJ, SF)

10./12./7. Titans 4-2 (JAX, IND, NO, ATL, TB, HOU)

11./8./6. Ravens 4-3 (CIN, NYJ, AZ, CLE, BUF, STL, BUF)

12./14./16. Lions 4-2 (OAK, MIN, PHI, CHI, WAS, TB)

13./10./15. Buccaneers 4-3 (SEA, NO, STL, CAR, IND, TEN, DET)

14./13./11. Redskins 4-2 (MIA, PHI, NYG, DET, GB, AZ)

15./16./13. Seahawks 4-3 (TB, AZ, CIN, SF, PIT, NO, STL)

16./19./27. Chiefs 4-3 (HOU, CHI, MIN, SD, JAX, CIN, OAK)

17./17./25. Browns 3-3 (PIT, CIN, OAK, BAL, NE, MIA)

18./24./14. Broncos 3-3 (BUF, OAK, JAX, IND, SD, PIT)

19./15./18. Cardinals 3-4 (SF, SEA, BAL, PIT, STL, CAR, WAS)

20./22./22. Bears 3-4 (SD, KC, DAL, DET, GB, MIN, PHI)

21./27./31. Bills 2-4 (DEN, PIT, NE, NYJ, DAL, BAL)

22./18./9. Texans 3-4 (KC, CAR, IND, ATL, MIA, JAX, TEN)

23./26./17. Bengals 2-4 (BAL, CLE, SEA, NE, KC, NYJ)

24./21./20. Vikings 2-4 (ATL, DET, KC, GB, CHI, DAL)

25./20./24. Raiders 2-4 (DET, DEN, CLE, MIA, SD, KC)

26./28./32. Saints 2-4 (IND, TB, TEN, CAR, SEA, ATL)

27./25./19. Eagles 2-4 (GB, WAS, DET, NYG, NYJ, CHI)

28./23./12. 49ers 2-4 (AZ, STL, PIT, SEA, BAL, NYG)

29./29./26. Jets 1-6 (NE, BAL, MIA, BUF, NYG, PHI, CIN)

30./30./30. Falcons 1-5 (MIN, JAX, CAR, HOU, TEN, NO)

31./31./28. Dolphins 0-7 (WAS, DAL, NYJ, OAK, HOU, CLE, NE)

32./32./29. Rams 0-7 (CAR, SF, TB, DAL, AZ, BAL, SEA)

Why Oh Why Don't I Follow Women's Sports?

Oh right. Because I'm a man. And because of this.

Apparently the U.S. Women's team didn't win the women's World Cup. I figured as much a few weeks ago because the headlines went like this: 1) U.S. women advance, 2) U.S. women win again, 3) U.S. women to semifinals, 4) How 'bout that NFL? I figured no news was bad news.

Well, the way they lost was even worse. The male coach benched his goalkeeper, who had won every game so far, for the backup, who had been successful against Brazil in the past. Final score: 4-0, Brazil. After the game, the benched goalkeeper ripped her coach and her replacement. Understandable, and it's happened a thousand times in men's sports.

But these are women--and no matter how athletic they are, how dedicated they are to sports, how aggressive they are, how quickly and deicisively they can expose my level of fitness for the charade it is--at the end of the day they like to curl up and act all catty and shit. Case in point:

Solo wasn't just benched after publicly criticizing Ryan. She was exiled -- banned from practice, and barred from attending the team's third-place match against Norway three days later. She took her meals alone. Ryan and several players talked of working toward "forgiveness" and "reconciliation."

It all sounded more like a slumber party gone bad than an elite team reacting to the stress of high-level competition.

The ostracism of Solo perpetuated the stereotype that women's teams put a higher premium on harmony than they do on competing. And as long as people believe that, they'll regard women's team sports as a lightweight version of the real thing.
Damn skippy. In honor of the real Xena Warrior Princess of U.S. soccer, ladies and gentleman, I give you: Hope Solo, great great great great grandaughter of that lovable scamp Han. Hope, call me, you won't be solo for long. And we have so much in common--we're the same height!

The Teddy Roosevelt Sucks at Racing Theory


I started a new blog with Sean Flaherty called Flat Black Ops, where, being the conspiracy theorist that I am, I post a theory, and he, being the skeptic, follows it with a rebuttal about how I'm dead wrong.

While Sean has yet to respond to my first conspiracy theory (expect his response sometime this week), I thought you'd all enjoy it, especially Boss Hog.

It's the "Defeated Teddy Theory", and it's all about how Teddy has yet to win a race at the Washington Nationals' Presidents Races.

You can find it here.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Levels of Losing

Bill Simmons is at his best in defining how we experience sports, from a fan's perspective, not masturbating online over the recent successes of Boston-area teams. He adds to his Levels of Losing chart here, and it made me think about my own worst experiences with my favorite teams losing. Here's my top choice:

1993: Pittsburgh Penguins lose to Islanders in OT, Game 7, 2nd round of the playoffs. In 1991 and 1992, the Penguins won Stanley Cups with a roster of Hall of Fame talent, not just Lemieux, but Mark Recchi (traded for Rick Tocchet for the 2nd cup), Paul Coffey, Ron Francis, Larry Murphy, and a gangly perm-mulleted Czech named Jaromir Jagr (his first name is an anagram for Mario Jr.), plus Kevin Stevens (who was the original John LeClair), Ulf Samuelsson, Troy Loney, and other names only I would know..

In 1993, this team ripped through the regular season, winning the President's Trophy for most points overall, and beat the Devils in five and then faced the Islanders, who were a low seed. The Islanders hung tough through 6 games though, forcing a Game 7 in Pittsburgh.

I didn't even expect to watch this game, because it was on during the day and my family was traveling to Lancaster PA for a wedding. When we arrived at the hotel, I insisted that we see if the game was on. My mother, tired from the trip I guess, said no, we couldn't watch it. We would make alot of noise and we were all in one room and she didn't want to have to deal with us moping and cursing if the Pens lost. Despite my dad's unwillingness to take a stand, I precipitated shouts and gestures and raised tempers, and prevailed in the cause of truth and righteousness, and we turned the game on. Then my face fell. 3-1 Islanders, five minues to go in the 3rd period.

With "I told you so" ringing in my ears, the Penguins then mounted a glorious comeback, getting 2 goals to tie it up, the last one with only a minute or so to play. We bounced on the hotel bed, giddy with anticipation as overtime started. NO Mom, I Told YOU so!

Five minutes later, I wanted to throw myself off the hotel balcony. David Volek scored on a one-timer to end the game and eliminate the Pens from the playoffs. This loss combined 3 of Simmons levels of losing: XII--Sudden Death (self-explanatory), VIII--This Can't Be Happening (Pens heavily favored), and III, Stomach Punch (The loss was that much harder to take BECAUSE of the improbable comeback to tie the game in regulation)

This game was the death knell for the budding Pens dynasty. In the next few years, the Pens would make decent playoff runs, only to lose to less talented teams that played better defense and had much better luck. Meanwhile, they kept giving away their talent, like Markus Naslund, who they traded for peanuts to Vancouver, only to see him become a star, and getting rid of incredibly gifted players like D-Man Sergei Zubov because they didn't mesh well with Lemieux's style of play (Zubov was a key player in the Dallas Stars Stanley Cup victories). And of course Lemieux would be plagued by back problems and Hodgkins disease.

This game also featured the end of 50 goal scorer Kevin Steven's career. He collided with an Islander defenseman and hit the ice face first, requiring facial reconstructive surgery. He was never the same again and only got alot of press when he was arrested with a crack whore in 2000. Meanwhile, top goaltender Tom Barrasso--who rivaled Ron Hextall in stickhandling ability and level of prickitude--would give up soft goals and was never the brick wall he used to be.

In honor of that gut wrenching lost, here is all you need to know about the game: (thanks to www.thepensblog.blogspot.com)



Other gut wrenching losses: Steelers/Chargers AFCC 1994, the Neil O'Donnell Super Bowl Giveaway, and the 1992 NLCS loss to the Braves, which has made me hate baseball to this day.

So Steelskins, tell us about your worst losses experienced in separate posts.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

SteelSkins Owns Metcalf Up the Middle...This Week

We won Week 6, 23-16 to 21-18. Check out our winning post, wherein the legion of Browns failures are discussed, and a sexy Steeler picture is featured (not the one at the top)

http://www.metcalfupthemiddle.blogspot.com/

Does the UFC Need a Union?

Union? We don't need no stinkin' unions!


In the wake of finding out Keith Jardine got paid like a Mexican migrant worker ($14,000) for beating Chuck Liddell ($500,000) some people are considering whether there should be an MMA union. For a serious, but incomplete take, check this here. (hat tip, Deadspin)

The best part would be: UFC 105: Scabs versus Strikers

Monday, October 15, 2007

Eff You, Bill Simmons

If I hear another laudatory article on the dominance of the Patriots coming from Bill Simmons piehole, I may have to drive to LA and personally kick his ass.

The Pats are good. They were good before the season started, before SpyGate. The only question mark was: Will Randy Moss come to play? And he did. Thus, they are good, because they have one receiver that no one can guard as of yet.

SpyGate didn't make them mad, it made them assholes.

And all this Eric Mangini is a snitch bullshit is bullshit. Bill Belichick knows Mangini knows, yet he STILL tries to get away with it--in Mangini's stadium? There is some shit even Eric Mangini won't eat.

And let's remember, it's a long season. Enjoy it Bill, it could be your last.

Now I'm the asshole.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Steelskins Picks O' The Week: Week 6

Aaron

MIN @ CHI MIN
MIA @ CLE CLE
WAS @ GB WAS
CIN @ KC CIN
TEN @ TB TEN
STL @ BAL BAL
HOU @ JAX HOU
PHI @ NYJ PHI
CAR @ AZ AZ
OAK @ SD SD
NE @ DAL NE
NO @ SEA SEA
NYG @ ATL NYG

Sean

MIN @ CHI CHI
MIA @ CLE CLE
WAS @ GB GB
CIN @ KC CIN
TEN @ TB TEN
STL @ BAL BAL
HOU @ JAX JAX
PHI @ NYJ PHI
CAR @ AZ AZ
OAK @ SD SD
NE @ DAL NE
NO @ SEA SEA
NYG @ ATL NYG

Wagnerav

MIN @ CHI CHI
MIA @ CLE CLE
WAS @ GB GB
CIN @ KC CIN
TEN @ TB TEN
STL @ BAL BAL
HOU @ JAX JAX
PHI @ NYJ PHI
CAR @ AZ AZ
OAK @ SD SD
NE @ DAL NE
NO @ SEA SEA
NYG @ ATL NYG

Fedor Emelianenko vs. Randy Couture: The Last of the PRIDE vs. UFC Matchups that will Never Happen





First, some background: As MMA grew in popularity from the late 1990s until today, consistently at the forefront among all MMA fighting organizations were the UFC (America’s premiere MMA league—which, arguably, created the sport in 1993) and PRIDE (Japan’s equivalent). Japan has a very strong and very loyal MMA fan base, which was evident in their ability to sign the very best fighters in the world, including the #1 ranked fighter in the world in any weight class, the heavyweight Russian Sambo fighter Fedor Emelianenko. Japan’s fan base, in fact, was largely considered more sophisticated than the American equivalent, which took significantly longer to develop.

The fighting styles featured in these two leagues were different as well. While PRIDE fights were staged in a boxing ring, the UFC incorporated the much larger, and more dramatic, steel cage. Over the years, in order to gain more widespread appeal and to secure pay-per-view providers, the UFC realized it needed official sanctioning and opted to cooperate with state athletic commissions to regulate the fights; thus, they reformed their rules, banning certain types of strikes that were deemed “brutal”—things like soccer kicks (kicking an opponent while he’s down), head stomps, etc. PRIDE, however, continued to allow these types of strikes, and in fact, some of their fighters, like Wanderlei Silva, were even known for them as their bread and butter moves.

Fighters in the UFC and PRIDE were constantly being compared by MMA fans. Which organization features the better fighters? Who would win between the champions of the UFC against their counterparts in the West? Up until about a year ago, most well-versed MMA fans considered PRIDE as having the slight edge.

However, all that changed in early 2007 and in the months leading up to the UFC’s eventual buyout of PRIDE. While much speculation still exists about what exactly happened between the two organizations, it was not unlike an MMA Cold War, where the more financially mismanaged PRIDE eventually succumbed to the “meteoric rise” of the UFC, which was assisted by the popular reality show The Ultimate Fighter series. On May 25, 2007, the UFC officially closed the deal on PRIDE for reportedly just under $70 million. What the UFC got out of the deal was access to PRIDE’s extensive video library and, even more valuable, the contracts of fighters currently signed to the PRIDE roster. Finally, MMA fans around the world would get answers to their questions of who would win between PRIDE’s best and that of the UFC.

Unfortunately for all of us, there was a catch in some of those contracts, most importantly, in Fedor Emelianenko’s, whose PRIDE contract had a non-transferable clause. Without a contract, the UFC was forced to negotiate with the free agent, a process that took more than five months and only recently ended.

Central to the contract dispute were three things: 1. Emelianenko’s management team, led by Vadim Finklestein, requested that the UFC work with his Russian M-1 promotion; 2. That the UFC allow Emelianenko to compete in combat Sambo tournaments, as PRIDE had permitted previously; and 3. That the UFC extend contract offers to other members of Emelianenko’s training team, Red Devil Sport Club (likely including his brother, Aleksander).

While the UFC and Emelianenko’s camp took months to close in on a deal, other PRIDE featured fighters—including Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic, Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, Antonio Rodrigo “Minotauro” Nogueira, Mauricio “Shogun” Rua and Dan Henderson—all made the crossover to the UFC. But while many MMA fans thought that the PRIDE elites would come over and manhandle the UFC veterans, what they found was hardly the case. Cro Cop, Shogun and Henderson all have seen defeats in the Octagon (while Hendo lost to the former PRIDE fighter Rampage Jackson, the much-touted Cro Cop has seen at least one embarrassing loss), and Minotauro saw a near-defeat to a former PRIDE fighter he had previously beaten twice. Many attribute these losses to the sheer size of the caged ring and the differing match lengths (PRIDE consisted of one 10-minute round, followed by two five-minute rounds and intermissions lasting two minutes each; whereas the UFC features three five-minute rounds with 60-second intermissions). Still others, most notably Rampage Jackson, have seen success—Jackson has even captured the UFC Light Heavyweight title by beating UFC poster boy Chuck “The Iceman” Liddell, before defending his title against Hendo.

But the Emelianenko deal continued to be elusive, and what happened in October 2007 shocked the MMA community. It was announced that Emelianenko had signed a multi-million dollar deal with the upstart (and hardly heard of) M-1 Mixfight Championship, the very promotion owned by Emelianenko’s manager Finklestein. Since the move was made public just a few days ago, MMA blogs and chat rooms have been flooded with posts by angry MMA fans, calling for Finklestein’s head and calling the deal one of the worst decisions a fighter presumably at the top of his game could have made—one that was made in his manager’s best interest, not in his own. Additionally, many MMA fans want to know how Emelianenko can continue to be considered the world’s #1 fighter when he will no longer be fighting top competition.

The fallout is already being felt. Just one day after the highly credible MMA blog MMAJunkie.com confirmed the Emelianenko announcement, UFC Heavyweight Champion Randy Couture announced his resignation, despite two fights remaining on his contract. Reportedly miffed by the UFC’s inability to sign the Russian heavyweight, as well as frustration with the amount of money rumored to have been offered Emelianenko by the UFC—money that, in Couture’s eyes, is not being offered to him and other fighters who helped establish the UFC—Couture thought it best to pursue other interests. After all, he’s already proven he can beat the best heavyweights the UFC has to offer. Without the potential for a bout with Fedor, what else does he have to prove?



The loss of Emelianenko stings, but the loss of Couture could spell even greater repercussions, especially as many of the UFC’s largest draws are all nearing crossroads of their own:

  • Chuck Liddell – The highest paid UFC fighter to date, Chuck Liddell recently lost his title to PRIDE standout Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, and then followed it up with another loss to rising talent (but not highly marketable) Keith Jardine. While Rampage’s popularity won’t hurt the Light Heavyweight division, Liddell is still the UFC’s largest draw, and questions about the future of his career do not help the UFC at this time. Plus, how marketable is a Liddell vs. Wanderlei Silva matchup now? Once touted as the SuperBowl of MMA events, both fighters are coming off back-to-back losses.

  • Matt Hughes – Once called the “Most Dominant Welterweight in UFC History,” the former golden boy has since fallen—to rising star Georges St. Pierre who took Hughes’ Welterweight title. That in itself wouldn’t be considered a bad thing necessarily; after all, GSP is Canada’s golden boy and often called “the future of the sport.” However, GSP turned around and lost his very first title defense to a reality show winner, Matt Serra. Slightly embarrassing. Now Hughes faces Serra, a less marketable fighter, in a fight that the UFC is undoubtedly hoping goes Hughes’ way. If not, where does Hughes go to from here? The 34-year-old recently stated that he “only has two or three fights left in him.”

  • Rich Franklin – The Cincinnati native was a perfect poster boy for the up-and- coming sport three and four years ago. But now that the former Middleweight Champion has lost his belt—in embarrassing fashion—to the seemingly unstoppable Anderson Silva, where does Franklin go from here? Should he lose his rematch next weekend at UFC 77 in his home town of Cincinnati, is there anywhere for him to go, other than early retirement?

  • Georges St. Pierre – At just 26, GSP is already a former UFC Champion, but he has the brightest future ahead of him as any of these top draws. On top of that, he’s already earned the next title shot, facing either current Champion Matt Serra (who embarrassed him in their last fight) or former Champ Matt Hughes (who GSP embarrassed). Most expect GSP to beat whoever he faces, but should he lose, what does that spell for the future of the Welterweight division?

  • Forrest Griffin – While certainly a top draw on account of his fan base, no one is sure who the UFC will match Griffin up against next. At an odd time in the Light Heavyweight division when all of the top talent is coming off recent losses, Griffin and Jardine find themselves with recent wins over two fighters largely considered to otherwise be the #1 and #2 contenders. While Jardine cannot command top box office appeal, Griffin certainly can. Unfortunately, no one expects him to be capable of beating the Champ, Rampage Jackson. What would a loss do for Griffin’s career?

On top of all these questions is the recent doping scandal involving Lightweight Champion Sean Sherk, who will likely be stripped of his belt at the end of this month when the California State Athletic Commission is expected to uphold their one-year suspension at Sherk’s appeal hearing. While Sherk’s possible departure actually helps the UFC in that it brings in more appealing contenders like B.J. Penn and Joe “Daddy” Stevenson, the growing steroid controversy—especially when a title is at stake—is nearly crippling.

What does all this mean? It means that Couture’s resignation (and announcement that he wishes to “severe all ties to the UFC”) comes at the worst of times. The UFC needs to consider life without Couture, Liddell, Hughes and even Franklin (not to mention Sherk). And while it has a stable of young fighters eager to fill those shoes (and capable of doing so), there are definite holes in its ranks. Noteworthy hopefuls are Lightweights Penn, Stevenson and Roger Huerta, who the UFC fancies as their ticket to breaking into the Mexican market; Welterweights GSP, Jon Fitch, Josh Koscheck and Diego Sanchez; and Light Heavyweights Jackson, Griffin, Shogun Rua, Wanderlei Silva and Michael Bisping, who the UFC has leveraged to break into England. The much weaker divisions are definitely the Middleweights and Heavyweights, made all the more thin by the loss of Couture.

Can the UFC survive without Emelianenko and Couture? Absolutely. The UFC is just too big, and MMA is too popular not to survive this fallout. But re-negotiating with Emelianenko and convincing him to renege on his M-1 contract (if even possible at this point), and then going out and securing Couture for a title bout would definitely help their situation. Until then, it looks like the greatest PRIDE vs. UFC match up that never happened.





Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Friday, October 05, 2007

After an embarrassing last week loss to MetcalfUpTheMiddle, the SteelSkins are ready to make right this week. Here are our picks:

Adam's picks:
MIA @ HOU - HOU
ATL @ TEN - TEN
JAX @ KC - JAX
NYJ @ NYG - NYG
CAR @ NO - NO
AZ @ STL - AZ
CLE @ NE - NE
SEA @ PIT - PIT
DET @ WAS - WAS
TB @ IND - IND
SD @ DEN - SD
BAL @ SF - BAL
CHI @ GB - GB
DAL @ BUF - DAL

Sean's picks:
MIA @ HOU - HOU
ATL @ TEN - TEN
JAX @ KC - JAX
NYJ @ NYG - NYG
CAR @ NO - NO
AZ @ STL - AZ
CLE @ NE - NE
SEA @ PIT - SEA
DET @ WAS - DET
TB @ IND - IND
SD @ DEN - SD
BAL @ SF - BAL
CHI @ GB - Brett Favre
DAL @ BUF - DAL

Austin's picks:
MIA @ HOU - MIA
ATL @ TEN - TEN
JAX @ KC - JAX
NYJ @ NYG - NYG
CAR @ NO - NO
AZ @ STL - STL
CLE @ NE - NE
SEA @ PIT - PIT
DET @ WAS - DET
TB @ IND - IND
SD @ DEN - DEN
BAL @ SF - SF
CHI @ GB - CHI
DAL @ BUF - DAL

Notice, no Browns.

Oh, how the mighty have...sunk


One-time UFC MW Champion of the World Evan Tanner, who has long been rumored to be building a comeback to the currently weakest UFC division, will not be making a return to the Octagon anytime soon. That's because he has just 30 days to figure out what to do about his grounded sailboat.

According to The Log, "SoCal's #1 Boating and Fishing Newspaper," Tanner ran his quickly sinking classic 1939 Tahiti 30-foot wooden ketch aground while trying desperately to dock it.

“We were miles out, desperately bailing out water. We made it into Mission Bay as night fell. Being unfamiliar with the bay, and finding it difficult to navigate in the dark, we ran aground. I stayed up all night, much of it spent down in the hold in the cold water, trying to save her. I tried, but I couldn’t do it. She was hurt too much.”
Tanner now has 30 days to move the craft, otherwise it will be deemed abandoned and legally removed by Mission Bay lifeguards

While this alone might not keep some UFC legends from making a comeback, the booze Tanner was likely ingesting at the time of the crash certainly will. According to Tanner's own website, he's been on a bizarre booze binge for months.
“I quit drinking for a while. I was doing so well. I thought I was in control of that vice. I went out with some friends and decided to have a beer. It’s been downhill since…. I’ve been on the road for almost two years. I’m tired. I’m tired of drinking, I’m tired of living out of bags, I’m tired of not feeling home. And where is home? I imagine being in the gym again. I imagine stepping into the Octagon again, and in some strange way, those thoughts bring me comfort. That is my home. I know it’s time to come home. I have not been training at all, despite what the rumors say. I’ve signed no fights. I’m so far gone, living on the road, drinking myself into oblivion, that in moments of weakness, I wonder if I can make it back. It’s going to be a long road.”
A long road indeed. Interestingly enough, his blog, while hopelessly awash in inspirational messages seemingly directed at convincing himself (e.g., "I choose to Believe. I'm setting a date," repeat ad infinitum) and...egads!...self-pitying poetry set next to lyrics to Metallica's "Master of Puppets," also includes some detailed blogposts and pictures documenting Tanner and his friend finding, purchasing and restoring the boat over the last several months. Perhaps most interesting are the photographs of the boat in dry storage, where Tanner patched numerous holes and repainted the boat before putting it back in the drink...no pun intended.

But perhaps the most insight into the sinking of Tanner's career...er...BOAT (sorry, stay on track) is this, straight from the mouth of Tanner himself:

“She had been sitting in dry storage, up in the yard for four months. Some say that a wooden boat will never be the same if it is on the hard that long. The planks of a wooden hull soak up water and expand, sealing all the cracks. When it sits out on land, the wood dries out and contracts, opening up cracks all over the hull. When she was put back in the water, we were all really worried about how watertight she was going to be. They lowered her down partly in the water and looked everywhere inside for leaks, lowered her some more and checked again. She was holding surprisingly well. There were only a few small leaks that are expected to stop once the wood absorbs a little water.”

Guess four months IS too long for a wooden boat to be in dry storage after all.

The rumored December match-up between Tanner and Dean Lister has been officially de-rumored, as Dave Meltzer from WrestlingObserver.com reported, "Tanner is not under contract to UFC nor are there any matches scheduled for him at this point.

While we hope to see him back in the Octagon, we're going to remove Tanner from the SteelSkins Power Rankings for now. No telling what to expect.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

A message from Metcalf Up The Middle


OK, so we won the first week of our pick-off against MUTM, but lost last weekend - yeah, when the Arizona Cardinals manage to whup up on the Steelers, we're probably gonna lose any sort of pick'ems around these parts, considering the black-and-gold colored glasses many of us wear around the SteelSkins compound. Of course, ol' Boss Hog (that'd be me) didn't help matters at all by, um, not submitting any picks at all. Pretty sure Enos was supposed to fax 'em in, but got distracted by Daisy Duke. Can't say as I blame him.

So, without further ado, here comes the smack from the boys at MUTM (ohbytheway, they chose the picture up there of Steelers safety/transvestite Troy Polamahoozacallit):

What's Festering in Troy's Hair?

by MUTM

I am fulfilling my right of writing anything I want on this website after an impressive pick’em victory by Metcalfupthemiddle.
While I know that this site is dedicated to both the Redskins and the Steelers, it is the latter that I will choose to discuss today. Last Sunday we got our second division win (your welcome) over the Ravens, whom we all can agree are the medical equivalent of an ingrown hair. Brian Billick brings out rage in me that has not been seen since Michael J. Fox was fighting for the loose ball in Teen Wolf. Anyways, the Browns are getting there act together after our game one beating, and I have a few reasons why I think the Browns will beat the Steelers when we play again Sunday, November 11th in lovely Hines Field.

-- Odds are there will be a terrible teamwide outbreak of some disease due to the varieties of parasites living in the combination of Ben Rothlesberger's beard and Troy Palamalu's hair.

-- Mike Tomlin makes the mistake of betting on the game with Romeo Crennel. The prize, a pizza. Romeo's not losing that bet.

-- After some long negotiations Bill Cower returns to the Browns coaching staff as Special Teams Coach under Marty Shottenheimer who is hired as Head Coach again after Romeo Crennel dies of a heart attack after a 5th straight win leading into the Steelers game. There first order of business is to hire Bernie Kosar as QB Coach and Bob Golic gives up his acting career to coach to defense. Oh yeah, and we resign Eric Metcalf for punt returns only.

-- We have Kellen Winslow.

-- Ben Rothlesberger has a 14-37 day with 3 picks as he can't concentrate because he is blinded by the beauty of our backup QB, Brady Quinn.

-- We no longer have Tim Couch, or Ty Detmer, or Spergon Wynn, or Doug Peterson, or Jeff Garcia, or Trent Dilfer, or Kelly Holcomb (actually he had a pretty good game against you guys in Hines field in 2002), or Charlie Frye.

--We have Braylon Edwards.

Good Luck, well see you in November! Go Skins!

-Bird