Showing posts with label Incompetence. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Incompetence. Show all posts

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Roger Goodell is Doomed

If you consider that the NFL, as a business, has no time for failure, what to make of Roger Goodell?

Today, a Federal judge reinstated Tom Brady because the due process he was supposed to get from Goodell turned out to be a laughable excuse for jacking off in public. The man in charge of the NFL is a serial incompetent.

Let’s take a moment to reflect on the recent failures of Goodell’s tenure as commissioner:

  • He suspended Ray Rice just two games after Rice knocked his fianceĆ© out in an elevator, then suspended Rice indefinitely after video tape of the incident turned the original, paltry suspension into a PR nightmare for the league. A judge later overturned that second suspension because Rice was essentially being punished twice for the same crime, and because the NFL had no real evidence that Rice had lied during the league’s investigation into the incident.

  • He hit the New Orleans Saints with sweeping and severe penalties after determining that the team had instituted a bounty program. Those suspensions were later overturned by ex-commissioner Paul Tagliabue on the grounds that Goodell had overstepped his bounds and reached his decision based on faulty evidence.

  • He eagerly exploited the Adrian Peterson child abuse case as a way to restore his authority and brand as a stern, tough-minded disciplinarian. That suspension was later overturned by a federal judge because Goodell had retroactively and unfairly applied the league’s new domestic violence policy to Peterson’s case.

And now this. This particular defeat feels more meaningful than the previous ones, though, in part because of how truly benign the original “crime” was. Those other suspensions being vacated were big victories for the NFLPA, but Goodell’s flanks were still protected by the fact that he was facing off with a child abuser, a wife-beater, and a football team that purposely tried to hurt people. No matter how slapdash and wrongheaded Goodell’s ersatz judicial processes were revealed to be, he was always able to position himself as a good guy, just trying to get tough on bad people and do the right thing. He was able to point to his failures as evidence that all he needed to Get Things Right in the future was more power.

How much longer with the ownership of the NFL tolerate this kind of thing? Goodell no longer has a friend in Robert Kraft. When you lose friends like that, you're done. Why not dump him before the season opener?

They'd never allow it, but do you know who'd be a great NFL commissioner? Anybody but Goodell, that's who.

If I had to pick a name, I would say Condoleeza Rice. The league needs an image overhaul, and it needs to have a new public face. The sooner, the better. Barring that, Mitt Romney needs a job. If Romneyshambles can run an Olympics, he can run the NFL. He's great with rich people.

And, by the way, Brady was guilty as hell. His due process was violated, but the fact that he's the face of the franchise and he was grabassing with the clowns in charge of keeping the balls inflated should have made this an open and shut case. Jim McNally was Rosencrantz and John Jastremski was Guildenstern and I'm not sure who Brady was because he just doesn't sound moody enough to pull off Hamlet. Brady's culpability was wiped out as a factual matter because Roger Goodell couldn't use due process to prove a ham sandwich is made with bread and ham. I think Brady should have been given the chance to be a gentleman of the sport. He should have been given the chance to defend himself and he should have been asked to apologize to the Indianapolis Colts. I didn't agree with the four game suspension but I sure as hell think someone who plays sports for a living should have the maturity to apologize when caught cheating.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Baseball and the Economy Have Nothing in Common

You couldn't get more egg-headed than this.

Linking baseball to the economy and monetary policy is as ludicrous as it sounds.

On the one hand, you have a game where people avidly watch their star players make decisions that only affect themselves and where the most incompetent people on the face of the Earth are in charge of deciding who does what and nobody cares about the impact it will have on anyone else and there is no rhyme or reason as to where the right people should be and, on the other, you have baseball.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Rick Reilly Goes With Phony Outrage Again

How does Rick Reilly manage to manufacture such a lopsided pile of phony outrage?

That's all he trades in with this column--phony outrage masked behind decade-old Internet snark. What a waste of space.

Nick Saban made a very significant point that should be acknowledged with something other than Reilly's immature belief in the ownership to his own peculiar brand of smarty-pantsedness--no team should ever go into a college football game believing it won't be tested.

If Saban wants to rant at the media for making his game against another team into a joke, he should be free to do so. His players need to be prepared to meet any challenge that comes their way on the football field. It is not outside the realm of possibility that Saban was merely trying to ensure that the appropriate level of urgency would be present when his team went out to play.

That does not mean that Rick Reilly gets to phone in another column full of nothing.

Anybody can beat anybody--and if that's not part of who you are as a coach, you're not going to get anywhere nearly as far in coaching as Saban.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Boomer Does Not Like Tebow

I think Mr. Esiason is out to do two things: get his name out there and then get his name out there some more, hopefully in a way that will get people talking about Boomer Esiason in a way that benefits Boomer Esiason in a way that would probably suggest that Boomer Esiason knows something about how football is played, and this is especially relevant since Boomer Esiason hasn't played decent football since, well, 1997.

You see, it's all about Boomer. And that's fine. He was a good quarterback; not a great one. Jay Schroeder, taken in the 1984 draft after Esiason, has exactly one more Super Bowl win than Boomer, and you don't see him making an ass out of himself at the drop of a hat, now do you?

If Tim Tebow can't play, he won't. It really is that simple.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

This is Why I Don't Watch Tennis

[They removed the video -

I had a swell piece of video, and because the Worldwide Leader is a cheap punk in a cheap suit, the video has been yanked. Everyone is so afraid of ESPN that all they have to do is whine to YouTube and the embarrassing video gets yanked. Well, talk about stepping on customer interest in the content you provide as a virtual monopoly.

If that's NOT what happened here, my bad. But, as a blogger, I am sick and goddamned tired of this whole "video has been removed because of a terms of service blah blah blah" thing. Cowboy the hell up, YouTube. Make them sue you. Make them prove that what you've done is wrong. You are not stealing their content. You are letting us show just what a ridiculous jackass they have hired in Pam Shriver. ]

The end is getting sad and ugly for James Blake, but this was just ridiculous.

Blake has lost his confidence, his fire, his want-to. He was crushed Tuesday by Robin Haase, 6-2, 6-4, 6-4, in the first round of Wimbledon, and then talked about the possibility of retiring soon.

But his frustration came out, as Blake got into an argument with ESPN analyst Pam Shriver, a former player. Shriver and Blake were bickering, and he even ended up calling her an ass. On court. During the match.

People will be looking for an apology from Blake now, another embarrassment for an aging former star whose career is going, going ...

And I'll say this: He should apologize for the way he is playing.

But as for the other stuff? Shriver and ESPN should apologize to Blake.

This was Shriver's fault, and she should have been kicked out.

Leaving aside the ridiculousness of yelling at someone in a broadcast booth who can be overheard calling you a putz, where on Earth does any sport allow this to happen?

If this happened on a golf course, they'd wear out the turnstiles throwing people out.
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Friday, February 5, 2010

The Worst Piece of Sports Writing Ever

Shania Twain

When I think of the Super Bowl, I think of Shania Twain. Hey, you try to figure it out. I'm busy.

See if you can get through this without falling asleep:

There is no better day for sports in the world than Super Bowl Sunday. That includes the World Cup Final.

I’m not talking about how many people watch. By that standard, the World Cup Final beats any three Super Bowls put together. But there’s more to a great day than the event around which it is built. It’s all the goodies that have accumulated around the event that ultimately makes the day.

The Super Bowl has everything you could want in a day built around a game that children can play. No day has more meat on its metaphorical bones.

A big part of it has to do with when the Super Bowl is played.

The Super Bowl is played on the first Sunday in February. Before the NFL settled on that day for its biggest game, it was known for absolutely nothing. Among all the Sundays of the year, the first one in February was like the year’s mail-room clerk — anonymous, unrecognized, unappreciated; a day as dull as a public reading of the tax code.

There is so much nothing happening that the NFL can take a full two weeks to build up for one football game, knowing that the media has nothing else to talk about. There is no more perfect a day for it.

Then there’s the name: the Super Bowl. If it were called the NFL Championship Game and didn’t bother to separate one from another with Roman numerals, it wouldn’t be nearly as popular with the great masses of non-fans.

Sporting events become great when they attract the attention of those who normally don’t watch sports. That’s why the Olympics are great. It’s what makes March Madness so much fun. It’s why the World Cup is so magnificent.

I know; I can't get through that without rolling my eyes and wanting to go outside and throw things into the trees in order to make the snow fall onto the ground. That's why I had to find a picture of Shania Twain, Cletus. You'd be asleep right now if I hadn't.

That is the absolute worst piece of sports writing I have read in my entire life. Full stop. The. Absolute. Worst. Piece. Of. Sports. Writing. Ever. That makes me want to slap my cheeks and try to pull my face off. That makes me want to hurl cookies through a plate glass window. That makes me want to stomp through a flowerbed with someone else's shoes on. God, the pain of reading that makes me want to take a telephone pole, shave it down to the size of an icepick, and pluck out my mind's eye and fling it at the windshield of a car going three hundred miles and hour off of a cliff.


Mike Celizic, when they forcibly retire you, staple that column to your pajamas so someone will know to give you the brown flavored jello.


Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Michigan State Fails to Get a Decent Logo

The old Michigan State Logo (Above) and the New Michigan State Logo (Below)

Sounds like someone is upset:
Last Thursday, the US Patent and Trademark Office posted on its website a new logo registered to Michigan State University for use in intercollegiate athletics. This is approximately their 4,328th new logo scheme in the past 20 years. Not a big deal, right? Athletic teams tweak their logos all the time. Hey, some NHL teams have so many logos and alternate sweaters they could probably wear a different uniform every game.

Well, some Spartan fans aren't taking too kindly to the change. And by "some," I mean "at least 17,548," because that's how many people have joined the Facebook group protesting the change. That's a big enough movement to get Tom Izzo's attention.

Of course, those disgruntled fans probably won't like what Izzo has to say:

"For all of you out there that are complaining, shame on you, because ... we are trying to do what's best for Michigan State University, our athletic department and the great people that we associate with and Nike's done a heck of a job," Izzo said. "Mark Hollis and our president have done a heck of a job and if somebody out there is looking for my support on this mad about the logo, find a new basketball coach because this guy is going 100 percent with our athletic department, our athletic director, our president and I think this is going to be one of the greater moves we've made."

So I guess there's a lot of mutual de-friending going on at MSU right now. Izzo sounds cranky, but I would too if my in-box got flooded like I'm sure his has.

The older logo is more fluid; the newer one is "blockish" and less inspired. It's as if someone cut out green pieces of construction paper and glued them down without really trying to give it some sort of design. Each piece is the identical distance apart; changing the angles and distances between the parts might have made it look a little better; I don't know. The new logo incorporates a lack of proportionality. Think of how a Ford Crown Victoria looks next to a Mazda RX-7. The high notch above the face guard on the new logo must have been someone's idea of incorporating a touch of the film "300" into the new logo or something; why bother going for an attention to historical detail like that when virtually no one really knows or cares what a real Spartan combat helmet looks like. The old logo was a fluid, smooth, easy-to-recognize image. There was a plume, a face guard, and that's it. This one incorporates the blockish piece between the plume and the helmet itself--one of the ugliest and least-competently added pieces to the entire logo.

The only people laughing are Michigan fans, of course.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

In Defense of the Swinging Gate That Wasn't

It's not the worst play call ever, but it should have been attempted with someone who could throw. You have to run this play with a quarterback who can scramble. If he can buy himself three seconds, and put the ball in the end zone, you have a chance at scoring a touchdown.

It's more of a variation on the hail mary pass with shorter yardage, and if it is run correctly, you can bulldoze your way through their secondary from the shifted line of scrimmage. Say you run this, and a receiver can slip through and get down field without being touched at the line of scrimmage, then angle to the right. By getting free from the pack, you have to have a guy with speed who get open, and get open in those three seconds that the quarterback has before they can run him down if he rolls right. By shifting everyone left, you open the field for the receiver to run a pattern to the right so that the quarterback can roll right with him. Instead, Washington went deep. I would have designed this so that the slant pattern sends the receiver to the right. Make them cover in the open field.

But, no, I wouldn't have run this. I would have taken three points. Never walk away from points on the board. And, no, Zorn doesn't call the plays anymore. Desperation leads to amateurism. But there is a valid football theory that can justify something like this. Let's not forget that Gruden is a failure as a coach (leaving Tampa Bay with about a .500 record) and Jaworski is a bit enamored of his own supposed glories.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Way to go out on a limb there

Does anyone really care if the Saints and Colts go 16 and 0?
The New Orleans Saints and Colts are so close to 16-0 seasons, but there are sound reasons to believe neither team will attain regular season perfection.

Winning any game — let alone winning every game — is a difficult thing to do in the NFL.

“In order to win just one game in the National Football League, you have to play at an exceptionally high level,” Colts president Bill Polian said. “At some point in time during the course of a season, breaks are going to go against you. At some point in time you are going to have a game that is decided the wrong way by the officials. And there are always injuries. Brian Billick said it best. Take a look at teams now, and it’s not how they will look in January. From my perspective, going 16-0 is damn near impossible to do.”

In many ways, going 16-0 is a more impressive accomplishment than winning a Super Bowl, even though winning a Super Bowl is more significant.

Rodney Harrison understands the pressure the Saints and Colts will face in their final games. He played for the 2007 New England Patriots, who finished 16-0.

“Every time you play someone when you are undefeated, they want to be that team that knocks you off,” said Harrison, who now is an analyst on NBC’s Football Night in America. “You’re going to get their very best. That’s why it becomes so difficult. Then you have the national scrutiny, the attention you get, making a distraction.

You know, week in, week out, lazy sportswriters say that the Colts and the Saints are "going to lose this weekend" and "won't make it to 16 and 0." This is the best example I can think of to illustrate why sports writing has gone into the tank in this country.

Really? You think they won't make it? How safe is that for a prediction? Because, statistically speaking, that is the safe bet to make. It's a little like saying that one NFL team is going to score more than 35 points this weekend. Statistically, it's very likely that at least one team will score more than 35 points because, week in, week out, at least one if not three or four teams racks up some offense and scores that many points.

Hey, and I'll bet someone gets their uniform dirty, too.

The Saints and the Colts are having a great season. If they make it to 16 and 0, what a great story. But is it worth writing about? Instead of making the safe prediction, tell me who has the better chance of getting a perfect season into the record books. Tell me how Brees matches up against Manning, and tell me something I don't already know by doing some legwork. Tell me if the offensive line is better on this team or that team because of someone who is working harder than ever before. Tell me what coaching change or scheme or alignment of the football gods in the stars above is shining down some brilliance, and don't spare the details. Write, dammit. Write something readable and interesting. Don't sit there with your wang in one hand and a BlackBerry in the other and make the BOLD prediction of failure. Anyone can predict failure. Tell me why success is possible, what makes the failure a possibility, and who has what to thank for their performance this season.

MSNBC seems to hire these guys. Sports Illustrated and ESPN has them, too, and I don't even bother with Fox Sports, although, I probably should. The hacks end up at MSNBC for some reason. It's like they don't even have any standards.

Here's my bold prediction: half the teams are going to win this weekend, half are going to lose, and maybe, just maybe, someone will score a touchdown.

There, can I write about sports for MSNBC?

UPDATE: Hilariously, Both New Orleans and Indy won. So, did MSNBC fire their incompetent sports writers? Of course not.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

It Sure Looked Like a Scam to Me

Do you own a sports franchise? Are you the owner of a minor league baseball team, a minor league hockey team, or a D-League basketball team? If so, don't do this:
An NBA Development League team owner is apologizing for misleading fans who thought Michael Jordan would play in a charity game at the Utah Flash's home opener.

Flash owner Brandt Andersen acknowledged sending a Jordan lookalike around town Monday, when supposed "Jordan" sightings and an Internet video of the impostor eating at a local restaurant created buzz that Jordan really was in town. More than 7,500 fans showed up hoping to see Jordan play 1-on-1 against former Utah Jazz guard Bryon Russell at halftime.

The Flash had been pitching the Jordan-Russell rematch since September despite never hearing from Jordan after Andersen issued the first challenge.

Andersen maintained he held out hope that Jordan would agree to be part of Monday's promotion.

"This was done in fun," Andersen wrote on his blog after the game. "If you did not see it as fun or you feel we went over the top I am sorry."

Andersen said he had always planned to send out a lookalike, complete with bodyguards, into the community.

"We wanted to test the strength and effectiveness of viral media by putting him out in Provo with bodyguards, and some hype," he said. "I always assumed it would be uncovered very quickly that it was a hoax."

Fans caught on when the impostor trotted on to the court at halftime and started booing, then leaving.

The original blog post about this event said:
I wasn't at the Hall of Fame to see the acceptance speech by Michael Jordan but I was watching. I also wasn't at the 1998 finals when Jordan hit that shot over Bryon Russell with 5.2 seconds, but I have seen it about a hundred times on NBA promos.

One thing I can tell you is that I want to be front and center for whatever the outcome is when the two meet up next.

So here is my offer: Michael Jordan vs. Bryon Russell-1 on 1 challenge to 21. I will personally donate $100,000 to charity in the name of the winner. We can do it during the half time of the Utah Flash home opener on December 7th. $100,000 in cash for a 15 minute pickup game. MJ even you can’t say no to that.

Our venue is the perfect place for this challenge because it brings BRuss back to Utah and Michael Jordan has a home just outside of Park City (I have seen his Carolina Blue Jump Man plane on the runway at Million Air in SLC) so it is convenient for both guys. Not to mention that it would be sacrilegious to have this take place anywhere outside of Utah.

I have already called BRuss directly and spoken to him about the event. I have also sent a message through a mutual friend to MJ to invite him. He is going to be a little more difficult to convince but not impossible. This would be a good PR move for him following his speech. Back up those words that anytime you see BRuss with his shorts on you are “coming at him”.

Think about the benefits for the two of them. BRuss wants some vindication and MJ puts that fire we have always seen to the test by lacing them up one more time in a casual ‘all for charity’ event.

The match up between these guys created one of the greatest moments in basketball history and was memorialized at Michael's Hall of Fame Induction Speech. Let's lace them up just one more time.

Can you say "half-baked" and "ill-conceived?" What few fans the Utah Flash already had are probably going to stick with the team. Anyone else, who might have wanted to see some NBA developmental league action? Forget it.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Well, That's the End of Isiah Thomas and his Wonderful Coaching Career

The absolutely stark raving look of terror and confusion on this poor young athlete's face is the reason why Isiah Thomas should be encouraged to give up any pretense of being a coach. The poor kid looks like he's being told to bounce the ball with his forehead and run down the court with his shorts down and his arms flapping so the opposing players won't know how to defend him.

When will someone step in and tell Thomas it's over?
Three games into his college coaching career, Isiah Thomas was already asking for mercy.

Midway through the second half of Florida International's 81-49 loss at Tulsa on Sunday, Thomas motioned toward his counterpart as if to ask when he'd take his starters out.

A few minutes later, he got vocal with his request, shouting a few words in the direction of Golden Hurricane coach Doug Wojcik.

At that point, FIU (0-3) was down 63-25 with 8:59 to play after being outscored 27-5 to start the second half.

"It's a 40-minute game. If you want the truth of it, go back to the (North) Carolina game Monday night, when Carolina was pressing them with 3 minutes left," Wojcik said, referring to FIU's 88-72 loss at North Carolina. "I don't press, and I don't embarrass anybody. But it's a 40-minute game, and I'm in this game to get better.

"I've never seen anything like that. It was very bizarre."

You've never seen anything like that, coach, because Isiah Thomas is not a coach. He's a train wreck, trading on a professional resume that is diminished by the day. I don't know who runs FIU's athletic department, nor do I care, but this experiment needs to end, and soon, otherwise your program is going to be damaged for years. Years.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

If You Want to Get Paid, Go to Washington

I wouldn't panic about whether or not Washington decides to bring another head case and a team cancer to play with the Redskins:
Redskins coach Jim Zorn did not rule out the possibility of the Redskins pursuing Larry Johnson. He said the team has had internal discussions this morning and will continue to talk about the troubled running back. Zorn said the team will likely sign a running back if Clinton Portis can't play -- he specifically mention Quinton Ganther, whom the team released last Friday. As for Johnson, "I don't know," Zorn said. "I need to have a longer conversation than I've had to make a decision," Zorn said.

Sure, it might work. How bad can it get? What harm would it do?

And isn't it a little odd that Zorn is being asked about personnel? Does anyone really think he's pulling the trigger on a trade or a player signing?

Want to get paid and not have to perform? Go to the Washington Redskins, sir.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The Worst Team in Football

No, it's not the Tennessee Titans because they have, at least, Jeff Fisher, and Jeff Fisher is an excellent coach. It would be a shame if he lost his job, but he wouldn't be out of work for very long.

The Washington Redskins can't even hire an out of work coach who got fired because he couldn't get his team deep into the playoffs. I mean, really--how pathetic is your organization when you go after a guy who won one playoff game in ten years. Ten years!
Sources have confirmed that the Washington Redskins recently tried to hire Mike Shanahan to replace Jim Zorn and Shanahan declined. The sources would not rule out the possibility that Shanahan would reconsider in the offseason.

"Shanahan told the franchise there was little he could do in the middle of the season for them and that changing coaches during the season in the NFL rarely works,'' a Redskins management source told FanHouse. "Several people that Dan Snyder trusts have suggested, if he makes a move, he should turn it over to secondary coach Jerry Gray. That could still happen.

"We are trying to give Jim every chance to turn it around. The move to [bring in offensive consultant Sherm] Lewis is to take more off Jim's plate, especially the play-calling, because it is not working, and that is where Jim is spending much of his time. Now he can coach the entire team. Let's see where that gets us.''

Where that gets you is impending disaster. On Monday, October 26, the Philadelphia Eagles come to Washington to play the Redskins at Fed-Ex field. If I was a betting man, I would bet you anything that there will be:

1. A lot of Eagles fans there (thanks, StubHub--you're giving Redskins fans a way to cut their losses and you're allowing Eagles fans to see the game).

2. A nearly unwatchable football game.

3. An Eagle victory agains a listless opponent.

How low can you go?

Monday, October 12, 2009

That Which He Dare Not Utter

Someone has finally decided to snap:
For much of the decade during which Daniel Snyder has owned the Redskins, many fans and members of the media have blamed Snyder for the team's struggles.

Rarely, if ever, do any of the employees of the organization point a finger at Snyder.

Cornerback Carlos Rogers has done it.

His broader point? Everyone is to blame. The message? The first one to blame is the guy who has the keys.

"It not only starts with the players, coaches," Rogers said, per the Associated Press. "It starts with the ownership."

Rogers is right, and it is time someone said it out loud. There appears to be no one, save perhaps Joe Gibbs, who can sit down with Snyder and explain to him that a professional football team needs to have an empowered general manager and a certain hands-off structure in order to operate. That Gibbs has failed to get that across to Snyder by now indicates that it would take a real come-to-Jesus meeting between the two, one where Gibbs would be willing to sever ties to the organization out of embarrassment for what it has become.

Snyder should sit down with the ownership teams in Pittsburgh or New England in order to better understand the role that a general manager should play under the supervision of an owner. At some point, you have to stop pretending you know how to judge talent when most of the talent you've gone out and signed has failed to mesh with the system you keeping having to change because you can't find a stable situation at the coaching position. When Snyder went out and got Jim Zorn, you knew that Zorn was going to be thrown under a bus.

The question is--who has the courage to say that Rogers is right?

[Image - Carlos Rogers...]

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Charlie Weis and a Make or Break Year

Oh, the pain...the pain...
A new billboard facing the Notre Dame campus offers a not-so-subtle reminder to coach Charlie Weis that the past two seasons have not been up to the standards of the storied Fighting Irish football program.

It reads: "Best wishes to Charlie Weis in the fifth year of his college coaching internship." Weis said Tuesday he had not yet seen the billboard, about a half mile from his office, but had been told about it.

"Everything was great until the last word," he said, laughing. "So tell them thanks a lot for wishing me best wishes."

Weis is well aware that Notre Dame fans have high expectations after the Irish went 3-9 and 7-6 the past two seasons -- the most losses in a two-year span in the 120-year history of Irish football. Those 15 losses are three more than Knute Rockne had in 13 seasons as coach, four more than Frank Leahy had in 11 years and two fewer than Ara Parseghian had in 11 seasons.

The 15 losses have wiped out most -- if not all -- the goodwill Weis built in leading the Irish to Bowl Championship Series berths in his first two seasons.

Weis ran out of goodwill two years ago, and the Irish could have been spared those dismal seasons:
"Charlie Weis has returned Notre Dame to relevancy. Just two years ago, as Notre Dame spiraled toward mediocrity under Ty Willingham, a shot at a national title seemed improbable. But the schemes and the discipline Weis has installed have revived past glories. The only question on the Irish offense comes on the line. But considering the way Weis turned castoff linemen into solid starters with the New England Patriots, that should not be a huge concern."—New York Times, Aug. 27, 2006

In the entire history of American sports hype, has there ever been any fraud more grossly fraudulent than Notre Dame football coach Charlie Weis?

Weis' Fighting Irish now stand at 1-7. This record is only the faintest indicator of just how awful Notre Dame is. They have lost nine of their last 10 games, by an average of 24 points. None has been close. While Notre Dame has suffered very few injuries, three of its opponents have had to play the Irish without their starting quarterbacks. Two of those teams, USC and Michigan, nonetheless beat Notre Dame by a larger margin than either has beaten any other opponent so far this year. Notre Dame's lone win came against UCLA, which had been forced to use its third-string quarterback, a walk-on. In that game, Notre Dame compiled just 140 yards of offense, but won with the help of seven Bruin turnovers, five of them hand-delivered courtesy of the hapless walk-on signal-caller.

Just how bad is Notre Dame? Of the 119 teams in Division I-A, ND is 119th in total offense, 119th in rushing offense, 112th in passing offense, and 118th in scoring. If Notre Dame had doubled its scoring output, it would still rank 108th. If it doubled its rushing output (currently 34 yards a game), it would barely eke out Duke for 118th place.

No one wants to eat his contract, and no one wants to admit failure. Don't worry, kids--Charlie Weis is the kind of coach who focuses on what is important, and he's not about to let distractions or phony issues distract his team:
Weis also said Monday that he put a stipulation on players who want to wear helmet visors, which Notre Dame hasn't previously allowed. The visors must be clear, saying he didn't want players to have "Darth Vader visors" because "I thought were way too Hollywood for Notre Dame."

He also required players who use visors to be clean shaven and clean cut. Most of the two dozen or so players who got the visors needed a haircut or a shave. Weis said he had a "conga line" of players coming through his office seeing whether their hair was short enough after a cut to get a visor.

"We had some fun with it," he said.

Of course, Weis could have just looked up the rules for college football:
Illegal Equipment:
ARTICLE 5. No player wearing illegal equipment shall be permitted to play. Any question as to the legality of a player’s equipment shall be decided by the umpire. Illegal equipment includes the following:

Eye shields that are not clear or made from molded or rigid material. Note: No player wearing illegal equipment shall be permitted to play. If illegal equipment is discovered by an official, the team shall be charged a team timeout.

National Federation of High School football Rule 1-5-3-n the rule is the same as the NCAA's. The eyeshield must be a molded rigid material that is 100% translucent without any color or tinting.

Hope this answers your question,

Vic Winnek
NCAA Football Official

Basically, you have the coach of Notre Dame football not knowing that darkened visors are illegal. It's one thing for the coach to say "dark visors are illegal" but Weis actually said, of the darkened visors, "I thought were way too Hollywood for Notre Dame." What a clown circus they have in South Bend.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Coach Bobby Knight Should Tell Indiana to Kiss His Backside

Really, where was the loyalty?
A little over a week ago, Indiana University announced it would be inducting Bob Knight into its Hall of Fame. In the nine days since then, there has been no shortage of discussion around the state of Indiana, message boards, newspapers and local talk radio. Normally, the induction of someone with Knight's accolades wouldn't cause such a stir. He won three national championships, 12 Big Ten titles and went to the Final Four fives times in 29 seasons at Indiana. He's currently the winningest coach in Division-I history.

But that doesn't tell the whole story, of course.

Everyone who follows college basketball knows the general story of Knight's ugly divorce from Indiana, as he was dismissed by then-President Myles Brand in September of 2000. Since then, Knight has refused to acknowledge anything about Indiana University or his time there in any public forum. Thus, it's pretty easy to see why there is such a debate on whether or not he'll attend his own induction.

Who stood up to Myles Brand? Who stood up and said that Coach Knight should have stayed at Indiana? The fans certainly did. But did the University officials, who will benefit from any appearance by Coach Knight, stand up for him? Or were they rolled by the ESPN-fed shark frenzy that created a tsunami of phony outrage? I can guarantee you that if ESPN were running stories, quotes, and recurring highlight reels critical of a Coach Knight appearance, they would be hiding like terrified bunnies under their well-appointed desks.

Who will point out that Brand's tenure as head of the NCAA has allowed programs, coaches, schools, and amateur athletics to run wild and commit offenses far worse than anything Coach Knight could have ever cooked up on his own? You have schools being forced to give up wins. Okay, that's great. Why are they still playing? There used to be a thing called "the death penalty." How about we have one for Indiana, Kentucky, Memphis, UConn, and whoever else has been running fast and loose with the rules?

Do you know why Coach Knight should laugh in the face of Indiana University? Because that great disciplinarian, Myles Brand, allows Rick Pitino, John Calipari, Bob Huggins, and a host of others to continue coaching in his vaunted NCAA. Because Brand allows college football programs to continue to run wild and get away with all but murder.

I'll let Dr. Boyce D. Watkins explain why Coach Knight was never the problem, but was, to put it mildly, a rare and unique example of how the NCAA is supposed to work:
...I believe that Myles Brand, in spite of the propaganda exercise performed by he and CBS Sports last year (in an attempt to refute my analysis), knows that he would never allow himself or his coaches to operate under the same constraints, penalties and exploitation placed on athletes and their families (especially if his mother were getting evicted, as many of these players come from poverty). In fact, I found it quite ironic that nearly every participant in the CBS sports special was earning at least a few hundred thousand dollars per year while simultaneously explaining to athletes and their families why they shouldn’t get any of that money.

Beyond paying the athletes, I would make a decision: either the NCAA is going to be a professional organization or an amateur one. It’s not going to be a hybrid. A truly amateur organization doesn’t have coaches earning as much as $4M dollars per year. Coaches earn no more than, say, $80,000 per year.

-- An amateur organization doesn’t fire losing coaches with high graduation rates and reward winning coaches with low graduation rates -- any coach hired by the NCAA is expected to not only teach at the university, he/she is expected to ensure that academic achievement is first and foremost in the life of each athlete.

-- The rules should disappear: why can’t players transfer to other schools without being penalized? Coaches leave in the middle of the season all the time. Why is it illegal for athletes to receive compensation from outside entities? Coaches take money from whomever they please. Athletes are given the same responsibilities as adults, told to behave as adults, yet we put rules in place that treat them like children. Again, anyone who exploits another human being, whether it’s the NCAA or a corrupt warlord in a third world country, is going to place constraints on you and then guise his/her motivations by claiming that the rules are in place for your protection. That is the consistent theme of the NCAA’s justification for controlling their student athletes. But their desire to protect the athlete goes out the window when an athlete gets into trouble, loses his/her eligibility or loses his/her scholarship for not being able to perform on the field.

-- The NCAA needs to redefine its mission and be honest with the world. Right now, it is an elephant with bunny ears, swearing that it’s nothing but a harmless little rabbit. The truth is that the NCAA is exactly what it appears to be: a professional sports league. So, rather than allowing me to become the head of the NCAA, I would rather be the head of the House Ways and Means Committee, which initiated an investigation into the NCAA and began to question its non-profit status. A bureaucratic beast that has grown so deformed with contradictions needs to be deconstructed and rebuilt in a model of fairness. As it stands, the NCAA exists in stark contrast to the values most of us embrace as Americans. I’ve seen it up close over the past 15 years and it bothers the heck out of me.

Coach Knight graduated student athletes, kept his program clean, played by the rules, and got run out of Indiana for nothing but political correctness and for being everything the Myles Brand detested in a coach--a competent educator and disciplinarian who could teach, mold young men into something, and blast the ridiculously incompetent and narrow-minded sports media establishment while enjoying the hell out of himself.

Coach Knight, tell them to kiss your ass.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Boasting Never Gets the Job Done in the NFL

The NFL is really not a league where you want to go around boasting about how good you are, especially when you don't have any kind of track record of being anywhere near better than average:
For a guy who still has not yet coached a regular-season NFL game, new Jets boss Rex Ryan has done more squawking than many pro football coaches do in their entire careers.

And as Ryan prepares to take his new team against his old one, Ryan is squawking again, calling Monday night's preseason contest against the Ravens (8:00 p.m. ET, ESPN) a "special preseason game."

"Let's see if we match up with the elite teams in the league," he said Sunday, per Rich Cimini of the New York Daily News. "You're playing against a great football team, and they're playing against one that's going to be great in the New York Jets. I think that's going to be a great matchup."

Um, Rex? It's a preseason game. Which means it's not a game at all. It's glorified, televised practice with full-price tickets.

Many think that Ryan's bluster -- which should only get more interesting once the real games start -- is harmless. Others, however, view it as a potential problem.

"You're gonna tell me it's not detrimental to the league?" one source observed. "We don't want thugs, but we'll let a coach act like an idiot?"

Not every coach can be Jimmy Johnson, and have a reasonable mix of bluster and the wins to back it up, just as not every coach can be as reserved and staid as old Bud Grant was with the Minnesota Vikings. The overall health and history of the franchise matters--if you're a Cowboy, you can spread it on thick, even though your best days are long behind you.

This is more of a media thing, than anything, but it does go a long ways towards getting players to buy into your system. If the coach makes out like a fool, that damages his credibility in future discussions. You want a mix of emotion when a team actually wins, a mix of some passion from the sidelines, and some measure of humility when starting the season. Some of the best examples of this are Jeff Fisher and Tom Coughlin--two coaches who could probably give coach Ryan some pointers on the finer points of how to carry themselves.

You actually want to be a winner before you start telling everyone how great you are.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Time to go after corrupt programs

If the NCAA doesn't start punishing schools soon, the backlash is going to overwhelm the major sports. And, let's face it, there may be cheating in every college sport of some kind, but we're really only talking about college football and college basketball.

Florida State University is about to be stripped of victories in football, and this comes on the heels of seeing Memphis stripped of 38 wings in basketball:
A top official at the NCAA said a court ruling Thursday that documents dealing with cheating at Florida State are public records sets a precedent that will "rip the heart out of the NCAA" and its efforts to ensure competition is fair and equal.

David Berst, the NCAA's vice president for Division I, said few witnesses other than school officials and employees would be willing to tell what they know about cheating, whether in recruiting, academics or other areas, without the promise of confidentiality.

"We could see copycat efforts in other states," Berst said. "Yes, I believe that would rip the heart out of the NCAA."

His comments from the witness stand came soon after Circuit Judge John Cooper rejected the NCAA's claim that the documents in the Florida State case are not public.

Well, of course they are. Florida State isn't a private university. Lawyers--they think they know the law or something.

Coach Bobby Bowden is slated to lose as many as 14 victories--a staggering number for a coach in the twilight of his career. Joe Paterno will rise to the top of the heap if this happens and if Bowden cannot coach long enough to outpace him. I don't see it being very likely.

The NCAA is being run like a clown circus, and the last few years have seriously tarnished any credibility that the ailing Myles Brand may have brought to it. Allowing schools like Florida State to continue competing is a farce. That John Calipari is allowed to walk away from the debacle at Memphis and go to the oft-sullied Kentucky is tragic for the credibility of the sport. It's not Calipari is a first-time offender. More schools need to be handed "the death penalty" to get them back in line.

UPDATE from Fanhouse:
An annoyed Florida State President T.K. Wetherell wasn't in a forgiving mood Friday.

Not when it came to the NCAA's terse stance that suggested the Seminoles could be deprived of their rights of due process within the governing body or, better yet, they could simply leave the NCAA -- all because FSU must abide by the state's public records law.

A Leon County (Fla.) circuit judge ruled Friday the NCAA must publicly release documents on FSU's appeal of an academic cheating penalty. Circuit Judge John C. Cooper also criticized the athletic organization for making underlying threats against the university.

Wetherell, who has been at odds with the NCAA on past occasions -- he led the school's fight to keep its "Seminole" nickname -- criticized the NCAA's threats against FSU.

"I cannot accept or believe the statement by an NCAA official that the NCAA would take away the due process rights of a Florida public university because that university must abide by public records law," Wetherell said in a prepared statement. "Nor do I accept the statement made in court by an NCAA representative that FSU (and therefore all Florida public universities) has the option of leaving the NCAA if they want to abide by Florida's public records law.

"There will undoubtedly be changes suggested for the NCAA infractions cases and appeals involving public records issues. I will send a letter to Myles Brand, requesting that the NCAA Executive Committee look into this matter as soon as possible because it impacts all Florida public universities that are members of the NCAA."

FSU has already transcribed one of the NCAA documents and released it to the public in a redacted form. The second document (350 pages) is the official transcript made by the NCAA of the Committee on Infractions Hearing of the FSU matter in October 2008 in Indianapolis.

Wetherell says the court case could have been easily avoided, pointing a finger at you-know-who.

"Statements made by the NCAA continue to disappoint me," he said. "It could have resolved this whole crisis long ago by giving us hard copies of the documents the news media had requested."

Leave the NCAA? Isn't that worse than the death penalty? Wouldn't that mean that Florida State couldn't play any college team in the country? Is Florida State going to become an NFL franchise?

The mind reels...

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Plaxico Burress and an Unfair Double Standard

I believe that I do agree with Mr. Scoop Jackson here:
There are things your mother says that you let go in one ear and instantly out the other. Then there are things she says that you should carry with you throughout life, because one day you will desperately need them.

Take this one: "Never put yourself in a position to be used as an example."

Now that the grand jury indictment has come down on Plaxico Burress, we all are about to witness a lesson in what happens when one doesn't heed that advice.

From the judge and jury who will hear the possible trial to the office of the NFL commissioner, the future of Burress' career and several years of his life now sit in the hands of those who might use him to send a message to a much larger audience.

Plaxico Burress faces a minimum 3½-year prison sentence if convicted of gun possession.This didn't begin when the shot heard 'round New York was fired or when Burress decided it was necessary to leave his crib with a loaded .40-caliber Glock tucked into a pair of sweatpants (?!?). It began when New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau began speaking out, basically saying that there would be no preferential treatment of the former Giants star and that he would be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

What I want to know is, why can't Mr. Burress just be treated like any other idiot who goes into a nightclub and shoots himself in the leg with a handgun? It happens all of the time. I live just outside of Washington D.C. and I can't tell you the number of times I have had to sit and tsk tsk at a story about how some fool got dissed all up in his grille and shot off his gun and hit himself in the arm, the leg, the right butt cheek and made his girl fall and break her heel trying to get to the limousine. We should punish said individuals, as a matter of course. I'm not arguining leniency. I'm arguing consistency.

It would be a better country if we could just forget that Plaxico Burress is Plaxico Burress, and just treat him like everyone else. I would imagine that his ability to hire a good lawyer and his ability to reach a plea deal would spare him some jail time. The public embarrassment alone has been worthy of several jail terms. For a young man to act tough, shoot himself, and lose his ability to play professional football is to hand him a punishment that probably fits the crime. Now that he has entered into the criminal sphere, he should be treated like everyone else. Singling him out to "send a message" makes a mockery of the rule of law anyway.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Bret Favre is a Washed-up Diva who will Ruin your Team

Football Players, Circa 1916

Would someone please inform ESPN that Brett Favre is finished?

Minnesota Vikings offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell became the first member of Brad Childress' coaching staff to personally evaluate Brett Favre after shoulder surgery when he traveled to Hattiesburg, Miss., last week to watch the retired quarterback perform in a rigorous throwing session that included an estimated 100 passes, sources said.

According to those same sources, at least one of whom has communicated directly with the quarterback, Favre thought his performance that day with the Oak Grove High School team was encouraging. But Favre also warned the Vikings representatives that he might be forced to delay a decision on whether to play until just before the team opens training camp on July 29 in Mankato, Minn.

During their visit to his home last Wednesday, Favre informed Bevell and Vikings head trainer Eric Sugarman that he wants to play in Minnesota during the upcoming season but remains unable to commit because he wants to be totally confident that he can provide the team with 16-plus healthy starts before doing so. Sugarman was making his second visit to Favre's Mississippi home, the first occurring a few weeks before in which the trainer demonstrated some shoulder exercises the quarterback could use to accelerate his recovery.

Favre, 39, is approximately six weeks removed from the arthroscopic surgery Dr. James Andrews performed to release the partially torn biceps tendon in the quarterback's right shoulder. Favre is proceeding cautiously because he remains somewhat concerned about the inconsistency of some throws and worries that he continues to have slight pain, according to sources. While Favre's recovery seems to be following the six- to eight-week rehab timetable that Andrews described, sources say that Favre had hoped the improvement would come sooner and that he had initially planned to make a decision about returning to the NFL before the end of June.

Favre is, essentially, using ESPN to prolong his diva-like exit from football. Not content with records, Favre now wants everyone at his beck and call, and for every hour of every broadcast day to include some mention of his moods, his likes, his dislikes, his preference for lunch, the extent of his love for poodles, whether or not he wants the grass cut, who he wants to win on American Idol should it ever come back on television, and so on and so forth.

One cannot build a team around Favre or simply bring him into an existing system. You have to be disorganized, pathetic, and without essential personnel to want him, and if that describes the Minnesota Vikings, then they are welcome to the soap opera that is Brett Favre.

I watched, live and as it happened, Dan Marino's last game as an NFL quarterback. You can read about it here--it was a debacle, to say the least.

The game that turned out to be the last for the future Hall of Famer was the
62-7 debacle against the Jaguars in the AFC Divisional playoff game at Alltel
Stadium on Jan. 15. It was the worst game of his career, and certainly not the
way Miami Dolphins fans want to remember [DAN] Marino, who for 17 seasons
quarterbacked Miami and forged his way into the NFL record books.
career numbers are staggering:

Four times he threw for 30 or more touchdowns in a season, including two
seasons of more than 40. He threw for five or more touchdowns in a game five
times and led the NFL in passing yards six times. He had 13 games of 400 or more
yards passing and led the Dolphins to 37 fourth-quarter comebacks.

He had 147 wins as a starting quarterback and 37 career postseason
touchdown passes.
But what happened that sunny Saturday at Alltel Stadium is
a big bruise to those gawking numbers, and for many it will be their last Marino

Marino threw for a career-low 95 yards. At one point in the game,
Marino's line read: 0 for 7, two interceptions, two sacks, lost fumble returned
for a touchdown.

His first pass was intercepted by Aaron Beasley. The next time Marino
took a snap, he was sacked by Tony Brackens, and Brackens picked up the fumble
and returned it for a touchdown.
Marino didn't complete his first pass until
10:43 remained in the second quarter. By that time, the Dolphins were behind
38-0 and Jaguars quarterback Mark Brunell was already on the bench.

When Marino mercifully went to the bench, the Jaguars led 48-7.

The post-game comments were biting, consoling and compassionate:

Marino: "I never experienced a game like this in my life."

Jaguars safety Carnell Lake: "I don't know if it was his final game, but
if it was, I wanted to tell him he's had one heckuva career. I just wanted to
give him a hug and tell him that."

Times-Union columnist Gene Frenette: "This was as ugly as it gets for an
aging legend. Worse than a gimpy Willie Mays playing out the string for the N.Y.
Mets. Worse than Joe Namath going out on two bad knees with the Los Angeles
Rams. And as bad as watching a too-proud-to-quit Muhammad Ali take a savage
beating from Larry Holmes."

Dolphins guard Kevin Donnalley: "Everyone in this whole place feels
horrible for Dan. He's done so much for this league. If this was his last game,
it's very sickening it has to end like this."
Marvin Demoff, Marino's
attorney and friend: "You have to feel for him being a part of something like
this. It's hard to see, as a friend, somebody suffer when it means so much to
them. This is something he has put so much energy into. This is a game that will
have its place in Dolphin history, but not for the right reason."

If Minnesota wants a game like that, by all means, sign Favre and get ready for a blowout. I think he has it in him to top Marino's last gasp of indignity.