Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Johnny Manziel. It's time to go

First of all -- Happy New Year. May the sports gods of 2014 smile upon you and your favorite teams. OK then. Enough with the mandatory annual wimpy stuff. Back to biz.

Turns out, besides hoops, Duke can play a little football too. Yeah, they got smoked by Florida State in their conference championship game a while back, but getting thumped by likely the best team in the country is nothing to be ashamed of. In the recently concluded Chic-Fil-A Bowl, the Blue Devils gave the Texas A&M Aggies all they could handle. A great game, if one likes offense. Not so good if one is defensive minded. Up and down the field both offenses marched, racking up 100 points between them. Alas, in the end, the Dukies finally succumbed, 52-48.

Though the over-under for total points scored in the game was only 75, it probably should have came as no great surprise that they managed to put up a C-note between them. After all, in the SEC, A&M was ranked 1st in offense, and dead last in defense. They score a lot -- they give up a lot. And giving up 48 points to Duke certainly wasn't quarterback Johnny Manziel's fault. He doesn't play defense.

But his offensive performance was very impressive indeed. Try 30/38 passing for 382 yards, 4 TDs, 0 interceptions or fumbles, and throw in another 72 yards rushing just for kicks.  That's a helluva day for any QB, especially against a top 25 team like Duke. To boot, A&M was down by a whopping 3 touchdowns in the first half, and it looked like the Dukies were going to run them out of the building. But Johnny Football refused to quit. He was often seen along the sidelines psyching up his teammates, even the defensive unit, who looked a bit shell-shocked. Don't look at the scoreboard, he told them. This is far from over. Suck it up and play harder. We can win this game. We WILL win this game. After a very impressive first three quarters of football himself, the Duke QB finally blinked and made a couple ill-advised throws that resulted in interceptions. That was all A&M needed to seal the deal. Manziel was right. They DID come back and win.

Now the buzz has quickly turned to whether Manziel should return to A&M for another year, or jump the good ship Aggie to declare for the NFL draft.

This is a no-brainer. Of COURSE he has to go pro now. He'd be crazy not to. What number pick he might be in the overall draft will be debated until it actually happens -- but rest assured -- Johnny Football will get drafted by somebody. Given Manziel just put on a phenomenal display of his individual talent in the bowl game, his draft stock will likely never be higher. He could very well be a first round pick. That would come with guaranteed big bucks. Financially set for the rest of your life type bucks if one doesn't get totally stupid about it.

What's the best that could happen to Manziel if he returned to A&M for another year? Being the big man on campus and having a harem of Grade A Aggie cuisine at his disposal? Granted, that's a pretty sweet gig, but it doesn't pay very well, and isn't that supposed to be what people go to college for? To learn how to improve their future financial station in life? Besides, even though the BMOC thing would be gone in the NFL as a rookie, there likely wouldn't be any shortage of the above-mentioned prime cuts available. Believe it or not, a few million bucks has a way of getting the attention of very pretty girls sometimes.

With or without Manziel, it's highly doubtful A&M would compete for a national title next year. And even if they won it -- so what? That doesn't pay so hot either.

And there's always the chance he could suffer a serious injury along the way. Right now, Manziel is a special combination of a lot of different talents. He's a got a strong, accurate throwing arm. Can take a broken play and improvise it into a big gainer. Not only fast, but has open-field moves maybe not quite Barry Sanderish, but jaw-dropping at times.

How all that will translate into the pros is anybody's guess. Maybe he becomes a big star, and maybe he turns out to be a bust. Time will tell.

But if he goes back to Aggieland for another year of college glory and something bad happens -- like a knee getting blown out -- or worse -- then he can kiss it all goodbye. The millions would vanish into the ether, and whatever carnivore diet he may now possess would take a drastic change for the worse. He'd be lucky to get a hot dog to go -- let alone having filet mignon delivered to him.

Yep, how Manziel will fare amongst the big boys remains to be seen, but it's time to find out.

He's gotta go. Now.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Bloody Monday in the NFL

Oh my, the slaughter is well underway amongst NFL head coaches, and more may follow soon. To no one's great surprise.....

The Houston Texans had already offed head coach Gary Kubiak. After showing promise last year, the Texans crashed and burned like the Hindenburg in 2013.

Though not much is normally expected out of the Cleveland Browns, and even though it likely won't make any difference, sometimes a pair of cement overshoes needs to come into play to keep the restless masses at bay. Former head coach Rob Chudzinski now sleeps with the rest of the Lake Erie fishes.

The Minnesota Vikings mercifully put head coach Leslie Frazier down. Like beloved pets, it's a hard thing to do, but there are limits when it comes to suffering.

The Tampa Bay Bucs started off the season 0-8. The evidence was in, a verdict rendered, and head coach Greg Schiano's date with the gallows was likely pronounced at that time. Finishing up 4-4 was not enough to persuade the court to overturn his conviction. To boot, general manager Mike Dominik was deemed an accomplice, and he had to take the big final swing as well.

Head coach Mike Shanahan of the Washington Redskins found himself at odds with his owner over certain player personnel issues. Plus -- the Skins stunk it up big time this year. Eccentric or not, when it comes to a CEO locking horns with his head maintenance man -- the firing squad normally awaits somebody, and it ain't gonna be the guy puffing big cigars in his luxury suite.

In Detroit, it appears even the Rip Van WinkleFords have briefly emerged from yet another sleepy hollow slumber to realize Lions' head coach Jim Schwartz was their worst investment since a guy named Matt Millen. Though Schwartz was rightfully gassed for his record of crimes against humanity (sometimes referred to as Lions' fans), including the damning evidence of his 29-52 rap sheet, the Fords still owe him $10-12 million dollars. Most of us could make ends meet quite nicely for a few years with that kind of dough coming in. It's good to work for the Fords. No wonder so many other candidates are coming out of the woodwork and applying for this job.

Head coach Mike Smith's mortality timer may be getting close to going ding in Atlanta. Though perennial playoff disappointments, just last year the Falcons were considered amongst the elite teams of the NFL. This year? See Houston Texans/crash/burn/Hindenburg above. Could it be that owner Arthur Blank has indeed drawn a blank on what to do next? Maybe. Or perhaps he's quietly putting the finishing touches on the high voltage connections to Smitty's hot seat before throwing the switch.

Somewhat surprisingly, head coach Rex Ryan seems to have been given a stay of execution in Jets land. The Jets could play well. Then the Jets could turn around and play terribly. Terrible won out. The Jets missed the playoffs -- again. But hey, Americans have always loved a clown. It just wouldn't seem right to have Bozo drawn and quartered, even if he had it coming.

On a much more somber side is head coach Tom Caughlin of the NY Giants. Super Bowl winners just a couple short years ago, the Giants have turned into midgets. And bi-polar little fellas at that. Could Tommy C have already eaten his last meal but just doesn't know it yet? Maybe.

And, of course, there's always the ever-loveable circus going on down in Big D. See America's team. See the bimbos with their pom-poms. See a stadium that puts the Egyptian pyramids to shame. See an overhanging jumbotron TV screen so big it can get all of Rhode Island, and maybe even Chris Christie in the same picture. Alas, see the Cowboys with a 138-136 record, the epitome of average, since Jerry Jones bought them. All the window dressing in the world still can't turn a Camero into a Cadillac.

Once again, Dallas finds itself out of the playoffs. So what to do? Obviously, owner Jerry Jones has some hard calls to make. Like his fellow late egomaniacal owner George Steinbrenner, JJ has never been shy about firing people. Heads will have to roll. But whose? Could or should he consult with his team president, general manager, and director of player personnel before arriving at such decisions? Sure. All he has to do is look in the mirror. Jerry's a one man show. But what of head coach Jason Garrett? Under Garrett, the Cowboys have gone 8-8 the last three years. It doesn't get any more average than that. JJ doesn't seem like a guy that tolerates merely average for very long. No doubt, he longs for the heady days of "HOW BOUT DEM COWBOYS", as the champagne is sprayed around the room.

Yet for some reason, Jones seems to have an uncommon fondness for his boy Jason. Perhaps he will be spared the needle. Then again, billionaire owners, especially the high profile types, have been known to change their minds at a moments notice and re-summon the executioner.

And you know how it is with those red-headed stepchildren. It's just a matter of time before they fall out of favor......

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Detroit area sports. 2013

Yours truly isn't much into following high school sports anymore, but one way or the other a lot of notable things happened in 2013 in the college and pro ranks. Let's look back.

The Detroit Red Wings. They made it into the playoffs yet again, but eventually went down well shy of the Stanley Cup. The Wings last won the Cup when Bush Jr. was winding down his Presidency. Not all that long ago.

The Detroit Pistons. No playoffs because they were terrible. The Pistons last won an NBA crown in 2004, when the same W was running for re-election. Alas, little did we know then that, like the US economy, the Pistons were headed for a Humpty Dumptyish fall. All the king's horses/men etc, have yet to figure out how to put either one of them back together yet. Still, that was only 10 years ago.

The Detroit Tigers. Pitcher Max Scherzer won the AL Cy Young award and slugger Miguel Cabrera took home yet another MVP. On top of that, the Tigers supposedly had the best starting rotation in baseball and a regular murderer's row with their bats. They would get bounced in the playoffs. The Tigers last won the World Series in 1984 (Orwell, anybody?) when Ronald Reagan was winding down HIS first term. That's a while back. Also this last year, manager Jim Leyland decided he'd smoked his last Marlboro in the clubhouse, and retired. Leyland last smiled back when one of the Adams was President. And no, I'm not talking about Gomez or Morticia. But he did seem to Lurch a bit towards the end. Ahem.

Univ. of Mich. hoops. The Wolverines made a surprising run in the NCAA playoffs to get all the way to the championship game. They would be dispatched by Louisville. Close but no cigar. They last won a championship when Bush Sr. (read my lips -- no new taxes) occupied the Oval Office.

The Detroit Lions. Pretty much the same old. Being a long time fan of the Lions is like watching the movie Love Story every fall. It always starts out cheery, but despite all the wishes, prayers, and $6 hot dogs, I can pretty much guarantee you that both Jenny and the Lions are going to die before the show is over, and people will still cry. The Lions last won the Super Bowl -- well -- actually they've never even been to a Super Bowl. And Super Bowls started way back when Lyndon Johnson was President. At any rate, it was just another bumbling year for the Lions. Put it on top of the pile of all the other years. No big deal. Like the Wizard of Oz, they'll show it again in 2014. The difference?

Unlike die-hard Lions' fans, with certain equally gullible scribes egging them on every year about possible glory somewhere over the rainbow, Dorothy eventually woke up and realized it was all only a dream.

The bottom line? In 2013, Detroit went officially bankrupt, and no college or pro team in Michigan won anything of note.

But it will shortly be the dawn of a new year and hope springs eternal, right?

Right. If you say so......

Michigan football, pansy style

It should have come as no surprise that Kansas State trounced Michigan in the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl. K State is a little better than average, while UM likely wouldn't have gone to a bowl at all, save for the patsies they always schedule at the beginning of every season. At that, they probably should have lost a couple of THOSE games. Despite what rah-rah head coach Brady Hoke may continue to bluster, Michigan football has not only become a sorry state of affairs -- they've gotten downright wimpy.

For what seems like forever, UM has always prided itself on its offensive line and had featured running backs. Sure, the passing game is crucial, but by god, they're also going to run the ball and dare the other team to stop them. So why was it in the BWW Bowl they tried all kinds of gimmick plays like double reverses, but never attempted to run between the tackles? Even the old days of three yards and a cloud of dust were better than what they had to offer against K State. It's almost like they were afraid to run. And somewhere, Bo Schembechler rolled over. What kind of pansy football is this? No wonder they got blown out.

The story of Michigan starting QB Devin Gardner seemed to morph every day -- towards the wimpy side. First, it was reported Gardner injured a toe during the Ohio State game. Yet he would stay in that game to lead his team to 3 more touchdowns against the Buckeyes. It couldn't have been that bad. That was a month ago.

Then it was said Gardner somehow "aggravated" that same injury last week during practice, so he couldn't play in the bowl game.

Hey, this was supposed to be a sore toe. So why was Gardner seen hobbling along the sidelines on crutches wincing in pain during the bowl game? Oops, the story got updated. Gardner had a broken foot all along. How convenient. But if that were the case, then how did he run around like he did at the end of Ohio State game, and what was he doing practicing last week? To boot, why spend the bucks to fly the dude all the way to Arizona just to hobble around on crutches? If he's hurt that bad, shouldn't he be in rehab somewhere? I smell something very fishy and/or pansy style about all this, but that appears to be what Michigan football has devolved into. A lot of hype, but when it's time to get it on -- not much substance. Sometimes downright wimpy.

Methinks the Maize and Blue faithful should brace themselves for a few not-so-good things. You can continue to get all the 4 and 5 star recruits you want, but if you're defensive scheme has become the equivalent of a screen door on a submarine, then chances are the other teams are going to continue to score a lot of points against you.

Blue chips or not, when your team is afraid to run the ball between the tackles -- the other teams will quickly figure this out, and that doesn't bode well either.

Brady Hoke was not, is not, and will never be the one to lead you back to your glory days. The man is probably the only head coach in the whole country that doesn't wear headphones, ferchrissakes. That means he can't communicate with his offensive and defensive play callers, so he has no clue what's about to happen next on any play, in any game. This is not a good sign.

And don't look now -- but that "little brother" down the road in East Lansing has quickly grown up to be big and tough enough to likely kick your butts in the near future. Not to mention that pesky Urban dude in Columbus that seems to have a way of putting really good teams together.

Speaking of which, an idle thought. Brady Hoke's continued dissing of Ohio State by referring to them as merely "Ohio" is old news. Betcha he never tries the same tactic with MSU. If he left the "State" off their name -- then it would become....

No, the pansy thing is bad enough. That would probably be a dumb idea, even for the hokey-pokey man.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

The Max Bullough Affair

As is well known, Michigan State suspended lineback Max Bullough for the rest of the season. Obviously, that means he won't be going to the Rose Bowl with his teammates to take on Stanford in the traditional New Years day game.

So far, Spartan nation has kept the reason(s) for his suspension very close to their vests. Head coach Mark Dantonio merely stated it was for "a violation of team rules". Nobody else is supposed to know.

Maybe that's a good thing sometimes. After all, the media has certainly been known to go over the top with their probings and speculations in search of the almighty scoop, with little, if any regard for how miserable they might make someone's life. Sometimes their "targets" turn out to be innocent, but after having been run through the media meat grinder, it's impossible for them to ever be totally vindicated. People will always think they must have done SOMETHING.

Yours truly knoweth knoweth not what Dantonio has deemed Bullough of doing to warrant the suspension. But it raises a few interesting points.

First, it's only a matter of time before it "leaks". Besides Dantonio and Bullough himself, the MSU athletic director certainly knows, as do both their superiors within the university administration. And let's not forget the players. Players know everything about their teammates. The gag order may be holding for now, but a leak will come, then another, and another, and the dam will eventually burst. Everything, right or wrong, will be outed. Does anybody really seriously doubt that?

Look at it this way. Bullough is a senior linebacker, and a 2-time captain that calls the defensive plays for MSU. Definitely a team leader. To hold him out of likely the pinnacle game of his college career (the Rose Bowl) is a big deal.

(Bullough's dad, granddad and a couple uncles played for MSU -- and his little brother is a red-shirt freshman? Yeah, yeah. So what? I come from a long line of bald spots on the male side of the family tree, and my little brother is starting to shed a bit himself, but WE never got that sort of attention. Bah, humbug).

So unless I miss my guess -- as a senior Bullough has played his last game for MSU. The NFL likely awaits. Where he will go in the draft is a good question. I would speculate maybe the 2nd round.

But that's the thing. Between combines, workouts, and background checks, the NFL folks normally inspect their meat even closer than the media before committing a few million bucks to it. They want to know everything, and their peeps can't wait to tell the world what they think they know.

Even if the Spartans are successful in keeping the Bullough affair "classified" for now, the lid's going to get blown off long before "draft day". Why the big hush-hush thing now with Dantonio and company is another good question.

Let's look at the good news/bad news possibilities. The bad news is -- Bullough must have done something a lot more serious than missing a silly curfew to get him tossed from the team. The good news is -- no word yet of an impending arrest and/or prosecution.

That leaves a whole lot of possibilites in between and your guess is as good as mine. But rest assured, it will all come out eventually -- because such things always do.

Hmmm. Given his family history and the bitter rivalry, maybe Mad Max got caught in a "compromising position" with a Michigan cheerleader.

That might explain it.....

Friday, December 27, 2013

Idle thoughts and dumb things

In BC times..... how did they know what year it was?

Recently -- "There's only 6 or 7 teams worth watching". This from Hall of Famer Sir Charles Barkley talking about the current state of affairs in the NBA. Betcha the TV folks (and their sponsors) cringed.

If they're serious about their cause -- doesn't it make sense all the food and drinks at the Fight Hunger Bowl should be free?

And don't look now, but if your team has to go to something called the Fight Hunger Bowl to get on national TV, they're starving for attention indeed.

Huskies and Cougars? Hah. Sounds like one belongs pulling sleds in the Iditerod and the other is a bunch of middle-aged divorcees having their way with young studs. What the hell kind of a football game is that?

Loved MAD magazine's "20 Dumbest People, Events, and Things of 2013". Lots of notables made their list. Obama, Edward Snowden, Paula Deen, Reese Witherspoon, Dennis Rodman, George Zimmerman, Obama again with Kathleen Sebelius, and even America's latest cult hero -- the ever twerkable Miley Cyrus -- checked in at #4. What could possibly be dumber than that, you ask?

#3. A couple guys named Weiner and Spitzer attempting political comebacks.

#2. Rolling Stone magazine featuring a Boston marathon bomber on it's cover.

So who or what was crowned by the "usual gang of idiots" at MAD as being the dumbest thing in the past year?

The clusterXXXX in Washington DC, amongst those we have elected to represent us. They called it National Buffoons' "Abysmal House". With Barack Obama as Dean Wormer. Special appearance by the US Senate. Produced by FOX news and the Tea Party. Music by Francis Scott Key. Directed by David Cruz. Etc, etc. Not a bad choice and well done.

But I think perhaps my life-long heroes at MAD missed the mark on this one. For sure, there was a far, far dumber thing that happened in 2013 than anything mentioned above.

That would be the Detroit Lions and their fans once again thinking they were contenders.

It just doesn't get any dumber than that.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

The pride of the Lions

Recently, yours truly saw an AP article where the author claimed the Detroit Lions' final game against Minnesota is not totally meaningless. Though it has absolutely zero playoff implications -- after all - the Lions still have their pride to play for, he claimed. While said author no doubt had good intent, methinks at best, he overlooked the obvious and, at worst, was horribly misguided. Why?

Because shortage of pride on the Lions is not the problem. From the front office on down to the last guy on the practice squad, likely including the trainers and waterboys, they have pride coming out of their ears. It exudes from their every skin pore. This has to be the proudest gang of puddy-tats yours truly has ever seen.

When the "brain trust", and I use that term very loosely, drafts a player or signs a free agent -- they burst with pride like a peacock on steroids. Look at me, LOOK AT ME, LOOK AT ME, they'll crow while strutting before the media and home town fans. Funny, or maybe not, how those very same folks get harder to find than Jimmy Hoffa when some of their "can't miss" prospects go bust.

Pride? Head coach Jim Schwartz is chock full of it. Always has been. Forget throwing a challenge flag that cost his team a game, that he would later say he knew was against the rules, but did it anyway. And forget assaulting an opposing head coach on the field after another game, because the other guy's team had the audacity of defeating the Lions on national TV. And let's even forget that after 5 years at the helm, neither Schwartz nor his team seems to have become remotely proficient in Professional Discipline 101. This remains a mighty proud man. And speaking of godawful career records....

Consider long-time Lions' starting center Dominic Raiola. He's been with the Lions since 2001 and rarely missed a game during all that time. Dominic has shown himself to be durable. As a team spokesman, Dominic has never seen a microphone or camera he didn't like. Dominic always has something to say. Along that line, let's ignore that time when Dominic became verbally abusive with the Lions' own fans in their own stadium (one of which happened to be a lady friend of mine). What is harder to ignore, however, is how teams have fared with Dominic playing for them. The year before he showed up at Nebraska (1997), the Cornhuskers shared a national title with Michigan. Enter Dominic.The folks in Lincoln haven't had a national contender since.

From 2001 on the Lions' cumulative record is 60-147, for a sub-anemic winning percentage of .289 with Dominic "anchoring" the offensive line. Though my multiple attempts to verify it yielded no definitive results, Dominic might well be the all-time losingest player in the entire history of the NFL. Nevertheless, Dominic is proud to this day. Just ask him. He'll tell you.

Look around at the rest of that team. They have an aging wide receiver that can't even stay healthy, much less be productive, but he's always flapping his soup cooler about how proud he is of his teammates.

The Lions are proud of a couple defensive linemen that can sometimes disrupt the plays of the opposing team. Problem is -- those very same linemen have given the on-field officials -- and the league -- reasons to cast a more scrutinizing eye on their team because of some of their previous thuggery. Though making obscene amounts of money, it's questionable whether those guys could spell "class" if you spotted them all the consonants and one vowel. But dammit, they're proud.

No, despite the Lions having to play another woeful team limping to the finish line on the final game of their regular seasons, pride should have nothing to do with it. The Honolulu blue and silver keep that "gas" tank topped off.

Instead of playing for pride, they might want to consider stocking up a bit on other commodities that have long eluded them. Like, say, discipline, execution, knowing the rules, and cutting down on the brain farts that have stunk up their franchise for over a half century.

A couple parting thoughts ---

According to the Book of Proverbs, "pride goeth before the fall". Has any team been prouder and taken more falls than the Lions?

And, after all, a "pride" is the proper term for a group of lions in the wild. They are magnificent animals, and kings of the jungle. But that Detroit bunch that continues to be ridden roughshod, broken, and tamed by their fellow critters every year hardly seems deserving of such lofty status.

So let's be honest. In the whole scheme of the universe, there are some things that just aren't meant to mix well together. Like oil and water, matter and anti-matter, FOX and MSNBC, me and my ex, and so on. The Detroit Lions and pride take it a step further. They would appear to be mutually exclusive. Where one exists -- the other cannot, or at least damn well SHOULD not.

Yet that leaves a big question. If the Lions' and their faithful hordes of lemmings rightfully rule out thinking of the team in prideful terms -- then what would be an appropriate way of considering them indeed?

Hmmm. Does the name Bert Lahr ring a bell?

Just a thought.....

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Aaron Rodgers. Now or never

Aaron Rodgers of the Green Bay Packers is one of those quarterbacks who's just flat-out irreplaceable. With him, the Pack can be really good. Without him, Cheesernation starts to get moldy in a hurry.

There are others like that. Tom Brady comes to mind. The Pats would be the pits without him. Same with Peyton Manning of the Broncos, Drew Brees of the Saints, and certainly Cam Newton of the surprising Carolina Panthers. These guys are big time difference makers.

On other teams, it's not so clear. Given the chance, could Kirk Cousins step in for the Skins and be every bit as good or better than RGIII? Maybe. Though the Lions and Da Bears will continue to trumpet starting QBs Matthew Stafford and Jay Cutler, both have very capable backups that could likely take over with little or no loss in production. Like Cousins, given a chance, they might even be better. Good grief, Stafford's thrown 12 interceptions in his last 6 games, and when Cutler can even stay healthy, he hasn't exactly been lighting it up, to say the least. It's been big news that Cowboys' starter Tony Romo is out with a herniated disk, but his backup Kyle Orton didn't just fall off a turnip truck. The dude's 35-34 in career NFL starts. A helluva lot better record than Stafford (24-37).

But back to Rodgers. As is well known, Rodgers suffered a fractured collar bone a while back. Before he went down the Packers were 5-2, with their only losses coming @San Fran and @Cinci, both formidable places to play. Since then the Packers have gone 2-5-1 without him, losing to teams they would likely have easily dispatched if #12 was taking the snaps and doing his thing. Initially, it was projected Rodgers's injury would keep him sidelined for 4-5 weeks. After all, it was his left collarbone, his "non-throwing" side.

It has now been 8 weeks and counting. Though Rodgers has said he felt great for the last few weeks and has been running, throwing, practicing, etc., mysteriously he can't seem to get "medical clearance" to suit up and take the field.

Far be it from yours truly to second-guess the minds of medicine that service Lambeau's finest, but they might want to take into consideration that it's now or never time.

The Packers have a date with Da Bears on the final week of the regular season. The same Bears that crunched Rodger's clavicle at Lambeau in the first place. But this time it's in ChiTown. Whoever wins is the NFC north division champ and goes on to the playoffs. The losers go home. One would think Rodgers would enjoy nothing more than leading his team into the playoffs while exacting a little revenge on the Bears in their own back yard -- on national TV to boot. Yes, Rodgers would no doubt be a bit rusty after such a long layoff. But the Bears' defense got exposed in a big way last week by Philly. If the Eagles can put 54 points on the board against them -- how do you think Rodgers might fare with his receiver corps? And don't think he hasn't studied the tapes. What else did he have to do?

Besides, it's the NFL. Guys play hurt all the time, particularly as the season wears on and takes its toll. Many a QB has suited up, played, and taken their shots with the likes of broken ribs before -- the week after it happened. A fractured collar bone on the non-throwing side that's had 2 months to heal doesn't seem like it should be that big of a deal.

Regardless, it's do or die time for the Packers. Win the game and go on, or lose it and their season's over. So what's to lose going with Rodgers? He might, gasp, reinjure it, you say? Hey, he's an NFL quarterback, not to be treated with kid gloves like Queen Lizzie the deuce, the Pope, or Anderson Cooper. Even if he gets re-dinged, he'll have the whole off season to get it fixed and heal up.

A suggestion for the Packers' medical staff. Before you make your final call on Rodgers' availability for the upcoming game against Chicago -- you might want to remember what the man has been trying to tell you in his own recent TV commercials.

Daaa-ble check.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas, sports fans

Thing is, if you're at all familiar with my work and are reading this anyway -- you're obviously some sort of pagan or heathen with no regard for common decency, let alone the holiday spirit. Could it be that you still have a poster of Matt Millen on your wall? Or worse yet, a mural of Bieber twerking painted on your bedroom ceiling? Gadzooks!! Infidels. Off with your heads.

Nevertheless, Christmas is supposed to be about good will towards men, Title IX notwithstanding. So if you qualify for any of the above -- I'll let it slide -- for now. But don't think I won't be keeping an eye on you. Yeah, YOU. All that Big Brother government stuff you've heard about them listening to your phone calls, monitoring your emails, etc, etc? While perhaps a cause for concern, those folks remain career minor leaguers. Bet you didn't know even older computers have built-in cameras, and I can turn them on to watch you whenever I feel like it. So in the Christmas spirit, please replace the naughty with nice. I strongly suggest those of you that have this nasty little habit of logging on to this site while naked consider covering yourselves up a bit. While I appreciate the show in some cases, others are -- how do I say -- not so good. Did I mention gadzooks?

Certainly Christmas Eve can be a stressful time. The blessed children are all worked up anticipating the arrival of Santa Claus, and parents the world over know they're going to be rousted out of bed first thing in the morning, after having spent a long night doing what they had to do.

So here's a suggestion. Do it the American way. Give the brats a double dose of Ritalin or whatever other kiddie drugs you have handy, throw back a few shots of tequila yourselves, and to all a good night.

And one more thing. If you believe a certain commercial about Santa having a bad back -- remember to leave him out a couple pain pills. Considering the billions of homes old St. Nick will have visited during the night -- if he gobbles all those meds, he might well wind up as whacked out as yours truly. I could use a little help like that every once in a while.

No matter what, here's wishing everyone a very Merry Christmas.

May the force of the playoffs be with you. Perhaps even a couple game tickets in your stockings if you've been REALLY good.

Unless, of course, you happen to live in a town like Detroit or Cleveland. If that be the case, forget about the playoffs and save those pain killers for yourselves.

You're going to need them......

Monday, December 23, 2013

NFL coaches. Let them eat cake

Whether or not Marie Antoinette ever actually uttered those words remains in dispute to this day. But like most NFL head coaches, the lovely Ms. M certainly lived high on the hog for a while. Vast fortunes and luxuries far beyond the wildest imagination of the peasants/fans were bestowed upon them. A stable of servants/assistant coaches was at their beckon call.

That is, right up until they fell into major disfavor with the masses/owners. In 1793, just shy of her 38th birthday, she found herself in the unenviable position of having a mandatory date with a guillotine. Let's just say things didn't work out so well for Marie in the end.

Which brings me to modern day NFL head coaches. It appears a few more heads will roll after the regular season is concluded next week. Some are almost no-brainers, no pun intended.

Jim Schwartz of the Detroit Lions can color himself gone. Whack. Even an ownership that would once take 8 years to finally figure out giving a demolition derby driver like Matt Millen the keys to their limo was a bad idea would certainly be able to see the obvious these days. Wouldn't they?

As can Leslie Frazier of the Minnesota Vikings. Whack. Fittingly enough, the teams of Jimbo and Les will meet on the final day of the regular season in a meaningless game. Perhaps they will console each other knowing they share a common fate.

Mike Shanahan of the Washington Redskins and Tom Coughlin of the NY Giants will also meet in the regular season finale. This presents a more interesting scenario. Unlike Schwartz and Frazier, both Shanahan and Coughlin have two Super Bowl wins on their resumes. Yet Shanny currently finds himself at odds with his eccentric owner, and Tom's boys seem to be coughing like a cat with a hair ball the size of Rhode Island in their throats. Bottom line? Both teams have stunk it up big time this year. As the long departed Ms. Antoinette once found out -- the NFL is all about what have you done for me lately? Prediction? Neither of these guys survive to see 2014. Whack, whack.

Jason Garrett of the Dallas Cowboys was very close to being given his last rites. Rumors coming out of Big D (and when AREN'T there rumors about America's Team/Jerry Jones' personal rodeo) have it that many on the football staff thought they would all be fired if the Cowboys didn't make the playoffs this year. They may well have been right.

Then a couple unpredictable things happened. The Cowboys squeaked out a last second win in DC. Good for Garrett. Not so good for Shanahan. But Cowboys' starting QB Tony Romo sustained a back injury that puts him out indefinitely. Next Sunday, Da Boys host the Philadelphia Eagles. The winner goes to the playoffs. The loser is eliminated. Thing is, Philly's been on a roll. New head coach Chip Kelly's team seems to be getting better every week. Witness their total demolition of the Bears just a couple days ago. And QB Nick Foles is the real deal. Don't believe that? Since taking over for Michael Vick, the dude's thrown 25 TD passes and only 2 picks -- by far the best ratio in the NFL. And whens the last time you heard Vick's name even mentioned?

Anything can happen, but chances are good Philly's going to waltz into Big D and hogtie the Cowboys. They likely would have done so even WITH Romo healthy. Without him, the Cowboys chances take a major turn for the worse.

Bottom line? Though the apologists are already out in force trying to give Garrett a built-in alibi if the Cowboys don't make the playoffs -- yours truly suspects King Jerry will not be amused, much less persuaded. Whack.

There are others. Consider Mike Smith of the Atlanta Falcons. In the last few years the Falcons have posted very impressive regular season records. But for some reason, they never got far in the playoffs. This year they took a total nose dive. Owner Arthur Blank is routinely seen on the sidelines closely watching his team. Might King Arthur look down his considerable nose and deem Smitty as no longer worthy of running his football fiefdom? A possible whack.

Here's what I think I know. Not long after the regular season concludes next week in the NFL this year -- the guillotine is going to be quite busy.

So let the heads roll. Other people will step up to take their chances at brief fame, fortune, and glory, only to inevitably suffer the same fate. And time marches on.

Personally, yours truly was never much of a cake fan anyway.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

R.I.P. Detroit Lions. Again

That time of the season is upon us once more. Break out the shovels and etch another tombstone. We must lay the Detroit Lions to rest -- again. As sure as Christmas, Easter, and my mom's 39th birthday occur every year, so too will the Lions cause their fans to lower their heads in sorrow as they mourn yet another passing of their beloved team. Alas.

While folklore suggests cats have 9 lives, this thing with the Lions is getting ridiculous. They're over 50 and counting. It's kind of like a Dracula movie. You just know that towards the end a stake through the heart is going to come into play, and that nasty critter is finally dead. Gone. Outta here. Forever. But not the Lions. They'll rise up from the dead next year to prey on their gullible fans. Again. And you know what's REALLY scary? The minions of Honolulu blue and silver thralls will bare their necks, and wallets, while basically saying, "Take me. I'm yours". Again.

Yes, the Lions were officially taken off their playoff life support system by the NY Giants earlier today. Though they will be kept technically alive to suffer the ignominy of playing a meaningless game in Minnesota next week, for all intents and purposes the Lions are brain dead. Again. I'll get back to that.

And the NY Giants are terrible this year. How bad are they? If they were in one of those English premier soccer leagues, they'd have been demoted down to the next level. In the world of pro basketball, one might well imagine Isiah Thomas had been the head executive for a few years. Yet even the lowly Giants were able to stumble into Detroit and beat the puddy-tats in their own back yard.

It was nip and tuck there for a while, even going into overtime, as to which inept team could out-bonehead the other one. But never underestimate the Lions when it comes to the theater of the absurd. They have long since proven themselves as the undisputed champions of finding ways, sometimes almost comically ingenious, to screw up a football season before it's over.

Let's consider head coach (for now) Jim Schwartz. In 2009 he inherited a team coming off an 0-16 record. It doesn't get any worse than that. In his first year the Lions went 2-14. Still pretty pitiful, but at least a tad of improvement. The following year 6-10. Well OK, that's progress. In 2011 the Lions went 10-6 and made the playoffs. Sure, they got blown out by New Orleans in the opening round, but the long beleaguered Lions' faithful finally, FINALLY, sensed a miracle might actually be possible. There were guarded whispers of a Super Bowl appearance in their near future. Glory hallelujah, re-up the season tickets and pass the holy wine. The Promised Land was within sight.

Then last year came the harsh reality of Schwartz IV. What started off as a season with even higher expectations than the last, wound up flaming out and crashing like the Hindenberg. Schwartz and his Lions thudded back to earth with a 4-12 record, including losing the last 8 in a row. The ownership of any other NFL self-respecting team would have kicked Schwartz to the curb at that point. He had done what he and his staff could do, but it was blatantly obvious they had their limits. They would never be the ones to finally mold the Lions into serious contenders. The Promised Land had vanished into the ether yet again. Incredibly (or maybe not, considering their history of folly) the Ford ownership of the Lions gave Schwartz a 2 year contract extension.

Enter 2013. Yep, you got it. Dracula was back again. The Lions started off the season 6-3. Within their own NFC north division, they'd whipped the Bears twice, Minnesota was terrible, and the Packers were stumbling badly without the services of QB Aaron Rodgers. The Lions were a lock for the playoffs. The only questions that remained were how far they would go once the post-season started. They'll likely get at least one home game, maybe even two, quothed their eternally gullible hometown scribes. And their legions of thralls were eager to buy into the false hope. Again. They willingly cast aside that pesky garlic, threw off the crucifixes, and bared their necks. We're all in. Take us. Again.

And so it came to pass. The Lions would go on to lose 5 of out their next 6 games, and be eliminated from the playoffs entirely. Actually, save for an improbable last minute comeback against the Dallas Cowboys a few weeks ago, the Lions should have lost all of them. They are just -- that -- clueless.

What's truly dumbfounding is how the Lions and their thralls continue to insist they have so much spectacular talent on their team. QB Matthew Stafford throws for 5000 yards. Calvin (Megatron) Johnson is the best wide receiver in the league. Their defensive line is ferocious. The offensive line has been retooled and blocking extremely well. Reggie Bush gave them a serious threat in their running game. DeAndre Levy might also be the best linebacker in the league. And OMG, all those can't miss draft choices and free agent signings. Talent here, talent there, talent everywhere, they said.

So just one question.... With all this supposed talent, how come they still not only can't seem to win anything -- but have once again taken their place as the Rodney Dangerfields of the NFL? 

Nevertheless, it appears help may conceivably be on the way. According to sources at ESPN, Schwartz's seat was already flaming hot before his team bumbled away yet another (home) game to the hapless Giants, as another Lion season swirled down the porcelain receptacle. It appears even the Fords briefly come out of their slumber every decade or so to take a look at their team.

Those sources also claim the Fords have recently been quietly shopping around for a new head coach. It would appear that though Jimbo's goose has unofficially been cooked, he'll remain in the oven to face another likely lame-duck coach named Leslie Frazier of the Vikings next week in a meaningless game between two bad teams. After that, the carving knives may well come out.

Yet who would replace Schwartz? ESPN folks speculate the Lions are interested in Bill O'Brien, currently the head coach at Penn State. Thing is, after the contract extension mentioned above, this could be somewhat of a pricey deal for the Ford family. They still owe Schwartz about $12 million in guaranteed salary. Plus, Penn State has a buy-out clause built into O'Brien's contract. If you want him, it will cost you $6 million up front. So the Fords would be on the hook for $18 million before they ever sat down to negotiate their own contract terms with O'Brien. Assuming he would demand a multi-year contract in the 5-6 million a pop range, we're talking about a very expensive unproven commodity. Like Schwartz, O'Brien has never been an NFL head coach before either.

Schwartz's record (29-50) speaks for itself. But what if O'Brien turned out to be even more incompetent? Could happen. Hey, it's still the Lions, so anything's possible -- except being perennial contenders. And by then the Fords would have went back to sleep and the Honolulu blue and silver thralls might be stuck with another loser for the next several years. That doesn't seem right.

There's a better way. Forget O'Brien. Way too pricey.

Much better they try to pry Alfred E. Neuman away from MAD magazine. For a few million bucks the "usual gang of idiots" at MAD might be willing to loan out their beloved icon to put his face on on NFL team. And who better than the Lions?

Besides, it would come with a long needed extra benefit. All the age-old hand wringing and false hopes once again always dashed by the Lions would be replaced by a totally different way of thinking by their thralls.

What. Me Worry?

No, the Lions probably wouldn't get any better under Alfred's tutelage, but hey, if they're doomed to be losers anyway, why not kick back and have a few yuks?

Couldn't hurt.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Dennis Rodman and Korean hoops

One Eric Talmadge of the Associated Press recently penned a very interesting article regarding Dennis (The Worm) Rodman's latest foray into North Korea -- the land ruled by his pal Kim Jong Un. For purposes of the following, yours truly freely admits he's going to "borrow" a lot of ET's work to make his own points. Having copped to that, I can now swipe away without worrying about my own Supreme Ruler -- sometimes called an editor -- sending me off somewhere to be summarily executed for the capital crime of plagiarism. Or worse yet, having to buy him another lunch. At any rate -- onward.

Apparently, Rodman is currently in Pyongyang holding tryouts amongst a couple dozen of the local yokels that aspire to be accomplished basketball players. He needs to whip a gang of 12 into serious game shape quick. Why? Because behind the scenes the Worm has also been trying to convince a dozen so far nameless NBA vets to show up for an exhibition (in soccer it would be called a "friendly") game in North Korea to take on his "crash-course" squad. This is supposed to happen on Jan 8, merely 3 weeks away.

Not surprisingly, given certain recent turns of events, it appears some of Rodman's NBA pals are a little hesitant to travel to such a country. Yet they likely need not worry. The Harlem Globetrotters went over there with the Worm less than a year ago, and they were all just fine. I mean, c'mon. Even the most tyrannical and ruthless of editors, oops, correction, heads of state aren't beyond a little diplomacy and good will once in a while.

But perhaps Talmadge should have looked a little deeper into just how all this might well play out. Photos can be deceiving, but the one that accompanied his AP article seemed to be telling. Rodman is 6'7". Pictured amongst his future North Korean hopefuls, he appeared to be a head taller than most of those guys. If so, it doesn't matter if every last one of them is the reincarnation of Steve Nash and John Stockton in their primes, or the present Chris Paul. How do you think they're going to fare going up against a bunch of NBA guys, many of which would likely be even taller than Rodman?

And by "NBA vets", just what are Rodman and Talmadge referring to? Surely not active players that have been in the league for a few years. Last time I looked, three weeks from now the NBA teams will still be in full swing with their schedules. No way could guys skip out for an exhibition game on another continent. And even if they could -- can you imagine how they would demolish a rag-tag team of amateurs thrown together in 3 weeks? They might beat them by 100 points. 200. 500. Whatever they wanted to.

Or maybe by "NBA vets" we're talking more like a group of retired guys. Even at that, a team of geezers like Bird, Magic, Jordan, Barkley, Abdul-Jabbar, etc, could probably win such a game by 70-80 points while yukking it up from the opening tip to the final buzzer.

No matter who Rodman may or may not convince from the NBA ranks to go over there -- if it happens -- it's going to be a major mismatch. Figuratively and literally, it would be (big) men against (little) boys. That is, of course, unless the fix was in beforehand, and the NBAers were somehow convinced to "play down" to their competition. And that would be WAY down. Like from the peak of Mt. Everest to the bottom of the Marianas Trench down.

So let's consider the various possibilities.

1) Due to security concerns, the game never happens.

2) The game goes off, but the NBAers, in true Globetrotter spirit, allow the score to remain close throughout, while acting as good will ambassadors of the game. Would they actually let the Koreans win? Probably not. The Washington Generals didn't have such a good record against that Harlem bunch either. But here's the thing....  Even if his team were being played for patsies, would Kim Jong Un even know the difference? Hey, as long as the score was close, he'd be happy. We're almost right there with the big boys, he would likely think. There continues to be hope. Sort of like the Detroit Lions every year since the Eisenhower administration, but that's a story for another day.

3) An NBA squad goes over there, plays hard, and beats the Pyongyang bunch by a 500 or so. Kim would likely not approve.

And THAT would be when security concerns would rightfully kick in. Though Rodman might currently be over there in a pink shirt puffing away on a big fat cigar while trying to fast-track a couple dozen of his buddy Kim's loyal countrymen into being competent hoopsters -- if it turns out Kim decides he played them as fools which are then held up to international embarrassment -- then Rodman's plans for a June rematch are probably the least of his worries.

Like the old saying goes -- It's not nice to fool with Mother Nature or editors. Either can dispatch a lightning bolt on thy head whenever they feel like it. But it's REALLY risky to befriend a dictator, only to then have him perceive you betrayed him and were mocking him all along.

If Rodman convinces enough "NBA vets" into playing the Jan. 8 game, he might be well advised to give them a serious locker-room pep talk before they actually take the floor. Something like --

Hey, my brothers -- don't be afraid man, it's all love, it's all love here. We're in this country to have a good time. Kim might have a bad rep back in the States, but's he's a solid dude. But do what you gotta do to keep the game close, OK? If you go out there and run those goofy little runts out of the building like I know you can -- well -- even my BFF out their in the luxury box can get a little touchy about such things. Something about certain people being slam-dunked for life into hard labor camps, never to be heard from again. We wouldn't want that, right? And I much prefer being the Worm, as opposed to what North Korean worms feed on under the ground. Did I mention Kim has these little mood swings once in a while? Hear about what he did to his own uncle? The man has his serious side too. So you know where I'm coming from? Let's play the game and have fun. No pressure.

Ah yes, it's always heart-warming when those of vastly different nations, peoples, traditions, and political views can set such things aside to join hands in the world of sports for the overall good of mankind.

Kind of gets you right -- urp -- there, ya know?

How will we know this is going to work out in the long run?

When we see Kim with a few tats and piercings. Pretty sure the Worm could fix him up........

Friday, December 20, 2013

Kobe Bryant. Worth it?

Some in the sports world have certainly been abuzz with the latest and not-so great news regarding Kobe Bryant. You know, the self-anointed Black Mamba. The honorable Mr. Bryant recently suffered a small fracture in his left knee. Nothing that requires surgery, but he's likely out for 6-10 weeks.

And OMG, the hand-wringing such a catastrophic occurence has brought about in certain quarters. Does this spell the beginning of the end for Kobe? Holy incoming nukes, and the sky is falling. It's Armageddon. Normally, this sort of panic stricken mania only occurs when something truly planet threatening might be in the works. Like, say, Tiger Woods being in danger of missing the cut at a major golf tournament. Could anything possibly be more scary than that? Hmm. I suppose there's always the remote possibility Anne Coulter and Rachel Maddow could team up to make a porno film that was mandatory viewing for everybody. Whoa. Talk about a nuclear winter. Shiver me timbers and forget the tequila. Pass the valium.

But back to Kobe. Perhaps a closer look is in order. Just how good is this guy anyway?

So far this season, the LA Lakers are 2-4 with Kobe, and 10-9 without him.
The Lakers score an average of 4 more points per game when Kobe does NOT play.
They give up an average of 3 more points per game when Kobe DOES play.
Yours truly is no math guru, but I think even my feeble mind can compute that combining those stats equates to roughly a 7 point swing per game. On average, it seems the Lakers as a team are considerably better without Kobe. Would anyone seriously doubt a seven point differential can and will make the difference in a lot of NBA games?

Yet they recently signed him to a whopping $48.5 million 2 year contract extension. Twenty four million dollars a year. Do a little more math. Combine the games he's already missed with likely being on the shelf for the next two months, and the Black Mamba might well be approaching a million bucks a game for those he actually plays in.

So -- if the Lakers are significantly statistically better without him across the board -- then one question.... have they gone totally mad out there in la-la-land shelling out another guaranteed $48 million to this guy?

Sure, like Tiger, Kobe's always been a media magnet. For whatever reasons, they can't get enough of them. Though neither of these guys will be qualifying for their AARP memberships anytime soon, there can be little doubt that while both are still capable of occasional flashes of brilliance -- they are also both on the back side of their bell curves in the world of sports. In other words, there's going to come a time in the not too distant future when all earthlings will have to accept that such heroes eventually fade away. Hey, as bad as that may seem, it still beats the hell out of being forced to watch the potential video mentioned above. It could be worse -- a lot worse. Did I mention scary? If it comes to that -- throw in a jug of moonshine and fire up the pipe.

Naturally, Kobe has publicly defended his latest contract. Well, what's he supposed to say? "Approaching 36, I'm almost geezer age in the NBA, a shell of the player I once was, injury prone, have ZERO chance of leading this team to another title, and they must have been crazy to give me all this money when the team plays better without me than with me?" Not likely. Kobe may be a lot of things, but he still knows how to play the media (including the social variety) game, and that translates into continued popularity amongst the gullible masses, whether he is, or ever was worthy of such hero worship or not.

Parting idle thought: Perhaps you've heard of Kobe beef. It's considered a delicacy in some parts of the world. It comes from the Tajima strain of wagyu cattle which is native to Hyogo Prefecture, Japan. Evidently, they're pretty picky over their as to what may be referred to as Kobe beef.

It must have been born and raised in Hyogo Prefecture.
It must have been fed in Hyogo Prefecture.
Only bulls are slaughtered for fine cuisine, and even they must have been castrated to purify the beef.
Kobe beef is even a registered trademark.

Now, I wouldn't know about all that Prefecture stuff. Give me a porterhouse smothered in onions and mushrooms, a bottle of A1 sauce, and you're looking at a happy camper. And who cares where it came from anyway?

Yet the Black Mamba might want to someday take note that he was, after all, named after a hunk of meat. Such is the way it goes in professional sports when players are deemed no longer productive by the powers that be.

But when the good Mr. Bryant finally gets put out to pasture, it is my fervent hope he doesn't take a trip to Hyogo Prefecture on a vacation.

Yes, he was a life-long Laker and never a Bull, but you never know about that language barrier thing. Just one little miscommunication between Kobe and the folks from the old country could lead to disaster. If Kobe thought a ruptured achilles and a fractured knee were painful and hard to get over, I'm thinking he really, REALLY doesn't want to find out what being castrated feels like.

Yep, much better to stay in LA with the sushi folks. Pays better too.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Elmer Fudd and too many ducks

Well, let's see. The Anaheim Ducks blasted the Detroit Red Wings in their own building.

Another duck is still quacking his (or maybe her -- not sure) spiel on the TV airwaves hawking insurance.

And some dude from a Duck Dynasty currently finds himself in hot water for some alleged homophobic slurs. Those kind of ducks have dynasties? Really? Yeah, OK, I get it that a few hicks from the bayou could become millionaires in modern day American society. After all, things turned out pretty well for Jed Clampett when an errant shot from his trusty squirrel gun resulted in the bubbling crude. This from a guy that could supposedly shoot the eye out of a fly from 100 yards, but he missed a critter at close range. And closely watch the background intro scene to the show again, if you get a chance. Whoever heard of a mountain man's dog being guy shy? Old Blue, or whatever his name was, jumped liked he'd been tased when that critter gun went off. Somehow, that just ain't right.

We've long had politicians ducking questions every which way. Quack, quack, quack. Anything but the truth. Maybe they should be selling insurance while real ducks take their places in office. Nothing would get done, you say, while the ducks pooped all over everything and continued to squawk their own unintelligible language? Welcome to the world of American politics, but at least the ducks would do the same thing for chicken feed instead of costing the tax-payers a ton of money. And forget about all those first-class private jet accommodations that cost a fortune. Ducks can fly themselves for free. Hmm. I'm starting to like this idea about a Duck party in Washington.

But this is supposed to be about sports. Methinks there should be a few head-coaching sitting ducks in the NFL, but it all depends on what team it is -- and who the owners are.

In Minnesota, head coach Leslie Frazier has been with a lot of teams over the years, including several that have made the playoffs. Leslie's done this, and Leslie's done that. But this year Leslie's team is taking on water faster than the Titanic. Will owner Zygi Wilf give Leslie the ziggy indeed at year's end, even though he owes him another year on his contract? Maybe. And whoever heard of a true viking named Leslie?

In Washington, head coach Mike Shanahan appears to be at odds with his owner Daniel Snyder. Snyder seems to favor Robert Griffin III, even though RG3 has been stinking it up all year with his play. As the head coach, Shanahan wants to be able to play the players he deems the best, perhaps including former MSU quarterback Kirk Cousins.

Just because a guy was a high draft choice making a ton of money doesn't always mean he's the most capable quarterback to lead the team now, or in the future. Sometimes they turn out to be stars. Other times, they crash and burn. It happens, and if a team is serious about winning, what should it matter how they came by a player?  Some turn out to be better than others. But if and when a head coach stares down an active owner, as to who's going to have their way with the team -- betting on the owner is usually a good idea. Having rosy cheeks and a bucky beaver smile only get one so far.

And speaking of clueless owners, would somebody please explain to me how Detroit Lions' head coach Jim Schwartz, he of the 29-49 career record (.372), not only still has a job, but remains highly regarded by the Lions and their fans? Since getting blown out by the New Orleans Saints in a playoff game two years ago -- isn't this the same guy whose team turned around and tanked to the tune of a 4-12 record last year? The very one that continues to appear incapable of installing any discipline within his team (stupid penalties), or even himself (various rants)? You know, the head inmate still running the asylum as the Lions once again see another season swirling around like the water underneath your butt after you just reached behind you and pushed the lever down? That guy? And they gave him a contract extension? Unbelievable. Only in Detroit.

Schwartz should not only be a lame duck, but in any other NFL town, he'd be a sitting one for an owner that cared. Who would they bring in to replace him? Who cares? For all the "talent" the Lions and their minions keep saying they have -- they could probably hire some crackhead off the street, slap headphones on him, and THAT dude could probably average a .372 winning percentage. And, trust me, he'd more than willing to do the job for a whole lot less dough than the megabucks Schwartz continues to rake in.

Let's not forget, the Detroit Lions' has always been a graveyard for NFL head coaches. That is where they go to die. Despite the ongoing "good ole boys" network amongst other head coaches that shuffle from team to team -- no defrocked Lions head coach has gone on to assume the on field reins of another team. EVER. Sure, some have found work as a coordinator here or a broadcaster there, but once they've cycled through Detroit, they're done as head coaches. Quoth the raven -- nevermore -- and the Baltimore NFL variety of those Poe-birds put a serious crimp in the Lions' IV playoff tube just a few days ago. What once was a steady flow has been reduced to a trickle, and the Honolulu blue and silver vital signs have become very weak.

If the Lions' ownership ever briefly emerges from their own latest coma to grasp reality and mercifully put Schwartz down -- do you really think any other team would show the slightest interest in having Jimbo run their show? If so, yours truly would disagree.

He's just another duck. And when it's "open season", being a "quacky" duck is usually not a good long term career plan.

As one of the greatest minds of our time was fond of saying, "Be vewy vewy quiet". Yep, Elmer Fudd knew what he was talking about.

Though that "wascally wabbit" always eluded him, much like the Lions and being serious contenders, let alone getting to a Super Bowl, the honorable Mr. Fudd should be noted for what he indeed accomplished. He's been around since 1940, way longer than the Fords have owned the Lions, and his memory remains beloved in the minds and hearts of millions to this day.

The Fords and their half-century parade of losing head coaches? Not so beloved. Bad memories.

There's ducks, and then there's ducks. Right now, I'm ducking out of here to go watch Jeopardy! in the man cave.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Go west young man? Careful....

"Go west young man" is a quote normally attributed to American author Horace Greeley. Either that, or it was first uttered by my sadistic instructor when yours truly was on his road test trying to get his driver's license. I think he was the same guy that coined the immortal phrase "3 lefts make a right", but I'm not sure. And good luck trying to keep up with all that when you're 16 years old, already nervous, and trying to navigate your way through a busy downtown area that has more one-way streets than your average partisan politician. This is not to say yours truly may be getting a bit long in the tooth, but I sometimes fondly remember the heady days of hand-cranking a car to get it to run, before those pesky electric starters came on the scene. Nosiree Bob, we didn't have to worry about dead batteries and jumper cables back in those days, because there were no such things. That's when men were men -- I tell ya. But I digress. Where was I? Oh, right. Going west.

That would appear to be a very bad idea when it comes to a couple Detroit professional sports teams, namely the Pistons and Red Wings.

In the NBA, though the Pistons sport a not-so-good 12-14 record, they currently find themselves in a tie for being the 4th best team in the entire Eastern Conference. If the regular season were to end right now, the Pistons would host a first round playoff series. But if they were in the Western Conference, they would find themselves in 12th place -- nowhere near making the playoffs.

Many in the Detroit area were all for the Detroit Red Wings finally going back to the Eastern Conference where they had always belonged, at least geographically. It never made any sense for the Wings to play more games against the likes of Edmonton, Calgary and San Jose, while ignoring historic rivalries like Toronto and Montreal. At last look the Wings sported a 15-11-9 record. Not too shabby, you say? Not so fast. It's deceiving. The Wings have played 35 games and won only 15 of them, for a .428 winning percentage. That "9" at the end of their current season tally reflects overtime and/or shootout losses. Nevertheless, again, if the regular season were to end right now, the Red Wings would find themselves tied as a 5th seed for the playoffs. But if they were still in the Western Conference, their 39 total points would land them in 10th place. Like the Pistons -- woefully out of the playoff picture.

The moral of the story? My driving instructor not withstanding, Horace Greeley likely had the right idea about going west, young men. It was the land of opportunity and manifest destiny awaited.

But when it comes to the NBA and NHL, the Pistons and Red Wings should consider themselves fortunate that they're in amongst the least of the east, rather than dueling it out in the wild west. Yeah, the Miami Heat and Indiana Pacers are formidable, and NHL playoffs will forever remain a crap shoot -- but if a team can't get to the playoffs in the first place -- then what does it matter?

Sometimes going west might not be such a good idea after all. Even back in Greeley's day, things could get downright dangerous out there. And what, pray tell, did he or that Marquis de Sade driving instructor know about playoffs anyway?

The Detroit Lions. Hah!

Idle thought: The Detroit Lions belong to the National Football League -- as in nation-wide -- as in all it's teams are located in the United States. The NFL's logo itself is red, white, and blue. See the Lions owned by the Ford family, they of the blue oval automotive giant. See the game played on Monday night at Ford Field in front of a national TV audience. After 30 minutes of action see the --- Toyota halftime show??  Excuse me, but am I the only one that thinks something is seriously wrong with this picture?

The Lions and their fans have boasted of their "talent" for the last few years, but yours truly still maintains most of it is, at best, wishful thinking -- and at worst being oblivious to the bigger picture.

Amongst other gaudy personal stats, see Calvin Megatron Johnson likely to become the first NFLer ever to rack up 5000 cumulative receiving yards in any 3 consecutive seasons. The dude is seemingly unstoppable. But see Calvin Johnson's history. While at Georgia Tech (2004-2006), his team not only never won squat, but was racked with various scandals. On to the Lions. Since 2007, the Lions' record is 36-74, for a winning % of about .327. Now the 327 was a mighty fine small block engine that Chevy manufactured in years past, but Johnson plays for the Fords, and losing roughly 2  out of every 3 games for the last 7 years isn't exactly impressive in a team sort of way, ya know?

See quarterback Matthew Stafford likely get his name into the record books as well with the 5000 yard passing seasons he's racking up. That's a whole bunch of airing it out, mostly because the Lions haven't had a running game and had no choice, but it hasn't equated to team success. Like Johnson, Stafford's a big-time career loser since he came to Detroit. There's no denying that. The win-loss record speaks for itself.

But back to the Baltimore/Detroit game. For all his brilliance at times -- see Calvin Johnson come down with a nasty case of the Pettigrew syndrome. Such symptoms entail a receiver having a perfectly thrown ball hit him right in the hands when they're wide open -- and then they drop it -- for no apparent reason.

It was almost eerily predictable. Baltimore didn't do anything special, although their place kicker nailing a 61 yard field goal toward the end of the game was fairly impressive. The Ravens never even scored a touchdown. Mostly, they just hung around, stayed within striking distance, and waited for Detroit to make mistakes. After all, the Lions had committed 12 turnovers during their last 4 games. Throw in the usual assortment of anticipated Lions' bone-head penalties, like jumping offsides on critical plays, and committing personal fouls, which continues to reflect a total lack of team discipline -- and yours truly has little doubt the Ravens hit the Motor City thinking they had a pretty good shot of walking away with a win. And so they did.

The most cruelly ironic part of it? In the waning seconds, the Lions still had a shot to pull it out. All they needed was a field goal of their own. But Matthew Stafford choked again under pressure, and horribly overthrew a pass. Right into the arms of -- guess who? The very same safety Matt Elam that the Detroit media had tried to use as fodder for daring to say he thought Calvin Johnson was a "little old". After the game, 22-year-old Elam strutted off the field. Poor Calvin, at the ripe old age of 28, had his head down and slowly trudged off. So who had the last laugh indeed?

Early Sunday morning, the Detroit Lions were in first place in the NFC north division on cruise control into the playoffs. A day and a half later, they currently find themselves in third, and in very real danger of missing the playoffs entirely. It might just be the Fords have noticed this -- but I wouldn't bet on that either. Maybe they'll tack on another 5 or 10 years to head coach Jim Schwartz's contract. Sounds like business as usual in the wacky world of the Lions.

Yours truly was the hardest of a hard core Lions fan for many many years. But when Barry Sanders walked back in the late 90s, certainly leaving umpteen million dollars on the table, and likely the all-time rushing record behind as well, because he didn't see the Lions being successful any year soon -- I walked with him. It turned out Barry was exactly right about that. Good enough for him -- good enough for me too. Barry still had his health and enough money in the bank to be comfortable for the rest of his life. I have a few bucks in the bank, but if I'd have continued my same rabid pursuit of the Lions for the last 15 years -- my filing for chapter something or other in bankruptcy court would be old news by now. It's kind of nice knowing I can still go to an ATM and get a few bucks once in a while. And hey, yours truly has been known to drink a beer here and there as well. What's the better deal? Catching a case on sale at the local CVS for $14.99 for 24 doses of the real stuff -- or driving all the way to Ford Field and spend more than that for two glasses of watered down swill -- only to watch a team I already know is ultimately destined to lose anyway?

Walking away from the Lions made sense to me back in the Clinton years, and I dare anyone to convince me it hasn't proven to be a prudent decision through Bush and Obama. I'm countless thousands of dollars ahead of where I would have been, had I not kicked the koolaid, not to mention avoiding all the hand-wringing and mental anguish the Lions continue to bring to their fans every year. Up, up, up goes the hype -- down, down, down comes the inevitable crash. It happens every year. One would think 50 years in a row would be convincing enough, but I guess not for some.

Nevertheless, to each their own. Yet some Lions fans might want to consider a famous poem that comes to mind. With apologies to Ernest Thayer----

Oh, somewhere in this favored land the sun is shining bright;
The band is playing somewhere, and somewhere hearts are light,
And somewhere men are laughing, and somewhere children shout;
But there is no joy in Mudville - mighty Casey has struck out.
No matter how many times one reads Thayer's classic verses of Casey at the Bat, like the Lions, the ending is always going to be the same. A downer. Trust me, life is a lot simpler and more fun once one learns to stop taking the puddy tats so seriously. Those clowns aren't going anywhere this year, or next year, or any year soon. Just kick back and enjoy the folly. Because c'mon. Down deep, even you remaining hard cores KNOW it's going to happen before the season is over. And saving a bunch of C-notes along the way, whether at the games themselves or paying 3-4 bucks a beer at a sports bar ain't such a bad idea either. If you just HAVE to watch them, do yourself a favor and watch it at home. But let there be no doubt. Though coaches and players have come and gone, IT'S THE SAME OLD LIONS.

Then you might find out there's more important things in life. Like CVS running a buy one-- get one thing on Stroh's ice cream. Stroh's ice cream is really good stuff. And the last time I was in that store, those $14.99 cases of brew were stacked up right across the aisle from the freezer.

Perfect. So I'll hit the ATM first and draw out a few Jacksons that I saved on the Lions, then go on a health food mission. A man has to have his priorities straight, you know.

Monday, December 16, 2013

An incredibly dumb rule

Over the last few years we've seen a lot of rules changes go into effect in the NFL. Most of these have to do with the league trying to make things safer for the players and cut down on injuries. Opinions certainly vary on how effective, much less wise they are. Even a few players themselves have come out and said the NFL has become the No Fun League.

You know what I'm talking about. No more contact "in or around the head and neck area".  No more crack-back blocks. Defensive backs have to treat opposing receivers running their patterns like they're on a first date with one of Obama's daughters. Talk about a hands-off policy. Touch them and the defensive back will likely get busted for interference. Merely BREATHE on them, and they might well get flagged for "holding" them up with their halitosis. This is out of control.

But word has it Major League Baseball is considering a rule change that defies the imagination. It involves plays at the plate where a runner is barrelling home, and the catcher blocks the plate attempting to keep the runner from scoring, while also tagging him out. We've seen such collisions many times over the years and sometimes one or the other, or even both participants have been injured when the inevitable impact occurs. Though it's an infrequent happening, MLB wants to eliminate it from their game. Yours truly has just one question.....

How do they intend to do that?

True, just because something has always been a certain way doesn't necessarily mean it was right to begin with and, as times change, and various sports evolve, common sense rule changes are occasionally needed to accommodate them.

But in this case, yours truly is totally at a loss on how MLB plans to go about enforcing such a possible rule change to their game. During the course of some baseball games, this situation is going to arise. The base runner is sprinting towards home, and the throw comes in to the catcher. The catcher has the ball in his mitt, the runner is still a short distance away from home plate and ---- freeze it right there.

What's supposed to happen next?

Will the catcher be mandated to NOT block the plate and give the runner the "ole" treatment toreadors do with their red capes to the bulls? That doesn't seem right. And what if the catcher stands in there anyway and the crash occurs? Will he be thrown out of the game? And will the run count even if the runner was tagged out? That would seem to defy logic.

Or will they put the onus on the base runner and make him slide rather than barrelling over the catcher? That would seem to make more sense. But if he doesn't, and runs over the catcher anyway, will the runner be ejected and called out, even if he was safe? Rule or not, yours truly can only imagine the "rhubarbs" that would ensue with managers running onto the field as their neck veins bulged and spit started flying everywhere.

Don't get me wrong. I'm all for safety. I even fasten my seat belt these days before I drive (though I never did quite understand why they're so picky about it on airplanes. If that plane goes down, being buckled up isn't going to make any difference).

But somewhere along the line, the common sense baby seems to have been chucked out with the politically correct bathwater. In the NFL, would-be tacklers, knowing they'll get flagged and/or fined for "going high", are now "going low". Knees are getting blown up right and left. Which is the lesser of two evils is a good question, but perhaps a former NFL player put it best. When asked if he had to choose between a concussion or a serious knee injury he replied, "As a player I'd rather have had a concussion. As a man, I'd rather deal with a knee injury". It doesn't take much imagination to read between THOSE lines.

And hey, let's get real. The guys that play these sports always knew what they were getting into. Nobody made them do this. If you're good enough, you can make a boatload of money and maybe even be famous. But the possible rewards come with certain risks as well. The players not only do it willingly, the competition amongst them is ferocious to even GET to the highest levels.

Football players know they're going to get hammered every game by a lot of guys. Hockey players know they're going to get cut and maybe even lose a few teeth along the way. And MLB catchers knew there might come a time when they would get bulldozed while protecting the plate. Heck, for that matter, yours truly continues to slave away under the proverbial sword of Damacles, knowing full well the boss/editor might jump in any day now and communicate something to me like, "I have no idea why I keep putting up with you". Or even worse, the dreaded, "we need to talk". I hate it when that happens.

Nevertheless, talented people do such things because they want to. In the end, if something bad happens, they knew the risk and reward factor going in, but did it anyway.

And that's just sort of the way it goes. Even if it was possible, removing all the risks likely equates to removing all the entertainment value as well.

Some things are supposed to be inherently dangerous. The world of sports is vastly different from, say, quilting bees or dinner at grandma's house. There's a reason fans pony up big bucks to see race cars flying around a track at 200 MPH, the violence that goes with the NFL/NHL, catchers getting knocked into next week, or editors recruit lunatics such as myself to write for them.

You never know what's going to happen next.

And I, for one, think it's all a lot more fun that way.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

More assorted rants

The Army-Navy game. Why did I see a couple guys amongst the cadets and midshipmen in the stands with 3 stripes on their sleeves? Do the future shave tails and ensign Parkers (see Mchale's Navy) really need drill instructors to keep them in line while they're watching a football game? It's bad enough those poor students aren't allowed to sit down all day. The last thing they need is a few Sergeant Carters (see Gomer Pyle) barking stupid orders at them. Left face. Right face. Drop and give me 20. Shut up. It's a football game. Let the kids have at least a few hours of fun.

Congrats to Jameis Winston of Florida State on winning this year's Heisman trophy. A worthy selection indeed. But something not so funny happened along the way. I'm not talking about some crime he was rumored to have maybe committed a year ago. All that speculation by the typical knee-jerkers that, once they hear an allegation, despite the lack of evidence, think everybody is guilty, and the resulting legal mumbo-jumbo has been resolved. It's over. Winston remains innocent. No, something more sinister was obviously afoot.

Though Winston won by a huge margin, it is interesting to note that of the 900 voters that could cast Heisman ballots, while voting for 1st,2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th place, etc., a full 115 of them left Winston off their ballots entirely. Now there's no way these people could justify Winston not being amongst the top 5 college football players this past year. In other words, it was not an oversight on their part. They did this on purpose. Why? Because in their closed little minds, they still think a vague allegation is the equivalent of a conviction. And that's not only wrong -- it should be offensive to a society that considers itself even civilized, let alone open, impartial, and objective. These folks more likely belong voting in political primaries -- not on coveted sports awards. The Gang of 115 should have their voting credentials revoked, to be replaced by knowledgeable football people that can not only see straight -- but not be hindered by tunnel-vision blinders of their own making. In other words, we need new blood voting on an old award. The kind of people that are willing to look around and see the whole picture, rather than being obsessed with their own personal agendas -- which indeed oftentimes turn out to have no basis in fact.

Much Ado About Nothing Dept. The Detroit Lions square off against the Baltimore Ravens on Monday night. Some Baltimore safety named Matt Elam let slip the remark that Lions' receiver Calvin Johnson was "pretty old". And oh my, did some Detroit area scribes run with that one. Nevermind that Johnson did, and continues to play it down as no big deal -- some scribes appear hell-bent on trying to start a fire with whatever scant kindling they can scrape up. In their desperation -- is this what it's come to in Detroit? The little yappy dogs attempting to get the big dogs riled up -- so the chihuahuas can sit back and write about how the pit bulls are tearing each other limb from limb on the field? Hey. Here's a clue. Stop with all the the "your mom wears army boots" 1st grade stuff. These guys are professionals. They study and practice all week long to prepare for their next opponents. Once the game starts, do you really think they care about what a player on the opposing team may have said a few days before? If that's still in their heads, they don't have them screwed on straight and will likely get beat.

Besides, Elam's 22. In his eyes, Calvin Johnson at 28, IS old. That's just the way fearless young kids think. And it's not like Elam came out and said he'd shut down the Megatron to zero catches and zero yards. He's a safety, not a cornerback. Johnson himself said the only time he would see Elam is when he runs by him going down the field. In and of itself, that's a little a cocky as well. Johnson might indeed run by him a couple times on the way to the end zone but, then again, Elam might just bust the Megatron's chops coming over the middle and send him limping off. Don't think for a second Elam isn't aware of how he's been played as a fool by some Detroit area scribes. Look at it this way. He's a starting safety on the defending Super Bowl champions for a reason. That means he's pretty good too. Unlike Calvin Johnson, a seasoned veteran who knows better, a young safety like Elam just might have it in the back of his mind somewhere that, if given the opportunity, he'll go out of his way to make a devastating hit on Johnson -- just to make a statement on MNF -- however misguided that may be. And if that happens -- guess where a large part of the fault should lie?

With the yappy little media dogs in Detroit that fanned the flames in the first place. Like the Lions' long-time starting center, and a certain receiver that can't stay healthy, must less be productive, they continue to bark away trying to get attention. Hey, HEY, HEY -- look at me, they continue to blather on. What they fail to comprehend is they also continue to be losers, and nobody outside the inner koolaid addicted circle much cares. They see it for what it is.

Maybe the Lions beat the Ravens on Monday night, and maybe not. Last time I looked, the puddy-tats were a 6 point favorite. Both teams come in with 7-6 records and playoff implications are definitely at stake. Baltimore started off the season bad, but has since gotten on a roll. Detroit started off the season fairly well, but has stumbled of late. Who will win this game? Beats me. One never knows which Lions will show up.

Well OK then. Glad I got those rants off my chest. On to the dumbest rule change I ever heard of --- next time. Working......

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Time-outs, fouls, and horsepuckey

Ever wonder why the last "two minutes" of some basketball games can drag on for a half hour, or more? Earlier watching Kentucky finally -- FINALLY -- accept the inevitable and go down to North Carolina was the perfect example.

There's a couple obvious reasons why such nonsense continues to happen, and one maybe not so obvious.

First, each team has 5 time-outs per half. That's a grand total of 20 -- count em -- TWENTY time-outs that can be used during the course of a game -- and often every last one of them is. Throw in the usual assortment of mandatory "commercial breaks", whereby the athletic participants have to bow down to the TV gods, and it comes as no surprise a game that should take roughly two hours sometimes stretches into 3 or more. Horsepuckey.

Second, any hoops fan has no doubt noticed that when a team is behind towards the end of a game, in desperation they will foul the players on the other team, sending them to the free throw line. This is in the hope the free-throw shooter will miss, the trailing team will quickly run down the floor to score 2 or 3 points, and then they'll do it again. And again. In the meantime, while the game clock has wound down maybe 20 seconds, the big hand on your wall clock has made a half orbit. Twenty seconds of game time has just become a half hour of real time. Horsepuckey.

Further, when these situations happen, players that would not normally be on the floor for the trailing team are put out there to commit these fouls, because they have them "to give". Of course, after such fouls are committed, the subs get rotated back off the floor, because, yep, there's yet another break in the action, which enables the coach of the losing team to bring his best players back in. Another time-out is usually called by one coach or the other, we'll see a few more commercials, and the big hand rotates another 45 degrees. Horsepuckey.

Only in basketball does this nonsense happen. Look around. In football, both teams get 3 time-outs per half. Granted, even those are too many, and we've often seen them used for frivolous reasons while the fans are the ones abused. I say cut them down to two time-outs and let's see how that works.

Obviously, baseball has built-in timeouts. At least 17 of them, as the teams rotate on and off the field every half inning. But that's just the nature of the game. Still, they're guilty of stall tactics as well sometimes. Case in point: See a pitching coach head to the mound to "talk" with a pitcher that's being lit up. See the infielders assemble on the mound -- as if they can do a damn thing to stop the other guys from banging the ball all over the park against their pitching teammate. They don't know anything about pitching. Yet they'll all stay huddled up on the mound accomplishing nothing until the home plate umpire walks out and tells them to break it up. We have a game to play here, fellas. Let's go.

And after all of that -- what typically happens next? Here comes the manager to change pitchers. That manager knew damn good and well that pitcher had thrown his last pitch -- so why wasn't he out there in the first place to yank him? A reliever in the bullpen needed time to warm up? Shut up. The guys in the bullpen -- all of them -- should be warmed up and ready to go from the first inning on. What else do they have to do out there? Play cards? Text their girlfriends? These guys are making millions. The least they can do is to be ready to actually, gasp, participate whenever they're called on. More horsepuckey.

Hockey has it right. Each team gets one time-out per game. Period. Many times they won't even use it. Now that's more like it.

But back to where this all started. Basketball, and the way they continue to drag games on and on. There's a couple ways to fix this.

In the last two minutes of a game, when a trailing team is already over the foul limit, and decide to foul anyway out of desperation -- let the other team not only have two uncontested free throws, ala technical foul shots, but retain possession of the ball. The current time-consuming horsepuckey would stop.

And ferchrissakes -- 20 time-outs, on top of the TV time-outs is TOTAL horsepuckey. Who do these guys think they are dragging things on this long while the people that are paying for it all twist in the wind? Congress? And how's their approval rating lately?

Cut them back down to 3 apiece per game and let's see how that works out as well. Six beats the hell out of 20. And maybe a few of the unfortunate souls that continue to actually die while all the current horsepuckey is dragging on -- will get to see the end of the game they tuned into. Whether their team wins or loses -- at least they had some closure before they met their maker. How can that not be a good thing? This purgatory horsepuckey needs to stop.

Oh yeah, almost forgot. The not so obvious thing mentioned above? It's all about the money, of course. More time-outs mean more commercials, which means more cha-chings for a lot of folks. Did I mention the TV gods?

If you're good with that -- fine. Enjoy the ducks, lizards, and washed-up actors hawking everything from insurance to credit cards.

But some of us would much rather see how the game turned out before we die.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Lamar Odom and Khloe K

It appears another "celebrity", and I use that term loosely, marriage is about to bite the dust. No big suprise there. Somewhere in la-la land, the glitter folks with way too many dollars and not nearly enough sense, seem to break up every -- well -- what time is it? Doesn't matter. Before the big hand goes around on the wall clock again, chances are good another such break-up will come along, and it will be big news to some. Personally, yours truly can normally sum up his reaction to such things in one word -- yawn. Or perhaps another five word phrase would be more appropriate. Who gives a rat's ass?

But this time I happened to read an on-line blurb about the imminent spousal demise of Lamar and Khloe, and besides finding it comical, yours truly got an urge to write about it. There's that, and I couldn't think of anything else. Soooooo, onward with even more stupidity, by my own hand.

Lamar Odom has been an NBA basketball player from 1999 to the present. He's earned millions and millions of dollars during his tenure with a few different teams over that period of time. While with the LA Lakers, he even hoisted a couple world championships. His last stop was where he started -- with the LA Clippers, who aren't too shabby themselves these days. Though now a free agent, Odom's only 34, and claims to be staying in shape hoping another team will give him a call. Could happen. The dude's 6-10, and he's been there, done that at the highest levels of the game. During the course of a long NBA season, with the usual assortment of injuries likely occurring, it's not much of a stretch to imagine some team might suddenly find the services of Odom to be attractive. And he'd get paid more millions.

On the other hand, his soon to be ex-wife Khloe Kardashian has carved out her niche in the annals (yes, that last word is spelled correctly -- two ens -- though a good case could be made for only one... hmmm, nevermind) of American lore by -- well -- that would seem to be a good question. A couple reality shows with her sisters? I tuned into one of those once called Keeping Up With the Kardashians. When it was mercifully over, yours truly thought it would be much more interesting, not to mention intellectually challenging, trying to keep up with the weeds that have a way of sprouting up in the garden. And if weeds could talk, scary thought, I have a strong hunch those conversations would be a lot more stimulating than what I saw on that show.

Like the Manchurian Candidate, and a few boy/girl bands that have been thrown together over the years, the K girls seem to be without any substance. A money-making creation by the powers-that-be, to prey on those of even feebler minds. Throw in the ever-present libido factor amongst the masses that will forever think with the wrong heads, and presto -- stars are born. It doesn't make any sense, yet it's very real. Pitiful, but real. But I digress.

Thing is, it appears Khloe won't be asking for any spousal support (as in a major cha-ching) from Lamar. Well, bless her little Armenian heart for small favors. Like him or not for personal reasons, Lamar Odom has pounded his way up and down NBA basketball courts for 14 years earning his money. As one of the K girls, his soon-to-be ex can claim exactly what? Besides the moronic reality shows -- having a fake sun tan product, a perfume, and a failed line of clothing in their names? And do you really think for one second anybody in that family had anything to do with mixing the chemicals or designing the outfits that they put their names on? Puh-leeze.

Lamar Odom may or may not find his way back onto an NBA basketball team somewhere. At 34, he's not exactly a youngster, but he's no geezer either. There's a lot of guys still playing at a high level that are older than he is.

But methinks poor Khloe, with the dreaded 30 knocking on her door next spring, will find herself put out to pasture in the whole scheme of things sooner than Lamar.

Like they say. It's a business, right?