Is it me, or did the Superbowl ads this year lean even more to the “dude, women are trying to hold you down and steal your SOUL” narrative? “Dude-bro” commercials are pretty solid but Jim Nantz telling a dude to take off his skirt? Dudes who do chores so they can drive a Dodge – MAN’S. LAST. STAND.? That’s not just . If man’s last stand is a Dodge Charger, menfolk are dead.
The Musical Beaver Monster.com ad was pretty funny. And I appreciated Chevy Chase and Beverly D’Angelo as the Griswolds. Take a look at CBS’ compilation of the Superbowl ads and tell me what you think.
And of course, congrats to the Saints for a thrilling win, an awesome onside kick, the patience to weather a Colts attack, and Drew Brees, once too short to be an effective QB is now a Super Bowl MVP. And by the way, Queen Latifah’s performance was ROUGH.
Transplanted New Yorker and now Midwesterner Peter a/k/a Pico writes for Johnny Jungle , doing the Calm Before the Storm posts and also for the Church of Bracketology. Pico is also on Twitter, @ECoastBias.
I’m much too biased against Brett Favre to really delve into this question, but his tiff with Vikings coach Brad Childress about whether he can call plays/ change plays at the line on a regular basis does bring up questions about how the modern NFL game is played. In the past – as in the 1960s – QBs were expected to make calls on the field, which makes sense. With some coach guidance, most of the major team sports require the on-field talent to do some, if not all, of the decision-making when one player has the ball in their hand.
Baseball, of course, has its micro-managers, but the veteran pitchers are expected to have a sense of what to call or what they can throw when pitching. In soccer and basketball, there is less of a single decision-maker, though point guards often are entrusted to see that the team gets into their sets and can call a different play, especially on the professional level.
An NFL QB’s job, though, involves them on the field with a different and limited vantage point. Should that change the level of coach’s control? Should the ability of a 40-year old Hall of Fame QB – who has, by the way, had some egregiously bad passing games in his career – come into question?
Again, I am too biased to talk about Brett Favre’s beef, but it does bring up the question of how the game is played.
The U.S. Men’s National Soccer team has taken their second loss in the Confederations Cup in South Africa, a 0-3 stomping that featured another red card (this time Sascha Klejstan was sent off; Ricardo Clark caught the card in the Italy game), another early goal given up on defense, and the perception that the United States can’t hang with the big boys on the pitch.
Ann Killion of the San Jose Mercury News put it best, comparing where the US MNT is as compared to the stated goals of 11 years ago; the U.S. felt that they were ready to emerge as a power, and Landon Donovan and DeMarcus Beasley were going to be key to that future.
There have been moments, for sure, and the team is far better than they used to be, especially in comparison to the local North/ Central American competition in the CONCACAF. And it’s not like the U.S. side is losing in basketball, a sport where the country has a long history, decided advantage, and deep fan appreciation/ identification.
But still… the results and notes from today just make it sound like a dog of a game.
After that downer, some links from this week:
* Emmanuelle Chriqui threw out the first pitch at a Dodgers game earlier this week. Hat tip to popoholic.
* Boise State football is looking to go on the road for some guarantee cash money from a big school (h/t Fanhouse) in 2010. This will bring in some money from the bigger schools to the smaller (budget-wise) state school; but brings up an interesting question. What team would bring in Boise State for a challenge game? They are always competitive, even if they have lost their last few guarantee games against Washington, Georgia, Arkansas, and South Carolina.
* Florida State will have to vacate 14 wins from their football squad’s record for violations invovling academic fraud. Man, that’s tough. But now maybe coach Bobby Bowden and Penn State’s Joe Paterno can retire; one could look at them and think that while they do love football, the lure of retiring as D-1 college football’s all-time winningest coach has to help them when the job seems to stressful, when the kids are acting like fools, when the age-related injuries slow them down… it’s time for both to consider hanging it up. They are like coach emiriti these days.
* As you know, Tim Floyd resigned from the University of Southern California amidst allegations of cash to recruit OJ Mayo and a perception that serious sanctions were coming down, especially since the allegations of wrongdoing have been very public. Currently, USC is moving ahead with its coaching search and looking for coaches with pro experience. They have locked in on former Seton Hall and pro coach P.J. Carlesimo and former New Mexico State and pro coach Reggie Theus. Reggie Theus is interested. I think he’s a good call – he seemed to be a decent coach at New Mexico State, players wanted to come to play for him, and while his pro career wasn’t stellar, it wasn’t terrible (and was cut too short). Put a pretty charming face on a couple of hard years and possible ineligibility for the Big Dance, USC!
* Some Japanese pro wrestlers are accused (and there is evidence) of some serious animal abuse with a pet monkey. Honestly, don’t read it if you’re squeamish. I thought it was some of the most juvenile, disgusting actions I have read about in a long time.
Brett Favre tells ESPN’s Ed Werder that he will retire from football, and the Jets. Well, it’s been a long… year… and I won’t believe it until we go through week 8 of the season and you’re not “itching to come back,” but here are some parting words:
DON’T LET THE DOOR HIT YOU WHERE THE LORD SPLIT YOU.
Wishing you a happy retirement with your wife in Mississippi. Enjoy your Wrangler commercials, and may you come back for celebrity games, commentating, a few movie star roles, and perhaps a stint as head coach of Southern Miss. And thank you for the classy statement:
“Mike and Woody, as well as the entire organization, have been nothing short of outstanding,” Favre said in the email. “My teammates _ Thomas and Kerry included _ were a pleasure to play with. Eric (Mangini) could not have been any better. I enjoyed playing for him. My time with the Jets was short, but I’m honored to be given that chance.”
The Jets did not have an immediate comment. A Jets official said Wednesday night that no definite word had come from Favre yet but added, “that can change any minute.”
The fans appreciate it. And I am sure Eric Mangini, now on to working in Cleveland as head coach, appreciates it as well.
Linx: Terrible Towel for Good, Hewitt too Pricey to Fire, Citigroup Naming Rights, Super Bowl, Puppy Bowl and More
It’s Chinese Lunar New Year! Underwater dragon, anyone? Folks still have confidence in Obama, and that’s good, he was sworn in less than 2 weeks ago! Illinois Governor is now Former Governor Blagojevich, after his eventful last day in office; new Governor Pat (Hallelujah) Quinn promises to “fumigate state government.” Some curious comments on The American Institute for Economic Research’s Cost of Living Guide.
US Airways Flight 1549 (the one famously waylaid by geese) passengers will get a year of free “elite status” upgrades; Wall Street Journal commenters think they’re greedy because of one guy’s comment saying it doesn’t go far enough. I think, like those people are going to be flying any more than they need to in the next year? Hells no. Speaking of the flight, Addicting Games is staying classy with a flight simulator game – just prevent the plane from crashing into the Hudson! I’ve been giggling all week about this article on East Breast, Penistone, and other embarassing names of British towns from the NY Times… and Tumbledown Dick Road. It never stops making me laugh.
I am such a sucker that I am going to be watching the Puppy Bowl this Sunday as well as the Superbowl… enjoy the puppy starting lineup. My wife’s big on Mercy (pictured below, photo courtesy of Animal Planet).
+ Those damned socialists in Congress (Kucinich and Republican Ted Poe are quoted) want Citigroup to ditch the $400 million deal for naming rights at the new Mets Stadium/ CitiField.
+ John Maine avoids arbitration and will make 2.6 million next year.
+ In college basketball, an auto-bid watch from Storming the Floor.
+ USA Today finds the recent college firings “disturbing“, and name-check Gary Williams, St. John’s Norm Roberts, and Ernie Kent. Addendum: an article on Ernie Kent and the new Matthew Knight arena opening in 2011. And why would Jeff Capel leave Oklahoma for Georgia, anyway?
+ Paul Hewitt, safe at Georgia Tech… in part because they can’t afford to fire Hewitt:
If that weren’t enough, there’s this: Hewitt’s contract renders him almost fireproof.
His deal was reworked in April 2004 after he led Tech to the NCAA title game. Dave Braine, the AD who hired Hewitt in 2000 and had seen his vision realized, rewarded his coach with a six-year contract that rolls over automatically and that provides a buyout in full for each remaining season if he’s fired “without cause” (meaning, just for losing).
Hewitt is making $1.9 million this season — $1.3 million in salary, $250,000 for radio/TV shows, $200,000 in speaking fees and $150,000 in deferred compensation. Were Tech to dismiss Hewitt today, it would owe him $9.5 million.
By way of contrast, Tech was compelled to pay Chan Gailey $4 million when it fired him as football coach, and Georgia is on the hook for $1.5 million after canning Dennis Felton.
Georgia’s athletics department is flush with cash. Tech’s is not. Tech is paying Gailey through 2011 not to coach, and it just handed Paul Johnson a 50 percent raise — to $2.4 million per season. Bottom line: Nobody is rooting harder for Hewitt than Radakovich.
+ Something awesome that I never knew about the Terrible Towel (I love my Terrible Towel!) – the proceeds go to a special needs school:
But the great part comes from what each of those towels does for people like Danny Cope, Myron’s son and Elizabeth’s older brother.
Myron Cope left behind something far more personal than a legacy of terrycloth, a battle flag for a city and its team. In 1996, he handed over the trademark to the Terrible Towel to the Allegheny Valley School. It is a network of campuses and group homes across Pennsylvania for people with severe intellectual and developmental disabilities. It receives almost all the profits from sales of the towels.
Danny Cope is one of the roughly 900 people the school serves. He has been a resident since 1982, when he was a teenager. He was diagnosed with severe mental retardation when he was 2. He is now 41.
+ The NFL is either losing money (according to the NFL Commissioner)… or flush with cash (according to the Players’ Association). Yes, there’s a Collective Bargaining Agreement that needs to be negotiated by both sides in the next couple of years.
+ Kurt Warner is not a Hall-of-Famer. Jason Whitlock apparently disagrees.
+ Brett Favre doesn’t return Aaron Rodgers’ calls. Hasn’t for a year.
And Barack Obama on the Super Bowl… he’s for Pittsburgh.
According to the NY Post, former Pittsburgh Steelers coach Bill Cowher decided he is not interested in the Jets job. He wanted his own personnel man and no Brett Favre meddling. Who wouldn’t want Brett Favre meddling? In between interceptions, he’s the best “white-TO” at QB in the NFL!
From Columbus, GA’s Ledger-Enquirer:
The Clarke County School District found a way to solve its problem of so many teacher absences the Friday before the Georgia-Florida football game – simply close school.
Last year 137 teachers called in saying they wouldn’t be in class and the district was able to find only 113 substitute teachers.
Administrators studied the absences and found that almost twice as many teachers called in the Friday before the game – played 360 miles away in Jacksonville, Fla. – than on an average school day.
Schools in nearby Madison and Oglethorpe counties also are taking the day off.
Tad McMillan, principal of Barrow Elementary, said, “I think it’s a wonderful confluence of purposes.”
I guess football’s a little big down there… but isn’t the Georgia-Florida game tomorrow?
+ Donovan McNabb and the Eagles are looking real good. It’s good to see his big arm let loose.
+ The Jets were… confused on Monday, and now:
You know the confusion is bad among the Jets when even the day after their Monday night thumping by San Diego, there was still confusion about exactly what the confusion was.
Clearing that up might be a nice starting point when the Jets drag themselves back to work this morning. Does Brett Favre really know the playbook after six weeks or doesn’t he? Was that second first-half interception that San Diego plucked away to set up another Chargers touchdown Favre’s fault, as Favre said it was, or was wideout Jerricho Cotchery right to insist he was to blame? If everyone was telling the truth afterward – they’re all to blame – shouldn’t the Jets be worried about, well . . . everyone after their 48-29 smackdown?
Why was the Jets’ defense shredded so completely, too? Why was the secondary so badly out of position? Did Favre take such a beating because the Chargers’ rushers knew the trailing Jets had to pass? Or was the Jets’ rebuilt offensive line also struggling to read the pass rush in addition to not opening holes for running back Thomas Jones? Jones is fast becoming a tree-falling-in-the-forest question: Would Jones find the holes if the line made them?…
The Jets were badly discombobulated on both sides of the ball. Then they seemed powerless to stop it. Mangini harped yesterday about the Jets’ four turnovers. But the Jets often seemed outfoxed, not just outplayed. The Jets haven’t gotten better with more time together. They have gone from narrowly winning their season opener against Miami to missing a golden chance at home to beat a shellshocked New England that just lost Tom Brady to getting smacked in the mouth again and again Monday by the Chargers.
Some of that has to be coaching.
+ Favre injured his ankle but is still good to go this coming Sunday against Arizona.
+ Since Derek Anderson is sucking for the Browns… Brady Quinn might get a look. At least it’ll bring the ladies back to the TV screen. Hell, with Tom Brady out, the NFL needs a new poster boy… and as a bonus, the new Brady loves to take pictures with his shirt off. Win win all around!
+ Plaxico Burress didn’t show up for work on Monday or Tuesday… and is suspended for the game after the bye week.
+ The Steelers are starting Rashard Mendenhall (Willie Parker is out with an injury)! Hells yeah.
+ Lane Kiffin is… still a Raiders coach. Syracuse fans want to see him go to the ‘Cuse and relieve Greg Robinson of his coaching duties. I mean they REALLY want the Kiffin. Keep an eye on the Has Lane Kiffin Been Fired Watch.
Trent Green will start in the place of benched Marc Bulger. The St. Louis columnists smell a scapegoat (I like the phrase “complete system failure”), and worry about concussion-prone Trent Green’s cranium. The times are desperate and the seat is hot, Mr. Linehan.
+ The Chiefs are leaning toward starting Damon Huard. This week. Not even joking on that:
Edwards also said the Chiefs could go week-to-week on their starting quarterback from now until Brodie Croyle returns, which isn’t likely to happen until Week 7…
I mean ARR! How that mountain air taste? It is Talk Like a Pirate Day, after all.
I had to check West BY GOD Virginia after last night’s nationally televised football game. Where the Mountaineers lost to the Colorado Buffaloes in a fashion more befitting the New York Jets than a team with a Heisman candidate QB. It was awful, pathetic at times. And still, West Virginia played good defense and had chances to win…
But they didn’t. Bill Stewart has that folky, joyous “we’re gonna go get ‘im!” thing that people love in coaches, but damn, what the hell was happening down there? I thought ESPN focused a bit much on the sideline disarray (they have to give Erin Andrews something to do every day, huh? Aren’t there other reporters? Erin Andrews fatigue!), and while I liked the analysis from some kicker who works on production staff or produces, there was too much going on from ESPN.
But there was something real wrong happening on the field of play. Do they know about the forward pass on Stewart’s staff? It’s a good way to shake things up for the opponent. Credit due to Dan Hawkins and his staff for a good game plan. His son, Cody, might be one of my favorite college players. He has all the makings of a future coach – he’s a sound enough QB, played smart, but he’s short and my God, his arm is not very good. Making his solid passes on a windy night that much more impressive.
But West Virginia looked like a team that traveled across the country and just woke up, and they didn’t stay at the Holiday Inn the night before. In the first quarter, I really though the Buffs would run away on them. Even when the Mountaineers were playing decently, they really needed to involve the rest of the team (though apparently running back Noel Devine had 133 yards) instead of running the option. And the time outs at the end of the halves were awful. Like Herm Edwards a few years ago, they need a clock management coach, There were opportunities for the “one more play” and the “long field goal”, for sure.
In the news: Post hurricane lessons. Hey, even Chicago got 6.6 inches of rain in a day, as the fallout from the Hurricanes was widespred, but obviously worse in Houston and the like. David Foster Wallace committed suicide and that is a serious literary loss. The financial sector is seeing the structures that it believes in (and low regulation) to be a risky borrowed-money tightrope.
On the political side, an Atlantic Monthly freelance photog made McCain look like an evil overlord (photo on left); we got Tina Fey nailing a spoof of Sarah Palin; and Palin has dressed up as Tina fey for Halloween. Man, that Palin/ McCain ticket really is popular! What’s that? McCain is running for president, not Caribou Barbie?… Oh… and so you’re not left with McCain looking down on you like Zod, below is a photo of Jaime Murray, who stars in the upcoming show Valentine (link with audio) along with Autumn Reeser (from the OC) and some no-name hacks..
+ The best and worst of Brett Favre was on display yesterday, no matter what the Daily News says in Jets Don’t Make the Grade; I agree more than the coaching was horrible, and the play calls in the red zone – especially 3 straight runs?! none to the outside?! – were piss poor.
+ If you ever wanted to see Redskins’ tight end Chris Cooley’s junk, NOW’S YOUR CHANCE! (don’t everyone jump at once. No, really, ew.)
+ The Tavaris Jackson Experiment (now on tour!) is not bringing Brad Childress wins. That game against the Colts was winnable, and Lombardi forgive me, Gus “Headbutt” Frerotte needs to play.
“Ah, that’s not my decision,” said Kiffin, sticking to the defiant “Al Davis does whatever he wants, don’t blame me” mantra that got him into this purgatory. “So um … I’m excited the way our staff and our players prepared this week.
“If I’m here, we’ll do the same next week.”
What NFL franchise would dump the head coach with a 1-1 record two weeks into a 17-week season?
Kiffin is finished in Oakland; it’s now a matter of when.
His fate was sealed Wednesday, when Kiffin told the media that the 41-14 Monday night meltdown against the Broncos happened in large part because defensive coordinator Rob Ryan and the team’s owner conspire to exclude him from defensive decisions.
Al Davis is one of the most powerful owners, and I suppose the comedy that is the Raiders isn’t hurting anyone’s bottom line… or else the other owners and the commish might consider some statements on this craziness. On the other hand:
Ryan’s 18-minute, profanity laced clarification of his job responsibilities Thursday was not spontaneous. Multiple team sources confirmed Sunday that Ryan spoke publicly at the request of Davis…
Publicly, Ryan made himself the fall guy. Inside the Raiders’ organization, he assumed the mantle of hero.
“Hell, somebody had to stand up and be a leader on this team,” one Raiders source said proudly in the postgame locker room Sunday, praising Ryan’s stance against Kiffin. “Rob acted like a leader. He stood up for this team and these players. He took responsibility. Unlike the head coach.”…
The Raiders’ defensive staff has circled its wagons. That group has no loyalty, nor is there any respect, for a head coach who publicly second-guessed a defensive game plan against the Broncos that did not call for blitzes or press coverage.
+ Check our Footbawful, an offshoot of Basketbawful, about the worst in football.
+ And check out this interesting piece from Advanced NFL Stats on predictability in NFL play calls; most interesting to me is the idea that NFL coaches focus on percentages in isolation, not in relation to the previous play. I would wonder if this is true… but I ain’t doing the research on that.
+ Associated: Denver’s Mike Shanahan played to win the game like Herm Edwards used to and went for 2 points when 1 would have tied.
Here is an awfully mellow analysis of the Chiefs. Struggle? The SKY IS FALLING, relatively, for the Kansas City football team. They’re uncompetitive. They have wide receivers taking snaps at QB. Thanks to Joe Posnanski, who knows how to write about losers:
But we didn’t need this. We didn’t need the Chiefs to become a national joke. We Kansas City folk have had enough Far Side humor with the Royals for a dozen years now, with their outfield burlesque, their base running antics, their managerial merry-go-round, their attempts to sign a professional softball pitcher. We didn’t need the Chiefs to step over that line. Hey, it was OK if they lost. We figured they would lose. We just didn’t need them to take the Nestea plunge into comedy.
Then, there they were on Sunday, playing three different quarterbacks, inventing a Scooby-Doo mystery about dizzy spells, allowing 300 yards rushing to a Raiders team that could not throw and, it goes without saying, losing for the 11th consecutive time. Oakland crushed the Chiefs 23-8. The only thing working Sunday was the concession stand.
The Giants make the Rams look horrible. Who gets the first pick in next year’s draft, St. Louis or Kansas City? Keep #1 in Missouri!