Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Hump Day

On the day LOST returns, here is some blogging:

The Quest for the next Cowboys Coach continues….

Coaches who have interviewed or are scheduled to interview for the Cowboys' head coaching job since Bill Parcells retired on Jan 22:
• Norv Turner, 49ers' offensive coordinator
• Ron Rivera, Bears' defensive coordinator
• Jim Caldwell, Colts' assistant head coach/QB coach
• Jason Garrett, Dolphins' QB coach*
• Mike Singletary, 49ers' assistant head coach
• Wade Phillips, Chargers' defensive coordinator
• Gary Gibbs, Saints' defensive coordinator
• Todd Bowles, Cowboys' secondary coach
• Todd Haley, Cowboys' receivers coach
• Tony Sparano, Cowboys' assistant head coach/offensive line

And John Clayton says:

Phillips in Cowboys mix: Don't count out Wade Phillips for the Cowboys job. Jerry Jones' decision comes down to this: If he wants an offensive coach, he'll hire Norv Turner and make Ron Rivera the defensive coordinator. If he wants a defensive coach for the 3-4, he will hire Phillips. Phillips is a master of the 3-4 defense, and that's what Jones thinks is important. As of Tuesday, Phillips felt pretty good about his chances. Turner met with Jones over the weekend informally but wasn't offered the job. Jones will interview Jim Caldwell of the Colts on Wednesday. Rivera of the Bears was interviewed on Tuesday. It's not out of the question for Phillips to get the job.

I might have already said this myself, so you can bet I agree with Cowlishaw’s assessment of the media’s love of Norv

It's not like I think Turner is a terrible choice. Given the limited field of candidates and the priority that has to be placed on developing Tony Romo (and doing more than just hammering him about not making mistakes), Turner may be the best Jones can do.

But it's comical to see some of the fawning longtime members of the media are doing over Turner as if this is the offensive version of Bill Belichick coming to town.

The fact that Turner is a good guy and a familiar face and he returns phone calls has nothing to do with what kind of direction he might bring to a franchise that still needs plenty.

We know he was a successful coordinator here. We know how much credit Troy Aikman gives him for his development.

Pardon me for just a moment while I make a guess that a lot of coordinators would have made out all right with Aikman, Emmitt Smith, Michael Irvin, Jay Novacek, Daryl Johnston and four linemen who ended up in Pro Bowls.

Maybe even 500 coordinators.

Snickers bows to the man

A commercial for Snickers candy bars launched in the Super Bowl broadcast was benched after its maker got complaints that it was homophobic.

The ad showed two auto mechanics accidentally kissing while eating the same candy bar and then ripping out some chest hair to do something "manly." One of the alternate endings on the Snickers Web site showed the men attacking each other.

The Human Rights Campaign and the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation complained to the maker of Snickers, Hackettstown-based Masterfoods USA, a division of Mars Inc., which also makes M&M's and other candies.

The Web site also featured video of players from the Super Bowl teams reacting to the kiss.

"This type of jeering from professional sports figures at the sight of two men kissing fuels the kind of anti-gay bullying that haunts countless gay and lesbian school children on playgrounds all across the country," Human Rights Campaign president Joe Solmonese said in a statement.

The NBA is WAAAAAAAY ahead of the NFL in race relations

The historical significance of Colts coach Tony Dungy becoming the first African-American coach to win a Super Bowl wasn't lost on Mavericks coach Avery Johnson.
"I think it's awesome," Johnson said after Tuesday's practice. "I hope people understand what a great coach he is who happens to be black. But at the same time, having the first African-American win the championship is very significant because he's a man of strong character. He has a certain way of doing business that a lot of people can't really do."

While a lot of fuss was made about Dungy and the Bears' Lovie Smith becoming the first African-American coaches to coach in the Super Bowl, Johnson said his profession is ahead of the curve.

In 1975, there was hardly a peep when two African-American coaches -- Washington's K.C. Jones and Golden State's Al Attles -- met in the NBA Finals. Bill Russell won an NBA title as a player-coach for the Boston Celtics in 1968.

"We still have a ways to go, but you've got to give the NBA some credit," said Johnson, one of 11 African-American coaches in the 30-team league. "They've really been in the forefront of really having a level playing field for all people."
Johnson acknowledged how few people realized how diverse the NBA was in terms of hiring coaches of color until Dungy and Smith gained national attention for their feat. Johnson also praised Mavs owner Mark Cuban, who turned over a championship-caliber team to a coach who had no head-coaching experience.

Johnson also applauded the fact that, unlike the NFL, the NBA doesn't need a "Rooney Rule," which in the NFL requires that an African-American coach be given an opportunity to simply interview for head coaching jobs. In the NBA, black coaches believe when they interview, they have as much of a chance anybody of landing a job.

The Mavericks actually play again tonight …Project for my readers: Can anyone figure out the last time the Dallas Mavericks had a 7 game lead over San Antonion in a season? Has it ever happened? Get back to me.

The Dallas Mavericks look to match the longest home winning streak in franchise history when they face the Memphis Grizzlies for the second time in eight days on Wednesday.

The Mavericks (39-9), who have won four straight games overall including a 95-94 win over the Grizzlies on Jan. 31, have won 25 of their last 27 games and remain the only team in the NBA with fewer than 10 losses.

Dallas, which has winning streaks of 13 and eight games during the current stretch, plays teams with losing records in three of its next four games.

The Mavericks have won 15 in a row at American Airlines Arena, one short of the team record set from Jan. 3-March 3 last season. Dallas opened the season 0-2 at home but has lost just once there since, and its 22-3 home record is tops in the league.

Dallas also can extend its domination of Memphis. The Mavericks have won 10 straight meetings with the Grizzlies - three of them this season - including a four-game sweep in the first round of last season's playoffs. Dallas is 43-7 all-time, including postseason, against the Grizzlies franchise.

The Stars get a very nice win despite another goaltending meltdown

The analogy dangled right there in front of us after the Stars' come-from-behind 4-2 victory over Minnesota at the AAC on Tuesday night.

In Tippett's sport, you can't win without a goalie.

Or sometimes, as the Stars had just proved, you win despite the goalie.

Like an impatient manager seeing his starting pitcher get lit up in the first inning, Tippett yanked starting goaltender Marty Turco less than halfway through the first period with the Stars already trailing 2-0.

"We needed a momentum change," Tippett said tersely.

It was the perfect antidote -- or anti-Turco -- at the perfect time. Mike Smith, making his first appearance since sustaining a concussion in early January, pitched a shutout over the final 2 1/2 periods, and the Stars found some of that toughness and grit that was infused into this team during the off-season.

The game was the opening of a stretch in which the Stars play seven of eight at home over 20 days, and it would be nice to know that the starting goalie has his head screwed on tight for a change. Instead, Turco looked out of focus against Minnesota.
The Stars would have been down 3-0 if Patrick Stefan hadn't flicked a puck off the lip of the goal line after it had dribbled through Turco's legs. The first goal against him was a deflection, but the second one would have been wide of the net if Turco hadn't reached out for it. It hit the knob of his stick and caromed into the net.

At that point, Tippett had seen all he needed to see.

"That's just one of those things where you're looking to change the momentum," he said. "Sometimes [a goalie change] refocuses the team."

In Weekly Buccigross, John looks at a few tweaks to the NHL he would make

I would start the season Thanksgiving weekend and play 10 fewer games. At that point, some NFL teams are out of the playoff race. There is a reason NHL attendance goes up in January. Having half the NHL season coincide with the NFL is a losing proposition in the States, and a September training camp is too early even for Canada, too. I would play preseason games in October and November and have the All-Star Game kick off the season. Players need a rest in the middle of the season.
The All-Star teams would be based on the previous season, because who cares about fan voting? I'm a huge all-around sports fan, but All-Star voting means zero to me.
The NFL doesn't have exclusive fan voting and it's the planet's most successful sports league. An "Opening Day" preseason All-Star Game would get people's attention and you wouldn't have to interrupt the season later on. Maybe the All-Star Game could be on a Sunday before the NBC Sunday-night NFL game. Make it a doubleheader. It would get heavily promoted and help both the NHL and NBC. Or have it on a Saturday night. After watching the effort in the YoungStars Game last month in Dallas, I would tweak the format and add that the losing team will be eaten by lions.

His final line is perfect…

Meanwhile, in England, everyone wants to know who Tom Hicks is. So, this soccer writer tells the story

How Hicks became the bearer of bad signings

Tom Hicks may be keen to buy great players for the Reds, but if history repeats itself his deals could be disastrous.

Dave Hannigan

February 7, 2007 12:10 AM

Facing the English media yesterday, George Gillett Jr and Tom Hicks certainly made all the right noises, talking about Liverpool's history and announcing that Rick Parry would continue to run the business. It may have convinced the red half of Merseyside that the American duo realise they have bought something worth far more than dollars and cents, but the denizens of the Kop should note that, whereas Gillett has earned a reputation in Montreal for not interfering with the on-ice affairs of the Canadiens, Hicks's hands-on involvement in the worst trade in modern baseball led one American newspaper to dub him "Tom Dumb".

His promise yesterday to make funds available if a great player was on the market should make Liverpool fans sit up. In the winter of 2000 he lured Alex Rodriguez, the best player in baseball, to the Texas Rangers with a 10-year, $252m (£128m) contract. The largest in the history of the sport and slightly more than he had paid to buy the entire club from a group fronted by his close friend George W Bush three years earlier, the deal had several problems. No one else had been willing to pay within $100m of that sum for A-Rod's services, so Hicks ended up spectacularly outbidding himself. Worse still, in emptying the coffers for the 25-year-old short-stop he neglected to budget for the wages of the 24 other players who make up a squad.

"I like to win. I like to build things, whether it's a $2bn corporate acquisition or a chance to win the World Series," Hicks said back then. "This is a chance for our team to win a World Series and leapfrog into an area where we've never been before."
From day one the signing was doomed. With no funds available for quality pitchers, the bedrock of every good side, the Rangers at one point had the seventh-highest payroll and one of the worst teams. "Hopefully, when it's over," said Rodriguez at the time, "they won't be calling Mr Hicks a fool but the wisest man in baseball. Only time will tell. I plan to pay him back and win him a few championships."

Time eventually told. By the end of the 2003 campaign everybody realised that Texas badly needed to trade Rodriguez in order to build a more balanced line-up and become competitive again. Even that process was fraught. After a long-drawn-out negotiation with the Boston Red Sox which came to nothing, Hicks appointed Rodriguez club captain and told fans his star player would see out the full decade of his contract. "A side benefit of Alex now being the official leader of our team is that our fans are now confident that Alex is going to be here," said the owner. "If we don't win, the fans are going to be mad. But we're going to win."

A couple of weeks after delivering that guarantee he traded Rodriguez to the New York Yankees in embarrassing circumstances, paying the richest club in baseball to take the player off his hands. Having blamed the Rangers owner for inflating all baseball salaries with the original deal - the highest-paid player before Hicks picked up A-Rod in December 2000 was on $17.5m a year - many in the sport sniggered at the terms of the deal. With $179m still owed to Rodriguez, Hicks paid him $67m to persuade him to leave, allowing the Yankees to sign him on a bargain $16m a year. Added to the money he had already earned in Arlington, Rodriguez had had $140m from Hicks for three futile seasons - not the best entry on the owner's CV.

An interview with Bob Sturm???

Lost is back tonight! …Go get em, Jack.

Emmitt is to blame for all the dancing craze

Jay Pintor was convinced that dancing “didn’t look manly.” Not even five years of cajoling from his wife, Nicole, could coax him onto the dance floor.

But it took only three months for football great Emmitt Smith to change Pintor’s perspective.

Smith, the NFL’s career rushing leader, was half of the winning couple on the third season of ABC’s “Dancing With the Stars.” Dance instructors across the country say Smith’s victory in November has redefined the boundaries of “coolness” and inspired legions of reluctant men who otherwise considered dancing beneath their dignity.

“I definitely wasn’t into it,” said Pintor, 40, a landscaper who attended a recent “Dancing With the Stars” performance with his wife at the Bradley Center in Milwaukee. “But then you see this big football player doing it — I mean, you don’t get much manlier than Emmitt. I just don’t feel as awkward anymore.”

Now Pintor practices waltz moves in his living room with his self-taught wife, a change of heart that dancers say is playing out across the nation.

There are no official statistics on dance-studio enrollments. But instructors say they’ve seen a surprising increase in the number of formerly hesitant men who say Smith is the reason they’re giving ballroom dancing a whirl.

Bill Cowher on the beach

Check out this goal! – Should have a 3 point line in Hockey


JY said...


DrewJ said...

Emmitt was on how I met your mother on Monday night. Funny.

Buck's a critic said...

Emmitt was how I met your mother on Monday night. Rock me.

cracker1743 said...

Nice interview, Bob. But I had no idea the hatred runs so deep in the Shenandoah Valley. When I attended UVa, I used to go to Lynchburg Red Sox games. I guess I was lucky I didn't get caught up in a Baptist drive-by.

Fake Sturm said...

5 dollars to be sturminated??

In unrelated news, VY makes the a rookie. Still awaiting comment from Bucks Critic and others on how he keeps winning awards in spite of his own play.

Hudson's Dad said...

Great interview sturm! Any body got a link to Diane Johnston pic? If he says she's the hottest wife in Dallas, i'd like to see.

BACM said...

RE: VY makes pro bowl.

It should read:

Vince Young ##-OVERRATED
Fake Sturm ###-Complete Powerdown

Have a nice day.

Brandon said...

Can we call Bob Knight a spare coach, now?

Brandon said...

Closest in recent history...

1997 season after Game 53:

DAL 19-34
SA 13-40

I'll keep working on it at

Brandon said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Brandon said...

During the 2002-03 season...

Dallas had a 38-9 record.
San Antonio had a 31-16 record.

Last time Dallas had a 7 game lead over the Spurs.

cracker1743 said...

No work today, huh Brandon? Thanks for the research.

Yesterday I was so unproductive as to try to figure out when it was the Cincinnati Reds lost their traditional right to host the first game on Opening Day. I had assumed the loss of this tradition was one of Selig's many crimes against humanity, but it appears it happened two years before Bud rose to his evil throne of power in 1992. In case anyone cares, most people blame ESPN, which they say pushed MLB to open the season with games that would give their Opening Day broadcasts higher ratings. Taking things to their logical conclusion, Bud Selig will ensure that the entire 2008 season consists of 162 games between the Yankees and Red Sox.

Rick Bentley said...

Glad it's not Norv. Not that I don't like those 2 Super Bowls he helped to win, but I just don't think he's who needed to be hired. Now maybe Phillips can convince Roy to be a linebacker and get a real safety.

Buck's a critic said...

well, you know, only the absolute best at each position make the pro bowl.