Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Saying goodbye to 2008

It's been a big year here at Although the blog was created back in 2006, it really didn't get a full head of steam until March of this year. We've seen a lot in that time.

Kansas won the NCAA championship in a wild one. Tiger Woods did his usual thing at the US Open, defeating the suddenly popular Rocco Mediate. Michael Phelps won a record eight gold medals in Beijing and is still stretching out that 15 minutes. The Celtics won their 17th NBA title behind a "big three" of Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen and Paul Pierce. The Phillies won the division on the last day of the season - again - and went on to a World Series victory. The list goes on and on.

The blog also grew by leaps and bounds, incorporating new features like Six Picks for Sunday, Quick Pic, On the Tube, and Lookalikes. More recent additions were the morning link drop, aptly titled Dropping Links, and our NFL Power Rankings. And how could we forget the entries from guest bloggers Josh Garcia and Stu Millstein. We even got some love from Newsday's Bob Glauber, which was greatly appreciated.

So thank you for reading and here's wishing you a happy and healthy 2009. It's been a pleasure serving up the best in useless sports information and I look forward to more of the same in the coming year.

BREAKING NEWS: Every available NFL coach considered for every vacant position

You’ll read a lot of stories over the next few weeks about what head coaches are candidates for which vacant head coaching positions.

Take Mike Shanahan. He was just fired last night and he’s already “one of the leading candidates” for the Jets job, even though Bill Cowher was just the leading candidate until he turned them down. But that’s okay, because Cowher is also a candidate for the Broncos job. And don’t forget Marty Schottenheimer, who is a candidate for all of those jobs and more.

For instance, the index page of the New York Daily News’ website features the headlines, “Spagnuolo Jets to front of line” and “Jets’ coaching carousel headed by Shanahan, three others”. If Spags is at the front of the line, how is Shanahan leading the carousel?

Basically what I'm saying here is take all of this stuff with a grain of salt. Obviously Shanahan, Cowher and Schottenheimer are being considered by teams with vacancies because they are good coaches. But don't get your hopes up like the Jets fans did yesterday, because you never know what's going to happen until the deal is done.

Dropping Links: Wednesday, December 31st

Bill Cowher turns down Jets because he doesn’t want to coach Favre |NY Post|
Charles Barkley arrested on suspicion of DUI |Newsday|
Mike Shanahan fired after 14 seasons at the helm of Broncos |FOX|
Celtics lose to Brandon Roy-less Blazers, loss is 3rd in last 4 games ||
Matt Ryan wins NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year ||

Stephon Marbury details the tumultuous past few months with the Knicks |NY Post Knicks Blog|
2008’s not-so-spectacular athletes in review |Boosh Magazine|

Eric Mangini’s cameo appearance on ‘The Sopranos’ |Shutdown Corner|

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

NFL Power Rankings: Year-end edition

The results are in and here is the final NFL Power Rankings of the year. I've eliminated the "jobbers" tier because, really, if you don't make the playoffs it doesn't matter. Not a lot of shifting in the top ten, mostly because teams that had secured their playoff fate were resting their starters.

I also realize there were a few mistakes regarding team records in last week's power rankings. Sorry for that. (Where was the ombudsman on that one??) To make up for it, I'm stealing a page from Neil Best's WatchDog blog and using the error as an excuse to post a photo of an attractive, scantily-clad Giants fan.

With that said, take a look at our last 1-32 list of the season, and feel free to leave any comments.

Main Event
1| Giants (12-4) [1]: Can't drop the Giants out of the top spot after a loss to Minnesota in which the starters only played half the game.

2| Titans (13-3) [2]: Same as the Giants.

3| Colts (12-4) [3]: Probably the scariest team heading into the playoffs.

4| Steelers (12-4) [4]: The injury to Roethlisberger could have had a huge impact on Pittsburgh's playoff chances if they didn't have a bye in the first round. Now "Big Ben" has a week to recuperate.

5| Panthers (12-4) [5]: Pulled out a victory against the hapless Saints to keep the 2nd seed and a first-round bye.

6| Falcons (11-5) [6]: What a turnaround for the birds. They head into Arizona for a first round playoff matchup in which they are currently favored.

7| Patriots (11-5) [7]: Tough break for the Pats, who finished 11-5 without Tom Brady and still missed the playoffs.

8| Ravens (11-5) [8]: The Ravens 'D' is back to championship form as Baltimore heads to Miami for a first-round showdown with the Dolphins.

9| Dolphins (11-5) [9]: Miami defense made Brett Favre look like Cleo Lemon. Who needs Jason Taylor and Zach Thomas anyway?

10| Eagles (9-6-1) [15]: The only change in the top ten, Philly moves up after surprisingly making the playoffs. The Vikings played an ugly game against the Giants' reserves, moving them down a spot to #11.

11| Vikings (10-6) [10]
12| Cardinals (9-7) [16]
13| Chargers (8-8) [18]
14| Buccaneers (9-7) [11]
15| Bears (9-7) [12]
16| Cowboys (9-7) [13]
17| Jets (9-7) [14]
18| Texans (8-8) [20]
19| Broncos (8-8) [17]
20| 49ers (7-9) [22]
21| Saints (8-8) [19]
22| Redskins (8-8) [21]
23| Bills (7-9) [23]
24| Packers (6-10) [25]
25| Jaguars (5-11) [24]
26| Bengals (4-11-1) [26]
27| Raiders (5-11) [27]
28| Browns (4-12) [28]
29| Chiefs (2-14) [29]
30| Seahawks (4-12) [30]
31| Rams (2-14) [31]
32| Lions (0-16) [32]

MLB Network launching Thursday, reaching 50 million homes

The new Major League Baseball Network is set to debut this Thursday with a Hot Stove program at 6pm and the first re-airing of Don Larsen’s 1956 World Series perfect game in its entirety at 7pm. The channel will be featured on over 50 million cable systems at its launch, making it the largest of all time.

The network has been picked up by many of the nation’s large cable companies, and thanks to MLB (via Neil Best) you can enter your zip code at MLBN’s website to check on its availability in your area.

Binghamton-area Time Warner subscribers, like me, can see the MLB Network in high definition on channel 807, which was formerly the Golf/Versus HD channel. DirecTV viewers in the “Southern Tier” can see the network on channel 213.

Dropping Links: Tuesday, December 30th

#2 UConn falls to #8/#11 Georgetown, loses first game of the season |FOX|
NFL play Pro Bowl in Miami the week before Super Bowl in 2010 |CBS|
Vegas oddsmakers like Giants, Titans in Super Bowl matchup ||

ESPN’s Cris Carter wants to shoot Terrell Owens |Awful Announcing|
Which NFL team choked the worst down the stretch? |Shutdown Corner|
A photo essay on the Lions 0-16 debacle of a season |The World of Isaac|
Natural Disasters killed 220,000 people in 2008 |Tirico Suave|
Jets players want Brett Favre to make his decision quickly |What About Bob?|

Monday, December 29, 2008

Six Picks for Sunday - Final results

After 17 weeks of prognosticating, the trophy is mine. (Not a real trophy, per se, but bragging rights.)

The Rooster needed to win every game this week to capture a tie of the overall lead and, well, he went 1-5 to my 5-1. It's not really fair to say The Rooster made bad picks because he was forced to oppose all of my predictions to stay alive in the contest. Let's examine:

Tony Blogs: CHI, CAR, CIN, IND, MIA, SF
The Rooster: HOU, NO, KC, TEN, NYJ, WSH

That makes the final overall standings look like this:

Tony Blogs (58-44)
The Rooster (48-54)

We had a lot of fun with the Six Picks for Sunday competition and look forward to more of the same next season.

Jets fire Mangini but want Favre back

One year you're a "Mangenius," the next you're a goat.

That's the case with Eric Mangini, who was fired by the Jets today. New York's loss yesterday to the Dolphins was the final straw, but losing in Seattle the week before was probably the game that really did Mangini in. Someone had to take the fall for New York's Mets-like collapse and it was the head coach.

The blame probably should have been squarely placed on the "sore shoulder" of Brett Favre, who threw nine interceptions in the final five games. The "gunslinger," though, is still wanted back by Jets owner Woody Johnson.

Favre will be 40-years-old next season and now has arm troubles, and you want to bring him back? Doesn't make a lot of sense, but clearly Johnson realizes how great Favre has been for publicity and Personal Seat Licenses.

Dropping Links: Monday, December 29th

Chargers avenge Ed Hochuli’s blown call, beat Broncos for AFC West crown |FOX|
Rod Marinelli reportedly to be removed from Lions head coaching post ||
Red Sox close to landing Penny with one-year deal |Boston Globe|

Tony Romo collapses in shower following on-field collapse against Iggles |Shutdown Corner|

Eagles executives have a hard time performing the “high five” |Awful Announcing|

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Quick Pic: Disgusted in Dallas

This photo pretty much sums up the Cowboys performance on Sunday in Philadelphia. In a "winner gets in" game, Dallas played their worst game of the year, losing 44-6 to the Eagles, who claimed the 6th NFC playoff seed with the victory.

Talk about a day of great breaks for the Iggles. They went into today's action behind Dallas, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Chicago Bears, and somehow came out on top. Chicago and Tampa both lost winnable games, making the Dallas-Philly showdown a winner take all, inter-divisional slugfest.

The Eagles were the only ones who showed up, though.

(Grazie, Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

Knicks reverting to '07-'08 form with current losing streak

Watching the Knicks play is like watching a Tom Cruise movie. You know it was a mistake within the first ten minutes and it's almost impossible to get through the whole thing.

I'd like to blame fatigue on the Knicks recent six-game skid but this is the NBA and that's just a lame excuse. I think it is probably more because the Knicks have few good players and are physically mismatched every night.

I knew I was getting ahead of myself in thinking a few weeks ago that these Knicks could make the playoffs. The Eastern Conference isn't exactly stacked top-to-bottom and the Knicks were a .500 team at the time.

Now they're just bad. Really bad. Sometimes they tease you like they did in today's loss to the Nuggets and let you think there is a chance New York could win. Other times the Knicks play like a junior varsity team as they did against Minnesota.

Whatever the case, they lose, which is the plan I guess, since the team has loudly made it clear that 2010 is the next season that counts.

Brett blows it for Jets

Brett Favre did on Sunday what he does best, which is play recklessly and hope for the best. When it works, he's a gunslinger who throws caution to the wind. But it didn't work this Sunday and it hasn't for most of the season.

Favre threw three interceptions and lost a fumble in a 24-17 loss to Chad Pennington and the Dolphins. The Wrangler-wearing, always-smiling, only-QB-ever-to-have-fun ends his 2008 season with 22 TDs and 22 INTs. Pretty good for a Pro Bowler, eh? As for Pennington, he finished with 19 TDs and only 7 picks.

When the Jets traded for Favre, the media made it out to be the second coming. When the Jets knocked off the previously undefeated Titans to improve to 8-3, NYC newspapers were talking an all-New York Super Bowl. But the Jets didn't get the 2007 Brett Favre that led the Packers to the NFC Championship Game. They got the Favre from the few seasons prior to that, the one from 2005 that threw 29 INTs and couldn't do anything right. That was the Brett Favre that showed up down the stretch, when the Jets went 1-4, not the "Broadway Brett" they had imagined.

Favre's reckless abandon reared its ugly head once again at the Meadowlands on Sunday. Not that it mattered. A Jets win would have only helped the Patriots clinch the AFC East since the Ravens won to secure the 6th playoff spot.

After going 4-12 last season, this year would seem to be a success with a 9-7 finish even without a playoff berth. But when you're thought of as a Super Bowl contender as late as November, anything short of the playoffs has to be considered failure.

Detroit's history making season finally comes to an end

The Detroit Lions completed their 0-16 season with a loss to the Packers on Sunday, finally bringing an end to Detroit's nightmare year.

One of the things that has become almost commonplace among media pundits and bloggers has been to compliment Rod Marinelli on how classy he has been, especially following the Rob Parker situation. But what has been lost in all this is that Marinelli will go down as the coach of the worst team in the history of professional football.

But this isn't about rubbing it in. No one wishes that kind of embarrassment and shame on the coaches and players who, just like us, are real people with real emotions. This is about fixing the problem. The question is just how to go about that.

If it were up to me, I'd blow the whole thing up. Get a new coaching staff and trade the first overall pick for as much as you can get. The Lions already have a buffet table of picks thanks to Jerry Jones trading the farm to get the underwhelming Roy Williams, so Detroit might as well try to get as many bodies as they can that will have an impact. And when you look at this year's draft class, is there really someone out there that can immediately turn your team around? Doesn't look like it. So why not stock up the pantry?

Six Picks for Sunday - Week 17

The final week of the NFL season is upon us, which means it is also the last week of our Six Picks for Sunday challenge. The Rooster trails by six games, which makes his strategy pretty obvious for this week's picks. He'll have to throw a hail mary (horrible pun alert!) and hope for the best. So here are the six closest games, according to the Vegas line.

Chicago Bears @ Houston Texans - Bears
Carolina Panthers @ New Orleans Saints - Panthers
Kansas City Chiefs @ Cincinnati Bengals - Bengals
Tennessee Titans @ Indianapolis Colts - Colts
Miami Dolphins @ New York Jets - Dolphins
Washington Redskins @ San Francisco 49ers - 49ers

The Bears are still playing for a playoff spot and can at least prove their worth and keep hope alive with a victory in Houston... Carolina is still playing for the #2 seed in the NFC and the South division crown. They should handle a weak Saints team with nothing to play for... The Bengals have been less like the "Bungles" than usual lately so I'll take them at home... The Colts-Titans matchup means absolutely nothing so I'll take Indy in their own confines... Chad Pennington leads the Dolphins into the Meadowlands and beats the team that tossed him away... Niners end it on a good note following the news of Mike Singletary's return.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Quick Pic: Chris Duhon in "There Will Be Blood"

Chris Duhon was cut and required nine stitches after colliding with Rashad McCants during the Knicks horrible, awful, disgustingly hard-to-watch loss to the 4-win Timberwolves at the Garden Friday night.

I think this is the first productive thing Jerome James(left) has done in his Knicks career.

(Photo by David Dow/NBAE via Getty Images)

Big Unit set to penetrate San Francisco roster

Randy Johnson will sign a one-year deal with the San Francisco Giants, hoping to record his 300th career win for the team that employed Barry Bonds during his historic/controversial home run record chase. The Giants will benefit from the increased attention chasing the milestone will bring and from Johnson's experience in the NL West.

The Unit joins reigning Cy Young Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain and Barry Zito in the starting rotation but the Giants still need offensive help. I don't think they'll make a play for Manny Ramirez, but if the team was really interested in CC Sabathia - meaning they were willing to spend upwards of $20M per season on a player - then why not give Ramirez that money?

The obvious question with Randy Johnson is his health. He will almost certainly win the five games he needs to reach 300, but if he can be counted on remains to be seen. In a less-than-stellar division, anything can help so San Francisco will take what they can get.

Roy Williams joins Terrell Owens at "whine" and cheese party

After Terrell Owens' very public jealousy of on-field BFF's Tony Romo and Jason Witten, midseason acquisition Roy Williams is chiming in about his lack of involvement in the offense.

From the Dallas Star-Telegram:
"I know I am a player in this league," Williams said. "My thing is, if you brought me in half the season, you obviously know what I am capable of doing. You wouldn’t have spent what you did to get a person. You know what I can do. I know what I can do. I can tell you what I can’t do. I’m just waiting."
Does the drama ever, ever end in Dallas?

Dropping Links: Friday, December 26th

Lakers beat Celtics for Jackson’s 1,000th career win, end Boston’s 19-game winning streak |FOX|
49ers will stick with head coach Mike Singletary, will boot OC Mike Martz |CBS|
Mavs wear green, Blazers wear red, Mavs win festive game ||

Mark Teixeira reportedly turned down $5M more from Nats to sign with Yanks |Sliding Into Home|
Polls are open for Best Video Game Cover Athlete of 2008 ||

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Dropping Links like Santa drops presents

Merry Christmas to all those who celebrate and Happy Holidays. Very little blogging today since I'll be busy stuffing my face with glazed honey ham and lugging gifts around the "Greater Binghamton" area. Here, though, are some tidings of comfort and joy from around the internets to keep you busy while you listen to your in-laws shout at each other.

Jimmy Clausen and his flowing blond locks beat Hawaii, win ND's first bowl since '93 season |FOX|
Dwyane Wade plays Santa Claus, buys woman new house |CBS|

Our friend Bob Glauber plays Scrooge, tells Brett Favre it's time to call it a career |What About Bob?|
The ten greatest heels from the Golden Age of wrestling ||

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

MLB Network continues loading up for next week's launch

Neil Best of Newsday's WatchDog blog is reporting that Sports Illustrated's Jon Heyman will join the new MLB Network, which will launch January 1st.
WatchDog has learned that former Newsday scribe Jon Heyman of SI, SNY and WFAN will be joining the MLB Network as an "insider."

Heyman is expected to keep the SI gig, but at this early stage of this news development I am not clear on what it means for his roles as a contributor to SNY and WFAN.
Heyman joins Harold Reynolds, Al Leiter, Barry Larkin, Matt Vasgersian, Hazel Mae and Dan Plesac as on-air personalities for the network, whose 1/1/09 launch is set to be the biggest in cable history.

Steve Francis traded to Grizzlies. Wait, he's still in the NBA?!

Steve Francis will finally join the Grizzlies, over nine years after he refused to play for the Vancouver version of the team. "The Franchise" was traded today by the Houston Rockets to Memphis, along with a second-round pick, in exchange for a conditional 2011 pick from the Grizzlies.

Francis has not played at all this season after only playing in ten games in '07-'08, but will at least get minutes with Memphis. For the Rockets, it's mostly a move to shed some salary and clear up a roster spot, as it allows them to get under the NBA's luxury tax threshold. For Memphis, they get the pick back they regret trading away.

See? Everybody wins this holiday season!

Dropping Links: Wednesday, December 24th

Bringing you the best of the morning surf...

Police find more guns, ammo in search of Plaxico Burress’ New Jersey house |FOX|
TCU knocks off unbeaten Boise State to win Poinsettia Bowl |CBS|
Steelers coach Mike Tomlin wasn’t very amused by Santa’s visit to his press conference |NBC|

Boston Globe’s Tony Massarotti says Red Sox had their chance to sign Tex |Boston Globe|
ESPN’s Tim Graham on Chad Pennington’s return to the Meadowlands ||

Pretty gross football leg-break, but not as gross as Theismann’s |Tirico Suave|

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Yankees nab Teixeira while no one is looking

The Yankees waited in the wings and after public contract offer retractions from the Red Sox and Angels, Brian Cashman and the gang swept in and got another $20+ million per year player, signing Mark Teixeira.

The deal is reportedly eight years at $180 million, or $22.5 million annually.

On one hand, the Yankees get a great defensive first basemen who will hit .300 and put up 30 home runs each year. On the other hand, the Yankees now have a first basemen for the next eight years, basically rendering Jorge Posada useless after this season and leaving nowhere for aging infielders to go when they lose their range.

Seems like a fair trade-off.

NFL Power Rankings: Penultimate edition

Back for another week of ranking the NFL's teams, top-to-bottom, in a pro wrestling format. The Main Event teams are the best of the league, as you would imagine. The mid-card tier is for teams who aren't quite there, but show a fight and have potential. Then there are the jobbers, who really shouldn't even dress for the games anymore. Here is this week's 1-32 list. Enjoy.

Main Event
1| Giants (12-3) [3]: With their win over the Panthers and the Steelers’ loss to Tennessee, the G-Men vault back into the top spot. Brandon Jacobs returned and the running game got going again in a big way.

2| Titans (12-3) [4]: Big win against the Stillers to lock up home-field advantage and the AFC’s number one seed.

3| Colts (11-4) [5]: Peyton and Co. might be the best team in the AFC right now, but I couldn’t justify putting them ahead of the Titans. The Colts look like a team to be reckoned with.

4| Steelers (11-4) [1]: The Steelers couldn’t find a way to beat the Titans in Tennessee, resulting in a three spot drop. Pittsburgh has played the toughest schedule in football, though, and will be a force in the playoffs.

5| Panthers (11-4) [2]: Tough loss for Carolina, especially with DeAngelo Williams scoring four times. Now Carolina has to win if they want a first-round bye.

6| Falcons (10-5) [6]: The Falcons clinched a playoff spot and have a shot at the division title after Carolina’s loss to the Giants. Matt Ryan continues to amaze/impress experts everywhere and Mike Smith could win Coach of the Year.

7| Patriots (10-5) [8]: Matt Cassel continued his run towards a big payday in the winter weather of New England. Notice how we haven’t heard a lot of Tom Brady talk?

8| Ravens (10-5) [9]: A win away from the playoffs after a big win in Dallas. Joe Flacco is another rookie QB that has continually impressed.

9| Dolphins (10-5) [11]: A scary one for the ‘Fins, who barely escaped Kansas City with a win. The stage is now set for Chad Pennington to march into the Meadowlands and beat the Jets - who jettisoned the light-armed QB – to lock up the AFC East.

10| Vikings (9-6) [7]: One week they look great, the next they’re fighting for their playoff lives. Next week’s game is huge for the Vikes: Beat the Giants, who might be resting many of their best players, and you’re in the playoffs.

11| Buccaneers (9-6) [10]
12| Bears (9-6) [15]
13| Cowboys (9-6) [12]
14| Jets (9-6) [13]
15| Eagles (8-6-1) [14]
16| Cardinals (8-7) [16]
17| Broncos (8-7) [17]
18| Chargers (7-8) [19]

19| Saints (8-7) [20]
20| Texans (7-8) [18]
21| Redskins (8-7) [21]
22| 49ers (6-9) [22]
23| Bills (7-8) [24]
24| Jaguars (5-10) [23]
25| Packers (5-10) [25]
26| Bengals (3-11-1) [28]
27| Raiders (4-11) [29]
28| Browns (4-11) [26]
29| Chiefs (2-13) [27]
30| Seahawks (4-11) [30]
31| Rams (2-13) [31]
32| Lions (0-15) [32]

Bob Glauber clears the smoke on NFL playoff picture

Friend of the blog and Newsday football writer Bob Glauber has an in-depth breakdown of each team’s playoff scenario today and instead of re-posting the whole thing here, I’ll just show you the way to his “What About Bob?” blog. I owe it to him since he has pointed many a curious reader my way in the past.

There are a total of seven available playoff spots left, two in the NFC and three in the AFC. Dallas, Minnesota, Miami, Baltimore, Denver and San Diego can all get in with simply a win. Denver will have to have beaten San Diego, or vice versa, which would eliminate the other team. The Panthers have already clinched a playoff spot and are now playing for a first-round bye and the second seed in the NFC.

There are about 1,000 other complicated scenarios so be sure to check out Bob’s blog.

Dropping Links: Tuesday, December 23rd

Brian McNamee suing Roger Clemens for defamation |CBS|
Jeff Fisher doesn’t mind Lendale’s “Terrible Towel” stomp… because it’s a towel ||
Bears sneak by Packers in OT, keep playoff hopes alive |FOX|
Brady Quinn punched in face by Browns DE Shaun Smith? |FOX|

49ers will wear throwback uniforms in finale v. Redskins, will also grow mustaches |Shutdown Corner|
Top 10 fantasy football championship week goats |Epic Carnival|

Video of David Hasselhoff’s Las Vegas Bowl “National Anthem” performance |The Angry T|

Monday, December 22, 2008

Rod Marinelli refuses Rob Parker's apology

In an earlier post, I waxed poetic about the Rob Parker/Rod Marinelli situation, which I have know officially dubbed, "Question-Gate." My main point was that the panel of experts on Fox, more specifically Terry Bradshaw and Jimmy Johnson, were a little harsh on their critiques of Parker's journalistic integrity.

At no point, though, was I condoning or defending Parker's actions. I just think firing a reporter over an awful attempt at humor is a bit much.

Parker clearly owed Marinelli an apology, which he half-gave in his Detroit News column today. He then gave an on-air apology to Marinelli on ESPN. The coach still isn't pleased. From
"Anytime you attack my daughter, I've got a problem with that. In a room of stink ... and as a man and it was premeditated. I think there was something wrong with that, yeah.''

When asked if Parker had crossed the line, Marinelli said, "Big time."

Marinelli refused to address two questions about what he meant by "room of stink.''

"I'll leave it at that,'' he said, adding that he had not talked to Parker and had no desire to do so.

On why he didn't immediately respond to Parker's question, Marinelli said: "I just don't think that's the right stage for that. To me, it's not. It's the wrong stage for the game of football and for me to even react to something like that, on a stage about football -- it's a kid's game, it's for the kids. It's wrong.''

When asked about Parker's apology column, Marinelli said: "I didn't read it, but I was told a little bit about it. I don't accept anything. There are so many times people will say ... I had an assistant coach (Jim Colletto) one time make a remark with you guys that he didn't want to embarrass a player (Drew Stanton), did he take that remark back? Would you guys let him? No, you went from our practice field and ran to the locker room and put a microphone in front of the player -- and (the coach) didn't mean it that way. Do you remember that? To me, this is worse. Because his intent was to stir me up which is never going to happen. I can shoulder anything you bring. Easy. I can shoulder anything you bring.''

Six Picks for Sunday - Week 16 results

Week 16 is in the books and as we head down the stretch run, it looks like The Rooster will have to use his “pick six games opposite Tony” strategy again in Week 17. Here’s a look at the results:

Tony Blogs: PIT, MIA, CIN, MIN, NYG, TB
The Rooster: TEN, KC, CLE, ATL, CAR, SD

A 3-3 week for each of us and now The Rooster needs a miracle finish to capture a tie.

And the updated overall standings:

Tony Blogs (53-43)
The Rooster (47-49)

Weighing in on the Rob Parker/Rod Marinelli situation

By now I'm sure you've heard about Rob Parker's, "Do you wish your daughter married a better defensive coordinator?" question to Rod Marinelli from Sunday. Joe Barry, the aforementioned defensive coordinator, is Marinelli's son-in-law.

Here's the clip if you missed it, complete with the Fox crew's response:

Parker claims the question was meant to lighten the mood and one that he has asked Marinelli before. You can tell, though, that Parker isn't getting the answer he wants and continues badgering the Lions head coach about Barry, until finally trying (awkwardly and unsuccessfully) to lighten the atmosphere.

The Fox crew - Terry Bradshaw, Howie Long, Micahel Strahan and Jimmy Johnson - jump on Parker after the clip is played. Bradshaw throws the sharpest dagger, calling Parker a "flat idiot," and an embarrassment to journalism.

Easy, Terry. I know the guy shouldn't have asked the question, but when did Terry Bradshaw become the expert on broadcasting and reporting? The guy can barely get through a highlight pronouncing everyone's name correctly. Strahan and Jimmy Johnson were right there along Bradshaw to bash Parker, while Howie Long was the only voice of reason, saying it was uncalled for but that Marinelli deserves to be questioned after a 0-15 start.

Now let's address the elephant in the corner.

Rob Parker is a journalist for the Detroit News but also freelances for ESPN, most notably as a panelist on ESPN's "First Take." I'm sure the folks at Fox loved being able to call out an ESPN-ite, especially after all the grief Jay Glazer has taken at the expense of the "worldwide leader" this year. If Parker were often a guest of Fox's "Best Damn Sports Show Period," I don't think the outcry would have been as over-the-top from Bradshaw and the gang.

Either way, the guy was wrong and issued an apology. To call for his head, as the pundits on Fox's panel did yesterday, seems a little unreasonable. I'm not trying to defend Parker. He should be punished in some way for what happened. But to call for his firing?

If Jemele Hill and Lou Holtz can toss around Hitler references like nothing, I think Parker deserves a second shot for a bad attempt at humor.

Dropping Links: Monday, December 22nd

Giants beat Panthers in OT thriller, lock up home field and #1 seed |Newsday|
Broncos loss, Chargers win sets up Week 17 primetime showdown for AFC West title |FOX|
A closer look at the NFL playoff picture ||
Angels say they are out of the Mark Teixeira chase |CBS|

Rob Parker is in some hot water after asking Rod Marinelli about his defensive coordinator/son-in-law |Awful Announcing|
Lendale White goes all “Ric Flair” on a Terrible Towel after yesterday’s win over Pittsburgh |Kissing Suzy Kolber|
Jerry Jones handpicked Ravens to close Texas Stadium because he thought they were pushovers? |Shutdown Corner|

Dominican paper Impacto Deportivo reports Yanks, Manny close to 3-year deal |MLB Trade Rumors|

Sunday, December 21, 2008

On the Tube: RCA Dome goes kaboom

I'm sure you've seen this on ESPN or somewhere on the internet by now, but this video has music! It's a clip of the RCA Dome implosion from Saturday in Indianapolis.

(Grazie, The Final Score, for the vid.)

Friday, December 19, 2008

Quick Pic: CC and AJ laughing their way to the bank

CC Sabathia and AJ Burnett were introduced yesterday at the old Yankee Stadium. CC will wear number 52 and AJ will wear 34. The two handled themselves well in the press conference and were received well by the media. No cameraman pushing incidents thus far.

Toss a caption in the comments if you'd like.

(Grazie, Peter Abraham, for the photo.)

The Rooster wholly disagrees with my six picks in "Six Picks" contest

It's desperation time.

Down six games with 12 to play, The Rooster is swinging for the fences with this week's picks, choosing TEN, KC, CLE, ATL, CAR, SD to my PIT, MIA, CIN, MIN, NYG, TB. It's really the only move that can be made at this point in the contest.

And if, somehow, The Rooster goes 6-0 this Sunday, it sets up an incredible Week 17 dogfight slobberknocker.

ESPN will swap NBA, NCAA announce teams January 7th

For one night only, you can hear Dick Vitale call an NBA game! Don't worry, I'm not that excited either.

ESPN will swap their announcing teams for one night, with an NBA announcing crew will call the Duke-Davidson game and the college crew broadcasting the Nuggets-Heat professional tilt.

From USA Today:
ESPN will announce today that for a Jan. 7 basketball doubleheader, its on-air crews will swap roles. NBA announcers Jeff Van Gundy, Mark Jackson and Mike Tirico will call Duke-Davidson, followed by Dick Vitale — who called ESPN NBA games in the early 1980s — and Dan Shulman on a Denver Nuggets-Miami Heat NBA game. ESPN executive Norby Williamson says it's "a natural progression to make connections between college and the NBA. We try to cultivate basketball fans." So, can we expect more on-air swaps? "We never say no to anything," he says.
I think it would have been better if it were Mike Breen with the NBA crew instead of Tirico and Mike Patrick with Vitale. Those are the lead play-by-play voices of NBA and NCAA basketball on ESPN, respectively, and it would help bring more of an exciting feel to the overall idea of the swap.

Either way, it's something different and that never hurts.

On the Tube: Steve Nash promotes light bulbs, takes shot at Spurs at same time

Suns PG Steve Nash is becoming an "On the Tube" regular here at and, in his latest comedic performance, promotes an energy-efficient light bulb while having some fun at the Spurs' expense.

"...and one to flop the switch. I mean, flip."
Bruce Bowen, are you watching?

Six Picks for Sunday - Week 16

Here we are, with two weeks remaining in our Six Picks for Sunday contest. The Rooster and I have been neck-and-neck all season but with 12 games left to choose and a six game deficit, The Rooster has his work cut out for him.

Here are the six toughest games from this Sunday, according to the Vegas odds:

Pittsburgh Steelers @ Tennessee Titans - Steelers
Miami Dolphins @ Kansas City Chiefs - Dolphins
Cincinnati Bengals @ Cleveland Browns - Bengals
Atlanta Falcons @ Minnesota Vikings - Vikings
Carolina Panthers @ New York Giants - Giants
San Diego Chargers @ Tampa Bay Bucs - Bucs

The Steelers (#1 in my latest power rankings) are the team to beat in the AFC right now. Pittsburgh's 'D' should be able to contain the Tennessee offense and even when the Steelers can't score, they find a way to win... The MIA-KC matchup is a tougher choice than you might think. Tyler Thigpen has been playing great for the Chiefs but this is a must win for the Dolphins, who should get the job done at Arrowhead... How far have the Browns fallen? Far enough to be picked to lose at home to the Bungles... Another good matchup and a must-win for both teams, but I'll take Minny at home... The Giants HAVE to win against Carolina after two tough divisional losses and should take this one with a healthy Brandon Jacobs... Give me Tampa at home against a 6-8 San Diego team that has had its share of struggles, but still has a shot at the playoffs if things fall the Chargers' way.

The Rooster will have his picks posted soon in the comments section and, although you can't compete for the full-season championship, feel free to submit your picks as well and we'll see how you match up with the "experts."

Dropping Links: Friday, December 19th

Red Sox owner John Henry says team is out of Teixeira bidding |CBS|
Peyton Manning, Colts sneak past Jags, improve to 11-4 |FOX|
Brandon Roy drops 52 points on the Suns, leads Blazers to win ||

Jazz owner Larry Miller rips Carlos Boozer in radio show |BergerSphere|
Who started the Erin Andrews/David Wright sextape rumor? |Deadspin|

Chris Webber throws his shoes at Charles Barkley in the name of Gene Chizik |Awful Announcing|
Wrigley Field prepares for a hockey game |The Final Score|

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Dropping Links: Thursday, December 18th

Inaugural Hall of Famer Sammy Baugh dies at age 94 |CBS|
Rafael Furcal spurns Braves, ends up back with Dodgers |FOX|
Elton Brand dislocates his shoulder in last night’s win against Bucks ||

Complete Bowl Games announcing schedule |Awful Announcing|
How about a football that tells us when the ball breaks the plane? |Shutdown Corner|
Dikembe Mutombo might be returning to the NBA, with Celtics or Rockets |The Final Score|

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Quick Pic: CC checks out his new home

Newly signed Yankees pitcher CC Sabathia visited the new Yankee Stadium today and, from the looks of this photo, liked the place. He is set to be introduced along with AJ Burnett at a 2:30pm press conference tomorrow.

(Grazie, Peter Abraham for the pic.)

Dropping Links: Wednesday, December 17th

82-year-old Joe Paterno signs extension through 2011 to stay at Penn State |FOX|
Not so fast: Furcal waffling between Braves and Dodgers ||
Laurinaitis, Bradford among AP All-Americans ||

MJD agrees that Rivers got snubbed for Brett Favre |Shutdown Corner|
You never know who you’ll see at a Lakers game |Tirico Suave|
Jamie Moyer pitching at 50 increasingly possible |SPORTSbyBROOKS|

Flight of the Conchords Season 2 premiere is online before it hits HBO |Funny or Die|
Roger Clemens finally admits his steroid use |The Final Score|

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

How did Brett Favre make the Pro Bowl?

That's what I've been trying to figure out since I first saw the list of NFL Pro Bowlers released by today.

The obvious answer is that he's Brett Favre and he's getting the "Cal Ripken treatment," being considered an All Star more for his past achievements than for what he's done this season. Because this year Favre has not been putting up Pro Bowl numbers.

There are six quarterbacks in the AFC with better passer ratings than Favre, which isn't to say that should be the only stat looked at. But how does Favre make this team over Philip Rivers, who has thrown 28 TDs and 11 INTs to Favre's 21 and 17, respectively. You could probably make a case for Matt Cassel, Matt Schaub and even Chad Pennington over the "gunslinger."

NFL Power Rankings: Post-Week 15 edition

Back for another week of ranking the NFL's teams, top-to-bottom, in a pro wrestling format. The Main Event teams are the best of the league, as you would imagine. The mid-card tier is for teams who aren't quite there, but show a fight and have potential. Then there are the jobbers, who really shouldn't even dress for the games anymore. Here is this week's 1-32 list. Enjoy.

Main Event
1| Steelers (11-3) [3]: They didn't win pretty - and maybe they didn't deserve the win at all - but they got it done, like they have every week. Let's not forget that the Stillers are playing the toughest schedule in the NFL and doing very well.

2| Panthers (11-3) [4]: Another big win for the Panthers, setting up their Week 16 showdown with the Giants for home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs.

3| Giants (11-3) [2]: Another tough divisional loss for the G-Men. They looked even more pitiful than the week before against Philly. The losses of Plaxico Burress and Brandon Jacobs are starting to be felt on the field.

4| Titans (12-2) [1]: I know the game was in Houston and the Texans are rolling right now, but you can't lose that game if you're the Titans.

5| Colts (10-4) [5]: Remember when the Colts were 4-4 and everyone thought they had no shot at the playoffs?

6| Falcons (9-5) [9]: Matt Ryan threw a couple picks but was otherwise efficient. Does the NFL award a 'Comeback Team of the Year?'

7| Vikings (9-5) [8]: Tarvaris Jackson looked like the quarterback Brad Childress thought he was, throwing 4 TDs in a rout of the Cardinals.

8| Patriots (9-5) [10]: Matt Cassel is going to make a lot of money very soon. Talk about a great break for him. He hadn't started a game since high school then Tom Brady gets hurt and he steps in and shows he has the weapons needed to be a successful QB in this league. And it all happens in his contract year.

9| Ravens (9-5) [7]: Can't drop them too far after they played a great game and lost thanks to a questionable call. Sure, we don't know what would have happened if that catch hadn't been ruled a TD, but if the Steelers had opted to tie it with a field goal, who knows what happens in the OT.

10| Buccaneers (9-5) [6]: A couple tough division losses in the last few weeks have the Bucs' playoff chances looking more and more slim.

11| Dolphins (9-5) [12]
12| Cowboys (9-5) [15]
13| Jets (9-5) [14]
14| Eagles (8-5-1) [17]
15| Bears (8-6) [18]
16| Cardinals (8-6) [11]
17| Broncos (8-6) [13]
18| Texans (7-7) [20]
19| Chargers (6-8) [21]
20| Saints (7-7) [16]

21| Redskins (7-7) [19]
22| 49ers (5-9) [22]
23| Jaguars (5-9) [26]
24| Bills (6-8) [23]
25| Packers (5-9) [24]
26| Browns (4-10) [25]
27| Chiefs (2-12) [27]
28| Bengals (2-11-1) [30]
29| Raiders (3-11) [28]
30| Seahawks (3-11) [29]
31| Rams (2-12) [31]
32| Lions (0-14) [32]

Dropping Links: Tuesday, December 16th

Ken Rosenthal reports Rafael Furcal is headed back to Atlanta |FOX|
Mike D’Antoni returns to Phoenix, receives warm welcome |Newsday|
Cleveland State stuns Syracuse with 60-foot buzzer beater |CBS|

Atlanta FB Ovie Mughelli wants to play you in Halo 3 |Ovie Mughelli’s Yard|
Tampa Bay DE Greg White legally changes name to Stylez G. White |Deadspin|
NBA announcing schedule for the week |Awful Announcing|

Six Picks for Sunday - Week 15 results

As we approach the end of the NFL regular season, the Six Picks for Sunday contest remains a close one, with The Rooster and I each going 2-4 this week.

Tony Blogs: JAX, ATL, STL, TEN, BAL, ARZ
The Rooster: GB, TB, SEA, TEN, PIT, ARZ

With two weeks to go and a six-game deficit, The Rooster is going to have his hands full. Take a look at the updated overall standings:

Tony Blogs (50-40)
The Rooster (44-46)

Monday, December 15, 2008

Dropping Links: Monday, December 15th

Cowboys pound Giants, keep playoff hopes alive |Newsday|
Japanese World Baseball Classic roster announced |CBS|
Former headstomper Albert Haynesworth could miss a few weeks with leg injury ||

LeBron James likes him some Cyndi Lauper |Awful Announcing|
The 10 most popular jerseys in sports all belong to football players |Shutdown Corner|
Jets and Bills always make things interesting, don't they? |What About Bob?|

GW Bush dodges shoe-throwing bandit in Iraq |YouTube|

Sunday, December 14, 2008

TO calls Ed Werder a liar, blames him for drama

Terrell Owens blamed ESPN's Ed Werder for stirring up the controversy around the rift between T.O. and Tony Romo during a postgame interview with Andrea Kremer. Owens even claimed that Werder made things up during the Sunday night interview following the Cowboys win over the Giants, 20-8.

I think Werder sleeps in a tent outside the Cowboys complex, waiting for any gossip he can get his hands on.

The real question, at least for me, is how will the "worldwide leader" report on what Owens said? And will Werder rebut? Okay, so that's two questions.

Update: Terrell Owens is now speaking about ESPN during his postgame press conference, saying that Ed Werder made it a tabloid story and that Werder's sources are telling "blatant lies." Owens says about Werder and his questionable sources, "To me that's a lack of professionalism, in my eyes."

Later, when asked if the suddenly friendly, smiley group of Owens, Jason Witten and Tony Romo are "The Triplets," Owens responded, "I don't know. What did Ed Werder say?" Shortly after, Owens claims everything Ed Werder said was a "tall tale."

I can't remember a time in recent history where a player openly called out a media outlet like this before. ESPN loves the Cowboys and covers them incessantly, which makes this all the more intriguing.

Update 2: After coming back from video of the press conference, John Buccigross made a joke about Owens' outfit while Neil Everett defended Werder's journalistic integrity. Trent Dilfer then made a great point, saying Owens should not be trying to play the victim in this case.

Okay, no more tabloid writing. This is a sports blog, right?

Quick Pic: Randy Moss makes sure Raider Nation knows his name

As friend of the blog Bob Glauber pointed out, they might not know who he is from the ghostlike seasons Moss put up while a member of the Raiders. After each catch Moss made during Sunday's Patriots victory over Oakland, the wide receiver made the pose you see above, making sure that each and every Raiders fan knows that his last name is Moss.

(Photo courtesy Getty Images)

Looking back at Sunday's 1 o'clock games

What a wacky bunch of 1 o'clock games we saw unfold today.

*The Houston Texans take home the award for this week's "Upset Special," after knocking off the 12-1 Tennessee Titans in Texas. A small bump in the road for Tennessee, who is only playing for home-field advantage, but a nice one for the Texans, who are out of playoff contention but have won four straight and are playing great football. Steve Slaton looks like the real deal among a rookie class of notable running backs. Ironically the RBs who are having the most success - Slaton, Chris Johnson, Matt Forte - are not the ones we expected at the beginning of the season.

*It's hard to explain how, but the Miami Dolphins keep on winning. It wasn't the fanciest show on earth but the 'Fins beat the 49ers to keep pace with the Jets, who beat the Bills in a close one. The Patriots are just getting under way against the Oakland Raiders in the Golden State.

*Oh, how far the Washington Redskins have fallen. A few weeks ago they were in second place in the NFC East and looking like a wildcard team. Now they're in last place, well out of the playoff picture after a loss to the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday, who improved to a putrid 2-11-1 with the win.

*Atlanta pulled off a victory over Tampa Bay in overtime to even themselves with the Bucs in the NFC South at 9-5. The Panthers are 10-3 and hosting the Denver Broncos as we speak. I can't say enough about Matt Ryan and how impressed I have been with the rookie QB. He may win Rookie of the Year and I wouldn't be shocked if Falcons coach Mike Smith wins Coach of the Year.

*The Chargers kept their slim playoff hopes alive with a comeback victory in Kansas City. All sarcasm aside, the Chiefs are much better than their 2-12 record indicates. They've put up tough performances and lost many games at the end, like this one.

A lot of people really hate Sean Avery

Or at least that seems like an accurate assumption, given that the Dallas Stars are saying Avery won't return to the team following his six-game suspension. Avery had been suspended for comments made about NHL players dating Elisha Cuthbert, in so many words.

The team can trade Avery, send him to play in the minors or make him sit the bench and wait to be bought out, similar to the Stephon Marbury situation. I know the guy has a long history of being a jerk on the ice and isn't the most well-liked player in the NHL, but the punishment he is getting seems a little harsh to me. You make a sexist remark about your ex-girlfriend and some other players and you never see the ice again?

The team is just looking for any reason to get rid of Avery and they have it. What remains to be seen is if this will turn ugly like it has with the Knicks and Stephon, or if Avery will go quietly, knowing he'll get his money, and focus on his fashion career, the one that ESPN so lovingly detailed on E:60 a few weeks back.

Former Cortland assistant coach named 'Cuse head man

As you may know, I am a graduate of Cortland State, which is nestled in the rolling hills of Upstate New York between Binghamton and Syracuse. New Syracuse head football coach Doug Marrone did not attend Cortland, although he was the tight ends coach there in 1992, when the Red Dragons were ECAC Champions.

He promptly left the school for bigger and better things, including the Saints' offensive coordinator gig he most recently had, and now ends up with the biggest job of his career. That job, trying to restore pride and success to the Orange football program, is no easy task.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Six Picks for Sunday - Week 15

Here we go again, with another set of six games from Sunday's NFL action.

Green Bay Packers @ Jacksonville Jaguars - Jaguars
Tampa Bay Bucs @ Atlanta Falcons - Falcons
Seattle Seahawks @ St. Louis Rams - Rams
Tennessee Titans @ Houston Texans - Titans
Pittsburgh Steelers @ Baltimore Ravens - Ravens
Minnesota Vikings @ Arizona Cardinals - Cardinals

Picking the Jaguars only because they are the home team because this is a matchup where the team that is less bad will win... Falcons, at home, and with Jeff Garcia questionable for Tampa Bay... As for SEA-STL, pretty much the same thing I said for the GB-JAX game... Houston is playing great football right now, but I think the Titans still have enough on the road... Ravens, in Baltimore. Their defense is on a roll... Cardinals over Vikes, who will be without Frerotte.

The Rooster will have his picks posted before gametime and I think it's a great idea for you to do that as well.

Red Sox unveil new uniforms and logo

The Boston Red Sox revealed a new logo Thursday that is consistent with what the team's nickname means, a pair of hanging red socks. The new uniforms and hat are an homage to the 1980's, one of the most gut-wrenching decades in Sawx history, the same decade that saw a ground ball squirt under the glove of Bill Buckner.

I personally like the look, aside from the red and blue alternate jerseys, which look more like batting practice shirts. There is one thing that confuses me, though.

Why would Boston abandon the uniforms they wore while snapping an 86-year World Series drought in 2004 and while winning another one in 2007 for a look reminiscent of the 1986 team?

Friday, December 12, 2008

NY adds AJ to CC and Co. in rotation

The Yankees have come to terms with free agent pitcher AJ Burnett on a 5-year, $82.5 million deal, pending a physical.

I'm not even going to get into the spending argument because, frankly, it isn't my money so I don't care. And the Yanks have to justify charging $10 for a beer somehow, don't they?

Looking at this from a baseball perspective, the five years is a little scary because of Burnett's history of injuries. He has shown, though, that when he is healthy - which he was last year - he is one of the top pitchers in the Major Leagues. If there is one team that can afford to take a risk and eat a few years of a contract if they have to, it's the Yankees.

In New York, Burnett doesn't have to be the star, which is something he was reportedly nervous about having to do in Atlanta. He can join CC Sabathia, Chien-Ming Wang, Joba Chamberlain and whoever the 5th starter is and be just "one of the guys." AJ will most likely be the 3rd starter behind CC and CM. (See what I'm doing here?)

If Burnett remains healthy - and assuming the 5th starter is one of Andy Pettitte, Ben Sheets or a combo of Phil Hughes/Ian Kennedy/Alfredo Aceves - the Yankees will have one of the top rotations in baseball, if not the best.

Dropping Links: Friday, December 12th

Phillies sign Raul Ibanez to 3-year, $30 million contract |FOX|
Shockingly, Terrell Owens is upset with Tony Romo ||
Cole Hamels tells NY’s WFAN that Mets are choke artists |FOX|
Celtics thump Wizards, off to best start ever |CBS|

Could Boris Diaw end up with the Knicks this season? |NY Daily News|

Visanthe Shiancoe gets an offer to do adult films |Deadspin|
Christian League says Co-Ed basketball is a sin |SPORTSbyBROOKS|
Jeff Conine talks about his experience competing in the Ironman |The Final Score|
LeBron still thinks Charles Barkley is stupid |BergerSphere|