Monday, April 30, 2007

Replies to Posts Shall Be Graded & Mocked

You know we're all desperate for football (we've only been without it for three months, folks) when we're sparring over issues swirling around Mock Draft 2007. Nonetheless, Jerry No-Wood offers his best vitriol in a shameful spasm of self-righteous outrage, specious reasoning and inadequate proofreading.

If this is a boring argument, please consider this as an IDYFT scrimmage. Go read the post about the crazy Jap babies.

1) My comparison between Plunkett and Russell was a gag, No-Wood. While they have the long ball in common, I was thinking about their personal appearance. Plunkett: pock-marked, evidence of retardation, Mexican-American. Russell: enormous, serious, African-American. Al Davis: some creepy old lady in a tracksuit, smellin' like sauerkraut.

2) My point about Detroit drafting WRs remains solid, No-Wood. One definition of a psychosis is when someone keeps doing the same thing in expectation of a different result. Detroit keeps drafting WRs in their yearly top-three pick. Boners like you who praise the addition of a WR to a team that can't block, run or throw (never mind defense) are just fucking stupid. I played football for nine years, No-Wood, and I've played every position except center, punter and kicker. Don't try to throw your feces at me, monkey. Just because you were too busy cadging smokes behind the dumpster at the 7-11 to play football, don't assume everyone else is as slow, uncoordinated and white as you. You do have nice hair though, I'll give you that.

3) You wanted the Browns to spend their #3 pick on a RB when they just spent a lot of $$ on Jamal Lewis? No no, the Browns 2 major (and I mean major) needs were OL and QB. They were good to acquire two in the first round.

4) Knowing that every single down of football begins at the line of scrimmage, and that thusly the O & D lines are the proper place from which to build a team does not make me a "Sean Salisbury." The comparison hurts me, No-Wood. It really hurts me. Salisbury has the grace of a toad. He's as dumb as a hog and twice as ugly.

Although not exciting for a lame amateur fan like No-Wood, people familiar with the sport keep their eye on teams that consistently draft top-flight talent along the line. It is evidence that the front office wants to win football games, not just sell tickets. A team like Arizona finally doing the right thing and trying to acquire a line for Leinart, E. James and those receivers is frankly shocking. Ditto Cleveland. Thank god Detroit keeps going back to the well for more boners, right MMMan? Is Scott Mitchell going to throw the ball to him?

5) You may be right about neither Landry or Taylor having any interceptions. Apparently, Landry had some trouble hanging on to them in college. By "incredible" football family, I meant "Christian." Obviously.

6) As for your flaming anti-semitism and lack of sports-injury knowledge (pulling your ham doesn't count, spanky) I have arisen this day to warn you that I'm sending my boyz Huckle Cat and Lowly Worm over to your nursery and they're gonna snuff you like a candle made of trout wax.

Fight Sumo Babies, Fight!

This may be one of the most awesome competitions involving fat men in diapers and babies dressed up as Superman that I have ever seen. Top 3, easily.

Apparently, the idea is, and I quote:

Babies, held by amateur sumo wrestlers, cry loudly during a baby-crying contest at Sensoji temple in Tokyo April 28, 2007. Eighty-four babies born in 2006 took part in the event, which is held to pray for the babies' health and growth. The winner of the contest is the baby who cries the loudest.

Let's chalk this one up to cultural differences, shall we? The idea may be fairly nonsensical, and it can't be all that pleasant to be in the middle of an 80 Baby Cry-off (though it appears that the babies are paired off for 1-on-1 competition). Regardless, the photos are awesome. I highly recommend checking out the action of the Baby Cry-Off, courtesy of the fine folks at CNN. While my personal favorite is the one above (I call it "Calm Before the Storm, or Baby Staredown") there are plenty of other action photos to choose from.

Discovered via BoingBoing

Mock Drafts Shall Be Graded & Mocked (A reply)

As if this were worthy of response...

1) Oakland takes QB JeMarcus Russell: only JA pulled a boner here. For better or worse, Russell is definitely an Al Davis pick. Remember Jim Plunkett?

You're so right, Jim Plunkett (the NE Patriots top choice who is known for becoming the two time Super Bowl champion quarterback with overachieving moxie after years of physical abuse at the helm of pathetic franchise) is a great comparison to the golden boy, stud prospect who is a consensus all world talent. Its also true that this is a Davis pick, as evinced by the fact that 20+ other GMs passed on Quinn, the once in a life-time talent, and that Al Davis almost never takes a QB in the first round.

2) Detroit takes WR Calvin Johnson: Hahaha. I wrote: "I think everyone is stupid. If you've watched Detroit draft, you know they're committed to drafting WRs. It would be hilarious if they added WR Johnson to their stable. Detroit has a herd of thoroughbreds but don't know how to open the barn door." I was right. It is hilarous. It was the fourth time in five years the Lions chose a wideout very high in the draft. Only one, Roy Williams, has succeeded in Detroit ... if leading them to a 2-14 record is a success. Then again, in Detroit it probably is.

Detroit has a stable of thoroughbreds? Oh I see, their ACTUAL roster doesn't matter. If they meant to have the talent equivalent of Moss, Owens, and Harrison on their squad, then it must be true. Never mind the fact that two of the three "thoroughbreds" that they have picked are no longer on the team anymore. It IS hilarious. Its hilarious that their past draft have been god awful. The fact that they drafted the top talent in the draft (according to LITERALLY everyone who professionally evaluates college talent for the NFL)isn't actually all that humorous. Badcock, do you even know what football is?

Cleveland takes OT Joe Thomas: Wisconsin moment: Thomas was fishing and did not attend the draft. Everyone expected QB Quinn to go to Cleveland. He did go, nineteen picks later. JN didn't predict Quinn, instead blasting away shotgun-style and missing completely. Getting Thomas here and Quinn later is evidence that, as JN argued, perhaps Browns GM Savage isn't so bad.

Ooops, I failed to accurately predict the order of the draft completely. Oh I forget, I was saying who they should pick (Peterson) not only repeating the rumors of who they eventually would.

Arizona takes OT Levi Brown: They may have preferred OT Thomas, but taking an OL this high is a sign that they may actually be making intelligent decisions. Perhaps Dennis Green really is turning that organization around ... oh wait, he's already been shit-canned.

Wow, great strategy. Praise them for going sensibly with the workman-like pick. Can't be wrong. You go badcock, all you have to do now is get really outraged next time the NFL doesn't allow Jake Plummer to wear the beret of fallen military hero before the game, and you've graduated the Sean Salisbury school of sports journalism. ESPN can't be far off. Pussy.

Washington takes S LaRon Landry: All the experts predicted the Redskins should have taken a D-Lineman. I agree that they should have taken the best D-Lineman available (Okoye). Still, Gibbs went for the excitement of a great young safety tandem and the strength of Landry's character who comes from an incredible football family.

Wow, a great family? I guess they'll send Shaun Taylor a card in prison. Too bad neither of them will catch an interception. Pussy.

Minnesota takes RB Peterson: RD & JD were correct in predicting that the Vikes wouldn't pass on such a great talent, despite questions about his injurious past. They take the lead at 2 for 7. One thing for Vikes fans to worry about is that once you break a clavicle, you're gonna keep on breaking it.

badcock, must I remind you that just because you're a Jew doesn't mean than you are automatically a doctor or a lawyer (I'm guessing that you violated the mother/father clause of Judaism and are going around pretending that just because your father is Jewish that makes you part of the club. Wrong. Read the rules. {Just for the record, I have no idea})

Jerious Norwood of IDYFT only predicted the first seven picks, but did toss in a prediction for the Packers who were at least smart enough to not trade for Moss. Norwood's pick was not even close to the actual pick of DT Justin Harrell.

And you're right, my mock draft wasn't accurate, I guess that makes it a good thing that you didn't even try. Even I have to admit that your right about that. For all the kids out there, don't try. It'll only bring you heartache and pain. And that's even if you don't know a prick like badcock.

Mock Drafts Shall Be Graded & Mocked

Mock drafts are forgotten the moment the real draft begins. But, lest we allow these "experts" to repeat themselves, let's examine the quality of their predictions as analyzed in this here column.

Once again, our esteemed panel consists of Robert Davis of Football's Future, NFL Network Analysts Charles Davis and Jamie Dukes at, James Alder of and Jerious Norwood of IDYFT.

1) Oakland takes QB JeMarcus Russell: only JA pulled a boner here. For better or worse, Russell is definitely an Al Davis pick. Remember Jim Plunkett?

2) Detroit takes WR Calvin Johnson: Hahaha. I wrote: "I think everyone is stupid. If you've watched Detroit draft, you know they're committed to drafting WRs. It would be hilarious if they added WR Johnson to their stable. Detroit has a herd of thoroughbreds but don't know how to open the barn door." I was right. It is hilarous. It was the fourth time in five years the Lions chose a wideout very high in the draft. Only one, Roy Williams, has succeeded in Detroit ... if leading them to a 2-14 record is a success. Then again, in Detroit it probably is.

Cleveland takes OT Joe Thomas: Wisconsin moment: Thomas was fishing and did not attend the draft. Everyone expected QB Quinn to go to Cleveland. He did go, nineteen picks later. JN didn't predict Quinn, instead blasting away shotgun-style and missing completely. Getting Thomas here and Quinn later is evidence that, as JN argued, perhaps Browns GM Savage isn't so bad.

Tampa Bay takes DE Gaines Adams: Only JA predicted this, pulling even with the rest of the experts at 1 for 4.

Arizona takes OT Levi Brown: They may have preferred OT Thomas, but taking an OL this high is a sign that they may actually be making intelligent decisions. Perhaps Dennis Green really is turning that organization around ... oh wait, he's already been shit-canned.

Washington takes S LaRon Landry: All the experts predicted the Redskins should have taken a D-Lineman. I agree that they should have taken the best D-Lineman available (Okoye). Still, Gibbs went for the excitement of a great young safety tandem and the strength of Landry's character who comes from an incredible football family.

Minnesota takes RB Peterson: RD & JD were correct in predicting that the Vikes wouldn't pass on such a great talent, despite questions about his injurious past. They take the lead at 2 for 7. One thing for Vikes fans to worry about is that once you break a clavicle, you're gonna keep on breaking it.

Baltimore takes DE Jamaal Anderson: JD was correct and is alone in the lead at 3 for 8. I didn't think that the Ravens could pass on a guy with that name. I hope they wear the same size. The RB is 5'll 237; the DE is 6'6 279: perhaps not. It's a shame that the Ravens tossed aside Jamal, their all-time leading rusher in all categories. It would have made a sweet buddy picture ... the original odd couple!

Miami takes WR Ted Ginn, Jr.: Our experts flubbed this one and Miami fans booed this selection, opining for Brady Quinn. This fully demonstrates how stupid and reactionary Dophins fans are. Embarrassing. If Ginn, Jr. hadn't been injured by his teammates piling on him after he returned the opening kickoff of the Natty Title game, he would have had an MVP performance. In Miami, Gold-Plated Quinn would be busted in South Beach at BonerPalace snorting lines of coke off of ... well, you know.

Houston takes DT Amobi Okeye: A good pick of an impressive young player, but the shitbucket OL is the most rusty. Our experts hershey-squirted this pick too. Why so shocked? The defense-minded Texans took Mario Williams over Bush or Young, remember?

Jerious Norwood of IDYFT only predicted the first seven picks, but did toss in a prediction for the Packers who were at least smart enough to not trade for Moss. Norwood's pick was not even close to the actual pick of DT Justin Harrell.

So how expert were these mock drafters?

Robert Davis of Football's Future was 2 for 10. That's 20% accuracy. Another way to say that is: 80% wrong.

Big Jamie Dukes of was 3 for 10. That's only 70% wrong, and we have a wiener!

Jerious Norwood of IDYFT was 1 for 7. That's 86% wrong.

Charles Davis of was 1 for 10. That's 90% wrong. We have a boner!

James Alder of was 1 for 10. That's also 90% wrong We have a boner!

And what about Mel Kiper, Jr.? His mock draft was so super-secret, you had to peel off some Benjamins just to get a peek. How do you the suppose the "Draft Guru" fared? Sorry, his mock draft is still so earth-shattering that you have to pay ESPN to see it ... even though the real draft is already over. Guess what? We have a boner!

Fabian Barthez Quickly Surrenders

Barthez, who many of us remember for several dozen "quirky" decisions on the pitch, and one brilliant move off the pitch, is having some troubles on his retirement tour in Nantes.

Says the AP:

Barthez, a World Cup and European Championship winner with France, has made costly errors in recent matches - and was booed and jeered by some Nantes fans during Saturday's game. Several fans surrounded Barthez's car as he left the Stade de la Beaujoire, kicked the vehicle and tried to pull him out.

FC Nantes is a team with a long and perhaps too-proud history, and they are apparently looking pretty squarely at relegation (for the first time in decades). Combine that with the easy scapegoating of a goalie (Good Lord, it can be an awfully lonely position) and add in Barthez's own penchant for forcing the scapegoat tag on himself, this is quickly becoming a very dangerous place for Fabien to ply his wares.

It is difficult to wonder at the motivation of Nantes President Rudi Roussillon, who talked the engimatic Barthez out of retirement, and now has offered Barthez private security to finish out the season. It clearly isn't going well, and there seems to be very little to be gained by having Barthez stay on there. Perhaps Rudi is looking for a way to get rid of Fabien, and then comfort the widow Evangelista? As the Bible says, "Beware of guys named Rudi bearing gifts"*

Regardless, Barthez is having none of it. Again, from the AP:

"I'm not going to play again with Nantes,'' Barthez said on France-Info radio Monday. "A gang of five or six guys came to block me from leaving the stadium. They were there to rub me out, as they said.''...

"With Nantes, I would have gone to the end, but that goes beyond the realm of sports.''....

"I am not ready, I will never live like that,'' he said. "I no longer feel secure like that, so I prefer to leave.''

This is at once a very inglorious and yet apt way for Barthez' career to end. We'll miss you, you crazy French bastard!

*Towards the back, somewhere.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Draft recap

Obviously a dorky mock draft deserves it counterpart in the form of a dorky cap recap.

Raiders: A+ Jamarcus Russell will be one of the top five QB's in the league within 3 years. His physical ability overshadows his natural leadership, poise under pressure, and innate ability to win. This selection alone would merit a top grade, but the fact that the Raiders also picked up a top TE prospect, and promising DE prospect in later rounds is only icing on the cake. The Randy Moss trade, while arguably unfortunate from the Raiders perspective, doesn't factor into the draft grade.

Vikings: A+ Adrian Peterson is also a franchise player. You have your first round picks, and then you have special talents that impact the game every time they step on the field. I think Peterson (assuming health, as with any other player) will be a Hall of Famer. And the fact that he's a running back will mean that his impact will be felt sooner than that of Russell's, who will almost certainly be on the bench for the majority of his first season in the league. Besides their first pick, Minnesota was able to add Sidney Rice, the WR out of South Carolina with their 2nd pick. Rice will be a really good WR in time, and probably at the top of the Vikes depth chart immediately (not that that means very much at this point). Based on this draft, the Vikings will make the playoffs this year.

Packers B: Green Bay had a good draft, but it has to be disappointing for Packers fans not to wind with Randy Moss after all that pre-draft speculation (especially since Oakland gave him away for a 4th AND he's reportedly going to sign a ONE year, $3 million deal in place of his previous contract for two years and $20 million. Oh yeah, and its been confirmed be two NFL teams that Moss has been clocked in the low 4.3's in Florida this week. Fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck.) Oh yeah, the players: They got a really good D tackle out of Tennessee, and a solid RB from Nebraska. A workman-like performance, whatever.

Savages C-: Landry is one of the best players in this draft, though apparently he doesn't have good ball skills (ie he doesn't intercept the ball when he's got a chance.) This is not a good thing for a team that broke a personal record for fewest turnovers last year. When you factor in that they didn't have their 3rd AND 4th rounders because of their trade for TJ Duckett, backup RB for the Detroit Lions. Oh, and they didn't have their 2nd because a trade last year for a backup LB (shockingly still on their own team); Its amazing they're as good as they are.

Great Goals: Mario Kempes

Clearly, Maradona is going to die sooner rather than later. And when it happens, the blogs and the ESPNs are going to be talking about Maradona's classic goals, be it the 60 yard run, or the the Hand of God goal.

And then they will talk about how Argentinian football has improved, with Veron, Batitusta, Crespo and especially Lionel Messi.

Forgotten will be the clean living, deadly scoring Mario Kempes.

So we celebrate him now. Enjoy the skinny, powerful Kempes.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Things I Learned From Mel Kiper Today

I watched way too much draft coverage, especially considering my Maryland Savages had only 1 pick for the day and then decided not to improve a Defensive Line that made every running back it faced an All Star for a week. Don't get me wrong, LaRon Landry is probably going to be a hell of a safety, and teams will think twice about sending receivers over the middle against Washington next year. But if they can get 4 yards per carry on the ground, why bother trying? Ugh.

But as the draft wore on, I learned what makes an NFL player, in the Gospel According to Mel.

1. Speed. 4.4 in the 40? Awesome. No matter the position, that's a great time. 4.5 in the 40? No matter what the position, that sucks, and you should be plying your wares in Canada, douchebag.

2. Vertical Leap. If you can't jump more than 2 1/2 feet in the air, we're not going to hear about your leaping ability. Sure, some might say that a 30 inch vertical is pretty impressive, and that may be. Hell, depending on the player, 25 inches might be good. Nope. Fuck you, 29 inch vertical having players.

3. Arm Length. I really don't understand why I heard about "short arms" or "long arms" as much as I did today. Aside from knocking passes down at the line of scrimmage, or extending to catch a pass, I don't understand why this is a stat Mel is so obsessed with. Look, Mr. Fantastic could have 60 foot arms if he wanted. I'd still take The Thing on my O-Line.

Also, I learned that Miami drafting Ted Ginn Jr had something to do with Quinn, the Mighty Papist. I watched Keyshaun and Mel debate this point, and I gotta say Keyshaun was the stand in for me--I was flat-out flummoxed by Kiper's line of reasoning. Of couse, Key has got to be annoyed when Kiper starts talking about speed or vertical leap, as Johnson has proved himself to be valuable in his latter years, even as he lacks those two components in his game these days. His arm length, however, is stupifying.

Friday, April 27, 2007

RIP, Alan Ball

Ask The Joes--Outside the Show Part One

The other day I was switching between Guitar Hero II and God of War II, and reading some of Larry Gonick's fine work, and it hit me--"I have all the winners from Season 2 of Pros vs. Joes, and they have shown willingness to answer my questions. Why am I just asking them about Pros Vs. Joes? They might have all sorts of wisdom to impart."

I was so excited my this idea, I played some more video games for a few weeks, and then asked the Joes. Here's what I asked:

Pretend you have a daughter. At what age do you let her date? When do you let her date the Varsity Quarterback?

Before we get to the responses, I'd like to say the response was pretty amazing from the Joes. I'd like to say that, but I can't, because thus far, it has been pretty underwhelming. But I'm sure that will change in time.

Here are the responses thus far:

Rodney: Talk about veering off PvJ territory. I'm glad I have sons because if I had a daughter she isn't allowed to date till she is out of college. Or her big brothers can help me decide since the varsity QB will probably be one of her brothers. but I will probably be a very overprotective dad with my daughters. Thank goodness I dont have any. Crazy question.

Hey Rodney, let's keep the editorializing about the questions I ask to a minimum. "Crazy question?" Fuck you, pal! Let's see how a real pro handles the question. And by "real pro" I mean "another Joe." Whatever. Rodney has soured me on this whole thing. Way to go, Rodney.

Mahlon: I have a 5 year old daughter. No way, no how. I plan on being the father that shows the poor soul who asks my daughter out my gun permit and a blank toe tag and let him read between the lines. I also will NEVER let my daughter go to a boarding school. I went to one and those girls get turned out in the worst way. One thing that PVJ did is to give my daughter something she can be proud of her old man for doing. She walks around the house quoting lines from my episode and always asking to watch 'daddy on tv'

Jackson: Well, I have a 6 Yr old Daughter, who the other day while we were talking, was not paying any attention to me. So I asked her if she was listening and her reply I will never forget… “Dad… all I heard was blah blah blah blah blah.”

Based on that reply alone, my daughter may never date. However, my wife and I feel very strongly about this subject. The age for dating will be 16. At that time, they will be group dates, no formal “going steady” until they are old enough to actually fall in love, and be ready to make a commitment (After high school). Now if the Varsity QB takes interest in my Daughter, and they are dating regularly after she is 16, I’m OK with that, as long as they aren’t spending time alone, but are off in groups with the WR, TE, D-Line and all of their own dates, in a group atmosphere with good kids who have parents with similar views. It’s much safer to know that your kids especially a daughter are with other kids the same age, who’s parents have the same moral values as you do.

On the eve of the Draft...

An opportunity for more dorky prognostication, I can't resist.

The rumors circling around the draft suggest interesting possible permutations at the top.

Peter King has suggested that Adrian Peterson might need a titanium plate in his clavicle and not be the old Adrian Peterson (whatever that means) before 2008. Peterson claims that he'll be fine by camp. So basically, depending on what teams believe this incredible talent could slide towards the end of the top ten. Obviously its hard to have a firm opinion on this prospect if you don't have a firm medical prognosis. But if this isn't chronic, he will be unbelievably productive for whatever team is lucky enough to draft him.

Its also been suggested by some rumors that the Raiders have been active on many fronts in the days leading up to the draft. Apparently they've opened negotiations with Calvin Johnson, Jamarcus Russell, AND Brady Quinn. One rumor monger has suggested that the Raiders might be extremely close to a deal with the excellent prospect out of Notre Dame (God damn it).

The Raiders have also been rekindling trade talks that involve dumping Randy Moss. (Again, God damn it) As a Raider fan, the prospect of taking Quinn and giving Moss away for less than a first rounder (which is the current scuttlebutt) sucks in no uncertain terms. If thats the way it breaks down, I guess I'll be forced understand that Charlie Weiss is right, and that he'll be the next great QB. A combination of Peyton Manning and Tom Brady. Yeah thats it. Thats the ticket. He's gonna be the best QB ever. If the Raiders didn't take him, they'd have been fools.

Unfortunately, I don't quite believe that yet. But I could if I had to. At least Jamarcus isn't going to Denver.

On a less distressing note, apparently Matt Millen and the Detroit Lions are floating the notion that if they don't get any wondrous offers for Johnson with the 2nd pick, that they'll go ahead and pick the best wide reciever prospect EVER. Thats great guys, though I hope your sure you want someone this talented on your team. I mean, you're the ones that'll have to live with all those TDs and big plays. So just make sure before you commit.

Oh by the way, congratulations to the Packers. Getting a healthy, motivated Randy Moss who'd just love to punish the Vikings for the next few years doesn't suck. God fucking damn it. And if they include Aaron Rodgers in the deal it doesn't make it any better. This blows. Whatever.

So here's my latest mock draft.

Raiders: Russell (please)

Bucs (projected trade with Lions) In exchange for the rest of their day one picks, Gruden gets the Ga Tech receiver.

Browns: Quinn (Apparently the owner might force Savage's hand)

Lions: Considering Matt Millen is an unbelievably terrible GM who has a pathetic draft record, maybe the prospect of extra picks ain't that great. Well at least they're not embarrassed by taking another WideOut this early.

Cardinals: Thomas

Skins: Gaines Adams is a distinct possibility, but I think the Nigerian bad-dream whose supposedly not related to Christian (yeah right) goes here.

Vikes: And Minnesota lucks out. They have a top three talent staring them in the face, and they select... Jamaal Anderson. Hey, he was dominant for one whole year at Arkansas. It's also a distinct possibility that they take Landry from LSU here, or trade down one spot with the Falcons (who take Landry) and then take Anderson. Whatever, this is still super boring and stupid in the long run. But at least their coach is still bald.

And lest we forget...

The Packers at #16: apparently they keep their 1st rounder (God damn it!) They've got Farve for a couple of more years, and won't take a wideout here. Lynch is a possibility, but I think they like Morencey in their new zone blocking scheme enough to go with the TE out of Miami.


The Glorious "Guest Post" - The Flip Side of the NFL Draft

Hello, friends. My name is Ted, and I generally write here, although I can be found in other places (I've been called, probably rightfully so, a whore for sports blogging. I attribute it to having next to nothing else to occupy my time). Today, here at I Dislike, we're going to take a look at the flip side of the NFL Draft - who's going to blow up on fall SATURDAYS next year because of what happens in the first 2 hours at Radio City tomorrow?

Let's get crackin:

The new LSU QB, to replace JaMarcus "The Cannon" Russell (I've never been sure whether that's a self-appointed nickname or not), is probably going to be Matt Flynn. Flynn has starter's experience - in 2005, he threw 7 TD against only 1 INT - and that offense, even in the hands of Gary Crowton as opposed to Jimbo Fisher, is ridiculous. Early Doucet, Alley Broussard, Kieland Williams, Jacob Hester, and - and - potentially the best offensive line in the SEC. If Flynn falters, the job heads to former mega-recruit Ryan Perriloux, who was once likened to Donovan McNabb by recruiting guru Tom Lemming. That makes us wonder: will Perriloux guide the Tigers to 3 straight SEC Title games, losing them all?

The new Oklahoma RB, to replace "All Day," will be a combo of DeMarco Murray and Allen Patrick, with the likely nod going to Murray, who's been running over, around, and above people this spring. In Oklahoma's spring game, he had over 100 yards on the ground and scampered in a similar fashion as to Peterson, but without the penchant for taking big hits because of how high he stands up. Fun with Wikipedia pages allows us to tell you Murray went to high school in Las Vegas, which is always something we respect, because if you've lived 4 years out there, you've probably seen enough to make the Norman boosters look like altar boys. As for Allen Patrick, we just feel bad for that brother. He got carries last year when AP went down (uh, I guess he's AP, too), but he's likely headed to the bench because of the Sin City Scrambler this fall.

The new Notre Dame QB, to replace Brady "The Choke Artist" Quinn, is likely Jimmy Clausen down the road. Clausen's recruiting situation became a national point of intrigue. Both his brothers played at Tennessee, but apparently Fulmer couldn't close that deal (in the interest of full disclosure, I'll admit my aunt works for UT, and she wasn't too happy, either). Clausen has been called "The Kid with the Golden Arm" during his junior season by SI, which likely means he's going to be an utter flop who's unable to beat Michigan, Michigan State, or, ultimately, Navy. People always hype these kids too much. I understand Clausen was 42-0 as a starter in California, but until you see the next Lamar Woodley bearing down on your ass the third Saturday of your September, you can't be called the "next" anything.

The new good Georgia Tech WR, to replace Calvin "If I had anyone other than Reggie Ball, I'd be considered the greatest wideout in the last two decades of college football" Johnson (man, I'm getting editorial with these nicknames), is likely Demaryius "Bay Bay" Thomas, who has looked good in spring outings. Thomas even has a vague physical resemblance - in pads, at least - to CJ. James Johnson is probably the No. 1 out of the gate, but look for "Bay Bay" to become the jaw-dropping, "Aw-man-Brad-Nessler-is-all-excited" receiver that Tech fans crave. If Taylor Bennett can mature into more of a man than Reggie Ball could ever hope to become, then GaTech has a legit shot to reach the ACC Title game again.

And, finally, the new DE at Clemson, to replace Mr. Adams, is likely irrelevant, similar to whom might replace Joe Thomas at Wisconsin. Sure, don't get us wrong, those positions are important - but each school has bigger questions, and potentially bigger answers. In Death Valley, after C.J. Spiller decided not to bail, they have arguably the best RB duo in the country in Spiller and James Davis, already being deemed "Thunder and Lightning." The Bowden Bowl comes early this year; if they win it, look for a big season out of the Tigers, and much happy caressing of Howard's Rock. At Wisco, the most underrated team in America is going to have another good season, mark our words. Bielama is a legitimate coach who learned from one of the best, and who cares about Joe Thomas? Have you seen P.J. Hill run? Dude can block for himself. If Allan Evridge, the K-State transfer, can learn the offense and give it some second gear kick, this team might win the Big 10. We really want to be at "State Street Brats" when that happens. Hell, we want to be anywhere in Madison when that happens.

And yes, we're aware that with both USC wideouts leaving, we should probably discuss the state of that position for the Trojans. It looks like Patrick Turner might be the man, although we were always partial to Ric Flair when he said, "To be the man, you gotta beat the man." We ain't sure who Turner has beaten, but perhaps more importantly, since USC pasted Michigan in the Rose Bowl and has a diverse array of talents coming back, we think you'll hear about them just a bit come August. Thusly, we'll spare you now.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Don't Read Into Brad Childress' Choice of Poem!

April is National Poetry Month, and hey, that's great. We support poetry here, mainly because we're a bunch of liberal arts pansies. I personally think that if you do one thing with your day today, you should read my favorite Paul Durcan poem.

It it thanks to the Pacifist Viking that I knew Brad Childress, apparently looking to grab onto the Marv Levy's mantle of the Intelligent Football Coach, took part in a Poetry Reading at the new ultra-library in Minneapolis.

I didn't know the poem Childress chose. And that is saying something. I hold a BA in English Literature. I focused on poetry. I know what William Carlos Williams was up to, and what Wallace Stevens was all about. When I saw Nikki Giovanni on the TV last week, my first thought wasn't "Who is that?" but "What the fuck is Nikki Giovanni doing in Blacksburg, VA?"

So I don't feel odd saying that I wasn't familiar with Brad Childress' choice of poem, "The Bridge Builder" by Will Allen Dromgoole*. I had never heard of Dromgoole. But according to Wikipedia (I know, I know)...Will Allen is a Lady!

Her poem "The Bridge Builder" is often reprinted and remains quite popular. It has even graced plaques on real bridges such as the Bellows Falls--Vilas Bridge in Connecticut. It continues to be quoted frequently, usually in a religious context or in writings stressing a moral lesson. It is also a favorite of motivational speakers.

So now it becomes to come clear why a NFL coach would love a specific poem, passed on to him by his coach. It's MOTIVATIONAL! And it teaches a moral lesson. I bet it is quite artistic, though. Just kidding. It's probably crap.

But enough--let's look at the poem, and what it means to Vikings fans.

The Bridge Builder

An old man, going a lone highway,
Came, at the evening, cold and gray,
To a chasm, vast, and deep, and wide,
Through which was flowing a sullen tide.

[OK, so the rhyme scheme is a basic aabb, even if it kills me, rhyme scheme. I already know why I didn't ever study this particular poem. But what is Childress getting from it so far? A man, past his prime, faced with crossing a gulf. No big deal--he's on a highway. Surely there is a bridge?]

The old man crossed in the twilight dim;
The sullen stream had no fears for him;
But he turned, when safe on the other side,
And built a bridge to span the tide.

[Wait, how did the old man get across if there wasn't any bridge? Was the old man so powerful that he could swim over a chasm with water in it? Wouldn't that require swimming in the air? Again, this poem is crap]

"Old man," said a fellow pilgrim, near,
"You are wasting strength with building here;
Your journey will end with the ending day;
You never again must pass this way;
You have crossed the chasm, deep and wide
-Why build you the bridge at the eventide?"

[In Childress' mind, the fellow pilgrim is probably Mike Tomlin. Dammit Tomlin, you don't know that your job when you magically get a job that you don't deserve (like flying over a chasm's 'tide') is to build a bridge for the next person behind you, you stupid ungrateful dick!]

The builder lifted his old gray head:
"Good friend, in the path I have come,"
he said,"There followeth after me today
A youth, whose feet must pass this way.
This chasm, that has been naught to me,
To that fair-haired youth may a pitfall be.
He, too, must cross in the twilight dim;
Good friend, I am building the bridge for him."

Watch out Vikings fans. Brad Childress believes that he is working for the next coach, the "youth, whose feet must pass this way." He sees himself as a bridge-builder, and therefore he can do no wrong. He's working for the future!

As someone who knows poetry, this poem strikes me as the work of an unimaginative dullard. Only hacks write a series of couplets, and only really really big hacks give up that rhyme scheme for only one line. If I were a Vikings fan, I'd be quite worried about the subtext of this poem. Distill these 20 lines, and what you get is, "I'm paving the way for the next guy." Beware of guys building for the future, NFL fans. They are planning on losing today. I'd also be worried that my supposed really super-smart coach picked this poem as his favorite. Bad sign, Viking fans. Your coach ain't very smart.

Ye teams of poor kickers - think Mason

Yes, last season many teams had kicker problems, even the once great shankerjact found himself without a job. This draft has someone who can seriously kick - Colorado Buffalo's Mason Crosby. I attend CU and used to live in family housing right next to the practice field for the Buffs. One afternoon I was outdoors with my children and I kept hearing loud thud after thud. I looked up over the fence of the practice field and saw the pig skin flying and assumed from the height and distance that the punter was practicing. As I peaked through the fence I saw it was Mason Crosby kicking from the thirty five yard line with only a three step approach - and he was making some of them (I watched 5, he made 2). That's 75 yards. Here are some of his stats from CU:

He is 66 of 88 which appears to be only a pedestrian 75%, but CU's struggling offence had him kicking 49 of those 88 from beyond 40 yards.

In 2006 he was 19 of 28, but inside 50 he was 17 of 19.

Clutch: In 2005 he was 10-10 in the final 8 1/2 minutes from any distance.

Kick-offs: 138 touch backs on 195 attempts, 88 OVER the end zone. He even kicked a touch back from the 20 yard line (87 yard kick).

Think about it Race-baiters, you need some talent there.

A spot of luck for the Vikings?

Apparently Adrian Peterson has recently undergone surgery on the collarbone he had broken this season. Some are now reporting that though he's supposed to be ready for the season, that he'll miss off season workouts. RBs usually don't need a lot of prep work before they can play at a high level, but some seem to think that this means that he definitely won't be drafted in the top 3 of Saturday's draft. This could be a huge boon to the Vikes, who'd immediately be a playoff team if they added him to their offense. And in the crappy NFC, they could make noise in the playoffs were they able to add a serviceable receiver in the later rounds or free agency.

Something for Nothing?

NFL News Flash ...

The Chiefs gave away outstanding KR/PR Dante Hall to the Rams for nothing more than a fifth round pick. Hall himself was picked in the fifth round, so the Chiefs seem to be thinking ... well, what the fuck are they thinking? That they'll pick up another X-Factor? 5th rounders aren't expected to necessarily make the team, let alone start, let alone be a star.

Although Hall's stats have fallen over the last two years, he has returned 11 kicks or punts for TDs in 97 games. He was the top returner in the NFL for three years straight and remains a threat to go the distance every time he touches the ball. His lifetime average of 24 yards per KR and 10 yards per PR is solid, baby.

Herm Edwards indicates that he wants to make his team younger. So he is flushing away a twenty-eight year old wonder. Watch Edwards dismantle the Chiefs and be glad you're not a KC fan. And the Rams get something for nothing.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Hey, Don't forget my nerdy Mock Draft

I'd hate for this exciting Sports related event to pass me by without having weighed in with my prognostications based on countless hours spent analyzing game tape.

So without further delay...

With the first pick of the 2007 IDYFT Mock Draft the

1) Oakland Raiders should select...

Jamarcus Russell. Yes he's got a strong arm and he's huge, but he also happens to be cool under pressure, a true team leader, and far more accurate than Brady 'if I wasn't a white dude from Notre Dame this wouldn't even be a conversation' Quinn.

Of Course they could select Calvin Johnson, who by all accounts will be a badass. Then again he's always played completely under the radar without any expectation to speak of, and one of his great attributes is that he doesn't have Terrell Owen's attitude. You mean the attitude that had him dominate the Super Bowl with a broken ankle only to lose when Donovan McNabb couldn't deal with his upset tummy? That attitude? As a Raider fan, though I can't complain with either choice, I can't shake the feeling that Russell is going to be absurdly good for a long, long time. Plus, he doesn't have the hands of a little girl. I'm looking at you Culpepper. (You watch, they're going to take Quinn. God damn it. And you know what?, I'll love it!)

2) At this position the Detroit Lions should select Calvin Johnson or Adrian Peterson. Along with Russell, these are the elite players in this draft class. These two guys are probably the surest fire bets to dominate in the NFL for years to come, and will be franchise altering forces for whatever team is smart enough to take them.

That said, the Lions could (and probably will) either trade out of this spot in order to take relative mediocrity out of the media spotlight, or select Gaines Adams. This will reaffirm Matt Millen's standing as the single most obtuse fool in the NFL. He was forced to relinquish this title to Art Shell for one glorious season of ineptitude, but happy days are here again in Motown.

3) Next on the clock are the Cleveland Browns. I actually don't think that Phil Savage is a bad GM. This means that he'll pounce on any one of the three guys mentioned above if available. Assuming that the Lions are, well the Lions, and the Browns must choose between Peterson and Johnson, I think they'd probably go for the RB. However this isn't going to happen because when Detroit trade down, it will be with Tampa Bay, who will then select the Ga Tech WR. Adrian Peterson will be a hall of famer (assuming he stays healthy)

4) As I previously mentioned, I think TB will trade up to get Calvin Johnson with the #2 overall selection. I haven't seen much of him personally, but apparently he's Randy Moss with Marvin Harrison's demeanor. I don't know how the fact that he's a pussy that doesn't seem like he wants to have sex with our white women affects his receiving skills... but everyone else thinks it does, so I'll go with the flow.

5) The Arizona Cardinals will be boring and select the player they should select anyway. Namely, the can't miss Wisconsin product Joe Thomas. I mean a 6'7'' whitey with sweet feet from a Big Ten school can't possibly fail, right? (This bile has nothing to do with Robert Gallery in any way. It doesn't.)

6) The Skins have apparently fallen in love with Calvin Johnson and Jamarcus Russell during the draft evaluation process. They should probably package their number one and their other first day picks and trade up.... Oh wait. they used all of those picks on Rocky Colavitto to serve as their backup weakside linebacker, and TJ Duckett to serve as a free agent backup on the Lions. Well, at least their fans suck dick. Just kidding fellas. Anywho, they'll probably take Gaines Adams, and he'll probably eventually turn into a pro-bowl performer at some point.

7) Ah, here come the Vikings. It kind of sucks to be in this position. You've already committed yourself to Travis Johnson as the long term answer at QB (congrats on that by the way), so you can't take Brady Quinn. This will make it extra fun when he beats you in the playoffs at some point. So I guess you'll probably take a solid 'bald guy' choice like the Mississippi product, LB Patrick Willis. Boy, you'll really be able to set your watch by that kind of player, and besides its doubtful that he'll make a flamboyant show of the hookers that he purchases. The best choice would be LaRon Landry out of LSU. A great cover saftey is like having a little black dress in your wardrobe. A must.

I think that covers all the teams of interest to the vast readership of this site... except

the Pack at pick #16.

Conventional wisdom has them taking either Marshawn Lynch out of Cal or the speedy TE from Miami, Greg Olsen. Lynch would be a great choice, but I'm going to project a trade in this spot. The GBP will ship the sixteenth choice in the 2007 draft to the Oaktown Raiders in exchange for the rights to Wide Receiver Randy Moss. The Raiders will then use the pick to select Ted Ginn out of THE Ohio State University. I can't say I approve of this pick, as I don't think Ginn is better than any number of other Wideouts in this draft, but hey I just report the facts

Tall Draft o' Bitter: 2007 Mock Draft Analysis

Ah, the Mock Draft: the NFL season is only four months away.

This esteemed collection of potential boners (oh, or perhaps wise sages) are competing for the right to sleep in God's very own bed for one night (some restrictions apply).

Robert Davis of Footballs Future (not sure where they want the apostrophe), NFL Network Analysts Charles Davis and Jamie Dukes at (never heard of them), and Mel Kiper, Jr. Well it was going to be him, but he is such a lofty genius that you have to give ESPN money to subscribe to "Insider."

Hey, up inside your ass with a bundle of sticks, ESPN! Instead, it'll be James Alder of

1) Oakland Raiders: RD, CD and JD all predict Jamarcus Russell, QB LSU. Only JA expects Calvin Johnson, WR Georgia Tech, arguing that the Raiders rarely pick a 1st round QB. I'm not convinced by him.

2) Detroit Lions: RD is alone with Gaines Adams, DE, Clemson. CD is alone with Adrian Peterson, RB, Oklahoma. JD is alone with Joe Thomas, T, Wisconsin. JA is alone with JaMarcus Russell. I think everyone is stupid. If you've watched Detroit draft, you know they're committed to drafting WRs. It would be hilarious if they added WR Johnson to their stable. Detroit has a herd of thoroughbreds but don't know how to open the barn door.

3) Cleveland Browns: RD,CD, JD & JA are unanimous in expecting vastly overrated Brady Quinn, QB, Notre Dame to get broken in Cleveland. Cleveland has a bad enough front office to follow this boner-pulling advice. Hey Brady, try not to fumble too much next year, ok? Good luck with that.

4) Tampa Bay Buccaneers: RD, CD & JD like Calvin Johnson, WR, Georgia Tech here. 1st round WRs rarely live up to the hype, folks. JA thinks the Bucs will add youth to their D line with Gaines Adams, DE Clemson.

5) Arizona Cardinals: RD, CD & JA like Joe Thomas, OT, Wisconsin. JD thinks Gaines Adams, DE, Clemson. The Cardinals, like the Lions, blow loads of draft picks and $$ on talent at WR. The best O-lineman in the nation is the smart pick, which means the Cardinals won't do it.

6) The Three-Time World Champion Washington Redskins:
Everyone believes that Washington will take a defensive lineman. But who? Based on position, DT would be my top pick for someone to work with Cornelius Griffin (best Redskins D-lineman). However, the DE position is good only on paper, with injury-prone getting-older ends. They've lacked a pass rush from this position for years. Based on best-player-available ...

RD and JA both believe that freakish 19 year old Nigerian-born college graduate Amobi Okoye, DT, Louisville is a huge stud who achieves great penetration and blasts ball-carriers in the face with a full load. Okoye ("The Nigerian Knuckle") says (probably with a cute accent): "Sometimes I've gotten beat physically going against people, but I get up and say, 'I'll keep going until you win'."

CD rates pass-rushing Gaines Adams at DE a better likelihood.

JD gives the nod to Alan Branch, DT, Michigan but hedges: "Would not be surprised if Skins: a) Traded down; b) drafted Amobi Okoye; c) drafted Jamaal Anderson."

I don't know what the hell he's talking about but it sounds good to me, like a nectarine on a nipple.

In any event, I think the Redskins will take Okoye AND he will prove to be the best lineman in the draft, Def Rookie of the Year. And the Washington Redskins win the Superbowl in the 2007 season: you read it here first.

Back to shitty teams. Up next on the dais, 7) Minnesota Vikings: RD and JD think Adrian Peterson, RB, Oklahoma is too good to pass up. CD and JA like Jamaal Anderson, DE, Arkansas. The Vikings definitely like blowing loads of draft picks on DEs, but ought to take the RB.

8) Atlanta Falcons : RD and CD think it'll be LaRon Landry, S, LSU. JD likes Jamaal Anderson. JA goes for Adrian Peterson. Another RB, really? The Falcons have a lot of picks and must get quality WRs. It's rare that I advocate this, so you ought to be writing it down.

9) Miami Dolphins: RD and JD think the Dolphins will be smart and grab Levi Brown, OT, Penn St. CD and JA and ME think the Dolphins will once again pick another D recruit while ignoring how truly shitty their offense is. CD thinks Okoye, JA thinks DT Alan Branch.

10) Houston Texans: RD likes explosive would've-been-Nat'l Champ MVP-but-was-injured Ted Ginn, WR, Ohio St. CD and JD thinks the Texans will be smart and grab OT Levi Brown. JA thinks they'll address their D-backfield with S LaRon Landry. I could fucking care less what the Houston Armericans do. This team is a pile of shitbuckets, but O-line is definitely their most glaringly-rusted shitbucket.

Badcock, You Done Say What?

Much, much more relevant than mock turtle drafts: Football Outsider reviews the draft six years after the fact. How did your team do in the 2001 draft?.

Redskins fans ought to relive the December, 2005 blowout (sweep!) of the Dallas Cowboys which secured a playoff spot two seasons ago. When everything was awsome and grand, and the joys ran like honey from tiny oysters. Dig it, true believers.

Least Surprising News Ever

The winner of a Text-Messaging Contest (and $25,000) is a 13 year old white girl named Morgan.

According to the article, Morgan sends an average of 4000 texts per MONTH. Enjoy your inevitable carpal tunnel syndrome.

For no particular reason, we were rooting for the runner-up & West Coast champion, Eli Tirosh.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

RIP Track and Field Innovator Parry O'Brien

I'll be honest--I'd never heard of this guy until I read his obituary, but it seems pretty clear that when it comes to completely changing how a particular field event is done, he's right up there with Dick Fosbury.

Parry O'Brien, way back in the 1950's, developed the shotput technique that seems commonplace today, starting with his back towards the final release point, and spinning 180 degrees to build up momentum. That manuever is actually called the O'Brien Glide.

O'Brien's ability and technique made him dominant, winning 2 Golds & 1 silver in three Olympics, and getting fourth place in his final Olympics. Also, from the linked above LA Times article:

"At his peak, O'Brien won 116 consecutive competitions. He was the first shotputter to exceed 60 feet and extended the world record from 59 feet, 3/4 inch in 1953 to 63 feet, 4 inches in 1959, raising it 16 times."

O'Brien was also ahead of his time in seeking mental advantages through what must have been considered odd alternative techniques back in the day. The LA Times article quotes a Time interview with O'Brien from 1956:

O'Brien practiced yoga, seeking to "dig deep into what you might call an inner reserve of strength," he told Time. He also psyched himself up for meets before that became a common practice among athletes. Time reported he would play tapes of his voice that reminded him to maintain his form and speed and ended with, "And beat them! Beat them all!"

All in all, sounds like a very interesting guy. Lots more of interesting stuff about him in the article.

Monday, April 23, 2007

The Black Panther Underwent Surgery Today

No, not that Black Panther, ya nerds. I'm talking about soccer legend Eusebio.

65 year old Eusebio had to undergo surgery to unclot an artery that was slowing the flow of blood to his brain. The story isn't clear whether the surgery was a success or not, but since it doesn't seem to include any obviously bad news, we will hope for the best and that Eusebio will be alright.

For those of you not familiar with Eusebio, he is simply of the finest soccer players of all-time. He averaged more than a goal a game for his club team Benfica (and considering that was 715 appearances, that is really, really remarkable). He was striking for the creativity and speed he brought on the ball. Coupled with that sneaky way of moving was an absolute thunderbolt shot. He shot with tremendous power both on the run and in free kick situations.

So get better soon, Eusebio, aka The Black Pearl aka The Black Panther! Enjoy some highlights, ya'll.

The Glorious Guest Post: The Globalization of Basketball, in One Series

Hello, friends. My name is Ted, and I frequently write here, although I can also be found in other places.

A few weeks ago, I made contact with the good people at I Dislike Your Favorite Team, who told me I could write - on a trial basis, since everything I do is pretty shoddy anyway. I've been meaning to actually contribute something to them for a while, and I would use the excuse of "being busy," although let's be honest - it's 12:55pm on a Monday (EST), I've been at work for three hours, and I've done approximately one thing of relevance. I think "lazy" might be a better term than "busy" for my inactivity.

So, here goes, er, nothing (hopefully not in the literal sense). I watched my first full NBA game - i.e. all four quarters - in weeks last night, in the form of Nuggets vs. Spurs, Game 1. I had some thoughts, not the least of which is that I love Kevin Harlan, and I needed a place to write 'em down. So, here we go now:

David Stern frequently talks about the globalization of the NBA; in one humorous interview, in fact, a reporter used "the treatment Oklahoma City gave the league" as an example, to which Stern barked, "How is THAT globalization?" Regardless, it seems to be a significant issue for one of the sharper minds in sports management.

The globalization of the NBA has taken various forms over the past few years: the development of Yao Ming from an All-Star-votes-sucking-sideshow to a legitimate MVP candidate (prior to his injury); the diversity of a Suns roster, as guided by a coach who no one outside of Italy had any clue about a half-decade ago, that has helped them to become one of the NBA's centerpiece franchises of the past four years; the sheer fact that other nations clubbing us over the head like baby seals in international competitions are frequently using rosters comprised mostly of NBA players; and, of course, the San Antonio Spurs.

2/3 of the Spurs "Big Three" - and it seems almost every team these days has a "Big Three," even if you have to loop Shane Battier into it for Houston - are foreign. In fact, 3/3 of it are: Duncan is from the Virgin Islands, but he's been doing his shake and bake in TX for so long, you come to think of him as some guy named Cliff, wearing a 10-gallon hat and dropping a lot of "Goshes" over getting tickets to the Rodeo the same night as Martina McBride's performance. Alright, maybe not - but the fact is, the Spurs always have an internationally diverse roster (RC Buford must have a crapload of frequent flyer miles), and they always have a legitimate shot to win it all.

This series they're currently embroiled in, versus the Nuggets, is interesting along those lines. Last night, for example, Beno Udrih - a Slovenian who kind of looks like he's using the same stylist as the Bobcats' Walter Hermann - was often guarding Linas Kleiza, a Lithuanian three-point specialist who has a vague physical resemblance to a beefier Macaulay Culkin circa 1990. The Udrih - Kleiza defensive battle - all floppy hair and mis-timed shots, elbows and knees flying every which way - might come to define the series as other battles (Bowen vs. Anthony/Iverson, etc) essentially cancel each other out.

If it's not Udrih vs. Kleiza, it might be Tim Duncan vs. NeNe (Hilario, although he doesn't seem to want his last name used by anyone). NeNe is Brazilian, which means he should be good at soccer, just like Duncan should be good at swimming. I guess weird things happen on the road to 40 Games in 40 Nights. NeNe's got a gimpy knee, which means Marcus Camby, the most underrated player in the NBA right now (dude finished first in BPG and fifth in RPG, yet gets no love) might start picking up Duncan. Camby's from Hartford, which isn't foreign but might as well be (I live there - I should know). The point is, after all these parentheticals, another key battle in this series - the entire Western Conference, for chrissakes, because if the Spurs lose first round, the world is reset on its axis - is defined by two non-American bred players going head to head in the post.

Top of the key on occasion in this one? The human flop festival, Manu Ginobili, an Argentinian of great distinction who has managed to never get killed for something he did on a playing surface, is periodically picked up by Eduardo Najera, the third Mexican-born player to ever lace 'em up for Stern's Association. Najera, who might be one of the most relevant people that Kelvin Sampson ever begot unto the professional ranks, is a stingier defender than people give him credit for, but Ginobili - a sixth man only in spirit (and stat sheet) - is an offensive force when he wants to be.

The next time Stern wants to wax poetic about the globalization of the game, he should sit courtside at Pepsi or AT&T Centers. You can talk all you want about Yao Ming vs. Andrei Kirilenko and Mehmet Okur, but the other key battle in that series features T-Mac (of Bartow, Florida!) vs. Deron Williams (of Parkersburg, West Virginia!). Blabber until you're blue in the face of Dirk, but he's being made to look like a biatch against the Warriors by guys like Monta Elliss (of Mississippi!) and Al Harrington (of New Jersey!).

No, no - to really see the influence that basketball has on our planet, the almost gravity-sucking (that's for you, Kevin Harlan) pull of international talent to the NBA, take a gander at Spurs vs. Nuggets. Virgin Islands vs. Brazil, Lithuiana vs. the former USSR, Mexico vs. Argentina. These battles should be reserved for every fourth year on international soccer pitches, but nay, friend: we're getting 'em right now, for the next week and a half, as Carmelo (from Baltimore! OK, bad example...) tries to get that monkey off his back. He's gonna need a passport, a translator dictionary, and a Fodor's to do it, apparently.

Or, you know, if you're not into international effect on the game, just look at Udrih's hair. It's pretty cool. I know Eva's having second thoughts...

Sunday, April 22, 2007

S-Hart vs. J-Souh, a Star Tribune Battle Rap

In this blog, I've taken my shots at the columnists who write for the local papers. Some of my earliest sports commentary ever to be found online is my argument for ripping Bob Sansevere, which I sent to Deadspin. I called Tom Powers a Stupid Fat Fuck, which he is.

And hell yes, it's easy to make fun of Sid.

Very recently, I suggested that the Big 3 columnists of The Star Tribune have roles to play. That Sid is the owner apologist, and that Reusse and Souhan are the fans who vacillate between love and hate of a team. If things are going well, Reusse and Souhan are unlikely to point out potential problems. They'll just celebrate. When things are going poorly, they will pile on like a Sumo.

So, clearly there are times when the Sid and the Kids are in disagreement. Here's a fine example. Sid's column. Souhan's column.

Let's construct a dialogue (using real quotes!):

Sid: The Wilf family, owners of the Vikings, thinks it is very necessary to have a new stadium so the Vikings can compete with the other NFL teams.

Souhan: Wilf commissioned a lengthy "Code of Conduct" that nobody will ever read, and his dealings with local officials in his search for a stadium has followed no logical or productive pattern.

Sid: And even though Wilf says the team has lost money the past two years, there isn't any thought of selling the team for a big profit like the previous owner did

Big Blue Monkey: This is clearly fucking bullshit. It takes some magical accounting to make an NFL franchise to appear to lose money.

Sid: Maybe I am one of the few optimists. But I look for a much-improved record by the Vikings this season with a coaching staff in its second year and in a division where they can have a good chance to compete and win. I know that the Wilfs want to win, and they won't be satisfied until the Vikings dominate the NFL like they did in the 1970s.

Souhan: This is the Vikings' problem, as well. Owner Zygi Wilf's decisions -- firing Mike Tice and hiring Brad Childress, Fran Foley and Rick Spielman -- were the result of his lack of a guiding philosophy. Wilf's standard for hiring someone apparently is, "He said what I wanted to hear."

fight, fight, fight!

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Jason Sehorn, You Are Not Fooling Me

Dear Jason:

You've got most of America fooled, I think. Your Purloined Letter/The Prestige secret of hiding in plain sight has got everyone looking the other way.

And brother, I know you must be bored. No longer in the NFL, dealing with a wife who seemed raspy voiced and hot, but whose political views are just barely to the left of Nixon--it must get tiring for you, friend*.

But, dammit man. You are showing a lot of chutzpah. I'm sure as white bread as you are, that's still a term you must of learned whilst in NYC. Maybe you could get away being a correspondent on ABC News, but you got greedy, Martin.

You simply can't show up as the Saturday Anchor of ABC News, with a fake name and fake biography, and a couple of slight make-up adjustments, and expect us not to notice.

Prove me wrong, "David Muir". I want to see Jason Sehorn and "David Muir" in the same room, photographed together.

*You aren't my friend. You are still a NY Giant, and while I don't remember you having much of an impact in any games against my team of Noble Savages, I consider you an enemy all the same.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Blogger Round-Up

My fellow Georgetown fan at Leave the Man Alone has what sounds like good news about Jeff Green and Roy Hibbert. Considering that no one has given Florida a better game than Georgetown did last year, if those guys come back, Georgetown would have to be preseason Top 3. We at IDYFT are not above noticing and commenting on the fact that the Head Chick in Charge used the phrase, "On my knees.", which perked us up. We admit--we are not men; we are 14 year old boys who dress up in man costumes. We admit that. We embrace that. You find that charming. [WINK]

The bloggers at City Pages have been busy, and have lots of fun stuff. Corey Anderson has some thoughts on the New Vikings Stadium plan (which is almost $1 BILLION DOLLARS). Peter Schilling Jr, who may or may not be the son of that guy who did the sequel to Space Oddity, blogs about how the Twins sweeping the Mariners is actually a once-in-a-decade event. Demko, not satisfied with the crappiness of MLS soccer, digs into the prospects at the bottom of the table A-League, The Minnesota Thunder.

To be fair, there have been plenty of years when the Thunder had the talent to beat half of the MLS teams. If the Thunder could secure the funding for a soccer-specific stadium, I have no doubt they would be in the MLS before you knew what happened. Which leads to an interesting thought--would US soccer as a whole improve if relegation were being used here? Let's say the Thunder finish at the top of the A-League this year; the following year, they could count on proceeds from playing the LA Galaxy w/Beckham in tow. The financing for a relatively cheap stadium (anywhere from 1/4 to 1/50th of the proposed Vikings Stadium) would probably come pretty quick after that.

Moving on...

We blogged about the very weird baserunning mistakes Carl Crawford made a few games back. But Bat-Girl makes us feel very inadequate, because she doesn't just blog about the mistakes, and type some derogatory bullshit. No, she re-enacts it, with Legos. It is this kind of work that makes me feel like a half-assed blogger. And I swear, I'm using my whole ass.

The Lads of The Big Picture say that however you celebrate 4/20, Nate Newton did it better. Also, apparently, one of their buddies started a soccer blog, called The Beautiful Game. Check it out. We might.

You'll Never Blog Alone is getting lazy--not updated in a week? That's not something a crush of mine would do.

Patrick Reusse, Where is Your Editor?

I'm not sure how the following paragraph made it into print:

The Wolves fired Dwane Casey, an energetic black fellow, as coach when he was 20-20. And now they are bringing back Wittman, clearly a Caucasian, who led the lads to a 12-30 charge down the stretch.

You might think I'm taking that out of context, but go and read for yourself. See if I am. Aside from a sentence mentioning some black Civil Rights leaders in the Twin Cities, there really isn't much there. I'm assuming that Reusse is trying to say that its too bad the black community didn't push harder to keep Casey on board. But what a fucking weird way to go about it, yeah?

Thursday, April 19, 2007

We Said Good Things About Messi, Right?

I think we did sing the praises of Lionel Messi back in the day (by back in the day, I mean about 8 months ago).

Argentina benched him against Germany in the World Cup. Given the way he's been fucking La Liga, it is possible that the Argentinians have been second-guessing that decision. But of course, it would be easy to say, "Hey, a lot of his goals in La Liga have been keyed by some pretty incredible play by Ronaldhino, Tiger Wood's Lesbian Cousin.

That may be valid for some of his goals this year, but take a look at this one, which I became aware of via the Best Hard News Soccer Blog (we love you, Sanford).

This goal is all Messi, and a little shoddy defense--but all the same, this goal is just one man against the world.

If you haven't seen it, enjoy.

Mission Accomplished! aka If Kevin McHale gets fired the terrorists have already won!

One day removed from the tank-job that was the final 46 games of the Wolves season (over which they went a 12-34) any sliver of optimism that may have come from securing a lottery pick this year was tempered by the announcement that the entire Wolves brain trust would be coming back next year.

Seriously, ugh. What do you have to do to get fired around here? In a chat session on ESPN, John Hollinger was asked if the James Dolan/Isiah Thomas tandem (Knicks) would go down as the most incompetent Owner/GM combo is NBA history. His response?

"Glen Taylor. Kevin McHale. Game Over."

Okay, it's just one guy's opinion but to have anyone whose job it is to discuss NBA basketball call your chief basketball decision-makers the most incompetent in NBA history (while also channeling Private Hudson's famous meltdown from Aliens) is seriously saying something. In fact, it made me think of someone else that has been accused of being the least competent person to ever hold his position. Hmmm... now that I think about it, there are a few similarities. Both take lengthy vacations to go hunting and fishing. Both avoid press conferences except where absolutely necessary and even then refuse to answer difficult questions.

Other similarities...

GWB: Potential successor: Former NYC Mayor Rudy Guliani
KMH: Potential successor: Fred “The Mayor” Hoiberg

KMH: Declared #1 GM in America by Forbes magazine.
GWB: Declared President of the United States of America by the supreme court

GWB: Has a habit of finding a convenient scapegoat (George Tenet, a “few bad apples”)
KMH: Has a habit of finding a convenient scapegoat (Flip Saunders, Dwayne Casey)

KMH: Declared the low-post area his “torture chamber”
GWB: Turned Iraq, Cuba, and Afghanistan and several unknown European countries into his torture chamber.

GWB: Federal spending increased 42% during his tenure and he turned a balanced budget into a $300B+ per year deficit.
KMH: Wolves salaries have climbed 19% more than the median NBA salary during his tenure. On the hook for $28M+ of contracts to Mark Blount, Marko Jaric, Mike James and Troy Hudson in 2009-2010.

GWB: Worst high-profile selections: Harriet Miers, John Bolton, too many others to count
KMH: Worst high-profile selections: Ndudi Ebi, Will Avery
KMH: Fashion faux pas: those god-awful sweaters
GWB: Fashion faux pas: Flight suit
KMH: Lame duck who is destroying my favorite basketball team.
GWB: Lame duck who may very well destroy everything else in the world.

I said it before and I'll say it again. Ugh.

Burns Baby Burns!

If I was leading a series 3-0 (even though it was obviously about to go 3-1) and thoroughly outclassing a good team while doing it, I'm pretty sure the last thing I'd suggest is riling that demoralized team up by sucker punching a soft, oft-concussed, well-liked Swede. No, not me - Kim Johnsson.

Even as the Wild had put the game out of reach on Tuesday, I had no confidence that they would be able to solve Anaheim's trap and interference tactics in game 5. Now that Brent Burns has gotten into his second fight of the season and dropped Corey Perry and Boogaard spent the final minute of the game 4 stalking the ice, I'm not so sure.

Tonight's Wild game in Anaheim is going to be a real barn-burner. Even with a 10:30 pm ET start time, you should try to catch the opening period as it should have plenty of hitting. The Wild need to keep emotions in check a little as Anaheim are the more physical skating team and have been destroying the Wild on face-offs but I'll be surprised if the Wild don't come out hot and jump on Anaheim a little tonight.

They say familiarity breeds contempt and right now the Wild want to get real familiar with the Ducks. Game on.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Ukraine Not Weak! Ukraine Strong!

Hey, Congratulations to Ukraine and Poland, who will be hosting the 2012 Euro Cup. Poland has announced special plans to have the Final Game of the Cup to be played on the surface of the sun--at night! Hey Now!

Seriously, though, let's learn some fun facts in advance of the tournament that is only 5 years away.


1. Was ruled starting in the 10 Century CE by the Piast Dynasty. That name is moderately humorous, but this line of rulers had a great sense of humor when it came to nicknames. Some of my favorites include: Boleslaus the Curly, Mieszko IV Tanglefoot, & Henry the Bearded.

2. The Poles have a tendency to win Nobel Prizes in Literature. 1905, Henryk Sienkiewicz; 1924, Władysław Reymont; 1980, Czesław Miłosz; 1996, Wisława Szymborska. Good Job! I think there was a Peace Prize in there, too.

3. Poland kicked some Commie Ass before it was cool to do so. I bet they love watching Red Dawn dubbed in Polish. Rosomak!

Next Time--Weak, feeble Ukraine.

A Couple of Articles of Note from the Star Tribune

Sports Columnist Rachel Blount uses an ongoing study on sexuality and sales in women athletics for a jumping off point for a discussion of the rather overlooked way Imus rated both basketball programs. First and foremost, you gotta give Blount credit for trying to write about something more interesting than Sid's guarantees that The Ownership Knows What They Are Doing, or Reusses & Souhan's alternating Effusive Praise & Angry Griping column production company. Good luck, writing thoughtful pieces in the Sports section of the Star Trib, Rachel!

The study is interesting for how much gut reaction fit in with their findings. As Blount describes,

[Researchers] Kane and Maxwell undertook the study, funded in part by the Women's Sports Foundation, to determine whether evidence supported the long-held "sex sells" theory. Thus far, they have studied men and women in the 18-34 age range.

They showed the groups photos of sportswomen covering the spectrum from highly athletic to highly sexualized. Their initial findings showed that none of those images motivated men to attend games or buy tickets. Kane and Maxwell's research suggests that selling out women to sexist stereotypes does nothing to advance the cause of women's sports, nor does it serve their bottom line.

Again, I hardly find this shocking. The women's sporting events I've attended in my life were based pretty much solely on how good I knew those teams to be. (Macalester Women's Soccer--a freaking Dynasty, people). At the time, it didn't hurt that I found some of those women attractive, but it wasn't any sort of motivating factor to attend games. I hate to think how many men and women still think of Brandi Chastain as "that chick who took off her shirt at the World Cup."

On the other hand, I've enjoyed playing Table Tennis, and I've commented in the past that one of the top women Table Tennis players in the entire world is rather saucy. I'm not going to pay money to watch her play, though. I don't watch male professional Table Tennis either, and there really isn't anything either the Professional Men or Women of Table Tennis can do to get me to watch or buy tickets for their sport.

These studies are needed of course to provide some legitimacy to what people are assuming to be true (or to put it another way, what everyone knows except for brain-dead marketing people). Call it the Pro vs. Joe effect. Ordinary Joes don't mind being reminded that the male athletes that they watch on TV are better athletes than they, the home-viewer are (often, they convince themselves that they aren't; the so-called Deluded Joe). They feel no desire to be shown that there are women who are better athletes than they are. So, displays of female athleticism perturb them, and leads to various name-calling along the central theme of female athletes being too 'manly' or something (stupid, I know, but there it is). Blount makes the same argument using Imus' way of describing not just Rutgers players the way he did, but describing Tennessee players the way he did. (Read her column already).

Small case study, but the men on Pros vs Joes always look more humiliated when they lose to a professional woman athlete than they do when they lose to a male 50 year old retiree. They don't seem to understand that they haven't lost in Beach Volleyball to a "girl"--they got their asses handed to them by Misty May, one of the most dominant volleyball players of either gender in the country. (stupid, I know, but there it is)

Meanwhile, you can try to sex up the advertising for the WNBA, and recruit the most attractive players in the league to dress up like they are attending a sleepover and about to have a tickle-fight that might lead to some kissing, but even the most advertising-susceptible man out there knows that isn't what he's going to see when he goes to the game.

So while Minnesota is presenting studies on the intersection point of sex, sports and marketing, what is Wisconsin working on?

Free Beer, God Bless 'Em. The Wisconsin State Legislature is basically saying, "Hey, we give away free samples of everything at the grocery store--why not beer?" As the article points out, the sponsor of the bill is from Chippewa Falls, which may not mean much to some of you jokers living on the coasts. But in the upper midwest, it is home to one of the Happiest Places on Earth.

update: odd coincidence, but via Deadspin I see that Dave's Football Blog is talking about contact field sports that women play--(all of them)

Tuesday, April 17, 2007


Just one more little flash of veracity from Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. A very fine writer and human being -- a rare correspondence.

"Where's evil? It's that large part of every man that wants to hate without limit, that wants to hate with God on its side."

Sunday, April 15, 2007

The Special People's Club is OK!

I may well eat my words. After all, Big BM has good taste in music and professional football teams, and literally never misuses the word "literally." Thanks for the Loose Fur/Dangerdoom/Hold Steady, by the way. Very good stuff, all. I've been turning people on.

I got excited when Big BM was pumping "Brother Ali" who sounds like cross between one of my all-time favorite human beings and, you know, a brother. It was Big BM's caveat about him being an albino that made me check out the photo page of the hottest hip-hop star to come out of the Twin Cities. Which is (thanks Dennis) like being valedictorian of summer school. Thus, a photo of "Brother Ali."

I mean, you've got to be fucking kidding me.

In sports-related news, here's a picture of a tiny baby Japanese monkey climbing an unstable object.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Minnesota Centric

First of all, great story from the Star Tribune about Old-School Wrasslin' Prototype Baron von Raschke now treading the boards in the story of his life.

I couldn't be happier that the Nerds at the Minnesota History Center have finally come up with something righteous and cool that helps to document Minnesota's Wrasslin' history.

I'm a little disappointed that my favorite anecdote about the Raschke family was left unsaid, which is that Raschke's kid played high school basketball, and had to deal with the fans from the opposing team that would mime the Baron's classic move, The Claw, at him. Awesome.

On the other hand, this quote is awesome.

But he's glad to be back in a ring, even if it's at the History Theatre. He's not sure if he's up to the challenge, since, he says, there is no wrestler-turned-actor inspiration on whom to draw.

"I hear people say all the time that wrestlers are actors," he said. "But guys like Hulk Hogan have proved that wrestlers are not actors at all."

thanks to the Pacifist Viking for the heads up.

Secondly, we wish to make note of cultural news. Brother Ali's second full-length album dropped this week, and Brother Ali is probably going to be the rapper that puts the Twin Cities on the map. Sure, Slug of Atmosphere has done it a bit, and I'm assuming that if you are a savvy rap fan you already own some P.O.S. or maybe Eyedea & DJ Abilities. But this new album from Brother Ali is apparently the fucking shit. I loved his previous work, particularly his most single-sounding cut, "Forest Whitaker". Brother Ali is the real deal, and the press here is going nuts, but when it comes to music, always go with the City Pages.

So, with that in mind, here's their cover story on Brother Ali. Here's a photo album of Ali (yeah, yeah, he's albino) and a collection of live performances here.

Oh, and something called Cortez Hankton just became a Vikings receiver. You have to like the signings of no name receivers following the departure of Randy Moss and Daunte Culpepper. This team is moving in the right direction! In three years, he's caught 34 passes (with half of them in his rookie year).
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