Showing posts with label Big Events. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Big Events. Show all posts

Monday, March 01, 2010

Canada 3, USA 2 - Gold Medal Game

To suggest I have a number of varying opinions about the hockey genius we witnessed yesterday and for the last 2 weeks would be an understatement. I feel that I should blog today from a number of varying perspectives, so please find the one that matters most to you and read on:

From the perspective of the USA hockey fan who felt a punch to the stomach a few moments before 5:00 pm yesterday when Sidney Crosby stole the show:

This one really hurts. I must tell you though, this team also exceeded my expectations and renewed so much hope in the state of American hockey in the post- Modano, Hull, Guerin, Richter, Roenick, Tkachuk, Leetch, Chelios-era. Many fans, like me, did not want to cut the ties with the old legends of American hockey, and were a bit uncomfortable with not bringing along a few gray-beards for the sake of nostaligia and leadership. But kudos to Brian Burke and company for having a vision and darn near riding that vision all the way to a gold medal. They believed in the next wave of young and talented studs - who grew up inspired by the old guard - and those young players demonstrated a fight and grit and spirit that gave us plenty of hope moving forward.

I really am proud that our country can produce players like Patrick Kane, Ryan Miller, and Zach Parise to carry on the torch. The gap still exists, as our American team may not have had more than those 3 make Team Canada, but we obviously can skate with them, and on our best day we can beat them.

I was also quite excited about the job that Jamie Langenbrunner did as captain. It is hard to consider him an old man, but in a young man's game, he did very well in making sure that if the USA was going to drop a hockey game in these Olympics, it would only be at the climax of one of the greatest games ever played.

From a US perspective, I will never forget jumping around my living room with sheer joy when Parise scored to tie the game, nor will I forget standing there motionless when Canada celebrated. It is certainly different living and dying with a team you didn't really know or understand 2 weeks ago, but it doesn't take long to embrace a team who wears your flag.

In my lifetime, I look forward to my countrymen winning Olympic Gold when all of the best are playing. I doubt we will ever see the day when we are favored, but surely we know now that we can compete 20 on 20 with Canada's finest. For a while yesterday, I started thinking it was destiny, and that it would happen in 2010. But, I must say, they played so well and courageously that I don't leave these games feeling like an American player let us down. I think they squeezed everything they had out, and fell one puck short.

Proud of USA Hockey. Thanks for the ride, boys.

From the Perspective of a fan of Hockey who bangs the drum for this sport even when it annoys and frustrates me:

I think we now fully understand why this show is worthwhile. The NHL players who must work this into their sometimes-100 games + season to promote the sport are certainly pressed for time, but this is worth it. Hockey may be the only sport of the big 4 that can have a tournament where the teams are this close and as many as 6 teams have a chance at the Gold Medal according to experts (Canada, Russia, Sweden were the 3 favorites - with the USA, Finland, and Czech Republic also in the mix). Basketball isn't far off, but the advantage the US has in hoops is far greater than the advantage Canada has on the ice. Of the first team NHL last year, 0 members of Team Canada made the list.

But, this is what happens when when the best show up and play with the passion to be the best. There is a clear difference between skating hard and skating hard with a gold medal on the line. The level of play was awesome. It was Stanley Cup Finals intensity, with 300% more talent on the ice than in any Stanley Cup Finals. The teams are loaded - uneffected with over-expansion - and playing like they mean it.

And obviously, this is key, because the world was watching. Or, at least North America was watching. I have never seen so many people talking hockey as I saw yesterday. On Twitter, people from every walk of life were trying to figure out what they were looking at as they gave hockey a chance for the first time in years.

I have no delusions that those same people are now signing up for NHL Center Ice and gathering around for the stretch drive of the NHL Season or reading up on who might be moved by the Wednesday trade deadline, but it is nice for them to see what it is that obsesses us.

This sport, at its best, takes second place to nobody. The intensity generated by a game of that magnitude and the nerves that accompany it cannot be duplicated. I love hockey for moments like yesterday. I sit through 1,000 games waiting for yesterday. And it is a pleasure.

As I said yesterday on twitter, "This. Is. Hockey. - Welcome"

From the Perspective of Dallas Stars and Brenden Morrow fan:

There he is, our captain, looking like he hasn't looked since the 2008 NHL Playoffs. Playing like an enraged William Wallace.

Featured in Sunday's Vancouver Sun by Iain MacIntyre: Here

Salt of the earth person, salt of the earth player, Morrow embodies nearly all the characteristics Canadians so admire in hockey players: bravery, unselfishness, resilience, toughness, honesty. That skill set made him important to Team Canada. Then he started scoring goals.

Morrow deflected in Chris Pronger's wrist shot for one goal Friday and screened goalie Jaroslav Halak on another as Canada hung on to beat Slovakia 3-2 to advance to the gold-medal game Sunday against the United States on the final day of the Vancouver Olympics.

"I was pleased with four or five minutes -just being part of the team, grinding it out, blocking shots, battling low," Morrow said. "This is icing on top to be able to contribute like this and score an Olympic goal. It's a pretty big thrill and I want to just keep riding it out."

At age 31, Morrow wasn't any-one's favourite to even make Team Canada, but is having the tournament of his life at his first Olympics.

From tiny Carlyle, a hamlet in the grain belt of southeastern Saskatchewan, Morrow had played internationally for Canada in five previous tournaments. And in 27 games over four world championships and one World Cup, the Dallas Stars' winger had scored zero goals, which says as much about the traits he possesses and the one he does not.

But on the grandest Canadian hockey stage since the 1972 Summit Series, Morrow is on a scoring binge. He jammed a puck in against Russia during Canada's 7-3 win in Wednesday's quarter-finals.

"They've both been pretty ugly, but that's how mine seem to go in, so I'll take them anyway I can get them," Morrow said. "It's more of a sprint than a marathon [at the Olympics]. Guys you battle against throughout the season -probably some guys you don't really care much for -but you come here and put that all aside and you have one common goal. We're a tight group now. We're willing to pay a price for each other and do everything we can for that gold."

Morrow said he has been thinking about that since Team Canada held its orientation camp in August.

Yet, there was no guarantee Morrow would actually be named in December to the Olympic roster.

He is a size-medium grinder on a team full of XL offensive gazelles.

And if there were a leaderboard for second-guessed selections, Morrow would have been the clubhouse leader coming to Vancouver.

After a mid-career outburst that saw Morrow score nearly a point per game for more than a year, his 2008-09 season ended with a torn ACL ligament 15 months ago. The injury must have extended internally to his hands, because when Morrow came back this season his scoring touch had hardened.

He had 33 points in 56 games before the Olympics. Even as a role player, someone who would provide some sandpaper and menace on the fourth line, Morrow could have been bypassed in favour of Shane Doan or Ryan Smyth or Alex Burrows.

It seemed even Team Canada's staff may have been wondering about their choice when the tournament opened as Morrow was one of four players "pooled" on the fourth line. But he played his way up almost immediately.

He is on a line with NHL rivals Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry, nasty players who are probably among that group Morrow ordinarily doesn't care much for, and the unit's presence has been felt most shifts.

"In years past, it's kind of been the same thing: get on the team, grind it out and earn everything I get," Morrow said. "That's been the case here, too. The work comes first. I think anyone who comes here, you wouldn't be here if you didn't want a bigger [role]. Our line has battled hard. We've been strong on pucks down low. That's been the key to our line's success: our strength on pucks. I think we've gained a little bit of trust from the coach and we're getting rewarded for it."

It feels extremely wierd pulling for a team where Brenden was on the other side. I have loved watching him grow up and reaching many of his dreams. I have also loved that he has been honest as a man when it comes to saying what matters most to him. And at or near the very top of the list is winning a gold medal while representing his country.

So, to see him skating around hitting everyone in his way, digging the puck out, and going to the net let me know that he is still that guy. His knee is better, and he is back and ready to wreck what is in his way.

This should make the Stars very excited about the stretch drive. He is newly determined and finally back to 100%. Now, with a gold medal, I wonder if he is ready to get back to the work at hand - getting the Stars to the next level, too.

I was stunned and disappointed to see Sidney Crosby score with a goal that personified "sudden death". I wasn't even close to happy about how my country came up an inch or two short. But, I must admit that seeing Brenden Morrow so happy gave me a small level of consolation.

Someday, if he is skating a Cup in Dallas, I imagine I will feel even better about seeing him celebrate.

What a tournament. What a sport.

And now, we return you to your regularly scheduled NHL season....

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

To Trade, or Not To Trade

ESPN Coast to Coast last night had a report that the Mavericks turned down a deal yesterday that initially sounds worth-while. They were offered Baron Davis and Chris Kaman for Jason Kidd.

They said no.

I think they made the right call.

Davis, will be 30 in April, is a fabulous player, but has and will always be in a battle with his knees. He is signed for 4 more seasons, and although he might be the Alpha-Male this team so desires – if he isn’t healthy, then he is an anchor on your spreadsheet.

Meanwhile, Kaman is a nice piece, and he is soon to be 27. But, again, is he the difference maker? Is he going to carry you with Dirk to the promised land? I don’t see it.

I like Baron a lot. I think Kaman is useful. And, I think the Kidd era has been failed, but I think you want to keep your powder dry. I think in these trying economic times, there will be a lot of offers like this, and you have to wait for that one that will put you over the top. I just can’t believe in Baron’s health. So, like the Mavericks, I pass.

It is a good deal, but it isn’t good enough for me to take myself out of all other deals AND the summer of 2010. If you take yourself out of 2010, then you better get a franchise making deal. This is not it.

B Davis11.25m12.15m13.05m13.95m14.85m
C Kaman9.5m10.4m11.3m12.2mOff
J Kidd21.3mOffOffOffOff

Table Tutorial

The latest from Mark Cuban in player evaluation

To the Cowboys, and I am ready to give in. Everybody on the national scene is saying it. And now Michael Lombardi is, too

Now, for the real news out of Dallas regarding Terrell Owens. Peter King wrote this yesterday in his Monday Morning QB, and I believe he is dead-on accurate. When, not if, is the real question everyone is asking about T.O. He will not be back, but the team is still deciding when to make the announcement of his termination or trade.
Maybe Jones can work a trade out to send Owens to the Raiders since they have a huge need at wideout and have never been afraid to take on a big challenge. This will be interesting to follow as it develops.

From a Raiders Chat

I read today that several national journalists feel that T.O. will be out of Dallas and Oakland would be a good spot, perhaps only costing a 3rd round pick. Do you see this as a possibility?

Steve Corkran: Of course it's a possibility. Terrell Owens has Raider written all over him, and Al Davis is the kind of owner who would allow Owens to be the person he is as long as he produces in games.

We shall see, but there is too much smoke here for there to be no fire. Owens is gone. I think.


I am right in the middle of a life-long project that I occasionally admit to on the air. It is basically living in my past and researching and preserving the icons of my youth that made me the sports nerd that I am today.

This involves a number of things, including trying to convert many of my favorite video tapes from my teenage years (when I first had a VCR) to DVD. The idea is that this will preserve them for another few decades, and then I will convert them again to the next technology.

But, part of this process is soaking in sports as it was in the mid to late 1980’s. Back then, I was obsessed with basketball and the Packers. Basketball, because I was pretty sure at the age of 15, that I would be on my way to a life of playing professional basketball. I think if you watch this, you will agree .

Anyway, last night I was converting Game 4 of the 1987 NBA Finals to DVD.

What a game. Lakers vs. Celtics in the Boston Garden. Celtics with a huge lead (up 16 in the 3rd; up 8 with 2:30 to play) and the Lakers come all the way back to win with a Magic hook shot with :02 left.

A true classic

Game 4, NBA Finals, Boston Garden, June 9, 1987. The Lakers and Celtics are wrapped up in one of their epic encounters. Boston Garden is a madhouse, a deafening roar rolling down from the rafters as Larry Bird drills a heart-stopping three-point shot from the left corner with 12 seconds left, giving the Celtics a 106-104 edge, and moving the series closer to a 2-2 deadlock.

The seconds tick away as the Lakers, who have rallied from eight points down in the last 3½ minutes, move the ball inside to Abdul-Jabbar, who's fouled. He makes his first free throw, cutting the deficit to 106-105, but misses the second. Boston forward Kevin McHale seizes the rebound as the crowd goes berserk, sensing that the game is over. But somehow, McHale fumbles the ball out of bounds, enabling Los Angeles to retain possession with seven seconds left.

The Garden crowd is stunned. McHale later claims he was pushed by the Lakers' Mychal Thompson, prompting him to lose control of the ball. No matter. The Lakers' Michael Cooper looks to inbound the ball, the Celtics up by a point.

Johnson sets a pick for James Worthy and quickly pops out of the corner. Cooper passes in to Johnson, who turns and expects to see the eyeballs of Celtics guard Dennis Johnson. Instead, Magic is face to face with the long-armed, 6-foot-11 McHale, who was caught in a switch when Magic set the pick.

The clock is down to three seconds as Magic dribbles toward the middle of the lane, about 12 feet from the basket. The moment is his. He is not looking for Abdul-Jabber or Worthy or Cooper. "I wanted the ball in my hands," he would say later. "Guys like me and Larry Bird want the ball in our hands for the last shot. That's what we thrive on."

Johnson is about to take a jumper, then, as the eyes of the world glare in at him, he goes to the middle. Then, to the amazement of everyone in the Garden, including his own teammates, Johnson steals a page from Abdul-Jabbar's book and takes a graceful, sweeping, arching sky hook, a shot he would later refer to, laughingly, as "my junior, junior sky hook," the little brother of Abdul-Jabbar's famous sky hook, that unblockable shot that defined his career.

The ball passes over McHale's outstretched fingernails, by the distance of strand of hair, and floats toward the basket. With two seconds on the clock, the ball swishes through the net. There is total disbelief in the arena. "I started to take the jumper and when a big guy comes out at you, like Kevin did, I knew my best chance was to drive on him," Magic would say later. "I needed one step to get the shot off, and that's what I got."

Magic had gone to Kareem during the season to ask for pointers on shooting a hook shot. He always wanted to learn something new to keep his opponents off-balance. To keep them guessing. He asked Abdul-Jabbar about the mechanics of the shot. He didn't understand how to turn his body correctly on the shot. But he practiced it continuously, often by himself.

Magic's hook gives L.A. a 107-106 lead with two ticks left on the clock. Boston calls timeout to set up a final shot. Dennis Johnson inbounds the ball to Bird, who beats Worthy on the dribble and launches a three-point shot from the left corner. It bounces long off the opposite rim, and a hush descends upon New England. Final score: Lakers 107, Celtics 106. Los Angeles leads the series, 3-1.

"You expect to lose on a skyhook," Bird would say later, managing a slight grin. "You just don't expect it to be Magic."

Then I did a full Sports Illustrated search for some bed time reading, and found this very interesting David Halberstam piece about the role of race in the 1987 NBA Finals

Because the styles and the racial composition of each team were so strikingly different, race was very much at issue during the series (and indeed was covertly at issue even when it was not overtly so). It was always there, as race is always there in American life, even when it seemingly is not.

One enters the subject of race and basketball as one enters a minefield: American blacks are clearly faster than American whites; in addition, they are now generally perceived as better natural athletes; and Los Angeles is a significantly blacker team than Boston. The first seven Los Angeles players are black; Boston, which was the first integrated team and the first team to start five blacks, has been for almost a decade one of the whitest teams in the league, and it starts three whites and often plays four at a time.

Even before the finals started, Dennis Rodman and Isiah Thomas of the Pistons had raised the question of race, both suggesting that Larry Bird was overrated and had become a superstar not so much because of the excellence of his game as because he was white and because white fans and media seized on and magnified his value. At the same time, The Boston Globe ran a story quoting some local black youths at a playground saying they favored the Lakers because the Celtics were so white. That story reverberated throughout the paper for the next few days.

Racism is about stereotypes on both sides, and like most stereotypes, racial ones can be both true and untrue. One can imagine, for example, the young and still healthy Walton as an ideal center for the current Laker team. Comparably, one can easily imagine the mid-career Abdul-Jabbar playing for the Celtics and fitting in perfectly well with their style. Yet, as the current Laker offense springs from Magic, so the current Celtic team is an extension of Bird. The Boston offense is built around a forward with great vision and great hands who moves well without the ball and who will, against an exceptional defense, come off a series of picks, ready to shoot or pass. It is critical on this team that everyone be able to shoot well from within a specified range. This is, for better or worse, defined as white basketball. That Bird would be an equally wonderful forward on the current Laker team does not change the stereotype (in part because Johnson would have difficulty on the Celtics as currently constituted; he would probably be too fast for them, and it is possible that an adjustment in his game might cost him what is best in his game).

Anyway, that is how I spent part of my Tuesday night. Yes, I party.

And then there is this disturbing story about Robbie Alomar’s post baseball career

Baseball great Roberto Alomar has full-blown AIDS but insisted on having unprotected sex, his ex-girlfriend charged Tuesday in a bombshell lawsuit.

The shocking claim was leveled by Ilya Dall, 31, who said she lived with the ex-Met for three years and watched in horror as his health worsened.

In papers filed in state and federal court, Dall said Alomar finally got tested in January 2006 while suffering from a cough, fatigue and shingles.

"The test results of him being HIV-positive was given to him and the plaintiff on or about Feb.6, 2006," the $15 million negligence suit says.

Nine days later, the couple went to see a disease specialist who discovered a mass in the retired second baseman's chest, the court papers say.

Alomar's skin had turned purple, he was foaming at the mouth and a spinal tap "showed he had full-blown AIDS," the suit says.

Alomar, 41, who quit baseball over health issues in 2005, could not be reached for comment.

His lawyer, Charles Bach, would not say whether Alomar is HIV-positive. "We believe this is a totally frivolous lawsuit. These allegations are baseless," Bach said. "He's healthy and would like to keep his health status private. We'll do our talking in court."

Alomar's father, Mets bench coach Sandy Alomar, said the claims were news to him. "That's the first time we ever heard of that," he said from Puerto Rico.

Baron Davis Mix Tape

Sports make me smile

Monday, February 02, 2009

Super Bowl XLIII: Steelers 27, Cardinals 23

If you are new to the planet, I should inform you that once upon a time, these Super Bowls were not very good. I know in the last 10 years, you could certainly make the case that 6 of the 10 have been very good games, but it wasn’t always like that.

But, last night, I am tempted to say, was awesome. Yes, I may be guilty of giving a movie a great review based on the last 30 minutes, but, the drama and intrigue of the 4th Quarter was flat-out spectacular even if the game was on a Sunday afternoon in October. But for it to be with the world-wide audience of a Super Bowl? Bravo, football world, bravo.

The Pittsburgh Steelers closed the deal on their record-sixth Super Bowl, and thus have the claim in some circles as the dominant team in the Super Bowl era. The idea that they have won 2 Super Bowls in 4 years also puts them dangerously close to qualifying for a dynasty if they can win one more in the next 2 years. It is hard to conceive that this Steelers team is a dominant force, because parts of their team don’t seem very dominating (the offensive line seems about as average as it gets), but let us give great credit where credit is due: They win. They win a lot. And they win in many different ways.

The Arizona Cardinals, on the other hand, must do what the Dallas Mavericks did a few years ago. That is, in defeat, wonder if that was “their chance”. Wonder if leading a Super Bowl with 40 seconds to go was the closest they would ever come to winning it all, and now have to wander the earth feeling like they blew it. You feel badly, because they fought their tails off, but only one team gets the trophy.

It was 4 hours of football immortality… it was worth the hype…It was the Super Bowl. Notes from a big night in Tampa:

• Why can’t the officials, who go to such painstaking lengths to review every piece of minutia, just look again at the Cardinals last-gasp effort that was ruled a fumble? Why am I left to hear Al Michaels assure me that “they looked at it and ruled it properly” when it was clear they did not have time to do this? It seemed very much like the Brett Hull goal in Buffalo; it may have been the right result, but would it kill anyone to take 60 seconds and make sure the right team is being crowned? Before you can consider the replay, the Steelers have taken a knee and the game is over.

• Santonio Holmes has broken out this season in a huge way. For the last 2 months, when the Steelers needed something clutch to happen, Holmes has been there nearly every time. And, for all of the catches and punt returns before Sunday, the former Buckeye’s domination in that game – especially late – was the stuff of absolute legend. He is the sixth WR to win the MVP trophy, with 3 being Steelers (Swann, Ward) and 3 being the rest of the league (Biletnikoff, Rice, Branch). Holmes was so great on the final drive, and to make the story book even better, the play before the play was in the opposite corner and went through his out-stretched hands. He got another chance in the other corner, and what a catch he made.

• Meanwhile, Larry Fitzgerald would certainly win the Conn Smythe award if football gave a “playoff mvp” instead of a Super Bowl MVP. The last month has taken the discussion out of the “who is the best WR in football” debate. There is no debate. #11 in red is at a different level, and he is not very old, either. Tell me, Steelers, what were you thinking on his 64 yard catch? What were the safeties thinking? Ryan Clark and Troy Polamalu both bit on the sideline patterns from Breaston and Boldin, leaving the middle of the field completely bare. Unless this was a genius tactic to get the ball back, the Steelers really lost the plot there. If there is one guy who cannot be allowed to beat you down the middle of the field, it is Fitz. In the postgame, Holmes said “that we knew the defense would get us the ball back”. Yes, Santonio, technically allowing a 2 play drive that took only 16 seconds is getting the ball back, but that isn’t what they had in mind.

• The James Harrison interception return is likely the difference in the game. A 14 point swing in one snap is surely as gutting as it gets to the Cardinals efforts. This broke the record of the Desmond Howard kickoff return in Super Bowl XXXI. Harrison is such a great story and if it wasn’t for his absurd personal foul late in the game, he would be another guy who could have claimed a share of the MVP. Harrison is a stud. But, last night, you would have to argue whether his personal foul or Adrian Wilson’s personal foul qualifies as the worst play by an excellent player.

• Ben Roethlisberger played a fine game, in my estimation. He certainly came out sharp, and to lead his team on that final drive solidified his effort. You do wonder why the Cardinals called off the pass rush on the final drive, but regardless, the Steelers marched down the field in a situation where one mistake and they finish 2nd. Big Ben reminds me so much of Donovan McNabb, with those plays of sheer chaos that turn into something big. With 2 rings, he has already “made it”, and now we will see if he can achieve even more ahead. Keep in mind, he was the 3rd QB in the Eli Manning, Phil Rivers conversation in the 2004 draft.

• A few readers have raised good points. DRice suggested that the play at the end of the half may not have been quite as controversial if you consider that the half could not end on a defensive foul. Therefore, if it is called as it would seem to be written, the Steelers would have had another shot at things from the 3 inch line. I think that may be possible, but because no one has raised the point, I am wondering if the penalty was applicable. Then, there were several readers that wondered why Santonio was not penalized for his Lebron/hand powder celebration that used the football as a prop. The penalty would surely have caused the Steelers to kick from their 15 yard line, and really given the Cardinals a short field.

• I love the concept of the inverted cover 2. If you suggest that a safety is stronger than a corner, and a corner is faster than a safety, would it not stand to reason that the safety should be at the line for the jam, and the corner over the top for the footrace? Why hasn’t anyone thought of it until now? It only makes sense on a trouble double-cover, but if you have decided that you are dedicating 2 defenders to Fitzgerald on a given play, wouldn’t it make sense to jam him with Polamalu?

• When Dan Patrick handed the Lombardi trophy to Dan Rooney, he said “You are now the winningest franchise in NFL History”. Not to be a stickler, but I think you mean “Super Bowl history”. Because, with 6 NFL Titles, The Steelers rank 5th behind Green Bay (12), Chicago (9), Cleveland (8 – although 4 were in the AAFC), and the New York Giants (7). I know most people think that football began when we changed the name from NFL Championship game to the Super Bowl, but it did exist before that, too. Sorry about me.

• Famous celebrities for Arizona (complete list): Cuba Gooding, Jr. In fact, he may not actually like them, but since Rod Tidwell was the best player in franchise history before this season, I guess…

• Ken Whisenhunt’s use of the challenge system was brilliant. I am not sure I have ever seen a coach get the 3rd challenge. Nicely done.

• Maybe the best grab of Santonio’s night was the catch he made on 3rd and 10 from the Steelers 1 yard line late in the 4th Quarter. I thought it was crazy that the Steelers thought shotgun from their own endzone was a good plan. Holmes caught the ball with tremendous concentration, but it didn’t count because of the hold in the endzone. The safety cut the lead to 20-16, and then with the punt from the 20 instead of from the back of the endzone, I thought the Steelers actually may have benefited from the holding call. Alas, 2 plays later Fitzgerald was pulling away from the Steelers secondary like they had cement shoes.

• Guys who I should write about because of things they did on defense that positively impacted the game: Darnell Dockett, LaMarr Woodley, Dominque Rodgers-Cromartie, Ike Taylor.

• I really think Heath Miller is a fine Tight End. I bet the Steelers are just scratching the surface of what he can do. If they want to see his numbers really improve, get better tackles on the OL that can allow him to stop pass-protecting half the time.

• I feel badly for the great Kurt Warner fairy tale. The guy is absolute class and this would have been a neat way to retire, if he chose to do so. Best Kurt Warner stat? In 3 Super Bowls, this is the only one that has not been decided on the last play!

• Bottom line from Super Bowl XLIII: The better team won. Not easily, but the NFL doesn’t need consecutive years of 9-7 champions. The league benefits when good teams survive the playoff gauntlet, and although I thought the Patriots, Colts, and maybe even Chargers would be a better team in 2008 than the Steelers, I think they are a worthy champion. I am quite pleased with another season of NFL Football.

• Now, with only the combine, free agency, and the draft to amuse us, those of us who love the NFL more than anything else must go into our hibernation for 7 long months of “other stuff”. Sniff.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Super Bowl XLII - Giants 17, Patriots 14

Now that is what I call a “Super Bowl!” Well done, NFL. We hate to bid thee farewell, but the calendar tells us the next game of any substance will be just after Labor Day. That is several thousand pitching changes from now. Sigh.

I must tell you that many things went through the old sports head last night, including the awkward realization that yes, I was pulling for that goofy Eli Manning for almost the entire game. I’ll tell you what turned me. That story that broke on Friday about further charges against the Patriots that they were cheaters. Hearing they were filming the Rams run through before the Super Bowl in New Orleans that they only won by a Field Goal has me wondering if cheaters do, in fact, prosper.

Then, another development surfaced, about the trademark registration of 19-0 prior to the AFC Championship game by the Patriots Organization. This was perhaps a smart business move, but you see, football cannot be treated as a business in this department. We must consider the announcement of books, parades, and trade marking 19-0 as angering the football gods. Do that at your own peril, as now the Patriots understand.

Through it all, the Patriots were beat. Fair and square. They had their chances, but the Giants stopped them at every turn. The Giants combined the best of their win against Dallas and the best of their win against Green Bay to beat New England. Against Dallas, the relentless pass rush of the Giants wore down the Cowboys offense as the game developed. Against Green Bay, Eli Manning kept drives going by converting on every 3rd down it seemed. Well, against Patriots, the pass rush did their part, and Eli did his.

Amazing. Eli Manning has a lifetime exemption now. He has won a Super Bowl in which he had to make the big plays. His escape and long completion to David Tyree, where Tyree stupendously pinned the ball against his helmet with one hand, will go down as the classic play that shall live forever with infinite replays on NFL Films. That play showed Manning’s ability to make something out of nothing. As I have said all along, I had no idea where this new-found ability is from, but this run of 4 consecutive weeks of top notch QB play is another great example of why I don’t gamble on sports.

Anyway, I have all sorts of emails about people who are explaining or arguing with me about why Cowboys fans were rooting for the Giants. After further review, I did not properly weigh the historic implications of the Patriots quest, and how human nature was going to pull most if not all of us who were unattached to the Giants underdog status. Once the game developed like it did, I think it was involuntary to find yourself wanting the little guy to win. Even if they were a division rival, and even if they were from New York. So, I guess rooting rules had to take a rare day off, given the 19-0 backdrop to this all.
Beyond those initial thoughts, here are my Super Bowl notes for Super Bowl XLII, the most memorable Super Bowl in many years:

• How many people were involved in the coin toss, 100? Do we need to filter that down just a tad? It seems like the coin flip used to involve 1 captain from each team and 1 ref. 3 guys. I would love to see photographs that have shown the crowd grow for Super Bowl coin flips.

• Why didn’t the Patriots feel more compelled to get Randy Moss the ball? Reverses, WR screens, something? It was like they didn’t care that they had one of the most unstoppable forces in the sport.

• One of the great stats of the night had to be the 1st Quarter possessions last night (2) compared to the possessions last year in the Bears-Colts game (10). The Giants, just like in the NFC Championship Game, win the toss, and then slowly and methodically drive down the field and leave the high-powered offense of the opposition on the sideline for almost all of the 1st Quarter. Tone was set. And it was never fully recovered back by New England.

• Without knowing or caring what anyone else thought of the commercials, I think I would have to go with the Pigeon Carriers commercial as my favorite. Also, good to see Tony Romo make an appearance.

• Something else we learned during this Super Bowl run from the Giants: They have a number of young guys that the Cowboys are going to have to deal with for many years. Steve Smith is a player. Justin Tuck may be able to provide a great pass rush when Michael Strahan is ready to say good bye – which he should right now. Corey Webster is finally showing some potential through these playoffs, and Bradshaw looks like a fine 7th round pick at running back. The Giants look better off with their future after a run like this. This is no longer Tiki, Shockey, and chaos. They now are Eli’s squad. Crazy!

• Tom Petty was awesome. Just awesome. I am so happy they are simply going with someone who is already great – not the flavor of the week – and letting them play some hits that everyone knows. To hear the whole stadium sing a long with “Free Falling” was magical. Prince, last year, was fabulous, too. In retrospect, we must all thank Justin Timberlake and Janet Jackson for bringing the non-sense of the Kiss-FM halftime shows to an end.

• Why did the Patriots go for it on 4th and 13 when they had a 48 yard Field Goal available? Points were precious last night, and for Belichick to act like he could go get 7 anytime he wanted was another example of the Patriots being a little big for their football britches.

• When Belichick reviewed the 12 men on the field for the punt and got the first down on that very same drive, who thought the Giants were going to win? Not me.

• In the first half, the Giants had 17 snaps in New England territory, but only had 3 points. They really had to be kicking themselves. It just shows again, say what you want about the Giants, but I don’t count any of their wins in this postseason as undeserved. They fluked into nothing. They beat the Buccaneers, Cowboys, Packers, and Patriots straight up.

• Wes Welker may make it in this league, after all. He is a great story, who might have had a nice Super Bowl MVP had the Patriots pulled that out.

• 18-1 has never felt more hollow. I thought it demonstrated how tough it is to match the 1972 Dolphins accomplishment. Prepare for many more years of Mercury Morris rapping.

• Why wasn’t Jeremy Shockey on the sideline? Why was he up in a box nursing a beer? Seems like the sideline is a place for a teammate to be, even if he is on crutches? Just curious.

• Patriots without Gisele Bundchen in the crowd, 18-0. With her there, 0-1. I actually don’t know if that stat is right, but I am going with it.

• If I didn’t know that Tom Brady was perfect and performs miracles in his spare time, I would say that he was pretty poor last night for most of the game. He missed several open receivers, and picked up most of his yardage on dumps to Faulk and Welker. I have never seen him look so ordinary, which most likely demonstrates what a pass rush can do to even the best Quarterbacks.

• Do you think Ellis Hobbs bit on the Plaxico route for the game winning Touchdown? That looked as easy as it gets for the Giants with :35 left in the game. Eli and Plaxico appear to have developed chemistry that wasn’t apparent on December 1st.

• What did we learn about the Cowboys from all of this? I suppose it shows you that you just never know. It shows that no matter how you start, it is far more about being on a roll in the playoffs. We would also discuss health being key, but the Giants have been hurt during this run. There is no way to look at this and decipher a 2008 game plan. You just want to be playing solid football on both sides of the ball and hope for the best. 31 teams end their season in disappointment, and 1 team smiles and holds the trophy. Somehow, that 1 team turned out to be the New York Giants. I would have never believed it, if I didn’t just see it. Amazing.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Super Bowl XLI - Colts 29, Bears 17

Certainly not the most memorable Super Bowl I ever saw, but also not the worst. The Colts win their first Super Bowl since they beat the Cowboys in SB V, and the Bears demonstrate why the NFC was wide open for anyone who would step up just a bit.

The NFC proved from September to February that they are now clearly the inferior conference, and that doesn’t show very many signs of changing anytime real soon.

Meanwhile, Tony Dungy continued to show that good guys can win, too. In this day and age when we seem to have nothing but grumpy (Parcells), grumpy (Belichick), and grumpy (Gruden) coaches win, Dungy broke the nice-guy barrier while breaking a few other barriers, too.

Here are a couple notes and thoughts about Super Bowl XLI:

• I expect a few people will complain about the weather. Count me out of that group. I thought it was awesome to have rain the whole night, and anytime the elements will get involved in a game like this is fine with me. Did it adversely affect the outcome? I suppose it might have. Nevertheless, count me among the friends of it all.

• Peyton Manning is a good person. I really have no business rooting against him. He is a model citizen. He is a class act. I can’t explain my dislike. So, for one day in time, allow me to say it is good to see him do his thing and get his ring. Now, perhaps there will be someone who wants him to endorse their products. Seriously, though, good for him.

• One thing I did not really understand was Chicago and Lovie Smith being so careful with its game plan. On both sides of the ball it seemed like they were worried about not getting blown away rather than winning. I felt they stayed in too deep of pass coverage the entire game, allowing Peyton to pick them apart with mostly underneath stuff. Then on offense, they never allowed Rex to go after the corners of Indy until it was in the 2nd half and the Bears were behind. But, up 14-6, it sure seemed like the time to start to soften up the Colts D, but they kept pounding the ball and punting the ball.

• Devin Hester is amazing. Simply amazing.

• Which NFL Network commercial was better? The one with David Beckham or the one making fun of Favre? Both were brilliant. Very good stuff from my favorite Television network. It is weird. We should all hate the NFL Network because it is run by the league. It is like state-sponsored media. It is all propaganda, right? And yet, through it all, I love the NFL Network. I am kind of ashamed of myself, but I am not telling you a lie. Love it.

• I swear I knew Joseph Addai was going to be great. That is why I took him so high in the fantasy football draft back in August. Trouble is, the Ronnie Brown/ Willis McGahee/Joseph Addai never got off the ground. And that says nothing about what Daunte Culpepper did for me. Anyway, Addai was solid tonight. My team this year was horrendous.

• Go ahead and sue me: but, Phil Simms and Jim Nantz don’t bother me at all. But, you had to love Nantz’s weather predictions. A bit off, Jim.

• Any Cowboys fans nervous after seeing Ron Rivera’s crew not able to get off
the field on all of those 3rd downs? I know the Colts are good, but the occasional punt might have won the game for the Bears.

• I have to admit. A commercial involving Oprah made me giggle. But, all-in-all, a pretty lame night of ads in the Super Bowl. Wait a minute, they are playing the ad again.

• Not sure the monsoon happens in Florida, but it was raining like the scene in the Last Boyscout when the dude pulled the gun while running down the field. I don’t think that movie was based on the true story, but the rain was very Hollywood-like tonight.

• The Bears have to be kicking themselves that they played that badly, and were dominated that solidly, and yet through the game they only needed one play to take the lead. It never happened, but when you are outgained 370-96 with 3 minutes left in the 3rd Quarter, you have to like your chances down only 22-14. Then, they cut it to 5, but never got closer.

• Cedric Benson will want another chance at the Super Bowl. 2 carries for -1 yard and a fumble will not be the way he wants to remember his Super Bowl experience.

• 38:04 time of possession for the Colts does a pretty good job of
demonstrating how well they dominated the ball. They really could have won by 28 if they cashed in on their chances.

• The last 5 #1 seeds to make the Super Bowl from the NFC have lost. Bears, Seahawks, Eagles, Rams and Giants.

• 4 rings in 6 years for Adam Vinatieri. It appears he has a pretty good knack for playing in the post-season.

• Is it possible, that somewhere in Arizona, resting on his pile of money, that Edgerrin James is having second thoughts about making the money grab to go to play for the Cardinals? Money is nice, but rings are nicer.

• Tony Dungy joins Mike Ditka and Tom Flores (who was forgotten by me on Friday’s edition of Super Bowl Trivia on BaD Radio) as the only 3 guys to win a Super Bowl as a player and a head coach.

• Prince rocks. And to pull off the Foo Fighters “Best of You” was brilliant. Seriously, the gay bandana was cancelled out by the first song. By the end he was running up the score. If he ever comes to town, I am so there.

• Not to say that there is any question who the MVP was, but isn’t this one of those years where the MVP was more of a default award? Peyton was ok, but if there was anyone else who played great, you would have an argument. But, when no one else dominates, it is always safe to go with the winning QB.

• Kelvin Hayden is the trivia name from Super Bowl XLI. He never had an
interception until Sunday night, and then ran that one back for the Touchdown that really put the game in the Colts pocket. Every Super Bowl produces a backup player who becomes a hero. Here is Mr. Hayden.

• Dominic Rhodes made Wichita Falls, Texas, proud tonight. Midwestern State has actually produced something more than fire ants.

• In all four Super Bowls played in Dolphins/Joe Robbie Stadium the losing team has had a kickoff return for a TD. Bengals ('89) - Stanford Jennings; Chargers ('95) - Andre Coleman; Falcons ('99) - Tim Dwight; Bears ('07) - Devon Hester

• So, is there a chance that one year from today Rex Grossman is still the starting QB of the Chicago Bears? There is no way they can go on like this. Could you imagine a competent QB playing for that Bears team? I applaud Lovie’s loyalty, but Rex’s two interceptions yesterday were horrible throws (you hope they just slipped) and the way they try to hide him and protect him is just silly. Sorry, but the guy is not good enough to play for a team that has no other real weaknesses. I feel for the guy, but he just can’t play at this level.

• Is there anything better than the fly-over? Every player who moments earlier were looking stoic and nervous instantly smiled like 7-year old boys. We all love fast airplanes.

• The 2007 season started this morning. Are you ready?

Don Pierson on Manning’s myth-busting performance

David Haugh on Grossman’s horrible throw that cost the Bears the night

The Great Jerry Green, who has been to every Super Bowl says game was stuck in the mud

NY Times: 2 coaches, 2 friends, but 1 trophy

Barry Horn looks back at the Broadcast

Bring back Bud Bowl

Monday, February 06, 2006

Super Bowl XL: Pittsburgh 21, Seattle 10

Another football season has left the building, and we can only begin the countdown to Kickoff 2006. The Super Bowl in Detroit will not be remembered as an all-time great, but the win of Pittsburgh over Seattle was nevertheless full of interesting talking points:

- For the first time ever, a #6 seed won a Super Bowl, proving that bye-weeks and home field advantage are nice helpers, but they can be overcome.
- A QB won a Super Bowl at a younger age than any QB ever.
- The AFC won again, making it 5 out of 6, and 7 out of 9.
- Bill Cowher can now take his place amongst the best coaches in football. The last strike he had against him has been erased.
- Hines Ward became the 5th WR to win a Super Bowl MVP (Swann, Biletnikof, Rice, Branch) and likely won out of pure default. Who else could you have given it to?
- Pittsburgh joins San Francisco and Dallas as the only 5-time Super Bowl winners. Who will be the first to #6?

But, as someone who thought Seattle was going to win the game, I will remember this game for the way Seattle marched down the field, only to stall once again. Were some of the calls weak? Sure. But, Seattle could not close the deals too many times. Dropped passes, poor decisions, missed FG’s, and other stubs of the toe suggest that the right team won this game. Pitt did not make many plays, but they did enough to win a Super Bowl with some level of ease.

Report from Pittsburgh

The Steelers will fly home this afternoon, lugging their shiny, new silver booty to join the four the franchise won in six years in the 1970s.

"We're so proud to bring it back to Pittsburgh,'' Dan Rooney said.

Wide receiver Hines Ward, who began training camp with a contract holdout, won the game's Most Valuable Player award after catching five passes for 123 yards,
including a 43-yard touchdown from fellow wide receiver Antwaan Randle El. He was given the keys to a black Cadillac Escalade for the award.

"This is the one for the thumb,'' Ward said, holding his young son and, as usual, smiling. "We are bringing the Super Bowl back to the City of Pittsburgh.''

Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who threw two interceptions and had a miserable 22.6 passer rating, nevertheless made plays when his team needed them. He dived into the end zone on third down for a touchdown in the second quarter and picked up another key first down in the fourth. In all, he ran seven times for 25 yards but completed just 9 of 21 passes for 123 yards.

Seattle halfback Shaun Alexander, the league MVP, was held to 95 yards on 20 carries.

Meanwhile, Steve Kelly files his report back to Seattle

This loss will gnaw at them the rest of this winter. It will follow them into offseason workouts. It will haunt their dreams.

The Seahawks will wake up out of a sound sleep in a cold sweat and remember the dropped passes, the missed field goals, the punt that rolled dead on their 2-yard line, the penalties.

They will look at the game film later this week and realize they should have been ahead about 24-0 at halftime. They will see that they kicked the Pittsburgh Steelers up and down Ford Field.

They will see Walter Jones burying Joey Porter deep into the artificial surface.

They will see Jerramy Stevens running open in the middle of the field, time after time after time.

But they will also see the blizzard of mistakes and they will wince at what might have been.

"We stubbed our foot a couple of times," wide receiver Joe Jurevicius said. "And that's all I have to say on that."

In a game that will be remembered for its lack of artistry, the better team didn't win Super Bowl XL. The Seahawks lost, 21-10.

Super Bowl Records Set

Super Bowl records

Longest run from scrimmage — 75 yards, Willie Parker, Pittsburgh (Old record: 74, Marcus Allen, L.A. Raiders vs. Washington, 1984).

Longest interception return — 76 yards, Kelly Herndon, Seattle (Old record: 75, Willie Brown, Oakland vs. Minnesota, 1977).

Youngest winning starter at QB — 23 years, 340 days, Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh. (Old record: 24 years, 184 days, Tom Brady, New England vs. St. Louis, 2002.)

Lowest passer rating, winning QB — Roethlisberger, 22.6. (Old record: 51.9, John Elway, Denver vs. Green Bay, 1998.

Highest punting average — 50.2 Tom Rouen, Seattle, 50.2 yards. (Old record: 48.8, Bryan Wagner, San Diego vs. San Francisco, 1995).

Chmura calls the kettle black

Mark Chmura was in an anti-Dallas crank Sunday morning on his radio show on WAUK-AM (1510). "If Michael Irvin didn't have his friend's crack pipe in his car, he'd probably be in, too," Chmura said, referring to the Hall of Fame. Chmura questioned Troy Aikman's numbers as necessarily Hall-worthy. "What a flippin' joke," Chmura said. "I am so sick of the Dallas Cowboys. I really am."

Gee whiz, Mark. Simmer down, sport.

Easy to Predict event of the weekend : Liddell pounds Couture

Chuck Liddell did nearly nothing in the first round against Randy Couture on Saturday in what was billed as the most anticipated match in the history of the Ultimate Fighting Championships. And, because of that, he knew the rubber match with Couture would go his way.

Just one minute, 28 seconds into the second round at Mandalay Bay, Liddell proved prophetic when he ripped Couture with a straight right that sent the former champion crumpling to the mat.

Before Liddell could pounce on him, referee John McCarthy jumped in to stop the bout and end Couture's career.

Saints to play at Superdome Sept 24th

Obligatory Story on Bill Guerin …its on time. This story comes about every 14 days…But, Mr Heika’s grasp of the situation is not at its usual high level:

Guerin's linemates Jason Arnott (49 points) and Brenden Morrow (46 points) each are having career scoring seasons and credit Guerin for his hard work in making the line successful. But just as there seems to be no explanation for Guerin's scoring drought, it's also difficult to explain how Morrow is a plus-21, Arnott a plus-12 and Guerin a minus-1. One area to look at could be that he's a team-worst minus-47 on giveaways and takeaways, but Tippett said he wants Guerin to be playing hard and not concentrating on the negatives.

Now, I admit to being a Guerin-apologist. I have no plans to completely turn on someone with such a consistent track record, but Heika really can find “no explanation” for the discrepancies in +/- amongst Morrow. Arnott, and Guerin? How about the fact that they did not skate on the same line for almost 2 full months? When Barnes and others were on the Arnott line from Mid-November until Mid-January, and Guerin was with Niko Kapenen, who easily is the team’s worst center as a -10, you don’t think there is some level of explanation there? I know Guerin has been horrible by his standards, but Heika knows why his +/- is bad.

Harry Carson will accept his Hall of Fame induction, after all.…

We have learned 2 things about this premiership season so far: Liverpool is much better than they have been in years; Chelsea is much better than Liverpool

As Mourinho delighted in pointing out, this victory over the side threatening to become their closest rivals encapsulated all the qualities that make Chelsea such worthy champions; comfortable and clinical yet some way short of thrilling. This was their season in microcosm.

"We need eight wins to be champions and after that it will be seven, six, five," Mourinho said. "We’re in the countdown. We want to win these games as soon as possible."

Still bitter about last season’s Champions League exit and with José Manuel Reina’s late sending-off creating another controversy, Mourinho could not resist crowing about his head-to-head record against Rafael Benítez. The Portuguese has won all four of the league games he has contested against Liverpool and this season’s aggregate scoreline is a flattering 6-1.

"After nine games against Liverpool in 1½ years we’ve lost one," he said. "The game proves we’re the best team in the country. This is a result and a performance that will help everyone to understand why we’re champions and are close to being champions again."

Liverpool came into the game still harbouring genuine title aspirations, though for all their dramatic improvement under Benítez, the European champions remain a work in progress. Despite controlling much of the first half the threat to Petr Cech’s goal was minimal, with Chelsea content to strike on the counter.

He is missed already. Grandpa Munster, dead

Al Lewis, the cigar-chomping patriarch of "The Munsters" whose work as a basketball scout, restaurateur and political candidate never eclipsed his role as Grandpa from the television sitcom, died after years of failing health. He was 82.

The actor was widely reported to have been born in 1910, but his son Ted Lewis said Saturday that his father was born in 1923.

He was 82? I question this. But, look at this:

Star Telegram really confused

AL LEWIS | 1910-2006
Grandpa on 'The Munsters' dies at age 82

I cannot say whether he was 96 or 82, but he is not both!

Werner Herzog of Grizzly Man shot?

HOLLYWOOD - German director Werner Herzog was shot by a crazed fan during a recent interview with the BBC.

The 63-year-old was chatting with movie journalist Mark Kermode about his documentary Grizzly Man, when a sniper opened fire with an air rifle.

Kermode explains, "I thought a firecracker had gone off.

"Herzog, as if it was the most normal thing in the world, said, 'Oh, someone is shooting at us. We must go.'

"He had a bruise the size of a snooker ball, with a hole in. He just carried on with the interview while bleeding quietly in his boxer shorts."

An unrepentant Herzog insisted, "It was not a significant bullet. I am not afraid."

Monday, February 07, 2005

Super Bowl XXXIX: NE 24, Phil 21

Dynasty. Likely not the greatest dynasty, since the words implies dominance. 3 wins by a total of 9 points is not domination. Of course, 3 Super Bowl wins in 4 years is. Give New England plenty of credit as they close another deal. Bill Belichick outcoached Andy Reid. Tom Brady outplayed Donovan McNabb. And in the end, the Patriots repeat as World Champions.

· Has their ever been a unit of a great team that gets less credit than the New England Patriots defense? They still are largely anonymous, and yet all they do is make plays. Even if Freddie Mitchell calls them out. By the way, did he play?

· One guy who did play was Terrell Owens. What a performance! His play was incredible, given his circumstances that suggest he is a modern day Willis Reed. But, the Eagles lost, so this may be largely forgotten. I generally do not care for his act, but it was obvious early that he could be a threat. It makes you wonder if the Eagles used him enough.

· Deion Branch is the MVP? It made sense. He made a few incredible catches, and was the go-to guy for the Patriots. It did seem to be one of those Super Bowls where there was not a cinch. I might have voted Rodney Harrison, and Tom Brady sure could have won another one.

· Maybe it is something in Pennsylvania. Bill Cowher has been widely ripped for being 1-5 in Championship games and Super Bowls. Now, Andy Reid is 1-4. Nice 2-minute drill, coach.

· Mike Vrabel has 5 career catches and 5 touchdowns. Amazing that no one picked up on that.

· By the way, anyone else amazed that all you have to do to beat the Eagles blitz is have an elongated snap count? Brady just sits under center until the Eagles show their blitz, then the Patriots point out who is blitzing, pick them up, and Brady has time to do what he wants. It can’t be that easy to solve Jim Johnson, right? Were the Cowboys watching?

· Donovan McNabb did not run at all. I thought his legs could make a huge difference, but it never happened. Was this due to the Patriots Linebackers? Either that, or the Eagles had a huge game plan flaw.

· I had never heard of Dexter Reid until last night, but what a role he played. First, he committed a huge penalty on the Troy Brown punt return that was called back. Then, he had to replace Eugene Wilson at safety for the Pats, and gave up the touchdown pass to Bryant Westbrook. If New England had lost, he might have been labeled a goat. Instead, he was the player who downed the ball at the 4 on the Patriots final punt. Now, we all know Dexter Reid.

· Paul McCartney was awesome. I am told he may have lip-synched, but I will dispute that only on the basis that he is a Beatle.

· 3 Replays – 3 were overturned. I guess it is a good rule after all.

· Yes, democracy is safe. The Eagles did not win the Super Bowl. We can all go on with our lives. However, I am sure they will be in the mix again next year, so we better not forget about them. In fact, I read that they are significantly under the cap for ’05, which confuses me given the expenditures of 2004. Now, if they learn to play in a 2-minute offense, we may all be in trouble.

Did you see Uncle Junior from the Sopranos hug Belichick after the game?


Super Bowl Columns:
Bill Plaschke – Los Angeles

Bob Ryan – Boston

Jason Whitlock – Kansas City

Rick Gosselin – Dallas

Dave Anderson – New York

Phil Sheridan – Philadelphia

The Eagles had every chance to win their first Super Bowl, to deliver Philadelphia from its 22-years-and-counting championship jones. They were good enough to derail the New England Patriots dynasty train last night.

All they needed was a great game from their quarterback. They didn't get it.

Canseco scorches the Rangers …If anyone cares what he says anymore…

Quincy in Rehab

When Carter was declared inactive before the Jets' divisional playoff game against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Jan. 15, the Jets said that he had left the team to attend to his sick mother.

But those familiar with his situation said that Carter's weeklong absence, which started shortly after the Jets' playoff victory over the San Diego Chargers on Jan. 8, was initiated with the team's permission and that he began participating in a program in Houston that was run by John Lucas, the former N.B.A. player and coach.
It was unclear what led to Carter's enrollment, whether he was still participating in the program or if he had failed another drug test.

Must read story on Bob Hayes

Sources say Vikings about to wise up, and trade Randy Moss …Which concerns Packers fans greatly as we hate to see Minnesota beat cancer like that…

Among the inductees this weekend, Benny Friedman (Freedo) inducted in, 20 years after suicide …and Fritz Pollard inducted after death, too

Irvin did not. Gil Lebreton is not pleased. Neither is Dan Le Betard

It is official; Galloway has had enough of the Rangers

I am not worried about Coach K fainting, I am worried about him wearing sneakers Here is an explanation

Undefeated for the full season? …Knight has some thoughts...

“Two things you have to remember about that team,” Knight said. “They all made the NBA but not one of them came close to playing in an NBA all-star game. That means they simply made up a strong team at Indiana and that they cared for one another and the team. They were kids willing to work and play and to do what we wanted to do.”

Speaking of Knight Tech mauls the Sooners in Norman