Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Super Bowl XLI: Don't Be Surprised, if Rex Grossman Surprises You [J. Mark English]

Its pretty much assumed that Peyton Manning will go down as one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time. Rex Grossman's future is yet to be determined. Going into this week though, one gets the feeling that Manning is like a god, and Grossman is a doormat.

Lets throw caution to the winds of conventional wisdom. Grossman has only started 23 games in his career. This season he had a quarterback rating of of 73.9, to go along with 23 touchdowns, and 20 picks. He threw for over 3,000 yards.

Troy Aikman, who won three Super Bowls with the Dallas Cowboys, going into his first Super Bowl, had similar numbers. At the time, no one thought he was a Hall of Fame quarterback yet. In fact just two years before he had been benched during the season by head coach Jimmy Johnson. Aikman in 1992, like Grossman, had 23 touchdowns, and also had over 3,000 yards.

Then again, he only had 14 interceptions. Grossman had 20. Having that many interceptions is not a sign of a bad performance to follow in the Super Bowl. Terry Bradshaw, who won four Super Bowls, had 25 interceptions going into Super Bowl against the Cowboys in 1980, and he was named MVP.

If you accept the premise that Grossman may not be all that bad, then you could argue that there is no way Grossman could out perform Peyton Manning. Fine, you could make that argument. But the Hall of Fame quarterback does not always win.

A perfect example would be Super Bowl XXI between the Broncos and the Giants. It was Phil Simms versus John Elway. John Elway would surely have been considered a player on his way to a special career in 1986. And he would live up to the prophecy, winning two Super Bowls, and starting in five. We know now that he is in the Hall of Fame.

Based on the credentials, Phil Simms, who is not in the Hall of Fame, would have been the "Grossman" of the Super Bowl. Phil Simms, like Grossman, had a less then stellar season in 1986. His quarterback rating was similar, if not worse, then Grossman. He only threw 21 touchdowns, and had 22 interceptions.

Phil Simms defied the numbers, and had the game of a lifetime. He completed 22 of 25 passes, and to this day has the best quarterback rating during a Super Bowl. Simms was named the MVP.

The key for Grossman to having a good game, is that the entire team plays well. The defense of the Bears must not let the Colts runaway with a lead. If the Bears defense can keep the team in the game, Grossman can have a MVP type performance.

Do not let his performance surprise you, if he's better then you've been led to believe.

Labels: , , , , ,

Royal Hoops: Prince Charles in Harlem [J. Mark English]

The man who stands to be the next King of the British Empire, Prince Charles, took time today to shoot hoops today in Harlem. Isiah Thomas, perhaps your prayer has been answered!

Labels: ,

Your Daily Fix 1.31.07 [J. Mark English]

  • Frustrated by inaction in the steroid investigation, Congress may look to intervene.
  • Todd Helton happy to remain a member of the Colorado Rockies.
  • Carson Palmer, like the rest of us, is tired of all the arrests on the Bengals.
  • Norv Turner still remains the front runner for the Cowboys head coaching vacancy. How does that guy keep getting job offers? Has anyone taken a close look at his coaching resume?
  • LaDainian Tomlinson, and Drew Brees were honored as the NFL's players of the year. Saints' coach Sean Payton, honored as NFL coach of the year.
  • In the spirit of EdMcGon's piece, Phil Taylor writes that we should not discount the impact of African American coaches.
  • Randy Hill believes that both Manning and Grossman will be under pressure come Sunday.
  • A high school wrestler from Nebraska may be responsible for a herpes out break in Minnesota.
  • Barbaro's still in the news - the issue now is where will his final resting place be...could the next headline be who will be eulogizing the horse at a state funeral?
  • Grant Wahl on the effect of the NBA's minimum age and more.
  • NBA denies Kobe Bryant's one game suspension hearing.
  • Montreal Canadians owner looks to take over soccer team from Liverpool, worth an estimated $882 million.
  • Major League Baseball will honor Jackie Robinson this year, 60 years after he broke into the big leagues as the first African American player.

Labels: , , , , , , , ,

Super Bowl XLI: Video Diaries from Media Day [J. Mark English]

Why Black Coaches Are Important [EdMcGon]

I have talked before about how having two black head coaches in the Super Bowl is not important from a football perspective. But from a societal perspective, it is important for one simple reason: intelligence.

One of the flaws in recent "black culture" (for lack of a better phrase) is a de-emphasis on intelligence. Too often, blacks who are successful in intellectual fields tend to be ignored as "oreos" (black on the outside, white on the inside). Condi Rice and Clarence Thomas are fine examples, although their conservative views are used to excuse any racial slurs used against them by liberals, thereby neutering them as potential role models.

Unfortunately, where are the liberal black role models? Barack Obama might eventually become one, but he is not there yet. That leaves us with people like Cynthia McKinney, Al Sharpton, and Jesse Jackson, who only serve to reinforce a "blacks as victims" mentality. If you are doomed to be a victim all your life, what good will intelligence do you?

There are also too many stories of young blacks having educational success, only to be accused of being "sell-outs". This is how the "blacks as victims" mentality plays out within the black community.

This leaves limited acceptable success paths for black youths: entertainment (which is irrelevant), athletics (but God help the white person who says blacks are somehow superior athletes, even though the black community accepts this), or ultra-liberal politics (where they will be ignored by the mainstream, thereby reinforcing the "blacks as victims" since no one takes them seriously). Mind you, many blacks choose other career paths, and have success in them. But they get ignored when they try to promote other means to success, since they must have been "sell-outs" to have accomplished what they have.

But this is where Tony Dungy and Lovie Smith can make an important contribution.

While NFL head coaches normally come from a football background, harking back to athletics as an acceptable success path, these men have to be intelligent to have success, as defined in the NFL by winning the Super Bowl.

Sunday night, one of these two men will be unofficially crowned as the most intelligent man in professional football. Not the fastest, not the strongest, not the most entertaining, and we won't even know what his politics are, nor will we care. But he will be smart, and THAT is the most important role model for black youths.

Labels: , , ,

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Super Bowl XLI: Media Day - The Hype, The Sights and The Quotes [J. Mark English]

“It is wild like a circus here...It is a great feeling because this is what I have dreamed about and I am having fun and enjoying it.”
- Danieal Manning, Bears, Safety

“I'm exhausted already...One of the guys wanted me to do something – I don’t know what he was talking about...I was going to stand there. He was going to run up behind me and ask a bunch of questions. I was like, 'It’s too much work. It’s too much work.’" - Raheem Brock, Colts, Defensive Tackle

“Every one is strange to me. Just that someone is actually asking me questions is pretty strange.” - Olin Kreutz, Bears, Center

“This is ridiculous..." - Rob Morris, Colts, Linebacker

“It’s nuts, it’s crazy, it really is...It’s a dream come true for me and I think for a lot of my teammates. The biggest thing is we’re all enjoying the time here, but we also know that it’s a business trip.” - Robbie Gould, Bears, Kicker

“If you can’t enjoy this, you’re not enjoying the moment."
- Dallas Clark, Colts, Tight End

“It started in the locker room, when you see the Super Bowl patch on your jersey...You realize you’re here, this is the real deal. Then you see all the media people here, too. The drive to the stadium, I remember that drive so many times. I pass the stadium all the time in the offseason. To come here and be a part of this is a little unreal right now.” - Adewale Ogunleye, Bears, Defensive End

“Everybody’s so excited, and you’re excited...You pull up the stadium and see the “X,” “L,” “I,” and you’re like, 'Man, I’m here.’...You have to suppress that energy throughout the week so that you’re not spending too much energy emotionally early. On Sunday night, that emotion and that energy is going to spill out.” - Cato June, Colts, Linebacker

“The field is sweet...It’s nice turf. I haven’t seen a field like this in I don’t know how long. Obviously, all the media’s here, that’s a big thing. My teammates all have their cameras out, filming everything, so that’s a little different. But this is a great opportunity for us to get on a national stage and do well.” - Brian Urlacher, Bears, Middle Linebacker

“I just want to remember all of this...I want to see the stadium, the locker room, the bus rides, the meals, the plane ride. This is something I think I’m going to cherish for a long time. I just want to soak it up.” - Ryan Lilja, Colts, Offensive Guard

“I love this scene...I think one of the best things about this scene is it’s us. It’s all of us up here. There are a lot of teams that work to get here and to actually be here is special. It’s amazing to be a part of this. I’m trying to take everything in and enjoy every moment of this, and what better city to do it than Miami?” - Lance Briggs, Bears, Linebacker

“The media hype is all that it is played out to be...This is Tuesday and they were already picking an MVP on ESPN this morning. It just blows me away. I think guys just wanted to come out today and yesterday and kind of enjoy the Super Bowl atmosphere....To be honest with you, I haven’t watched it in a few years, because I’ve always been a little bitter that it wasn’t us." - Ryan Lilja again...

“Getting injured is part of the game...There’s really nothing they can say. They can’t understand what the injured guys are going through because they’re not injured. I’m just excited for them. It’s not about me. It’s not about the guys that are injured. It’s about the guys that are preparing to play for the game. We wished them all the best of luck...I’m going to be the biggest fan out there for them. I’ve got the best seat in the house, so it’s going to be fun to watch.” - Mike Brown, Bears, Safety - will not play due to injury.

“I didn’t know it was going to be like this, though...I just wanted to film everything from when we started coming into the stadium, outside the stadium, then coming in with everybody in their booths. I got some of the defensive line walking into the stadium. I got everybody talking to the media. I just wanted to record everything. It’s fun. You just want to take it all in." - Raheem Brock again...

Labels: , , ,

Super Bowl XLI: Colts Join the Fun in Miami

Monday, January 29, 2007

Barbaro Put Down After Latest Setback [David Stefanini]

Kentucky Derby winner, Barbaro, was put down today. Co-owner Roy Jackson said, ""We just reached a point where it was going to be difficult for him to go on without pain."

For the past eight months Barbaro has been fighting for his life and battling through the pain. It has been a top sports news story over that period of time, in which thousands of fans across the country have showed overwhelming support. An example of this support is the Barbaro Fund. that was established in June of 2006, which raises money for equipment needed in helping horses return to full health after a major injury. The Fund. has raised over $1.2 million since it has been created.

Most people will remember Barbaro as a superior horse who also fought to save it's life time and time again. Hopefully the Barbaro Fund. will help save many horses lives in the future.

Labels: , , ,

Chicago Bears: Welcome to Sunny South Florida [J. Mark English]

Tiger Wins Seventh Tournament in a Row [J. Mark English]


The veteran play of Charles Howell III and Tiger Woods rose to the top, while the mix of some rookies and less than familiar names at this week's Buick Invitational. But Buick, Tiger and Torrey Pines are becoming synonymous with the word "win".

Howell was really the only player that had a legitimate chance at the end to threaten Tiger's dominance in the tournament, as the rookies and players somewhat new to the glare and pressure of final round leads, faded down the stretch, but he also fell trap to a golf malady that seems to affect everyone but Tiger. When you evaluate the play of Woods in the last round, there weren't any shots that'll make his lifetime highlight reel. He didn't need to be spectacular, he needed to be steady. And he was. It was steady play, solid-thinking and committed execution that propelled him to his third straight Buick Invitational title, fifth-overall Buick Invitational win and one more win on that streak of seven PGA Tour wins in a row.

But the story might not be how Tiger won the tournament, but maye how he didn't lose it. He stayed smart and consistent, while the others made a few critical mistakes. Tiger makes fewer errors, mental or physical, than anyone else and the end result -- in this week's tournament and many others -- is that Tiger holds the trophy.


Sunday, January 28, 2007

Kimmie Meissner Wins Gold [J. Mark English]


Maryland’s Kimmie Meissner typically gives the morning announcements at Fallston High School, where she’s a senior this year.

When the 17-year-old returns to class on Monday or Tuesday, she’ll be introducing herself as the 2007 U.S. ladies champion. Meissner overcame an early wobble in her free skate to edge Emily Hughes by less than a point at the 2007 State Farm U.S. Championships in Spokane, Wash.

Alissa Czisny captured the free skate and claimed the bronze medal.

“My friends at Fallston all knew I was going to nationals,” said Meissner, the 2006 World champion who led after the short program by three points. “I expect when I go back there will be some talk. I do the announcements, so I’ll probably be announcing (my title).

“(I’ll probably) say something like, ‘Kimmie Meissner is back in school today after winning nationals, so if you see her tell her congratulations.’”

The victory caps a run for Meissner at the U.S. Championships that has included a bronze medal in 2005 and a silver medal last year.

“I’m very happy that I was able to keep a hold on the lead,” said Meissner, who recorded a score of 181.68. “It was a tough competition tonight. I’m pretty excited.”

Meissner skated fourth in the final group of six skaters. Czisny kicked off that final segment with a stunning and personal-best performance to music from “Sabrina.” Her score vaulted the Bowling Green State University student to the top of the leaderboard with a mark of 177.74, and the audience responded with a standing ovation.

Labels: ,

Federer Wins 10th Grand Slam Title [J. Mark English]


Roger Federer captured his 10th Grand Slam singles title without dropping a set at the Australian Open, beating Fernando Gonzalez of Chile 7-6 (2), 6-4, 6-4 in Sunday's championship match.

Federer improved his winning streak to a career-best 36 matches and advanced through a major without dropping a set for the first time

It was the first time since Bjorn Borg won the 1980 French Open title that a champion went through a major without dropping a set, and the first time at the Australian Open since Ken Rosewall in 1971.

Federer became the first man in the Open era to twice win three straight majors and has won six of the last seven Grand Slam titles -- his only loss was in the French Open final to Rafael Nadal.

By reaching the final, Federer tied Jack Crawford's record of playing in seven consecutive finals at the majors, set in 1934.

Labels: ,

Super Bowl XLI: The Official Program [J. Mark English]

Souvenir collectors, line up now, because you can buy your official program for Super Bowl XLI:


Vince Carter Scores 40, Leading Nets to Victory [David Stefanini]

The New Jersey Nets finally snapped out of there 3-game losing streak with a win over the Denver Nuggets in Denver. The Nets have looked good over the past few weeks and seemed like they broke out their early season slumps, however three heart-breaking loses, all by one-point, could have broke this teams heart and set them on a path for the cellar of the Eastern Conference. Vince Carter was not going to let that happen on this night. He scored 20 of his game high 40 points in the 4th quarter.
The Nets are now 21-23 on the season and are half a game back of the Toronto Raptors in the Atlantic Division. They are going to have to forget about those three loses and focus on the positives, like tonight's game against the Nuggets. If they can string together 4 or 5 wins they should be able to take command of their pathetic division.

Labels: , , , ,

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Football Alternatives [J. Mark English]

This may be one of the most depressing weekends in sports. Its the first weekend since last July when there is absolutely no live football game on television. In order to help us get over the lack of football in our lives for the next six months I thought I'd check out You Tube to see what other sports are out there to watch such as curling, fencing, crew (or rowing), synchronized swimming, wiffle ball, and last but not least, bull running. I leave you with high lights from the 2005 Ashes celebration from the sport of cricket:

Labels: , , , , ,

Jamal Crawford - The Knick with the Knack [J. Mark English]

Jamal Crawford got ridiculous last night against the Heat, as the Knicks prevailed over the Heat, 116-96. Despite Shaq and Wade returning, Crawford devastated the Heat by dropping 52 points. At one point he sank 16 straight field goals.

Labels: ,

Friday, January 26, 2007

The NBA's Top Teams [David Stefanini]

Seeing how the Eastern Conference is a complete joke, I feel it is only right the top teams in the league are Western Conference teams. I think it is safe to say the 8th seed in the Western Conference would be the favorite against any team in the East. Which is why all 5 of the top teams in the league reside in the Western Conference.
1) Dallas Mavericks- It is really a toss up between them and the Suns. The reason why they are number 1 is because they can play defense. In the playoffs this run and gun offense of the Suns is great and all but their offense will not be that dominate in the playoffs. Defense wins championships, that's why the Mavs are my number 1 team.
2) Phoenix Suns- With all the talk (see above) about how there offense is not a playoff-type offense, this is not the playoffs yet so they are still an elite team. With Steve Nash having his best year, again, this team is poised for a showdown in the Conference Finals against the Mavs. The winner of that series will be the NBA Champ.
3) L.A. Lakers- With Kobe Bryant (MVP) leading this team and Lamar Odom coming back from his injury this team is poised to make a run to put themselves in the talk of the elites. MVP is the best player in the league and with Andrew Bynum getting his double-double every night this team will be extremely difficult to beat 4 out of 7 games.
4) San Antonio Spurs- There is no need to write about this team. Year after year we find them at the top of the league quietly winning games. They are very humble and let their game do the talking for them. That's why every year they are in the running for a title.
5) Denver Nuggets- With the acquisition of Hall of Famer to be, Allen Iverson, the Nuggets have established the best 1-2 punch in the league. However, the key to there success is third year player, J.R Smith. If Smith can continue to grow and improve his all-around game; the Nuggets can beat any of the 4 teams ahead of them in these rankings.

Labels: , ,

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Super Bowl XLI Prep 1.25.07 [J. Mark English]

  • Bad News for the Bears according to Tom Bevan: The outcome of the Superbowl has been simulated more than 10,000 times by a computer using various game conditions and the Bears lose to the Colts by an average of 3.5 points.
  • David Haugh of the Chicago Tribune writes about what the Bears must do to stay on top, if they hope to become a dynasty: Staying on top could be harder than getting there for the Bears, as having seven different NFC champions in the last seven seasons illustrates. And perhaps no team is a better example than those '85 Bears, who failed to reach another Super Bowl even though they boasted the NFL's youngest roster as well as its most talented.
  • Tony Dungy remarks that the passing of his son, James Dungy, was a test: "For me, I think it was really a test..I think God gives you tests to see if you're going to stay true to what you believe and stay faithful. For me, that's what it was, having to continue to believe. Sometimes when you have disappointments, it makes that final destination that much sweeter."
  • Bob Kravitz of the Indy Star writes of 'cautionary tales' before a Super Bowl: It was the night before Super Bowl XXIII, less than 24 hours before Solomon Wilcots' Cincinnati Bengals were to meet the San Francisco 49ers in Miami. Wilcots and several teammates were heading down the elevator to a ballroom, where the team would be having its final meeting before the big game...."I forgot my playbook,'' Stanley Wilson, the team's bruising fullback, told his teammates as he exited on his floor. "I'll meet you guys downstairs.''....Wilson never came back....After battling addiction for years, he had fallen and fallen hard.
  • Despite being arrested three times over the past month for charges related to such crimes as weapon charges, Chicago Bears defensive tackle Tank Johnson, will be allowed to play in the Super Bowl: Tank Johnson breathed a huge sigh of relief Tuesday when Cook County Judge John J. Moran agreed to allow the Bears defensive tackle to travel with the team to Miami for Super Bowl XLI.
    • Okay, I'm sorry, but this Judge Moran (MORON) must be a die hard Bears else does this dude get to be allowed to leave the state of Illinois?
  • The Chicago Bears website offers up a touching interview with Virginia McCaskey, the owner of the Bears. It was her father, George Halas, whom first owned the Bears, and is one of the founding fathers of the NFL. Here is a portion: (On winning the George Halas Trophy) I wish I could really answer your question and make some sense in answering but I'm still trying to understand what all of this means because it was just such a special time Sunday being on the sidelines when the game was still going on. You couldn't even see the field action. I was watching the video boards. Lots of hugs and happy moments. During a game! That was the strangest part for me because it's always, 'Wait until the last play is completed.' Here we were laughing and enjoying, the snow was coming down.
    • Last year it was the Rooney family that once again had the chance to hold the Lombardi trophy. It warms your heart to see family owners, who have stuck with their teams through the nadirs and zeniths, to make it to the top of the mountain. I'm sad that Wellington Mara did not have one last opportunity to do so in 2001 when the Giants played the Ravens in Super Bowl XXXV.
  • On the Colts website, team president, and former Buffalo Bills president, Bill Polian speaks about how this Super Bowl team of his compares with the Bills teams in the early 1990's: As far as this team compared to the Buffalo teams that we took to the Super Bowl, I think this is a much different era. You have free agency. That has changed everything. Offensively, this might be a bit better than our Buffalo teams, because you have Dallas Clark, who is arguably a Pro Bowl-caliber tight end. You have (Bryan) Fletch(er) and you have (Ben) Utecht. In Buffalo, we just had (Colts quality control coach) Pete Metzelaars really and Keith McKeller. Not to downgrade any of those players, but they weren’t the offensive threats that our guys are. I think with (Colts wide receivers) Reggie Wayne and Marvin Harrison we’re probably deeper at receiver than we were in Buffalo. Defensively, it’s a different story because of the salary cap. (Defensive end) Bruce Smith was a Hall of Famer in Buffalo and (linebacker) Cornelius Bennett was very close to it. (Linebacker) Shane Conlan, people of that nature, (defensive end) Phil Hansen . . . you can go on and on on defense. But you can never put together a full team like that in the present salary cap era. It’s really hard to judge the two, although you have obviously two great quarterbacks in Jim Kelly (of the Bills) and Peyton Manning (of the Colts). Hopefully, in two weeks, (the Bills will have) a Hall of Fame running back in Thurman Thomas and we (the Colts) had one in Edgerrin James and obviously, Joseph Addai is a great running back. But it’s hard to compare. It’s a different era.

Labels: , , , , , , ,

Photo: Suns are Hot, Hot, Hot [J. Mark English]


Photos: Our Soldiers and the Stanley Cup [J. Mark English]

Your Daily Fix 1.25.07 [J. Mark English]

  • Mets manager, Willie Randolph, has brought magic back to Shea Stadium. Now the Mets will reward him with a three year contract renewal, that will pay him out $5.45 million a year. This easily puts into the top ten paid managers of all baseball. Congrats Willie, man you deserve it.
  • If you didn't watch, and chances are, most of you didn't, the Western All Stars defeated the Eastern All Stars by the score of 12-9, in the NHL All Star game. Must have been a real defensive struggle...either that or the "all star" goalies were all unavailable.
  • A Shaq-less, and Wade-less Miami Heat reeled off 27 straight points against the Knicks Monday night. Last night, when the two finally returned to the lineup, they lost in overtime to the Pacers. Go figure.
  • The Phoenix Suns extended their winning streak last night, by taking care of the Knicks at the Garden. With their 15th win in a row, they have become one of only five teams in the history of the NBA to have two streaks of 14 wins or more in a single season. As impressive as the team may be, they're is not a chance in hell that they will make it to the NBA finals. They have no inside game whatsoever, especially on the defensive side of the ball. Eddie Curry of the Knicks was having his way with them last night in the first half. They simply are too small to guard anyone like Tim Duncan, or some of the other big guys that are in the West. Enjoy them in the regular season folks, you won't see much of them in the playoffs.
  • To give the Suns their due though, make sure to check out Liz Robbins piece yesterday from the New York Times. A great article about a team that is averaging just shy of 112 points a game.
  • Roger Federer destroys Andy Roddick in the Australian Open. He'll play in his seventh consecutive grand slam title. Maria Sharapova will face off against Serena Williams in the final.
  • Theres a report out that Reggie Bush may be caught on tape excepting gifts and cash while playing for USC. He may not be doing any more back flips for awhile...
  • As the PGA season begins, Tiger Woods will be looking to win his seventh straight tournament.
  • For the first time in more then a few years, penalties were down by 20% in the NFL.
  • In figure skating, 17 year old American Kimmie Meissner, fresh off winning the World Championship, will now seek to win a National Title.
  • Finally, John Henry, owner of the Boston Red Sox, will be looking to try his hand in NASCAR.

Labels: , , , , ,

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Mike Vick's Waterbottle-gate [EdMcGon]

With the whole Mike "Ron Mexico" Vick "Waterbottle-gate" coming to a close, the irony of an erased tape is not lost.

And in case you missed the story, this Saturday Night Live skit should help explain what Vick did wrong.

(hat tip to Youtube)

Labels: ,

NHL: Have You Seen Me? [J. Mark English]

....The NHL belongs on a milk carton container. And heres why -

My bosses, who are die hard Ranger fans, not to mention the owners of American Legends the store, came into work this morning talking about the skills set competition that took place last night at the NHL All-Star festivities. Now I admit, that I do not follow the NHL with the same intensity I have for the NFL & MLB, but I was shocked that I was not aware that the NHL All-Star events are taking place in the middle of the week.

Why are they doing this? Why did they move the All Star weekend to a week night? And why is it not being shown on NBC? Instead it is on the little known, and almost impossible to find (its in the 400's for cablevision), cable station called Versus.

If an NHL team lost on the ice, no one would be around to hear or see it!

As the powers that be in the NHL are making bonehead decisions about what network to have their games telecast on, as well as when to move their All-Star game to a night when no one will watch, they instead focus their attention to unveiling new uniforms.

Who cares? This just in from ESPN:

After more than two years of testing and designing -- and nearly 100 different versions -- the NHL and Reebok unveiled the new uniform system that will be make its debut at the NHL All-Star game this week -- and for all 30 teams next season.

It is the biggest change to NHL uniforms since the early 1960s, when synthetic fabrics replaced the old wool jerseys.

Why not take the time they used to develop state of the art uniforms, and instead try to figure out how to get at least more then five people to watch your games.

The NHL should be able to find a niche among sports viewers. Its a fun game to watch, and if given the right publicity, and marketing, it has a chance to be a profitable sport.

But right now, the NHL is dying on the vine. Brian Biggane writes in an article titled 'Has the NHL become invisible?":

Aside from the fans in the stands, the only witnesses to tonight's NHL All-Star Game will be true believers determined to find the telecast on an obscure cable channel.

And for now at least, that seems to be OK with both the league and its main broadcast partner.

When the NHL returned in October 2005 from its year-long lockout, it ended its long association with ESPN in favor of the Outdoor Life Network.

That outlet, which can't be viewed by basic-cable subscribers in Palm Beach County unless they upgrade to digital cable, was just beginning to attract a following among hockey fans when it changed its name to Versus in September.

The NHL, hoping tonight to showcase 19-year-old superstar Sidney Crosby as well the league's sleek new uniforms, knows it is almost starting from scratch with Versus....

...So far at least, that faith is not based on ratings. Games on OLN last season had an average national rating of 0.2 - fewer than 200,000 households nationwide. The ratings are virtually unchanged for 32 telecasts this year on Versus.

The players have noticed. All-Stars questioned about the poor numbers this week said that, as excited as they are about the new, faster-paced NHL, they're equally concerned about the league's ability to attract new fans....

...The trick, of course, is attracting an audience. While Versus claims to be in 71.1 million homes - an increase, Bettman said, of more than 8 million in the past 18 months - the network said it could not say how many viewers get it through basic cable and how many have to pay additional fees to access it.

Fein said one way to increase the audience is to attract viewers to other events and then lure them to hockey, and vice versa. Other events on the Versus calendar include the Tour de France, America's Cup sailing, Mountain West college football and basketball, martial arts and rodeo.

Is this how far the NHL has fallen? That they must use the rodeo to help promote their sport? Growing up, the perception was that in American there were four major sports; baseball, football, basketball, and hockey. Now it may be safe to assume that sports like soccer, and possibly even curling have leap frogged the NHL in popularity.

Its sad that this has happened, because the game has so much to offer. I went to a Rangers game a few weeks ago, and it was a blast. The atmosphere of Madison Square Garden, the intensity of the fans, the play on the ice, the zambonis, the fights, and the whole experience was refreshing. I love hockey.

But I barely see it anymore. It really is invisible. For the sake of sport fans, I hope it finds a way to reappear. And I hope it happens soon, before its too late.

Labels: , ,

Your Daily Fix 1.24.07 [J. Mark English]

  • Terrell Owens denies taking shots at Bill Parcells. (I'm sorry but since when is calling your head coach a "grandmother", not taking a shot?)
  • ESPN's Page 2 ranks from 80 to 1, all of the Super Bowl teams to play in the mecca of championship games. The bookends are the 1979 Los Angeles Rams at 80, and the 1989 San Francisco 49ers come in at number 1. (Not sure if the Rams should be that low...true their record was poor for a SB team, but they had the lead on the Steelers - the dynasty Steelers - and had they held on to win, they would be no where near the 80 spot. )
  • The NFL Players Association will agree to stronger drug testing. (Shawne Merriman is still the greatest defensive player in the game...)
  • An 18 year old Met fan, who poised as a reporter, is banned from being anywhere near Shea.
  • Cliff Floyd is heading home, and will play for the Chicago Cubs. (The Mets will miss him.)
  • Disgraced DA Mike Nifong will face additional ethic charges.
  • Tiger Woods says he would skip the British Open to be there for the birth of his son. Carlos Delgado made a similar announcement, saying that he may miss opening day for this birth of his child.
  • Brendan Shanahan helps the East top the West in the NHL superskills contest. (But was anyone watching?)
  • Iona College loses again, in over time, and fall to 0-19 on the season.
  • Maria Sharapova advances to the semi-final in the Australian Open.

Labels: , , , , ,

The State of the NFL: Black Coaches [EdMcGon]

With two black head coaches in the Super Bowl, it seems an appropriate time to take a look at black coaches in the NFL. While there are still quite a few coaching vacancies around the NFL (1 head coach, 5 offensive coordinators, and 2 defensive coordinators), we can still get a feel for the situation.

Currently, there are more black head coaches (6) than offensive coordinators (1) and defensive coordinators (4) combined. Considering it was only 16 years ago that the NFL had only one black head coach (Art Shell), this is significant progress.

Are six black head coaches (out of 32 teams) enough? While that is comparable to the black population in society, it is not comparable to the percentage of black players in the NFL. However, that comparison assumes players become coaches, which is often not true. Players generally make more money than coaches. After they retire, they normally pursue higher paying careers, such as broadcasting. When you see former players in the coaching ranks, it is usually (but not always) players of lesser quality, who made less money. For them, coaching is not quite as significant a drop in salary.

Keep in mind that players nowadays NEVER go from playing to head coaching (Norm van Brocklin was the last player I can recall who did this back in 1961). This means any coach has to "pay his dues" in order to become a head coach. Why would any player who has made seven or eight figures want to make five or six figures in order to become a coach? It takes a true love of the game for a player to do this. Unfortunately, for every Mike Singletary (former all-pro linebacker with the Bears, currently defensive coordinator with the 49ers) and Herman Edwards (former all-pro cornerback with the Eagles, currently head coach with the Chiefs), there are ten Shannon Sharpes or Tom Jacksons who go into fields such as broadcasting to make more money.

But that leads to the question of why aren't there more "lesser quality" black players who take up coaching after they retire? Since there tend to be more black players in general in football, it might be a good idea to look at the path they take to the NFL.

They start in high school. Assuming they have success there, then they move up to the college ranks. Assuming they have success there, they move up to the NFL. This is where the "lesser quality" players bust, or have mediocre careers. Considering they have success and glory and fame on two levels, then are another face in the crowd at the NFL level, is it any wonder they get disillusioned with the sport by the time they retire?

Another common thing you see in NFL coaches are guys who played football in college, but never made it on the pro level. Hue Jackson, the only black offensive coordinator in the NFL, was a college quarterback who never played pro football. He went into coaching on the college level immediately after college. Ron Turner, the offensive coordinator of the Bears, was a wide receiver in college who never played in the pros. Mike Martz of the Lions was a tight end in college who became a high school football coach after he graduated. Mike Tomlin, the new black head coach of the Steelers, was a wide receiver in college who never played pro football. Lovie Smith? No pro football experience as a player. One other thing to note is these guys played college football at small schools, not the USC, Ohio State, Florida-type "programs".

For black NFL players, coaching is not the best post-career option for them. They can use their name recognition to make money in other fields.

On the other hand, why aren't more black coaches coming up from the college ranks? That is a question for a college football expert.


Robert George asked, "Another question that might be asked is why (at least as it seems to me) do there seem to be more black defensive coordinators than offensive ones." There are, by a 4-1 margin (although there are five offensive coordinator openings now, so that might change).

The reason? This is just speculation on my part, but I suspect it is because defensive players in general are not the "glory hounds" that offensive players are (Deion Sanders being a VERY notable exception). Also, in general, defensive players get paid less than offensive players. Therefore, black players playing defense would be more agreeable to pursuing a coaching career after they retire.

Bill Barker suggested, "Just a guess: Fewer black quarterbacks." Actually, quarterbacks are NOT more represented among the coaching ranks than any other offensive position. (If anything, I have seen more former wide receivers in the offensive coaching ranks, but I would not say they are the majority.) The more successful quarterbacks avoid coaching like the plague, regardless of the color of their skin.

While fewer black quarterbacks and fewer black offensive coordinators might be symptoms of the same problem, one does not necessarily lead to the other.

Labels: ,

Mutombo Honored During State of the Union [J. Mark English]

President George W. Bush sure does like to surround himself by famous athletes during political events. The former major league baseball owner, who two years ago invited quarterback Tom Brady to sit with First Lady Bush in the gallery of heroes, invited Dikembe Mutombo to be honored during the State of the Union. This is what the President said about Mutombo:

Dikembe Mutombo grew up in Africa, amid great poverty and disease. He came to Georgetown University on a scholarship to study medicine -- but Coach John Thompson got a look at Dikembe and had a different idea. Dikembe became a star in the NBA, and a citizen of the United States. But he never forgot the land of his birth, or the duty to share his blessings with others. He built a brand new hospital in his old hometown. A friend has said of this good-hearted man: "Mutombo believes that God has given him this opportunity to do great things." And we are proud to call this son of the Congo a citizen of the United States of America.

Labels: , ,

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Football! Football! Football! [EdMcGon]

There is so much going on in the NFL, I hardly know where to begin. Let's start with the end: the Super Bowl.

SUPER BOWL XLI: Contrary to what the Media is hyping about being important in this game, the first two black head coaches in a Super Bowl, the truth is there is a more significant factor being overlooked from a football perspective: both of these coaches come from a defensive background.

Tony Dungy was a defensive player who eventually became a defensive assistant coach. Lovie Smith was a linebacker coach with Tampa Bay (under Dungy) before he became a head coach.

This is significant because if you look at the recent history of Super Bowl winners, most of the head coaches have come from defensive backgrounds: Bill Cowher and Bill Belichick, winners of 4 of the last 5 Super Bowls, both came from defensive backgrounds. Jon Gruden was the only offensive coach to win in that period, and he inherited a great defense from previous head coach (TA-DA!) Tony Dungy. Gruden also had a great defensive coordinator in Monte Kiffin.

Once again proving the old cliche: Defense wins championships.

Who will win this Super Bowl? I have to lean towards the Bears. While the Colts have played better defense during the playoffs, the Bears have been playing great defense all year. Add in the superior special teams of the Bears, and the Colts have their work cut out for them.

AFC CHAMPIONSHIP: Certainly one of the great games in NFL history, although it didn't look that way in the beginning.

The interception by Tom Brady at the end was strange, as it looked like he was throwing directly to Marlin Jackson of the Colts. Sadly, it was common for a lot of interceptions I have seen this year (most of Peyton Manning's interceptions during the playoffs were like this). This comes from teams relying on timing patterns too much, instead of the quarterback actually looking for the open receiver. This gives a huge advantage to a zone defense when the receiver doesn't run the pattern which the quarterback is expecting.

NFC CHAMPIONSHIP: Aside from the one catch-and-run by Reggie Bush, it was a snoozer.

The Saints achilles heel was turnovers, pretty much what it has been all year. Not counting the safety they gave up, the Saints turned it over 4 times. The Bears did not have a single turnover. Add in the fact the Bears dominated time of possession, and the Saints are history.

BILL PARCELLS RETIRES: Like we didn't see this one coming?

Seriously, I am glad he did. I hope he gets back into broadcasting. I think Parcells brings more to football by his analysis than he does by coaching.

As for the Cowboys? Adam Schefter of NFL Network is reporting a rumor that the Cowboys will go with Chargers defensive coordinator Wade Phillips as their next head coach. But you might want to take that rumor with a grain of salt, since Schefter also reported back on January 20th that Parcells wasn't retiring.

RAIDERS GO KIFFIN: The Raiders are hiring the youngest head coach in NFL history, 31 year old Lane Kiffin, formerly the offensive coordinator at USC. Lane may be better known to pro fans as the son of Buccaneers defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin.

As a Raider fan, I am pleased. The Raiders have had much more success with young head coaches, from John Madden to Jon Gruden.

THE STEEL CURTAIN GOES TOMLIN (DOWN): Anytime a team hires a new head coach, there is always some risk involved. But the Steelers seem to get it right more often than not.

With the hiring of Vikings defensive coordinator Mike Tomlin as the Steelers next head coach, and even with Tomlin's solid credentials (the Vikings defense was one of the NFL's top defenses last season), I can't argue with Steelers owner Dan Rooney. Rooney stuck with Bill Cowher even when many so-called experts thought Cowher should be fired.

CARDINALS GET WHISENHUNT: In contrast to the Steelers success, there is the Cardinals. They seem to have the anti-Midas touch when it comes to head coaches. Even though former Steelers offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt was considered one of the top head coaching prospects this year, I have to take a more skeptical view of him since the Cardinals hired him.

The last successful Cardinals coach? Vince Tobin took them to the playoffs in 1998 with a 9-7 record, where they lost in the Divisional Round to the Vikings, 41-21. Prior to that, you have to go back to 1984, when they went 9-7 under Jim Hanifan (they missed the playoffs). That's either a lot of bad coaching, or a lot of bad teams. In my opinion, it is a combination of both.

If Whisenhunt can turn the Cardinals into a consistent winner, then Arizona fans should build a 40 foot statue of him. Personally, I think he will be coaching somewhere else in five years. If he is successful, then he is too smart to be in Arizona, and he will leave for more money at a better franchise. Most likely, he won't be able to turn the lemons of Arizona into lemonade, and he will be fired.

ANOTHER DAY, ANOTHER BENGAL ARRESTED: I can't make this stuff up. From
"Bengals cornerback Johnathan Joseph was arrested early Monday and charged with possession of marijuana, the ninth Cincinnati player arrested in the last nine months.

The arrest came three weeks after coach Marvin Lewis promised to get tougher on player misconduct, hoping to stop a series of arrests that has embarrassed the team and drawn the attention of NFL commissioner Roger Goodell.

Joseph was arrested on U.S. Route 42 in northern Kentucky. He lives nearby in Union, Kentucky. The Boone Country sheriff's office arrest report said Joseph was the passenger in a vehicle driven by a woman who had a suspended license, was driving slowly and weaving.

Sorry, but I ran out of Bengals jokes a few months ago.

Labels: , ,

Monday, January 22, 2007

Bill Parcells Resigns! [J. Mark English]

Nick Eatman, from the Dallas Cowboys website writes:

After four seasons, the Bill Parcells era here in Dallas is over.

The Cowboys' head coach for the last four years officially announced his resignation here Monday morning.

"I am retiring from coaching football. I want to thank Jerry Jones and Stephen Jones for their tremendous support over the last four years," Parcells said in a statement. "Also, the players, my coaching staff and others in the support group who have done so much to help. Dallas is a great city and the Cowboys are an integral part of it. I am hopeful that they are able to go forward from here."

Parcells, 65, compiled a 34-30 record with the Cowboys in the last four years.

"I am in good health and feel lucky to have been able to coach in the NFL for an extended period of time," Parcells said. "I leave the game and the NFL with nothing but good feelings and gratitude to all the players, coaches and other people that have assisted me in that regard."

The Cowboys' season, and now consequently, Parcells' career ended in disappointing fashion. The Cowboys' 21-20 playoff loss to the Seahawks included a fumbled snap by quarterback and holder Tony Romo on a potential go-ahead field goal attempt late in the fourth quarter.

Had Parcells returned to the sidelines next season, it would've been Parcells' second-longest stint among his four NFL teams. He spent his first nine years as a head coach with the New York Giants, leading them to a pair of Super Bowl titles in the 1986 and 1990 seasons. After taking three years off from coaching, Parcells returned to the sideline, spending the next four years in New England, before a three-year stint with the New York Jets.

After returning the first time at the end of the 1999 season, Parcells was out of football for three years before coming to Dallas.

Since taking over, Parcells has led the Cowboys to two playoff appearances, despite losing in the first round in both 2003 and this past season. Parcells' teams were just 34-30 in his four years, but that was still quite an improvement from the 15-33 record his predecessor, Dave Campo, had in the three years prior to Parcells' arrival.

Parcells becomes the fourth different, but obviously most prominent, coach to leave the Cowboys staff this off-season. Defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer and special teams coach Bruce DeHaven both took similar positions with Atlanta and Seattle, respectively. Offensive quality control coach David Lee is now the offensive coordinator at Arkansas.

Comment -

After four years, I get to like the Giants greatest coach of all time once again. Now that he is no longer with the enemy, he'll probably head back into studio TV. If the Giants don't do well next year, could it be that he may come back to take the Giants to yet another Super Bowl? Knowing Parcells tract record, the probability is that this is not the end for him.

Thankfully, Giant fans will not have to witness Parcells and the Cowboys winning a Super Bowl. The sight of that happening would have been all too painful. Enjoy your brief or long term retirment Parcells! I'm sure Jersey is looking forward to your return.

Labels: ,

NFL Championship Games Ratings [Matt Drudge]

These are the ratings of yesterdays two football games, brought to you by the Drudge Report. The ratings for the Colts/Patriots game really are impressive. A 42 share is incredible when you consider that a Super Bowl averages around a 45.0 share. Here are the results:



Sunday, January 21, 2007

Super Bowl XLI: Goin' to Miami [J. Mark English]

Tony Dungy Finally in the Spotlight [J. Mark English]

This was supposed to happen last year for Coach Tony Dungy. The Colts had raced out to a 13-0 start, and were poised to dominate the AFC. A coach, who had won so much during the regular season, but kept losing in the championship game, last year was supposed to be the year he made it to the Super Bowl.

But something happened on the way to that promised land. His son committed suicide, and suddenly football became secondary in his life.

Last year the Colts lost a disappointing game to the Steelers in the divisional round. That loss I'm sure hurt Dungy and his team, but could not compare to the sense of loss he felt after losing his son to suicide.

A year later, football is back, and my hope is that his son, although not here on this earth, is able to be their with his father in spirit, as his father now gets to step into the spot light, and rightfully advance his team into the Super Bowl. This man deserves this opportunity, and has worked extremely hard to get his team to the pinnacle of the National Football League.

Coaches like Lovie Smith (who will guide the Bears in the Super Bowl), and Herm Edwards (the Chiefs coach) may not be coaches today if it were not for the tutelage the received from Dungy. Congratulations Coach Dungy. Enjoy the ride!

Labels: ,

Manning Comes Through [J. Mark English]

After Samuels interception in the first half, which put the Patriots up 21-3, Manning was perhaps at the lowest point of his career. He was well on his way to losing yet another game in the playoffs, at home, and to the Patriots. But for the first time, he did something he has never done before. He never did it at Tennessee, and never before in Indy. He showed that he could will a team to victory when it mattered the most.

In the spirit of Rocky, he showed the eye of a tiger, and looked deep within for that extra something, that special thing that great players posses, and average players lament that they don't have. He spearheaded a gutsy comeback. And every time the Colts tied the score, after the Patriots would retake the lead, he kept fighting. He kept his team alive. He used the worst moment of his career to redefine who he was as a player. And now he may be remembered as not only a great quarterback, but as a winner.

As a Giants fan, knowing that Eli Manning was in a luxury box watching the game, I can only hope that he learned something from this game. That no matter how hard things are, you can still fight back. You can still win.

Labels: ,

Photos: Colts Win in a Thriller [J. Mark English]

Super Bowl XLI: Indianapolis Colts vs. Chicago Bears [J. Mark English]

It should be a dream match-up in many ways. Great defense meets, great offense. The Colts played a gutsy game, beating a team that refuses to die. Peyton Manning finally gets to know what its like to be in the big game. The first Manning to do so. He gives the city of New Orleans something to be happy about after such a bitter defeat earlier today.

And for the first time there will not just one, but two African American coaches, coaching two superb teams in the Super Bowl. Tony Dungy, and Lovie Smith are trailblazers for sure.

The Colts win the Lamar Hunt Trophy, the trophy who's name sake died over a month ago.

The Bears win the George Halas, on the same field where Halas built the Bears and also the NFL.

These are two franchises that are rich in tradition, and have been around for decades. Should be a classic Super Bowl. Too bad we have to wait two whole weeks for the game. Let the build up begin!

Labels: , ,

Patriots vs. Colts: Live Blogging [J. Mark English]



10:16 pm
- I have no stake in this game and yet I can feel my own pulse!

10:11 pm
- Holy Cow! Colts score the touchdown by way of an Addai run. (Edgerin James who?). They lead by four, and Brady has exactly one minute to drive the Pats down the field, and they would have to score a touchdown to win. In the Super Bowls when Brady led last minute drives, the score was tied, and all they needed was a field goal. This is an entirely different kind of pressure. Colts 38, Patriots 34.

10:05 pm
- JEBUS! Manning has them down close to the 20 yard line...and Wayne nearly loses the ball. But the Patriots (pulling a Charger type play from last week) get called for roughing the passer. Not only are the Colts in position to tie the game (on a Vinatieri kick..muhahaha) but to also take the lead. No matter what happens though...if they score either way...they better not leave to much time left on the clock, or Brady, as we have seen many times, will lead the Patriots down the field.

10:02 pm
- Barring a stupid penalty (a la the Chargers)...Manning & Co. have one last shot to tie this game up...

9:58 pm
- My goodness. The Pats stepped up their pressure on defense. Now the Patriots will get the ball back...the Colts still have two timeouts, and the two minute warning. But the Pats will be starting their drive from the forty yard line. 3:22 to go. Either the Pats can finish out the clock or the Colts will get one last shot.

9:55 pm
- If you love football, you love this game. Hearts are beating fast in Indy, and New England. 3:49 to go in the 4th.

9:53 pm
- Can you write a better script? The rookie, Gostkowski, puts his team up by three, nailing a 45 + yard field goal. Patriots 34, Colts 31.

9:50 pm
- Should the Pats win this game, the player of the game should be Hobbs. His kick off returns keep breathing life back into the Patriots. And now they're in a position to at least take the lead on a FG. 4:45 to go.

9:49 pm
- Viantieri, as Jim Nantz keeps reminding us, is perfect at the RCA Dome, and perfect in the playoffs. He's jinxing him, and you can sense that he'll miss a final second field goal when they most need him to be good.

9:48 pm
- ...And the kick is good! Colts 31, Patriots 31.

9:48 pm
- Here comes Viantieri...

9:46 pm
- Whatever was ailing didn't stop him from completing a near 50 yard pass to Dallas Clark. Oh man, what a friggin' game!

9:44 pm
- If I had a personal stake in this game, I'd be a reck. The fans inside the RCA dome must be biting nails. 7:35 to go in the fourth.

9:42 pm
- Caldwell once again failed to make a catch, although this time he was covered. So the Pats were forced to settle for a FG, and the successor to Vinatieri, Gostkowski, gets three up on the board. Patriots 31, Colts 28. Now we find out if Manning's thumb will diminish his play.

9:41 pm
- Belichick should bench Caldwell. He was wide open and again dropped the ball!

9:38 pm
- Brady magic is still alive, with a little help from a personal foul. Now they are in the red zone. Meanwhile Manning's thumb appears to be hurt. Can he still be effective if the thumb is really bothering him?

9:34 pm
- And the Pats defense just came up with a pivotal stop, forcing the Colts to punt, and giving their offense excellent field position.

9:31 pm
- On WFAN this morning, Phil Simms was asked by Mike Francesa, "if both teams played to the best of their ability, who would win?" Simms responded that the Pats would, because their best play comes by taking advantage of the intangibles within a game. At this point, you'd have to say that the Colts are playing as well as they can, and the game is tied. As well as the Colts are playing, the Patriots may still hold on to win this game. Remarkable.

9:28 pm
- Pats get shut out again on offense, and now the Pats defense will have to stand up to a juggernaut that has been rolling over them for the past quarter and a half.

9:27 pm
- I wonder if the dome managment is turning the heat up in order to increase the likiness of cramps on the Patriots sidelines?

9:22 pm
- In a mirror image of the Patriots touchdown in the first quarter, the Colts just repeated the feat. Rhodes fumbled at the one, and Jeff Saturday, a linemen, recovered in the endzone. Colts march down once again and tie the game. Colts 28, Patriots 28. What a game.

9:09 pm
- The Colts lose the challenge, and the Patriots have a touchdown. The run back by the Pats special teams came up big time for the offense, and kept the team from completely falling apart. Patriots 28, Colts 21.

9:07 pm
- Gaffney has had one hell of a ride in the playoffs. He only had 11 catches in the regular season. He signed with the team barely half way through the season. And now he has practically become the Pats number one reciever. He had a TD at the end of the half last week against the Chargers, and one against the Jets. How in the world do the Patriots find these players?

9:05 pm
- No matter, Gaffney catches a touchdown on a push out in the back of the endzone. But of course the Colts will challenge the call.

9:05 pm
- Wow, how does Caldwell not catch that...

9:01 pm
- When your defense is so exhausted it can't make a stand, your offense is inept due to lack of being on the field...then your special teams must stand up and take charge. Hobbs of the Pats just had an 80 yard kick off return to the Colts 20. Just what the Patriots needed.

8:59 pm
- Its a whole new ball game folks!

8:57 pm
- Oh my! Dan Klecko, the former Patriot, catches a TD from Manning. And they follow that up with a two point conversion on a pass too Harrison. The Manning family is watching from up above and must be proud. The Colts are back. Colts 21, Patriots 21.

8:57 pm
- Finally the Colts get the pass interference call, and the Colts get the ball at the one.

8:54 pm
- Its the attack of the flu! As the Colts are on the move again, the Pats seem to be exhausted, the defense overworked, barely a chance for substitutions, and the flu diminishing the effectiveness of many of the players for the Patriots. Momentum really does seem to have shifted in favor of the Colts. The Colts have had the ball for nearly 12 minutes compared to the 1 minute for the Pats since late in the second quarter.

8:50 pm
- Maybe the best defense for the Colts is just to eat the clock on offense. The Pats certainly looked out of sync, and it was to the Colts advantage as they shut them down, three and out.

8:44 pm
- It will be interesting to see if the Pats look out of sync on offense. They haven't had the ball of nearly an hour...due to the drive by the Colts before the half, the half time, and then the drive the Colts just scored on.

8:41 pm
- Colts just scored a touchdown on a sneak by Manning from the one. It was a "long hard slog" down the field. It chewed up a lot of time off the clock, and its now a one possesion game. But the amount of effort it took for the Colts to score their last ten points have been exhausting to watch. How much more can they score given the energy they have to exert just to move the ball? Be that as it may, they are just down by one possesion. Patriots 21, Colts 13.

8:32 pm
- Larry Izzo is some player for the Pats. There was a story told this morning on WFAN by a beat reporter for the Patriots that when they last won the AFC Championship against the Steelers two years ago, the morning after, one of the younger players got a phone call from Izzo at 6:30 am. Izzo said "I'm in the weight room, where are you?" The core of the Patriots - Brady, Bruschi, Izzo, Harrison and Seymour all inspire an extreme hard work ethic out of the players around them. Which is amazing considering that Robert Kraft (the owner) hardly pays anyone on that team the market value of what they should be making. Which is why every year some star player leaves...examples are Lawyer Milloy, Ty Law, Deion Branch. And yet they still win!

8:14 pm
- In another example of what good is Vinatieri if your down by 18 points, Viantieri boots another FG for the Colts, but they still are way behind. Barring a run back from the Patriots, the Colts will go into the half with a 15 point deficit to over come. The Colts at least will start the second half with the ball. Patriots 21, Colts 6.

8:12 pm
- The Pats are redefining the meaning of the word physical with the way they are covering the Colts receivers. The play on 2nd and goal to Clark look liked pass interference, as did the one to Reggie Wayne on 3rd and goal. But the Pats get away with it, and the Colts are left a 4th down, and the decision of whether to go for it or kick the field goal. I think you have to kick the field goal.

8:08 pm
- The last two completions by the Colts inside the thirty of the Pats are perfect examples of what Carl Banks was talking about. Rhodes and Clark were both nailed after they caught the ball. Rhodes was leveled. They'll think twice the next time they are in a position to catch the ball in the middle of the field. They'll be hearing footsteps...

8:05 pm
- Did I just see Jeremy Miller, who played Ben Seaver on the show Growing Pains, do a commercial for McDonalds? Is the game this much of a blow out that I'm making comments about B-rated actors appearing on commercials?

8:03 pm
- As part of a plug for GMC, James Brown just did a keys to the game for Super Bowl XLI...detailing what the Bears would have to do against either the Colts/Patriots. They can't wait just two more hours to do that? "Corporate sellout!"

7:58 pm
- The other magnificent ability of Belichick is his ability to find the right people to place on his coaching staff. Despite losing coaches on his staff like Charlie Weiss, Romeo Crennel, Nick Saban, Eric Mangini...he still posses the ability to great coaches to fill their vacancies.

7:55 pm
- When I covered the Giants for one day back in October, I had the oppurtunity to speak with former linebacker Carl Banks, who played under Belichick. He told me that they never came up with complicated defensive schemes. The idea was to blitz, and cover the receivers man to man, but softly. Should the QB withstand the pressure, then let the reciever make a play, but if he catches it, punish him. Make him afraid to catch the ball again. This strategy worked against high octane offenses, that were considered the best of all time...offenses like the San Francisco 49ers in 1990 when the had Montana and Rice, or the Buffalo Bills in the Super Bowl when they had Thurmon Thomas, Jim Kelly, and Andre Reed. He shut down their offenses, and took away them away from their rythym. He also executed a perfect defensive exhibition against the St. Louis Rams in 2001, when that team was considered the greatest show on turf. And now he's been doing it to the Colts. Belichick may be the greatest coach of all time. Nothing seems to stop him from developing and using the right personel to make the plays that are necessary to execute his punishing game plan.

7:47 pm
- Patriots are putting together a recipe for a blow-out. They just added two straight sacks to the ingredients.

7:43 pm
- Oh man...Colt fans are stunned. Asante Samuels just intercepted Peyton Manning for a touchdown. Patriots 21, Colts 3. Manning may be home in New Orleans watching the Super Bowl with his Dad, brother, and the Saints.

7:41 pm
- The Colts nearly fumbled the ball on the kickoff return, but in the replay it was clear that the carrier was down before he lost the ball. But also in the replay showed a face mask. Suppose the Pats had recovered the ball, and the Colts challenged, and not only did the Refs reverse the call, but would they also call the penalty of a face mask based on the review?

7:37 pm
- But true to form, they go for it, Brady completes it to Brown for a big first down, and then Dillon runs it in for a touchdown. Patriots 14, Colts 3. What good are field goals when you can score touchdowns.

7:34 pm
- The Pats may or may not go for it on 4th and 6 at the Colts 35 yard line. Not to beat a dead horse here, but if Vinatieri was on the team still, think they'd even hesitate as to whether to kick a field goal or not?

7:31 pm
- The Patriots already have 84 rushing yards, and its still early in the second quarter. How did Larry Johnson and Jamal Lewis get stuffed the past two weekends?

7:27 pm
- How bad does that movie 'Ghost Rider' with Nicholas Cage look?

7:26 pm
- "So many teams in the league now able to deal with loud noise on the road" - Phil Simms. Yea, not the New York Giants.

7:24 pm
- Many have tried to compare the "dynasty" of the Patriots to the Yankees dynasty of the late 90's (as if you can compare dynasties from two different sports.) But if you were to suspend reality, and play along, then Tom Brady would be the Derek Jeter of the Pats. Adam Vinatieri would be the Mariano Rivera of the Patriots. Well now he is no longer with the Pats, and will that come back to burn them...stay tuned.

7;20 pm
- Adam Vinatieri just barely kicked his first field goal, but it counts, and he just gave the Colts three points against his former team. Patriots 7, Colts 3.

7:13 pm
- Dallas Clark of the Colts, just caught a big pass from Manning in Pats territory. He is such an oddity. He looks nothing like a tight end, looks more like a full back, and even wears the number 44. He reminds me of Dan Reeves from when he played for the Dallas Cowboys. A misfit player, who over achieves.

7:05 pm
- Oh my! Bizarro world in Indy. The Pats fumble, and the Patriots guard, Logan Mankins, recovers the ball in the endzone. Touchdown Patriots. Patriots 7, Colts 0.

7:03 pm
- The thing I don't understand about the Cover 2 defense, is why it would be effective against the run? Unless you have a Warren Sapp, or Bubba McFarland defensive tackle, you should be able to run inside your own tackles.

7:02 pm
- Corey Dillon just put an exclamation mark on the conversion, running for 35 yards.

7:01 pm
- 4th and 1 for the Pats at midfield. No way Belichick doesn't go for it here. He lives for 4th and short.

7:00 pm
- Freeney came back in...

6:57 pm
- Dwight Freeney, the defensive end for the Colts, limped off the field. If he can't come back in, that would be a big loss for the Colts. He can generate such a rush, and the success of the Tampa Two defense depends on the ability of the front four to create a rush on the quarterback, because the rest of the defense is in a zone. If the quarterback is not being rushed, he can sit back all day and wait for an open receiver.

6:55 pm
- Both teams have exchanged punts. Sometimes, like a heavy weight boxing championship fight, teams like to feel each other out, and you don't get the real action until the second quarter. I remember in Panthers/Patriots Super Bowl, the teams traded like six punts back and forth, and it was not until the end of the first half that things began to heat up. It wound up being one of the highest scoring Super Bowls of all time.

6:48 pm
- Sure is loud in the dome. Patriots will have to punt.

6:47 pm
- Reminder...don't forget to refresh this page every few minutes to see the new postings.

6:46 pm
- Here's my key to the game. The team that wants to win needs to score more points then the other team. Its that simple... Have I mentioned that I cannot stand Phil Simms?

6:43 pm
- Steve Tasker, a sideline reporter for CBS, and the former Bills special teamer...has a great voice for TV. He should replace Phil Simms. He'd be a lot better.

6:41 pm
- Given the build up on CBS, why even play the Super Bowl. This is the Super Bowl. If the Bears win in Miami, will that be considered the upset of the decade?

6:33 pm
- I defy someone to find a singer who can sing the National Anthem under two minutes... Actually Paul Zimmerman (Dr. Z) wrote a great piece about how the Anthem is dragged out way too long.

6:31 pm
- Here we go again. Now its time for the main show...what many believe will determine the true Super Bowl winner. The odds out of Las Vegas is that the winner of this game will be at least a seven point favorite tomorrow no matter who had won the Bears/Saints game. The bad news is that CBS gets to cover the game. I can't stand their studio crew. Talk about a sorry bunch. Dan Marino has the IQ of a two year old. I can't understand a single word Shannon Sharpe says. Boomer Esiason looks like a fool wearing Bill Belichick's signature sweatshirt. I feel sorry for James Brown...he must miss his old FOX crew. Anyway, on to the game. Gotta feel happy for Lovie Smith who will become the first African American to coach in a Super Bowl. Tony Dungy can quickly become the second with a win today. And it would be fitting that they would be the two to go since Smith used to coach underneath Dungy in Tampa Bay, and they both perfected the Tampa Two (cover 2) defense.

Labels: , ,