Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Brett Favre Remix

So I keep reading this and that about Captain America Brett Favre throwing passes to high school players and batting his eyelashes and flirting with the Vikings. The whole thing is pretty ridiculous, given the fact that ole' Brett is like 100 years old and has a damaged chicken wing of a throwing arm at this point. I caught myself, however, when I went to call Brett overrated....because I should know better.

This is cheap, but it warrants a mention today.....from the archives:

(Published 2-5-09)

Brett Favre is the most overrated quarterback playing right now. At one point he was a great quarterback, but he’s 13 year’s removed from winning a Super Bowl, 12 years removed from winning an MVP, and about 10 years removed from really giving a s**t. Honestly. I also love how announcers applaud him for his consecutive games streak. Have you seen him play recently? I think I know how he keeps from getting injured. Any time he feels any sort of pass rush he throws one up for grabs. A lame duck high over the middle of the field. Not many wide receivers play a full season with Favre because he gets those guys killed.

The reason I bring this up is, I was driving around listening to some show on WFAN (NY Sports-talk radio) the other day and some loud-mouthed Jets fan called in talking about ole’ Brett. He was screaming about how Favre was a “punk” and the most overrated QB of all time and this and that. They eventually cut him off. I figured the host (also a Jet fan) would correct this dude and reveal the obvious answer to the long-debated: most overrated quarterback of all time. However, the host agreed it was Favre and then went ahead and took a call about Omar Minaya.

If you take away the guarantee, gushing reporters, the pantyhose commercials, the endless line of bimbos, strip off the mink coat, and basically all the glitz, the most overrated QB discussion begins and ends with one name: Joe Namath. I know this is serious taboo to bring it up, but just take a look at the numbers. They’re putrid.

Broadway Joe led the league is passing yards three times (’66,’67,’72) and once led the league in TD passes (’72). However, he led the league in interceptions four times: 1966,1967,1974, 1975 with 27,28,22, and 28 int’s in each of those years respectively. Keep in mind back then they only played 14 regular season games.

The Super Bowl winning year of 1969 was the only year Joe managed to throw more td’s than interceptions in a season (19 TDs vs 17 int’s). Of all of Namath’s bad years, the 1975 season was especially rotten. In only 13 starts, he managed to complete just 48% of his passes, throw 28 interceptions, and be sacked 27 times. If you want to take it even a step further, Namath’s 28 int’s in 326 pass attempts in 1975 amounts to an 8.5% completion percentage…..TO THE OTHER TEAM! The career numbers don’t exactly paint a pretty picture either: 173 TD’s vs. 220 picks and a career completion percentage of 50.1%.

“Yeah but ‘dem numbuhs’ don’t mean nuthin’. Namath was a winna!”

Not exactly. His career record as a starter: 63-63-4.

Based on the fact that Joe Willie was a first ballot Hall of Famer and lauded as one of the all-time greats, despite a mediocre win/loss record and putrid numbers, my list of most overrated QB’s of all-time looks like this:

1) Joe Namath
2) (vacated)
3) Brett Favre
4) everyone else

Namath is by such an overwhelming margin the most overrated QB of all time, that I’ve been forced to vacate the #2 most overrated position. So when Vinny from Flushing calls up the FAN and tells Mike Francesa that “Favre is a bum. He ain’t no Joe Namath or nuthin’.” He’s right on both counts.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Rain Delay Ponderings

So I’m sitting on my couch last night, waiting out the Yanks rain delay, mentally preparing for Phil Hughes to lay an egg against the Sox… when I got to thinking: Rain delays will not be a good thing for the Yanks this year. Gives fans like me too much time to think.

Couple of thoughts that went thru my head during this particular rain delay:

-I would much rather have the Red Sox team than the Yanks. This is completely blasphemous for a life long Yankee fan to say, quite frankly I feel a little queasy because of it, but I completely mean it 100%. Why wouldn’t I?

The Red Sox have a stable of young arms raised at home in their own farm system, an above average bullpen and defense, and a lineup that even Mr. Moneyball Billy Beane could be proud of. Other than David Ortiz and occasionally J.D. Drew, they have a lineup of guys with high on base-percentages who do not strike out.

This enables them to manufacture runs when they happen not to be hitting it out of the ballpark. Along those lines, are there two tougher outs in the entire major leagues than Dustin Pedroia and Kevin Youkilis? Pretty sure Pedroia had 73 extra base hits and only 52 strike outs last year. Amazing.

Also, and I think I would rather have hernia surgery without anesthesia than admit this, but I think you have to credit that obnoxious little punk Theo Epstein for putting this team together and for killing it in the draft since he arrived in 2002.

The thing that pains me the most about the Red Sox roster being so perfectly built, is the fact that this USED TO BE THE YANKEES. It has been a total role reversal from the late 90’s and early this century, when the Yankees were winning World Championships. The Yanks were the team with the homegrown young roster, made opposing pitchers work, got on base at a high percentage, and won games in October. And the Red Sox? They were a joke, and the Yanks ate them for lunch on a regular basis. And now? Just the opposite is true. Pains me to no end.

My question…when exactly did the Yankees decide that formula that won those World Series titles was broken? Why did they start paying a king’s ransom for every aging, past ripe, free agent on the market?

Along those same lines….

-The spending this off-season has totally made me sick. The Yankees have definitely spent more than a few off-season dollars in the last five or six years, but this year was a little bit different. With an economy in turmoil and unemployment raising, the Yankees went ahead and spent $161 Million on C.C Sabathia, $180 million on Mark Teixeira, and $82.5 on A.J. Burnett. Good players all (except Burnett…or as I like to call him Carl Pavano with nipple rings), but definitely not such sure things that I would have spent that sort of money on them. Hell, even if those names happened to be Whitey Ford, Joe DiMaggio, and Ron Guidry, that sort of overspending still probably would not be justified.

I understand there is no salary cap in baseball, and the Yankees earn at a far different level than other small market teams like Pittsburgh and Kansas City, but this type of gluttonous spending in such a poor economy just doesn’t sit right with me.

-Joe Girardi needs to wake up. Other teams know Joba is on a fairly strict pitch count. Don’t you notice them taking a lot of pitches on him? They know if they do they will get into your crappy bullpen by like the 4th or 5th inning at the latest. I personally would like to see him groomed as Mariano’s heir apparent, but if you are going to start him, you have to take the reins off.

- Is it too late to go back to the old ballpark? I mean, the thing is still up right? Why don’t we just scrap this new guy and just start playing games in the old park again. You know the one the Yankees won 26 World Championships in, that used to have those great crowd roars, and used to never have any empty seats. Yeah that one.

I was against building the new Yankee Stadium from the beginning. The old stadium was more than alright. It was the one I grew up watching games in, and one of the most revered venues in all of sports. Also, that one wasn’t going to cost $1.3 Billion to put up, and cost NYC taxpayers a few hundred million dollars in the process (pretty sure George Steinbrenner is the reason my monthly subway pass is about to cost $110 bucks….nice).

I have heard the counterarguments, about how you need luxury boxes and first rate accommodations. I’ve also heard people rave about how nice the new stadium is (especially the bathrooms for some reason).

To me this is akin to someone talking about how their brand new $300K Mercedes “rides really smooth”. Guess what…for 300K a car BETTER ride like its floating on marshmallows…..and for $1.3 Billion I SHOULD have a comfy seat and not have to stand in urine.

One more point. Curses and superstition don’t exist in real life, but they do exist in baseball (ex. “Curse of the Bambino” and the Ron Santo black cat).

So what kind of negative karma do you think will be associated with tearing down “The House that Ruth Built” for the grand purpose of making a couple of extra bucks on seat licensing fees?

I shiver at the thought.

- Silver lining. This could very well end up being another lost season for the Yanks. One sliver of sunshine showing through the dark clouds? If the Yankees end up missing the playoffs and firing Joe Girardi, it could very well signal the return of one Donald Arthur Mattingly. Yup….Donnie Baseball.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Manny vs. Hatton: Diamond Boxing Staff Writer Predictions

They really need to lower the cost of pay-per-view fights. It costs bars too much to put it on (they have to pay per head), and how many people do you know that are going to be willing to plop down 55 bucks tonight to watch this fight? I'm thinking not too many. It's a shame because this has "fight of the year" type potential. Click on the link below for Diamond Boxing staff predictions.


P.S. Mine is about a third of the way down, and I took Pacquiao by a 8th or 9th round stoppage.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Last I am going write about the draft I promise….

I am a self-admitted NFL Draft geek, and I may have gone a little overboard on the draft this year, but then again so did ESPN and Sports Illustrated as well. So I don’t feel too bad. It’s really the trend in recent years. More and more people are following the NFL off-season, so much so that when they actually start the games it’s a bit of an anti-climax.

That being said, I PROMISE this is the last I will mention the NFL draft until after the Super Bowl next year, but I would be remise if I did not add a few notes on the local teams and by far my favorite team to watch draft every year.

- The Giants get an A+ is my book. I saw that USA Today agrees with me, Peter King and Mel Kiper do not, but I believe the Giants had the best draft out of any team in the league this year. And maybe the second best draft I’ve seen in the last five or six years (Kansas City last year was best draft I have ever seen).

Let me first say that I graded the G-Men strictly on players drafted, and not on other moves unmade. I know many would criticize them for not making a trade for either Braylon Edwards or Anquan Boldin, while seemingly being a WR away from another Super Bowl run.

These people are not wrong. I wanted the Braylon Edwards deal to go down very badly myself(which it might still), but the A+ grade I give the Giants is based on the value for the selections they DID actually make.

I love Hakeem Nicks with the first round pick. In my draft, I thought he would be gone by the time the Giants picked, although I didn’t foresee Darius Heyward-Bey going so early (more on that later). I did disagree, however, with the ESPN draft “gurus” referring to him as a “big receiver”. Nicks is just under 6’1” and about 215 pounds. He projects more to fill the WR spot vacated by the departure of Amani Toomer. Ramses Barden, on the other hand, the 6’6” receiver from Cal Poly the G-Men got in round three is the one they hope to fill the void left by Plax. At the very least I think he has a chance to be a red zone threat much like Vincent Jackson in San Diego.

The advantage of being a good team is that you don’t have many needs to fill, therefore you can draft luxuries and draft for value. The Giants got great value in Virginia OLB Clint Sintim in the second round (a player who they almost looked to take with their first round pick). They also selected OL William Beatty from UConn later in that round, a player many thought was the best pass protector in the whole draft. I think he eventually replaces David Diehl at LT.

In the third round the Giants were able to land Travis Beckum a tight end from Wisconsin who actually was more productive in college than Jets first round pick of a year ago Dustin Keller. Beckum projects to be a similar sort of “stretch the field tight end” and possible red zone threat.

Mark my words on this one folks: Giant fans will LOVE Andre Brown. I watched a ton of ACC football over the past four years, and watched this man-child (6 feet 225 pounds) run behind a Swiss-cheese offensive line at NC State and still pick up major chunks of yards. Had he played on a good team he would have been a first round pick. He also catches the ball well out of the backfield, and will be the answer to losing Derrick Ward in free agency.

Terrific draft by a somewhat underrated front office. Good drafting pays dividends down the line. Kudos to GM Jerry Reese.

- The Jets get an incomplete grade as far as I’m concerned. I like the move to make a splash and get Mark Sanchez, but the Jets had many needs to fill in this draft and ended up with only 3 picks with which to do so.

To me moving up to take Sanchez was a much better move than staying put at the 17th pick and drafting the potentially comBUSTable (get it) Josh Freeman, even though they may have overpaid for the price to move up (1st round pick, 2nd round pick, Bret Ratliff, and Abram Elam).

If he is given the opportunity to get into camp early, play some in the preseason, and get at least some platoon duty this year, Sanchez has a good chance to be a ten year starter in NY and be the face of the franchise going forward. In fact, I would say he has just as good a chance, if not better, to succeed at the NFL level as Matthew Stafford.

That being said, the Jets had a some glaring needs in this draft that needed to be filled and were not. I understand Gang Gren had only two selections left after the Sanchez deal, but they very easily could have traded out of the first pick of the third round to accumulate more picks later in the draft to fill those holes. They could also have traded a player for picks as well. What I WOULD NOT have done was draft Shonn Greene, the running back out of Iowa with that pick.

I understand it was a good value selection…but a running back? Come on. The Jets two most solid positions coming into this draft were at Safety (Rhodes, Jim Leonhard, and Elam) and running back (the two-headed monster of Thomas Jones and Leon Washington…plus throw in the hammer with Jehuu Caulcrick). They HAD to get a wide receiver. Had to.

They needed someone play the wide receiver spot opposite Jericho Cotchery, who now with…Brad Smith or David Clowney on the other side…will have to deal with a double team AND extra safety help over the top on every play this season. Derrick Williams, Patrick Turner, Deon Butler, Ramses Bardenm, Juaquin Iglesias all went later in round three and would have been good pick-ups for the Jets at WR.

Sanchez better hope by the time he gets the starting nod that he is so good it doesn’t matter what guys he is throwing to.

-If the Raiders were country they would be Cuba. Honestly, at this point just like Cuba, Oakland will be an inhabitable, stable, and largely redeemable destination once its dictator ruler passes on. Sorry
Al Davis…but YOU ARE Castro.

(I beg you…if you ever do anything for yourself your whole life, do yourself a favor and click on the Al Davis link above. I’m not one for hyperbole, but it very well could be the single greatest picture in the history of the still photo. Seriously, have Al Davis and the
Crypt keeper ever been spotted in the same place at the same time before?)

I predicted back in mid-February (and in each successive mock draft since) that the Raiders would make an off the wall pick, and largely blow their first round selection. Picking a wide receiver with great timed speed (4.28 forty), but questionable hands and production at the college level (Darius Heyward-Bey) twenty spots too early, and ahead of Michael Crabtree does indeed qualify as “blowing the pick” …but it pales in comparison with their second round selection.

The single worst value selection in modern NFL Draft history (since the same Raiders took kicker Sebastian Janikowski in the first round in 2000) was made by the Raiders in round 2. They chose Safety Michael Mitchell out of the University of Ohio with the 47th overall selection.

This is a player that noted draft guru Mel Kiper had rated #71 overall……AMONG SAFETIES! The 71st rated safety!

To put the atrociousness of this pick even more into perspective, Mitchell had not been invited to NFL Scouting Combine, not invited to any All-Star games, and did not make the first, second, third team or honorable mention from the MAAC Conference. ESPN did/could not even prepare any tape or even a picture of him to be used during its draft broadcast. Sports Illustrated also was not able to locate a picture of him (even a day after the draft) and did not even bother to provide a draft grade on him

Later interviews would reveal that only one other team (the Chicago Bears) even had this player on their draft boards, and had him graded as a potential 7th round pick.

Once again another smart draft by the Raiders….little wonder they call this place the “Black Hole”.

By the way, we are only 363 days until the next NFL Draft.

Ok seriously…I’ll stop talking draft nonsense…starting….starting…..starting……

Friday, April 24, 2009


There have been a number of trades (Cutler to Chicago, Jason Peters to the Eagles for one of their first round picks) that have affected the way some teams will draft in the first round.

This is my third and final attempt at a Mock Draft…quite frankly, I was embarrassed enough to know so much about a bunch of college kids and the NFL draft to do one First Round Mock Draft….that you can imagine how embarrassed I am to have now come up with THREE…THREE distinct mock drafts.

God, what am I doing with my time…I think I need a lady…oh yeah here’s the way the first round will probably go…..


1) DETROIT LIONS: Matthew Stafford (QB, Georgia) – The Lions really should do all they can to trade out of this pick. 1) Because they don’t want to pay a QB that will have to sit next year the kind of money that a #1 overall pick will command…especially a #1 pick that is a QB 2) They were 0-16 last year and really need to accumulate as many picks and quality players as they can.

Having said that, I think taking either Stafford or Jason Smith is a good pick here so long as they can get the player signed before the draft to avoid any holdout drama.

2) St. LOUIS RAMS: Jason Smith (T, Baylor)- Perfect marriage of need and value. The best tackle prospect in the draft is taken by a team looking to replace a potential Hall of Fame LT in Orlando Pace. I think this guy is going to be a stud

3) KANSAS CITY CHIEFS: Aaron Curry (LB, Wake Forest)- My opinion is that new Chiefs GM Scott Pioli will want to trade out of this pick. He did this every other year with the Pats, and I think he will have lots of suitors. My best guess would be the Redskins would at least entertain the idea of trading up (ahead of the Seahawks) to snatch up QB Mark Sanchez.

However, if the Chiefs do pick at #3, their biggest need is a linebacker to play the inside, and no player in this draft will do that better than Aaron Curry.

4)SEATTLE SEAHAWKS: Mark Sanchez (QB, USC)- Big change from my last mock draft. I have bought into the pre-draft hype. I fully believe the Seahawks are looking for a player to take the reins from Matt Hasselbeck in two years. They will draft Sanchez and essentially “redshirt” him by having him sit and hold the clipboard for one season.

5) CLEVLAND BROWNS: Brian Orakpo (DE, Texas)- Will most likely take the “Workout Warrior” Orakpo, unless they deal Braylon Edwards to the Giants before or during draft day. In that case, I believe that they would take Michael Crabtree.

6) CINCINNATI BENGALS: Eugene Monroe (LT, Virginia)- Bengals need offensive line help and Monroe is the second best tackle in this whole draft.

7)OAKLAND RAIDERS: Michael Crabtree (WR, Texas Tech)- I’ve seen this guy all over the TV the last few days. He has not played an NFL down or made a paycheck yet, but he is already sporting a gaudy watch, huge diamond earrings, and is speaking exclusively in the third person. Sounds like your next great diva WR….and most definitely a perfect Raider.

8) JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS: - Andre Smith (T, Alabama) Will very likely trade out of this pick on draft day, and I would have had them taking a WR had they not just signed Torry Holt this week. If they were to get Smith, I think they would be getting a steal. This is a guy with top 3 sort of talent, who dropped because of major character concerns.

Smith cost himself possibly the Numer 1 overall selection (and somewhere between 10-20 Million bucks) by going AWOL at the NFL Combine and then showing up out of shape to his workout (
understatement!!), but may redeem himself some by still going in the top 10 here to the Jaguars.

9)GREEN BAY PACKERS: B.J. Raji (DT, Boston College)- They could really use a CB, but this guy is too good to pass on at this pick. Best interior lineman in this draft.

10) SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS: Michael Oher (T, Ole Miss) They really would have loved to see Mark Sanchez fall to them here, and with Raji also off the board, they will look to fill a hole on the offensive line.

11) BUFFALO BILLS: - Brandon Pettigrew (TE, Oklahoma State) After trading Jason Peters to the Eagles the Bills have three glaring holes to fill: DE, TE, and LT. With their first of two first round selections I think they go with the most complete tight end in this draft. Also I would not be surprised if they went with a DE here, possibly Everette Brown from FSU.

12) DENVER BRONCOS: Tyson Jackson (DE, LSU) – Are likely to take Jackson if he lasts this long. If not look for them to take an outside ‘backer. Perhaps Brian Cushing.

13) WASHINGTON REDSKINS: Aaron Maybin (DE, Penn State)- If they do not trade up to get Mark Sanchez they will want a pass rushing DE. Maybin is undersized and might just be a situational pass rusher early in his career.

14) NEW ORLEANS SAINTS: Beanie Wells (RB, Ohio State)- I don’t like this pick at all, but I believe the Saints are targeting Wells. I would much rather see them address defensive need (CB,DT, or LB) since they already are pretty set at RB with Reggie Bush and Pierre Thomas.

15) HOUSTON TEXANS: Everette Brown (DE, FSU)- In my opinion Brown will be the best DE in this year’s draft class. He’ll also have the best opportunity to succeed in year one with Mario Williams on the other side drawing double teams.

16) SAN DIEGO CHARGERS: Brian Cushing (LB, USC)- I believe they will take either Cushing or Rey Maualuga.

17) NEW YORK JETS: Josh Freeman (QB, Kansas State)- This is NOT a good pick, but the Jets seem to have become enamored with the 6’6” signal caller from the K-State recently.

In my opinion, Freeman is a thrower more than a passer, and is not anywhere near accurate enough to be a solid NFL QB down the line. They would be lucky if another team like the Bucs traded up to get Freeman as to block them from screwing up this pick. I would much rather see them take a WR to fill the hole left by the departure of Coles. Percy Harvin would be a perfect pick for them.

18) DENVER BRONCOS: Clay Matthew (LB, USC) – This is the pick they acquired from the Bears by way of the Jay Cutler trade. Matthews is a cerebral, high effort sort of player that could play outside linebacker/ situational pass rusher in Denver.

19) TAMPA BAY BUCS: Darius Heyward-Bey (WR, Maryland)- Run on wideouts begins here. The best vertical threat in this draft.

20) DETROIT LIONS: Malcolm Jenkins (CB/S, Ohio State)- DB is a good selection for the Lions with their second first round pick. I would have taken Vontae Davis from Illinois, but I think they would more likely go with Jenkins and play him at both CB and S.

21) PHILADELPHIA EAGLES: Knowshown Moreno (RB, Georgia)- A better fit would be Beanie Wells, as a bruising compliment to Brian Westbrook’s elusiveness, but since he is off the board in this draft they go with Moreno..

22) MINNESOTA VIKINGS: Jeremy Maclin (WR, Missouri)- A best player available sort of pick. I would be a little surprised to still see him on the board at pick #22. Could also take a CB..again maybe Vontae Davis.

23) NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS: Darius Butler (CB, UCONN)- Most likely will not select here. They will either move up or move down. If they do happen to select here, Butler is most NFL ready CB left.

24) ATLANTA FALCONS: Peria Jerry (DT, Ole Miss)- Had Jerry here before and still like the Falcons to select him at pick #24. Very important for a young team to get a good interior defensive lineman.

25) MIAMI DOLPHINS: - Robert Ayers (DE, Tennessee)- A lot of people expect the Fins to go with a WR with this pick, but I think it would be very “Un-Parcells” to take a WR in the first round (Keyshawn notwithstanding).

26) BALTIMORE RAVENS: Vontae Davis (CB, Illinois) – They cut Chris McCalister earlier this year and lost Jim Leonhard and Bart Scott in free agency. Will pick a defensive player with this pick. Davis has the best raw skills and possess the best upside of all the defensive backs in the whole draft.

27) INDIANAPOLIS COLTS: Hakeem Nicks (WR, North Carolina)- Polished receiver to help fill the Marvin Harrison void. Could also pick a DT. Would take Peria Jerry if he fell this far. Would have taken Percy Harvin if he had not failed the Combine drug test for marijuana. Genius.

28) Buffalo Bills: Eben Britton (T, Arizona)- The Bills fill another big need with this pick acquired from the Eagles as part of the Jason Peters deal. They hope the Vikes don’t take this guy at #22.

29) NEW YORK GIANTS: Percy Harvin (WR, Florida)- I would LOVE to see the G-Men make a deal with the Browns to get Braylon Edwards. I’ve have heard Cleveland wants Kiawanuka and a mid-round pick, something I would do in a second. Jerry Reese said Kiwi is off the board, but hopefully he caves on that. I’m not a big Kiwi fan.

If the Giants don’t get a deal done I think they take Snoop Do-….I mean Percy Harvin. If they do get the deal done I say the Giants take Clint Sintim for UVa.

30) TENNESSEE TITANS: Kenny Britt (WR, Rutgers)- Very much a reach to go in the first round but the Titans desperately need a WR (seems like this is the case every year). For the record, I’m not a big Britt fan. Diva attitude seems to be simmering just under the surface. You just wait until that first round bonus check clears…you’ll see.

31) ARIZONA CARDINALS: Donald Brown (RB, UCONN)- Best running back left in the draft, and a major need with Edge having nothing left in the tank.

32) PITTSBURGH STEELERS: Duke Robinson (G, Oklahoma)- If the Steelers don’t get some offensive line help, Big Ben is going to have a very short career. A lot of the sacks that he took came up the middle, so taking the top guard in the draft makes a lot of sense from where I’m sitting (eh hem…..my couch).Phil Loadholt is another thought. He would probably play RT. Center from Oregon Max Unger might also be a smart pick as well.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The NBA…and may we never speak of it again

The last time I was a true fan of the NBA regular season was around 1995, back when my hometown New York Knicks were the toughest ticket in town and about the time O.J was looking for the keys to his White Ford Bronco.

I can think of a few reasons I don’t always pay attention to the NBA anymore: the players are allowed to take 5 steps on the way to the rim…the season is so long the players loaf the first 60 games…we found out all the refs were probably crooked…. and the Knicks have been an embarrassing laughing stock the last ten years or so. That’s actually the main reason for me.

Sure the Knickerbockers had the one NBA finals appearance against the Spurs in the lockout year, but they were also like $60 Million over the cap under Kamikaze Isiah and all of these “players” have worn Knicks jerseys at one point or another: Vin Baker, Jerome James, Jackie Butler, 700 pound Mike Sweetney, Dan Dickau, Zach Randolph, Eddy Curry, Penny Hardaway (old Penny…not Shaq Penny), and a man who at this point should just go by one name: Stephon.

Ok…just let that wash over you for a minute.

The Knick-bashing article will have to go on ice for a while. In the meantime, a few thoughts on the NBA right now:

-Lebron James is just the big kid on the play ground. I’m sitting here watching the Cavs/Pistons game, and I am total in awe of Lebron’s size.

He has the body of a power forward basically playing point guard at times. He is listed at 6’8” and I dunno…maybe 265 pounds! To put that in perspective he’s 2 inches taller and about 70 pounds heavier than Michael Jordan at his peak. I’m actually afraid he might hurt one of the other players when he goes to the rim. The last time I felt this was when I was watching Mike Tyson in the late 80’s, actually afraid he was going to kill the guys he was fighting.

Put together his skill set (shooting, passing, dribbling) and physicality, and basically he is John Stockton with a Karl Malone body…only he is a superior athlete with a 38 inch vertical.

The guy is truly a freak of nature.

-The only series I have any interest in watching is a Cavs/Lakers final. I’ve just been informed that the playoffs will actually be going on until June, so I need not pay attention to any games or any highlights until after Memorial Day. Which is really fine by me anyways….since I’m only an occasional fan and really only care about star power.

I’m only interested in watching a Kobe vs. Lebron final. This matchup would give the NBA mustard enough to lore in the fringe fan (like myself) and ratings would be off the charts. This means big $ for David Stern and the NBA brass. So don’t be surprised when the Cavs and Lakers are getting LOTS of favorable calls in their respective Conference Finals.

Yea that’s right….I didn’t forget about the Tim Donaghy’s of the NBA just yet.

-Ok, I said I wouldn’t talk about the Knicks anymore but…. My friend Derek is a huge NBA fan, and the other day I’m on the phone with him shooting the bull about off-season moves the Knicks can make. Basically free agency, trades, drafts…things of that nature.

Free agency at this point had GOT to be about the push for Lebron in 2010. Along those lines I’d like to see David Lee stick around, and I’d like to see that umpa lumpa Nate Robinson walk.

Lee is an above average garbage guy, good fit for the D’Antoni system, and perfect Lebron compliment. Lee rebounds on both ends and get his points via boards and put-backs. Therefore he doesn’t command lots of touches nor need any offense run through him. This makes him the perfect 4 to Lebron’s 3.

David Lee also fits in as a D’Antoni guy in that he gets up and down the floor and plays exactly zero defense.

Don’t laugh…it seems like a pre-requiste in D’Antoni’s system. It’s almost like he sits the guys down during the first practice and says, “I don’t care who you are. If I see you trying to play any semblance of defense…even putting your hands up on d once…just once….I’m going to fine your ass every which way….You got me? We are going to score 100 points a game, even if we have to give up 200 just to get there!”

Along the same lines, the Knicks need to get rid of ole Nate Robinson.

Yeah I know…the little bugger is entertaining, and has actually put up some fairly gaudy stats this season…but as far as winning and losing he hurts the team more than helps. First off, although he has other worldly athleticism, the dude is still just 5’8’’. He is not a great ball handler and cannot run an offense, so essentially he is a 2 guard stuck inside the body of a JV point guard. A 2 guard in fact, who shoots a low percentage and commands a high volume of your team’s shots. Not exactly the type of guy Lebron is going to be dying to play with in two years.

Also, because of his size Nate is more likely to give up 30 points then score 20 of his own. Sorry Nate, love the dunks…but you gotta go.

As far as the NBA Draft, assuming the Knicks end up picking in the mid to late lottery, there is not a chance in hell they get any of the three game-changers in this year’s draft class: Blake Griffin, Hasheem Thabeet, or Spanish sensation (and potential All-Name Team member) Ricky Rubio.

Therefore, the Knicks will be looking to draft cogs that will fit the system they play. They would also love to find something to fill these needs: up-tempo “set the table”- type of point guard, scoring and rebounding big man, complimentary two guard, someone to keep Eddy Curry away from all-you-can-eat buffets.

Ok…you got me the last one was a trick. I don’t think there is a person alive who can keep EC away from the buffets.

People will be clamoring for Steph Curry or Ty Lawson come draft day. I believe they will be there when the Knicks pick, but I think they would be better served going for a less sexy pick. A player many of you may have never heard of: Eric Maynor from VCU. A very tough kid with good size at the PG spot (6’3”). He is more of a distributor who will run the team than a scoring guard. He may get booed on draft day if he gets picked by the Knicks, but I think he projects to be a better pro than Lawson, Curry, or even Johnny Flynn from Syracuse.

Another guy I like a lot is Sam Young out of Pitt. Guy was an underrated stud in college, and comes in as a full grown man at 6’6” and 220 pounds. A good athlete who is NBA ready.

At the very least I’d like to see them not screw the pick up. After 10 years of futility I’ve set the bar awfully low.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Masters Recap

For anyone who watched the Master finish up late yesterday afternoon, that was evidence of a point I have been making for a long time: golf, in competition, is the hardest game there is between the ears.

When you get up against it with two holes to play, like Kenny Perry was yesterday, there are no timeouts, no running out the clock, no teammates to pass the ball to, and no Mariano coming in out of the bullpen to bail you out.

It’s all you. You are out on an island…totally exposed. If you pull it off you get all the credit in the world. However, if you’re choking your guts out (as Kenny clearly was), there is no where to hide. Pretty humbling stuff.

I feel for the guy, but it makes you really appreciate how great a closer Tiger Woods is. I think he is something like 12 for 12 in majors with the lead on the final day. As many things that can go wrong on a golf course on a Sunday afternoon, for him never to have been caught by another player or leak back to the field by his own hand is ungodly. People really don’t appreciate how hard that is to do. To me that is more impressive stat in all of sports.

A few other thoughts from yesterday:

-I applaud the decision by CBS to show as much Phil and Tiger as they could, even though it meant that many of the shots of the leaders were shown on tape.

Phil and Tiger flat out turn the dial. They are the two best players in the world, and they absolutely hate each other. Nothing juicier than that.

I’m not kidding when I say I was even a little disappointed when CBS would cut away from Phil and Tiger to show other players hitting shots. I would have been more interested to see Phil and Tiger walk down the fairway. Do they chit-chat? Do they acknowledge each other? Who walks ahead?

Maybe I’m going a little bit too far, but it certainly is high drama when those two get paired together in a major. I just can’t wait for the day when the two of them separate from the field and can go one-on-one on Sunday at a major. That will be for the ages.

- Did anyone notice that Phil was BOMBING it past Tiger? Some holes Phil was 20-30 yards past him. I’m sure Tiger noticed. I’m willing to bet he has the guys at Nike build him a driver that goes 400 yards by the US Open….or he starts hanging out with Arod’s cousin….

- Was Steve Williams commando underneath the white jumpsuit? This is a serious question folks.

The Masters is the only tournament all year where they require the caddies to wear the white jumpsuits. I can imagine they could get a little toasty underneath there, but I’m not sure I’d pull a Stevy.

Steve Williams, who is Tiger Wood’s caddy, was rocking the jumpsuit zipped almost all the way down with no undershirt, exposing an Austin Powers/ Tom Selleck Magnum P.I. level chest hair situation. I’m speculating that he may have been going full on commando. At the very least, I wouldn’t put it past him.

Not the only wardrobe malfunction in his paring however….

- Dear Phil Mickelson,

I have read that you have been trying to back in shape the last few years in order to extend your career. I applaud your efforts in this endeavor. However, I cannot say the same about your choice of shirt size. If you’ll indulge me…

A few years ago you seem to have been stricken with a disease a number of middle-aged men seem to contract. For purposes of this exercise lets call this disease: “Man-boob-it is”. You were undoubtedly a little uncomfortable with it….we at home were MORE than a little uncomfortable watching it.

Last two years, you seem to have lost a few pounds….potentially reducing effects of “Man-boob-it is”, yet you then decided you were in such good shape you would start wearing infant-sized shirts.

Bottom line: we can see your nipples. And high definition TV is not doing you any favors either.

The way I see it you have two options: 1) Get yourself some bigger shirts or 2) Now, I’m not sure exactly what they are called in some circles, but I think I’ve heard them referred to before as….pasties?

Either way I think you need to look into this. If not I don’t think I’ll be able to watch golf on television with my grandma anymore when you’re on. The whole day yesterday we had to lie to the poor woman and tell her it was just very cold in Georgia.

Fond wishes and kind regards,
Good Taste and Common Decency

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Can you believe this question came from a girl?

Q: Which athletes, in which sport, would you consider to be the most 'athletic'? (Now, its important that you define 'athlete'). Kevin Thomas and I had a little debate over this. But, we agreed that an 'athlete' is an individual of extreme talent that can participate and dominate more then one sport. For instance, and I don't know why Chris Duhon keeps popping into my head...(I am about 80% sure he played both basketball & football at Duke). If you think about it, so many kids aspire to play collegiate athletics. It takes a different kind of person to play a Division 1 sport. Coming from experience, and playing Division 1 soccer, I understand that not every kid out there has what it takes. But for someone to be a dual Division 1, ACC (one, if not the best conference in both football and basketball), athlete, that is just mind blowing. I know the time you have to put into one sport, I can’t imagine having to do so with two sports. Anyways, I kind of got a little off-topic there, but back to my underlying question. Athletes in what sport, would you consider to be the most athletic?

Interested in your thoughts...

P.S. (***Name of Erin’s bf censored***) and I watched Marley & Me. AND he cried ;)

-New York, NY

DG: First off I’m pretty sure the Duke Athlete your thinking of is Reggie Love and not Chris Duhon. Reggie Love played mediocre power forward for Coach K and was an -above average wide receiver on the Duke football team from 2001-2005. By the way, this is the same Reggie Love who is now part of President Obama’s White House Staff. Think of him as the Secretary of Pick-up Basketball.

As far as the rest of your question, it was pretty complete, so I’d like to tackle it in parts:

1) I agree that if I was going to build a list of the greatest athletes of all-time, it would be peppered with multi-sport athletes. This is probably a full article for another time, but just off of the top of my head I think I’d have to include names like Bo Jackson, Deion Sanders, Jim Thorpe, Jim Brown, and Dave Winfield.

You might be thinking…Dave Winfield…Mr. May? Yes, Dave Winfield. He was drafted by 4 professional teams in three sports coming out of the University of Minnesota. In fact, he was taken in the 17th round of the NFL Draft by the Minnesota Vikings after not even having played football at all for the Golden Gophers!

Another name that doesn’t ever come up often in Greatest Athlete conversations….Wilt Chamberlain. Wilt the Stilt was a freak of nature on the basketball court, but few people talk about the fact that he was a near Olympic Level Track athlete. At Kansas University, he was a three-time Big Eight high jump champ, who in competition once threw a shot-put 56 feet and recorded 100M dash time of 10.9 seconds…..at 7’1” and 250 pounds!

In my opinion, these names are also-rans to Jackie Robinson for Greatest Athlete of all-time. We all know about Robinson’s Hall of Fame baseball career and the overall social impact he had on professional sports, but did you know he lettered it three other sports at UCLA.

He was the best collegiate baseball player in the country, an All-Pac-10 level track athlete, played running back on the football team, and twice led the Pac-10 in scoring as part of UCLA’s basketball team. Oh and by the way, in 1936 Jackie Robinson won the Pacific Coast Junior Singles Championship as a tennis player.

2) I believe the most athletic individuals in all of sports play the CORNERBACK position on a football team.

If the requirements for playing CB were listed on a job posting it might look something like this:

Job Title: Cornerback
Description: Covering elite level Wide Receivers
Special Skills Required: Your job is to line-up one-on-one against a guy that has sprinter level speed. You have to cover him over an expansive field that measures 100 yards long and 50 yards wide. He’ll be running forward to a spot on the field that he knows. You’ll largely be running backwards and have no idea where is going. If you do get beat and your man gets open, you’ll be required to either a) out jump and swat the ball away from his grasp b) wrestle him to the ground after he catches it. I may have failed to mention that this man you’ll be required to out jump and/or tackle will on average be three inches taller and 20-30 pounds heavier than yourself. Oh and by the way, if you so much as breathe on your man while the ball is in the air you will find yourself buried in yellow flags up to your eyeballs.

3) You’re boyfriend did what? Ok….I haven’t seen Marley and Me (and don’t plan on it in this lifetime), but can’t imagine crying over this film gets your boyfriend any macho points (maybe he gets “macho” points in the Tom Cruise definition of the word)

In fact let me go a step further: I’m taking it upon myself to temporarily suspend his “man” card. If it can be confirmed he did in fact cry at a bad Jennifer Aniston flick, then I believe that would be grounds for permanent revocation.

There is a list of acceptable “man” cry moments in movies. But the list is short and very specific:

1) Rudy (when Sean Astin runs onto the field with people chanting “Rudy”)
2) Brian's Song (when Billy Dee William’s gives the I love Brian Piccolo speech)
3) Field of Dreams (when Costner says "Hey dad, do you want to have a catch?"
4) Rocky V (at any point between the opening sequence to the end credits…as if there is anyone who has ever watched it through that far)
5) *the most recent Indiana Jones movie…..the film that shall not be named (when the alien spaceship emerges from the earth and flies home….because it’s so bad it broke my heart.)

I think I might have cried just thinking of it.

Erin, I hope this has been helpful.