Sports Goggles

Archive for October 2006

Kelvin Sampson – The Grill is Smokin’

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I told you Kelvin Sampson was going to be on “The Grill.” I just didn’t know it would start before the Indiana Basketball began. Check out “Fire Kelvin Sampson.”

Written by dwil

October 31, 2006 at 10:56 pm

Mark Cuban vs. Frau David Stern

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Henry Abbott’s “True Hoop” blog has a tidbit about Dallas Maverick owner Mark Cuban ‘s burgeoning disaffection with the NBA… the following is my comment on Henry’s post….

“…weird about Cuban. After watching the vid of the Maloof’s in Artest’s hood (and remembering Henry’s post about said topic), the realization came: there’s soon going to be a culture war among the NBA owners, orchestrated by the Queen Bee, Frau David Stern. Cuban (and the Maloof’s, if they’re not careful) vs. the rest of the owners, all the right-wing “let’s de-nigger the NBA” traders in human flesh.

Be careful Mark, be very careful. Stern and his fellow gender-bending doo-wop partner Marv Albert are plotting your demise as we speak….”

Written by dwil

October 30, 2006 at 6:33 pm

The Dallas Monday Night Debacle

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Last night’s Dallas-New York Giants game reminded why I shouldn’t prognosticate like I did in yesterday’s, Monday’s Notes.

The Dallas front seven was simply unable to handle the Giants’ rushing attack. Shocked and awed by the quick-strike touchdown pass to Plaxico Burriss (more on this play later), the Cowboys appeared to be scared to death to go eight in the box and force Eli Manning to win the game. Oddly though, with only seven in the box, the ‘Boys still somehow failed to shut down Manning and crew.

I wrote yesterday that because of the media exalting Tiki Barber and the Giants offensive line to deity level, the Dallas offensive line and RB Julius Jones would have a big game. Ha! Dallas rushed for a total of 69 yards.

What I looked for early in the game is how Dallas would set up the New York defense. With Sam Madison playing press coverage on Terry Glenn and with New York’s stated plan to “get physical” and press Terrell Owens, I felt the initial thrust of the Dallas offense would be Drew Bledsoe throwing to Owens. There is no cornerback who can successfully press T.O. for an entire game; there’s no corner as physical as Owens. Unfortunately, Mr. Bill also continued to openly show his disdain for T.O. by failing to utilize Owens’ talents as a wideout.

I also looked closely at Dallas’ offensive tempo. Did they go crisply out of the huddle, run a play, and get into and back out of the huddle quickly? No. From the beginning Bledsoe and his offensive looked unsure and sluggish – and defeated. The strength of the New York defense is its perimeter and its perimeter defenders. MLB Antonio Pierce prides himself on his ability to get from sideline to sideline in order to shut down running plays. DEs Michael Strahan and Osi Umenyiora pride themselves on their abilities to get to the quarterback, bottle up off tackle runs and string out pitchouts. So Dallas attacks up the middle, right?

Ummm, no.

Who leads a defense in tackles is an indicator as to the scheme and success or failure of an offense. When a defense has a dominant MLB, that linebacker will usually will lead a team in tackles. In the case of the Giants, defensive end Strahan and right cornerback Corey Webster led the Giants with five tackles, Pierce and outside linebacker Brandon Short had four. So Mr. Grocery Shopper Bill Parcells decided to pound the strength of New York’s D and attack it with off-tackle and wide runs – wow. Somehow, Parcells, who hasn’t eon a playoff game in eight years, is the only coach in the NFL whose overt stubbornness, pettiness and control-freakness is lauded rather than critiqued. Ironically, Mr. Stubborn, Petty Control-freak Tom Coughlin looked infinitely more imaginative than Pacrells’.

Drew Bledsoe was – well, pitiful. At least three of his sacks were the direct result of indecision. His goal line decision to attempt to throw to Terry Glenn – resulting in a Madison interception – while T.O. was flashing open in the back of the end zone was inexcusable. With Tony Romo replacing Bledsoe in the second half, it appears that Bledsoe’s days as a starter are done.

With all that said, let me point to two early events in the Dallas-NYG game that emotionally ruined the Cowboys. Event one was Roy Williams running into the back judge while preparing to break up the Eli Manning’s first TD pass to Plaxico Burriss. Now, we’ve seen that occur before – exactly once. How the back judge, with the play coming directly at him, failed to see Williams is beyond comprehension. Why the back judge didn’t simply back up deeper into the end zone – which also would have given him a better overall view of the play – is also beyond comprehension.

On New York’s next possession Eli Manning’s arm was hit while attempting to pass. The ball was clearly out of his hand before his arm went forward. The Giants recovered the fumble, resulting in a 12-yard loss. Coughlin challenged the call on the field. As we know, if there’s any doubt about a call on the field versus what the replay shows, the call on the field stands. This play, mysteriously, was overturned. Though the Giants drive stalled at their 45-yard line, the resulting punt was downed inside the Dallas one. Two plays later Bledsoe was sacked for a safety by LaVar Arrington. Two officiating miscues and the score was 9-0 New York.

Who led this referee crew? Peter Morelli. Morelli led the infamous crew that officiated the Indianapolis-Pittsburgh playoff game last season; the game in which there were so many poor calls that many Indy fans thought there was something fishy about the refs. One would have thought that after that officiating debacle Morelli would be demoted. One would have thought that if Morelli wasn’t demoted, he would certainly never referee a meaningful game involving a Manning.

Yet there was Morelli with his crew officiating last night’s Dallas-New York game. If it smells like a fish and swims like a fish it damn sure ain’t a rabbit. Don’t get me wrong, New York still would have won this game on their own. They just didn’t need any help from the zebras.

P.S. I just want to give a special shout out to the Cowboys’  offensive line and their ineptitude. Sure Parcells’ game plan didn’t help Sure Bledsoe’s indecision didn’t help matters, either. But when your performance rivals that of Arizona’s Sunday against the Raiders,  you deserve special mention.

Written by dwil

October 24, 2006 at 6:56 pm

Little Things: LaRussa and The Gambler, J-Dub, and Inflated NBA Contract Extensions

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– I believe the real reason Tony LaRussa said nothing about “the stuff” on Kenny Rogers’ pitching hand is because his pitchers do it, too.

– The New Jersey Nets waived former Duke guard Jay Williams who is attempting to return to basketball after a horrendous motorcycle 31/2 years ago.

– How did Phoenix’s Boris Diaw get a 5-year, $45million contract extension? Boris is versitile and will get better, but $9 millie a year? And even more disturbing is Dallas’ Josh Howard’s 4-year $40 extension. Since when did stats like 15ppg, 6 boards and 2 dimes (Howard’s career stats) were worth $10 million per.

Written by dwil

October 23, 2006 at 8:45 pm

Monday Notes

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– The J-E-T-S Jets Jets Jets are 4-3! But the combined win total for the teams they’ve defeated is five.

– Arizona is done, okay? Done. Now they travel to Green Bay to play a hungry Packers team. Following the Green Bay game is Zona’s bye week. That’s when Dennis Green will be sent packing.

– Guess who else is done? The World Champion Pittsburgh Steelers. They have Denver, B-more twice, New Orleans, Cinci, and Carolina left on the schedule. Ouch. I don’t believe Bill Cowher will retire after a crappy season like this one is going to be. He’ll be back to “make it right” and go out a winner.

– Jacksonville, after the bye week, got thumped by Houston, 27-7 – anyone surprised? I bet they spent as much time thinking about this week’s game at Philadelphia as they did for yesterday’s Texans game.

– I know Philadelphia’s three losses have all been heartbreakers. But. Good teams don’t lose the close ones. Mediocre teams do. The Eagles upcoming schedule looks like this: Washington, Tennessee, at Indy, Carolina, at Washington, at Dallas, at the Giants before finishing the season against an Atlanta team that might need to win that finale to get into the playoffs. I see at least five losses in Philly’s future, which would make them a mediocre 8-8.

– New England’s got it made. After beating down Buffalo Sunday they have remaining games against the Jets, Green Bay Detroit, Houston, and Tennessee. That’s a guaranteed 10 wins, which means they coast to the playoffs.

– With the suspension of LB Shawne Merriman, all of San Diego’s starting LBs are out. There’s trouble looming in Martyville.

– Don’t look for Tampa Bay to go on a miracle run to the playoffs. Upcoming games against the Giants, New Orleans and Carolina will effectively end their season.

– We’ll get to see just how good Denver’s defense is when they play this week against Indy.

– Speaking of Indianapolis, with the NFL being a copycat league and all, why haven’t teams begun to duplicate the Colts’ offense? The only team that comes remotely close to what Peyton and crew do is Cincinnati. The other thing is, why is Jacksonville the only team to build it’s defense specifically to beat the Colts?

– Finally, far too many so-called experts believe New York will beat Dallas tonight, even though the Cowboys are a 3.5 point favorite. If Dallas safety, Roy Williams, doesn’t play smarter, Eli Manning and his receivers are going to have a field day against the ‘Boys’ D.  So, the questions will be: can Dallas overcome the inevitable Williams coverage error, can the statue that is Drew Bledsoe be protected, and can the vulnerable NYG secondary be exploited? Ha! I don’t know the answers! What I do know is that Dallas RB Julius Jones will have a big chip on his shoulder because everybody’s talking about how great Tiki Barber is. And Jones having a good night rushing means Bledsoe and T.O. also have good nights… and Dallas wins (maybe I knew the answers, after all).

Peyton and the pro-Manning NFL

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-Colt RT, Ryan Diem pulls a Washington Redskins LB by the back of his jersy into Peyton Manning, causing LB to hit the back of Manning’s knees. Instead of calling a holding penalty, a roughing the passer penalty was called. Later, On successive drives a Colt player dives at Redskins’ QB Brunnell’s knees, and then on a 3rd quarter 15-play drive resulting in no points, Brunnell was hit late with helmet-to-helmet contact – no penalties.

Oddly, in a 30 minute time span I watched Matt Hasselbeck get hit in the knees and perhaps have his season ended; I also witnessed two Raiders dive at Matt Leinart’s knees. and later was Leinart get body-slammed. As with Brunnell, no penalties were called.

On 3rd down, with 4:54 left in the game, Manning intentionally spiked the ball, thinking there was a penalty, but none was called. Incredibly no intentional grounding penalty was called, only 4th down.

We saw what appeared to be Colt-biased shows favoritism last season, particularly in the playoff game against the Pittsburgh Steelers. After that game Steelers LB Joey Porter told anyone with a reomte interest in that playoff game that, “Everybody wants the Colts to win. I thought they were going to steal the game from us right in front of the whole world.” And Porter made those remarks without incurring a fine from the NFL offices.

I don’t believe there’s about a pro-Colts, as a team, bias. However, I’m much more sure of a pro-Peyton Manning bias. I see it because Manning is the face of the NFL.

Strangely, he has been made the standard-bearer for the league without winning a meaningful postseason game in either his NFL or NCAA career (remember Manning’s alma mater, Tennessee, won the National Championship with Tee Martin at the helm of their offense – the year following Manning’s graduation). There are many, many “good guys” – quarterbacks included – in the NFL who have won nothing. Is it because of Manning’s Christian upbringing and what that represents in today’s America?

If that’s the case, then why not make Mark Brunell, a devout Christian and long-time NFL vet the league’s face? How about David Carr, another Christian QB who’s taken an absolute beating in his years with Houston without so much as a complaint about his offensive line? Hell, Brett Favre, a Super Bowl winner, Hall of Fame shoe-in, who is generally respected by everyone in and around the NFL, is shown fewer times on NFL-sponsored commercials, and has fewer endorsements than Manning.

Is it his family?

Archie Manning was a mediocre QB on a horrid New Orleans Saints team in the 60s and 70s. Peyton’s brother, Eli committed the ultimate NFL transgression by averring that he would not play for the San Diego Chargers, the teams that drafted him, thereby precipitating his trade to the New York Giants. The great John Elway, when drafted by the Colts, said he’d play baseball rather than play for the Colts, was run over the coals for years by the press for failing to be a “good soldier” and play for the team that drafted him. How the hell did pouty-mouth Eli escape criticism? How did Eli’s father Archie, who, by all accounts, orchestrated the mutiny from the Chargers and the trade to the big-market Giants, escape criticism?

What does this say about the NFL and more importantly, mainstream media? If all you sports writers with “years of training” who have “paid mile of dues” (Stephen A. Smith’s words) can’t objectively criticize Peyton Manning, then you’re stealing your salary (and by the way, I’ve been on both sides of the mic, as an athlete and as a sports writer).

Written by dwil

October 23, 2006 at 2:51 am

Sebastian Telfair and the Hip-Hop Police; Kelvin Sampson’s on “The Grill”

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-I hope athletes – particularly Black athletes – begin to realize that wearing platinum chains encrusted with diamonds only makes them look like “high-priced slaves arguin’ about who got the biggest chain” (Mos’ Def). However, with all that in mind, don’t believe the police reports (and gossip website reports) suggesting Sebastian Telfair had something to do with some sort of gunfight involving the rapper, Fabulous. The NYC has a special, secret force loosely called the “hip-hop police“… blatant lying is one of their tactics and the New York Post is the lap dog for their lies. This on the hip-hop cops from Miami Herald article:

“police are secretly watching and keeping dossiers on hip-hop celebrities like P. Diddy and DMX and their entourages when they come to South Florida.” Police officials told the Herald they photographed rappers as they arrived at Miami International Airport and staked out hotels, nightclubs and video shoots. The reporters explained that dozens of major and minor rappers are listed and tracked in a “6-inch thick” binder supplied by the New York City Police Department (NYPD).”

“Grill Watch” is a new thing I’m introducing. From time-to-time I’ll peer into the tea leaves and let you know who I feel will be unduly sweated, or-char-broiled, if you will – by the sports gossip-monger crowd (led of course by the likes of ESPN and Deadspin – and no, I won’t link to them, unless I’m taking a dump on one of their pedasos de miedra articles or posts).

Next NCAA coach to get the persistent ESPN-type grill treatment? Indiana Hoosier basketball coach Kelvin Sampson. I didn’t think IU would have the nutz to ever hire another Black head coach after the reatment Mike Davis received… a little history, and present knowledge: the state with the most, per capita, KKK members? Indiana… White folks in the Hoosier State can say what they want, but they were way too happy to get rid of Mike Davis – and they’ll be way too enthusiastic in their criticisms of Sampson.

So, why is Sampson’s ass sittin’ directly on my charcol grill? His alleged “theft” of Eric Gordon, one of the nation’s top recruits, and most sought-after point guards. Gordon had given a verbal to Illinois, but then signed with IU. Check out Illinois’ head coach Bruce Weber’s reaction”

“In football, it’s always been known to be open game, but that hasn’t been the case with us. If you have a kid [orally] committed, then for that eight or nine months you don’t recruit anyone else. So you lose all that time recruiting other kids, because you have one committed. Ask 98 percent of the coaches, and they’ll tell you that they stop calling kids once they [orally commit]. We do. Most do it.”

Resident ESPN NCAA hoop fat boy, Andy Katz, is all over Sampson. Now, other name-brand coaches such as Michigan State’s Tom Izzo and Michigan’s Tommy Amaker have spoken out on the Sampson issue. These coaches are now taking their case to the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) ethics committee (how convenient that Izzo just happens to be on the board of directors of the NABC).

You’re the new guy on the Big Ten block, Kelvin. Plus, you have a bunch of “illegal” phone calls hanging over your head from your stay at Oklahoma (why does this feel like a Rick Neuheisel-style affair?).

Two words of advice – step lightly.