Monday, January 29, 2007

Day 1: Super Bow XLI Miami

Monday Morning in Miami. We are in Miami, and the sun is shining, but wow – high speed internet in the hotel is just not all it claims to be. Nevertheless, I will read a book as the next page loads and still try to turn out a respectable blog this morning.

Two stories are on my sports mind today, the first was reflecting on a week that got my hockey pants going crazy. Sidney Crosby was hyped before his career in the NHL began, and now, about 18 months into that career, I have determined he is worth every bit of the hype. After seeing the kid all week, watching him electrify the arena on Friday night, and then watching him score a goal from his rear end and get 3 more assists on Saturday in Phoenix, I am now ready to make him my default “find the guy on Directv because there is nothing else on” dude. He is the chosen one. I have high hopes for the future of the NHL on his back. Don’t think one guy can do it? He will need some help, but they have the star they wished for.

The other story is the story that has been obvious for a week now. The Cowboys may interview everyone in the country, but the fact has been that they can’t wait to hire Norv Turner.

I don’t think this is a good idea because it is being done for all the wrong reasons.

1) He was here for the glory days.
2) He knows everyone in the Cowboys family.
3) He would appease the local media and former players.
4) He develops young QB’s.

Please allow me a thought on these topics:

He was here for the glory days.

Really? Excellent. I hope then he is bringing Troy, Emmitt, and Michael Irvin back with him in the time machine. Wasn’t Dave Campo here for the glory days, too? We are all looking to recapture the times we got something right, and there is no question the Cowboys got it right in the early 1990’s, but there are about 50 reasons the Cowboys were so great back then and Norv may be just 1 of them.

He knows everyone in the Cowboys family.

Is that supposed to be important? I am pretty sure Ron Rivera could meet everyone quickly, and learn his way around Valley Ranch.

He would appease the local media and former players..

Once again, when I hear something is being done that Galloway and Hansen want, that Aikman and Moose wants, and that everyone else who was around the team in 1992 wants it makes me wonder: Do they want him hired because he is a good coach (career record 58-82) or do they want him hired because he is their buddy? Look, it is not a shock to anyone that Troy approves of this – Norv inducted him into the Hall of Fame! I am sure Troy would love a Bill Bates hiring, too. But is this what we need?

He develops young QB’s

First, I thought that was why Jason Garrett was hired. And, besides Troy, who else is this great success story? All I know is I watched 7 years of poor QB play in Washington. Heath Shuler did not develop at all, and Gus Frerotte spared me to death, too. Sorry. I don’t buy that he is a genius. And unlike everyone else around here, I cannot understand how we can all ignore nearly 10 years as a head coach in the NFL where he managed to accomplish almost nothing!

Seriously. How can we jump all over Bill Parcells for not winning a playoff game in 4 years and then be eager to hire a head coach who is 24 games under .500 9 seasons as a head coach? He only went to the playoffs 1 time!

I just don’t buy this hire. I wish I had better feelings about this for you, but consider me less-than-ecstatic about this. Nevertheless, I bet they hire him in the next few days.


Norv interviewed yesterday

On Sunday, Turner, the Cowboys' offensive coordinator from 1991 to '93, had a lengthy interview with owner and general manager Jerry Jones and executive vice president Stephen Jones and met with outgoing coach Bill Parcells.

Turner is the seventh candidate to meet with the Joneses to be Parcells' successor, and while the team has offered no timetable on naming a coach, no other interviews are scheduled.

"To me, in this league, it's all about timing and circumstance, and the timing of this presents an opportunity," Turner said. "I've got a lot of confidence in the things I can do. I think there are a lot of people in this league that look at it in that manner. I'm confident that if this opportunity happens, it'll be a great opportunity."

Turner compiled a 58-82-1 regular-season record as a head coach in Washington (1994-2000) and Oakland (2004-05). However the Redskins have had one winning season since he was fired with three games to play, and the Raiders recently named their third coach in three seasons.

Having won two Super Bowls with the Cowboys, mentored Troy Aikman and overseen the formation of the Triplets – Aikman, Emmitt Smith and Michael Irvin – Turner has more of an 'in' with Jerry Jones than the other candidates.

Turner said the familiarity helped in the interview process.

"From a comfort level, certainly knowing what Jerry is looking for, from my standpoint now, I hope it helps," Turner said. "There is not that period of time trying to get used to someone or figure someone out. But it was very in-depth. We covered an awful lot of things in the time we were together."

One subject was Garrett, who, according to sources, would be the offensive coordinator if he is not the head coach, and the other was Terrell Owens.

"When I was hired in Oakland, I tried to hire Jason Garrett, so that tells you a little something about how I feel about Jason," Turner said. "He's coached a couple of years now, and even though he's not been coaching [long], he's been acting as a coach for a lot of years, and he's helped a lot of guys get ready to play."

Turner has experience with a controversial receiver as well, having dealt with Randy Moss in Oakland.

"I want to coach good players," Turner said. "When you get into a situation in terms of being with a new team, there's an evaluation process, and there's a lot of things that go into it. I like the players that are here, and T.O. is one of them."

Turner has the support of Aikman, whom he presented at last summer's Pro Football Hall of Fame ceremony, and he has won an NFC East title and playoff game more recently than the Cowboys. In 1999, the Redskins won the division and advanced to the divisional round of the playoffs, only to lose when a field goal snap attempt went awry (sound familiar?).

Turner said he and Parcells had a conversation about the team's personnel. Having beaten the Cowboys in 2004 while with the Raiders, Turner had some understanding of the talent in place.

"This is a great job," Turner said. "It's a good football team. I think the things that Coach Parcells has done have left this team in position where good things are going to happen for it. ... This team was a playoff team, and obviously one play away from going to the next round, so, yeah, there's good players here."

And look who will run the defense!

But he has a .411 winning percentage as a head coach in eight-plus seasons. As coach of the Redskins from 1994 through 13 games of the 2000 season, Turner went to the playoffs once and finished 1-1. Combine his time in Washington with the two seasons he spent as the Raiders coach, and Turner is 58-82-1.

"To me, in this league, it's all about timing and circumstance, and the timing of this presents an opportunity," Turner said. "I've got a lot of confidence in the things I can do. I think there are a lot of people in this league that look at it in that manner."

Turner also has experience coaching talented, but sometimes controversial, wide receivers. In Oakland, he coached Randy Moss and Jerry Porter. In Dallas, he managed Michael Irvin. That could make the possibility of coaching Terrell Owens seem less daunting.

"I want to coach good players," Turner said. "When you get into a situation in terms of being with a new team, there's an evaluation process, and there's a lot of things that go into it. I like the players that are here, and T.O. is one of them."

Another item of discussion was defense, and specifically, who will run it. On the list of names considered to be the Cowboys' next defensive coordinator is former head coach and current Jaguars assistant Dave Campo.

Gil Brandt’s fun facts …Does this guy know how to party or what?

Of the 32 teams in the NFL, 26 of them have participated in a Super Bowl, 13 in the AFC and 13 in the NFC -- another sign that the competitive balance in the NFL is very good.

Six teams have lost the final game of the regular season and still gone on to win the Super Bowl. The Bears lost their final game this season.

No team has lost three games in December and won the Super Bowl. The Colts lost three in December this season.

There are three players named Manning in this year's Super Bowl. Two play for the Bears and one for the Colts. The Bears have two Browns, two Johnsons and two Mannings on the active roster this year.

The most players ever with the same last name for one team in the Super Bowl was four in Super Bowl XXII. Denver had four Jones: Daryll, David, Leonard and Rulon.
The fewest passes attempted in a Super Bowl game was seven in Super Bowl VIII by Bob Griese. The most was by Jim Kelly, 58 in Super Bowl XXVI.

Don Shula has the most games as a head coach in the Super Bowl with six: Super Bowl III (Baltimore Colts), Super Bowl VI, Super Bowl VII, Super Bowl VIII, Super Bowl XVII and Super Bowl XIX (Miami).

Dan Reeves has been to nine Super Bowls as a player, assistant coach and head coach -- the most by a single person.

There are nine active roster players in Super Bowl XLI (five for Chicago and four for Indianapolis) who have played in a previous Super Bowl game.

Bears: Brian Griese, Brad Maynard, Fred Miller, Muhsin Muhammad and Dante Wesley
Colts: Dan Klecko, Anthony McFarland, Ricky Proehl and Adam Vinatieri

There will be 3,500 media folks at Super Bowl XLI. The population of Bears head coach Lovie Smith's hometown of Big Sandy, Texas, is 1,322.

Of the 41 Super Bowl MVPs (there were two in Super Bowl XI), 20 have been quarterbacks, seven running backs, five wide receivers, two defensive ends, two linebackers, two safeties, one cornerback, one defensive tackle and one kick returner.

Dallas has scored the most points in Super Bowl games (221). Denver has allowed the most points (206).

The Chicago Bears are one of five teams never to lose a Super Bowl game (49ers, 5-0; Ravens, 1-0; Bears, 1-0; Jets, 1-0; Buccaneers, 1-0).

Shaq the crime fighter

Miami Heat center and Miami Beach reserve Officer Shaquille O'Neal has done it again -- this time, helping police nab a hit-and-run driver early Sunday.

It was 4 a.m., and O'Neal and bodyguard Jerome Crawford had just returned from an away game in Chicago.

They were outside Crawford's Coconut Grove home unloading luggage when a car driven by Emmnueo Cibrin, 18, veered into O'Neal's parked 2007 Cadillac Escalade.

O'Neal and his bodyguard saw Cibrin leaving the scene, and leapt into the damaged sport utility vehicle to give chase. They tailed Cibrin and passenger Junior Rondon for about five minutes before catching up with the two Tampa friends near Southwest 17th Avenue and Coral Way.

Rondon, 20, said he and Cibrin had just left the Vision nightclub on Grand Avenue in Coconut Grove when they struck the open driver-side door of a black Cadillac Escalade parked in the street. Cibrin kept driving, Rondon said, but with good reason.

''He was going to stop, but then we saw the Escalade chasing us,'' Rondon told The Miami Herald on Sunday. ``We got scared and kept driving, you know?''
Cibrin could not be reached for comment.

They stopped a few minutes later, near a gas station, and Rondon said he and his friend were shocked to see the seven-foot-one O'Neal step out of the Escalade.
''I couldn't believe that,'' Rondon said. ``Of all the people. I mean, damn.''
The Heat center was stern with the young men, who came to Miami to party for the weekend, Rondon said.

''He told us to shut up,'' Rondon said. 'He said, `I don't want to talk to you right now.' ''

O'Neal flagged down a nearby police officer, Rondon said. Police ticketed Cibrin for several violations, including leaving the scene of an accident, Rondon said, adding that drunken driving was not one of the charges. The amount of damage done to the Escalade was unknown.

Police confirmed that they responded to an accident at the scene, and a spokesman said further details and the police report would be released today.

O'Neal has been sidelined much of the season while recovering from knee surgery, but that hasn't slowed his fight against crime. The 34-year-old has repeatedly used his police skills since being sworn in as a Miami Beach police reserve officer in December 2005.

In September of that year, while he was still in police training, O'Neal helped officers capture a man accused of a hate crime.

O'Neal saw someone jump out of a car and hurl a bottle toward two men walking near Third Street and Washington Avenue in Miami Beach. The man also shouted slurs against gays, police said.

O'Neal followed the suspect's car until he found an officer to flag down. Police arrested the suspect and charged him with assault.

Stars lose ….Turco bad – offense bad. Running on fumes…

The result was a 4-1 Anaheim victory Sunday that all but ended the Stars' hopes of winning the Pacific Division. The Stars (29-19-2) dropped 10 points behind Anaheim with 32 games remaining.

Tippett described the two McDonald goals as "big momentum swings."

"We come out and we're getting our feet wet in the game. Then we give up a soft one from one side," Tippett said. "We get ourselves back in the game and give up a soft one from the other side. We talk about all the time that our margin for error is very slim, and those are obvious plays that have an impact on the game."

After falling behind by two goals and being dominated in the first period, the Stars seemed poised for a turnaround.

Jere Lehtinen's pretty backhand on a penalty shot cut the margin to one 7:46 into the third period.

"Everybody was thinking that was good, that was what we needed," Lehtinen said.
Then Turco whiffed with his glove hand on a 35-foot snap shot, and the Stars were headed for their third consecutive loss to the Ducks. Turco has allowed 13 goals on 73 shots in the last three games against Anaheim. That translates into a 4.88 goals-against average and a .822 save percentage.

"You're not going to get the outcome you want unless you get better goaltending," Tippett said.

Turco was an unlikely candidate for a meltdown.

He had helped the undermanned Stars to a three-game winning streak just before the All-Star break.

Unlikely candidate for a meltdown???? Turco?

Gump Worsley, 77

Lounging at home in the off-season in 1963, Worsley got a call from a friend to tell him he had been traded to Montreal along with Leon Rochefort, Dave Balon and Len Ronson for Plante, Phil Goyette and Don Marshall.

He turned on the radio and heard it himself.

"To this day, the Rangers have never told me I was traded," Worsley told the Hall of Fame.

He went from facing 40-to-50 shots per game in New York to a team that was a perennial powerhouse, still with some of the players from the team that won five straight Stanley Cups from 1956 to 1960.

Injuries caused him to spend most of the next two seasons with the Quebec Aces, but he was called up in 1964-65 to help Montreal win four Cups in a five-year span, interrupted only by Toronto's last Stanley Cup triumph in 1966-67.

"With the trade, he got his reward by playing for a very good team," said former goaltender Ken Dryden, who joined the Canadiens in 1971.

"I played against him his last couple of seasons in Minnesota. He still wasn't wearing a mask, which was unbelievable."

Worsley was sold to the expansion North Stars for cash in 1970 and retired, but was talked into playing four more years in Minnesota.

He wore a mask only for the final six games before he retired in 1974 to his long-time home in Beloeil, Que. He then worked many years as a scout for the North Stars.
Dryden, whose No. 29 is to be retired Monday night at the Bell Centre, knew Worsley only from watching him play on TV while growing up.

"He was in that first generation of goaltenders that I watched - Hall and Sawchuk and Plante and Gump," he said.

There was a family connection, however.

Until well into the 1960s, teams carried only one goalie and, if he was hurt, the home team had a replacement on hand who would go in for either team. Dryden's brother Dave, then a junior, served that role in Toronto.

"He'd get $10 and watch the game, which I thought was just heaven," Ken Dryden said. "One game, early in the second period, Worsley got hurt and my brother had to play.

"He had to wear Gump's jersey, and they weren't exactly the same size."

Sidney Crosby loves to party

Sometimes youth and noteriety has it's downside.

Sidney Crosby learned all about this Wednesday evening while attending a private party with all of the NHL's elite.

According to Martin Leclerc of Le Journal de Montreal, Crosby tagged along with the NHL All-Stars entourage to "The Ghost", a Dallas nightclub atop the chic W hotel.

While the NHL's leading scorer was enjoying the evening in the company of other players, some "good samiritan" pointed out to the establishments owners that Crosby was only 19.

The legal drinking age in the state of Texas is 21.

Shortly after 12:30 a.m., Crosby was asked to leave the club, even though it had been booked for the purpose of a post ASG celebration, and he is seen as the biggest star amongst the gathering.

Seemingly in Texas, the law is the law.

Unperturbed, Crosby simply hit another club in downtown Dallas, where some other players had gotten together.

Yesterday, enjoying a day off, Crosby found some icetime and worked out alone, while awaiting the other Penguins players who arrived last night in time for today's game against the Dallas Stars.

Top Rated Super Bowls of all-time

Great Bears QB’s in history

Chad Hutchinson, Stanford: Claimed off a surfboard following Rex Grossman's knee injury that ended his 2004 season. Defeated the Minnesota Vikings in his first start, looking like the answer to the Bears' quarterback problems of the past. Played very average in four straight losses to end the 2004 season. Looked to start in 2005 after Grossman's last injury, but was atrocious in the preseason. Cut. Signed: 2004 Started in: 2004 Released: 2005

Adrian Wilson of the Cardinals does something impossible

Crosby scores Saturday from his seat…

Sidney Crosby’s goal I was amazed by and asked him about the other day…

Mike Legg – the guy who scored that goal first.


Brad C said...

Early blogging today. Nice.

Also, first.

...and gay.

Fake Sturm said...

"And, besides Troy, who else is this great success story?"
I would say Norv has done a pretty good job with Alex Smith thus far. Thats probably why the Niners are trying desperately to keep him on.

Drunk, 18 years old, and you run into Shaqs Escalade?? Then Shaq AND his bodyguard chase you? I wouldnt have stopped either. Does Shaq really need a bodyguard.

tut said...

Actually, what Norv does best is develop running backs. That wouldn't suck. But he could do that as a coordinator.

CFB123 said...

Take it a bit easy on Norv. He was saddled by Charley Casserly's lousy drafting in Washington and by Al Davis in Oakland. And Norv does have a proven track record when it comes to developing QBs and especially RBs over the years. While it's not the most glamourous pick in the world, Jerry could certainly do a hell of a lot worse than Norv Turner anyway, that's for sure.

Bone of Death said...

So with Jerry in charge and possibly bringing Lacewell on board, Norv can be saddled with more bad drafting.


Rick Bentley said...

Bone out? stole your bit from Ryan Seacrest (has that sentence ever been uttered before?). GAY!!!!!!!

Jay Clendenin said...

i don't get your hammering the norv pick so much based on it being a "blast from the past" kind of thing. so what if it is? it looks to me like he's the best football guy out least that is a realistic choice (unlike cowher or weisz). he did good things at san fran this year, introducing us to frank gore and helping alex smith improve. if somehow the cowboys could get charles weisz, would you be hammering the parcells connection? i say if it's a pick that makes sense for where the team is now, then it's a good option.

it seems to me that you're hammering this pick for the wrong reason. it's like you're putting words into jerry's mouth by assuming the reasons you gave are what jerry is thinking. i think it's a good pick that makes sense for romo & co.

and what's wrong with campo coordinating?

MrSimic said...

Remember back when the "bone out" guy was anonymous? Ahhh...let's revisit those times:

Jay Callicott said...

If the boys' really do "get the band back together" I will most definitely have failed smile.

I want the Cowboys to succeed, I really do but I fear we may look at the Parcell's era as the glory days here pretty soon.

What I fear more than Norv's track record is Jerry in charge again.

Parcell's has been criticized for his drafting but give me Parcells in the room on draft day over Jerry any day.

Jerry destroyed the team from within with salary cap hell, awful trades and signings (hello joey galloway, rocket ishmael anyone?) and by drafting spares year after year.

I think Chan had the most say out of the Barry/Chan/Campo eras. It certainly hit rock bottom when Dave became the definition of a puppet head coach.

I really hoped Jerry had learned his lesson and I thought maybe we had entered a new era when Jerry would go out there and sign the biggest name coach there is. Certainly this year that would be money whipping Bill Cowher into coming here--but sadly he has opted to go with his buds from the 90's.

We'll see how this thing turns out. I'll still cheer for the Cowboy's even when they draft Quincey and tell me how great Chad Hutchinson is and even while the assistant coaches are carefully stabbing each other in the back to be next in line for the #1 job after the last guy fails.

I will say that I wasn't thrilled about the game day coaching of Bill Parcells and I have to think that if anything improves next year it will be that, but we'll see.

The thing I fear the most is the guy that runs it all, JJ.

Amos Magliocco said...

I'm onboard with the Turner analysis; this strikes me as exactly the wrong move. And now the Campo/DC talk, wow. Can you imagine having brought Parcells here to revamp the roster, prepare the team for a potential run of success, only to turn the defense back to the same boob we ran off in 2002? Spagnola wants to go back to the 4-3! After we've drafted a 3-4 defense to specs composed by one of the great defensive coaches in league history. What's gotten into everybody??

Meanwhile, all the Musers in the morning can say about Wade Phillips is that they don't like the way he looks. Junior Miller doesn't find him physically attractive. This is the intellectual level of the current discussion. I only hope Jerry isn't worried about whether or not his coach is "sexy." What planet are we on??