Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Sports Euphoria

"Call me the breeze, I keep rollin' down the road."

Seemingly, I had everything working over the weekend. Both of the teams I love (USC and the Pats) pulled off dramatic victories. Both the teams I despise (Steelers and Panthers) lost. Oh by the way, Steelers got shut out. Ouch. Wannabe champions. There's only room for one dynasty kids, so put away your towels, 'cause Big Ben ain't even close to #12 (he actually did draw comparisons to Brady by some, I kid you not). That made me incredibly upset that Ben was compared to Tom. It's not even close. It's not even in the same league of comparisons. Roethlisberger is asked to not screw up. Tom is asked to lead his team. Ben sits back, let's his once-powerful running game chew up clock, and then let his defense keep the other team's points to a minimum, and that explains why, when he screws up, the Steelers are 4-7 and completely out of the playoff picture by Week 12. Three big reasons, besides Ben, as to why the Steelers have taken a turn for the worst: Jerome Bettis, Chris Hope, and Antwaan Randle El. The Bus was the anchor behind the running game, basically an automatic on third and shorts (by the way, no Verron Haynes, the best third down back in the league, also doesn't help that run attack). Also, Bettis added clubhouse leadership, which seems to be amiss besides Joey Porter's presence. Chris Hope, I believe, is the most underrated of all of the subtractions that happened to the Steelers. This guy is a big time player. In his first year with Tennessee, he has registered 91 tackles and 3 INTs in 11 games. Wow. He's on pace for almost 150 tackles this year. Polamalu is a tremendous talent and is arguably the best safety in the league, but with an unproven counterpart (Ryan Clark), teams were looking to exploit a very lackluster defensive backfield (17th against the pass), which has led to the Steelers being ranked outside the top-10 in total defense for the first time in a while. Randle El was the X-factor on the Steelers. Seemingly, since Kordell Stewart was drafted long, long ago, the Steelers have had a guy who can run, pass, and receive. With that gone, Cedric Wilson had to step up and become the #2 man, a role that he in no way had a chance to fill. The offense is deep-sixing with every Roethlisberger mistake. Also, the Steelers can't match up with anyone in their division, which is tough when you play six games. They are currently 1-2 and have the Ravens again (I know I'm looking forward to that one), the Browns at home, and the Bengals on the road. Good luck with all that.

Ahh yes, the sweet smell of failure. The Giants monumental collapse on Sunday further added momentum to my "Giants are dead" theory. Coughlin again became a hypocrite after the game, airing out his dirty laundry where, a week before, he was mad at Tiki for coming out and saying he was unhappy with how the offense was being run. Coughlin went on and on, mostly about his quarterback and throwing poor Eli under the bus. Personally, I would be completely fine with him trashing Manning. Frankly, I've been doing it for two years and enjoy every horrendous start he makes (think the Chargers wipe their collective brows with every pick?). But here's the thing. Coughlin was so upset with Tiki, Plaxico, and Shockey about making negative comments about the team. Then, after the Titans game, Coughlin does the exact same thing! You gotta be kidding me. Anyway, reiterating the point I already made, they're done. Actually, I would not be completely surprised if they were able to pull out one at the Meadowlands against the Cowboys, but they're finished.

Teams that had coaches who wore suits the week before: 0-2...Get with it! This is the biggest trend ever. Coaches wearing suits on the sidelines. How sharp did Del Rio look on Monday night? That was bad ass. The Jags looked awesome, tearing up the...here we go...G-MEN!!!

Newest addition to the column: The weekly Mario vs. Reggie, gee, let me think who I would have taken, update:

Mario: 1 solo tackle, 2 assisted tackles
Reggie: 44 total yards (you gotta love the total yard stat for Reggie; if they did that Reuben Droughns, it would make him seem like the second coming of Roger Craig), anyway, he had 24 rushing, 21 receiving, and one punt return for -1 yard

Because I haven't done this yet, I feel compelled to show the entire year's statistics for the two combatants, purely because this week was oddly close to a tie, and also, I have to use my line at the end.

Mario: 31 tackles, 4.5 sacks, 1 fumble recovery
Bush: 331 yards rushing, 64 receptions, 431 yards, 194 return yards, 4 total TDs

Ok, so once again, Houston Texans, on behalf of all people alive, and with a pulse..."that was dumb."

The Yankees just spent $25 million on a lefty out of Japan named Kei Igawa, who played with the Hanshin Tigers last year. This guy would have been a free agent in three years, but I would have to think, looking at the good ol' boys spending over 50 mil on Dice-K, the Tigers were thinking this was probably an optimal move. And why do the Yankees always have to be like us. God! First, they start re-building their farm team with the Sheffield move, and the absence of a stupid trade for a over-the-hill veteran. Now, they go out and spend a ton of money for a meet-and-greet with a guy who has never pitched in the majors. Seriously, these two teams are shiczoid right now. It's like an out of body experience. The Sox have taken on the Yanks persona this offseason. First, Dice-K, enough said. Now, reports are that Lugo and J.D. signings are only a matter of time away, and the much-speculated Manny trade could come to fruition by the end of the week (potential suitors include the Dodgers, Padres, Giants (would likely be a three-team trade), Angels, and the Rangers). What in the world is going on? We cheap out on Johnny Damon, ok, well I can see that. We are cheapskates, remember, the Sox were trying to adapt the Pats' mentailty...remember? Now, they're becoming more like the Redskins instead. Going out, signing guys of questionable character and letting the glue of the team continue to walk away. The more I read these rumors, the less enamored I am with this team. This team is becoming all I've come to hate in my life. Big-timers, going out, spending all kinds of money like this was fantasy baseball, when, all the while, they should have kept their "character" guys. Guys like D-Lowe, Pedro, Trot, Bill Mueller, Dave Roberts, and Orlando Cabrera. Cabrera is the one that really hurts. This guy was electric from Day 1 after he hit a homer in his first at-bat with the Sox against the Twins. Character wins, not money. This fact is proven time and time again, which is why roto-geeks have no place in running a baseball team. Former players and managers are the ones that know about what goes on in the clubhouses. They should at least be given assistant or counselor gigs (like consigliare...hey that didn't work out too bad for Tom O'Hagen, remember, he didn't die, while everyone else, even Michael, did eventually). Yeah, the counselors don't get blamed, but they are the ones who come up with the ideas. Here's my thinking on how Theo can get helped. Hire a guy with good knowledge of the present game. Here are my suggestions: Dwight Evans, Tony Pena, Carlton Fisk, and basically any former Red Sox catcher. I don't know, for some reason, catchers turn out to be great managers (Torre, Scioscia, Wedge to name a few). My thinking is that these guys have to have a handle on an entire pitching staff, and learn about the strengths and weaknesses of opposing batters, plus, they have to be in the lineup, so they communicate with different hitters about the opposing pitchers. This means that these guys know basically the in's and out's of almost every player in the bigs. They know about character. These are the guys that should be running teams. So I'm just throwing that out there. Hire catchers. They're good.

Finally, the Pats should play in the NFC Norris. They have decimated that division, now a 3-0 record, outscoring opponents 83-20. The Bears, as first reported here, were at times very weak in the secondary. Brady threw two picks, both of which should have been receptions to Benjamin Watson, but were jarred loose from him, and into the awaiting arms of Charles Tillman. The second one looked like an exact replay of the first one. It was truly sickening. Oh yeah, and both occured deep in Bears' territory. That was terrible. Also, I do believe someone said that Rex would throw three picks and fumble once (read below). Honestly, I can't gloat about that too much, because frankly, anyone could have seen that coming. It's literally like predicting what will happen when you drive a gas truck into a bon fire. Hmm...I wonder what Rex is going to do against a great defense? Maybe fold up like a cheap suit? Could be. Anyway, the D played amazing, which brings me to my final, and on a less positive, note. Junior Seau's season, and likely his career, could be over. Junior was playing out of his mind this year, recording over 60 tackles in a limited amount of action. He was electric on the field, and I only wish we had him in his Charger days. So, this one's for you Junior, hope you make a speedy recovery. Alright, I'm done with the ramblings for now. Make sure you watch that UNC vs. your new #1 Ohio St. (boy that didn't take too long). Later on guys. Peace.


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