Wednesday, September 23, 2009

No Justice in Plax's Prison Sentence

He looks like the portrait of injustice. That’s about all you can say about Plaxico Burress as he walked into a New York courthouse Tuesday and prepared to begin his sentence of two years in state prison.

Yeah, Burress broke the law, but if his punishment reflects the best of American justice, I prefer something else.

I guess if I hadn’t seen lesser crimes than his earn a “perp” probation, I wouldn’t feel as I do about this sentence. I also know that if I liked Burress more, I might even be more outraged about it.

(Continue to Justice Is Served)

What's Up with Tom Brady

OK Jets fans...let's cool it with the "Brady Sucks" chants.

Tom Brady does not suck. Tom Brady is just playing below the significant bar he has set for himself to this point in his career. I know, it's much too wordy to chant at a game. But it's more true than "Brady Sucks".

At the very least, Brady sucks right now. The question is, why?

Here are the facts:

Game 1: 39-53 for 378 yards, 2 TD, 1 INT
Game 2: 23-47 for 216 yards, 0 TD, 1 INT

Going deeper than the facts, Brady only had as many yards against Buffalo as he did because they didn't run the ball and he completed short passes. And if it wasn't for the final five minutes of that game he would have shown no life at all.

(Continue to 200 Miles From the Citi)

Romo, Defense Come Up Short for Dallas

You can't blame Terrell Owens for this one.

The Cowboys 33-31 loss to the New York Giants in what was a very winnable game came down to a couple of malingering problems from the last couple of seasons—Tony Romo's penchant for mistakes and having one of the worst secondaries in football.

For starters, I don't want hear from any Cowboys fans who say Romo is a better quarterback without the melodramatics of Owens. All three of Romo's interceptions against the Giants led to 24 points. What should really bother Cowboys fans about Romo's miscues was that it wasn't like the Giants were bringing a whole lot of pressure on the quarterback.

(Continue to NFC 'Easter)

Conservative Dolphins Done In by Colts

As we've often heard, statistics don't always tell the story, and Monday night was proof of that.

The Miami Dolphins dominated time of possession, holding the ball for more than three full quarters.

They had 27 first downs to the Indianapolis Colts' 14, ran for 239 yards to Indy's 61.

Yet, by game's end, the scoreboard read, Indianapolis 27, Miami 23.

A must win for the Dolphins became a blown opportunity.

(Continue to Dolphins Watch)

Early Separation Already Evident

Two weeks into the 2009 NFL season there already are a handful of teams beginning to separate from the pack inside their division and conference -- and it's not the usual suspects in every case. I'll break down both conferences over the next two days, beginning with the AFC.

Let's start in the AFC East, where everybody's preseason favorites to represent the conference in Super Bowl XLIV, the New England Patriots, are one poor Leodis McKelvin decision away from joining the Miami Dolphins in the basement at 0-2. The New York Jets are the ones in control at the top after back-to-back gutsy performances by rookie quarterback Mark Sanchez. Their impressive upset of the Pats at Gillette Stadium, which used to be one of the hardest places for a road team to win, was reminiscent of what Miami did a year ago on the same field en route to dethroning New England as AFC East champs. This week's home game against a very good Tennessee Titans team will go a long way in determining whether or not these Jets are true contenders or pretenders.

(Continue to NFL Guru)

Giant Thanks and Steel Resolve

We're fully expecting a rowdy crowd around the Grill Room this week because we've put the 1-1 Steelers in the No. 2 position in the NFL 100-proof rankings.

But before you start any trouble and get bounced from the joint, shut up and listen:
First, we don't genuflect to upstart squads like so many of the knuckleheads that put together their weekly rankings.
Yeah, the Jets are a surprising 2-0, but with a rookie QB at the helm, and a coach whose mouth attracts flies and more and more enemies each week, it is hard to see them beating any of the teams ranked above them if matched in, say, Omaha or something.

And that last part's key, pally. Our bartenders base their rankings on what a team would do when matched up against any other team that Sunday on a neutral field.

(Continue to The Grill Room)

Tressel Ball vs. Win Forever

Which is worse for a coach's reputation: losing the big games, or losing the small games?

That's not rhetorical - there is an answer, as we'll soon see.

Of course the topic relates to Jim Tressel and Pete Carroll. During the last two weeks we’ve seen continuations of trends that many thought would end this year. Ohio State lost (yet again) to a top-five opponent, and USC lost (yet again) to an unranked conference foe. There has been a lot of vitrol flung at Tressel and Carroll in the last few days, everything from deconstructing why Tressel is a bad tactician, to dissecting why LA makes Carroll a bad coach, to the ever entertaining analysis by MS Paint. So instead of piling it on, let's be constructive and figure out how these two can get out of the holes they've dug. We'll start by putting their coaching of the last few years into context.

Along with Carroll and Tressel at the top of the coaching food chain are Urban Meyer, Mack Brown, and Bob Stoops. Most folks would have these five in some order at the top of their list of current best coaches, so let’s take a look at the five’s records and other miscellaneous stats over the six seasons.

(Continue to The National Championship Issue)

Time to Pull Plug on UAB Football?

Before the UAB-Troy football game last Saturday, The Birmingham News ran a story asking the question: Who’s No. 3 in State?

Obviously, Alabama and Auburn are the top two college football programs in the state, while UAB and Troy are trying their hardest to be taken seriously at the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) level.

Troy has a much longer and richer football history. The Trojans are celebrating their 100th season this fall. Most of that was spent at the small-college level before they made the jump to NCAA Division I-A status, now FBS, in 2001. They are members of the Sun Belt Conference.

(Continue to Rue's Rant)

An Avalanche of Teens

It's beginning to look like the Colorado Avalanche could have a couple of teen-age phenoms on the roster for its Oct. 1 season opener against San Jose.

First-round pick Matt Duchene, 18, should be a lock to start the year in Denver, even if new head coach Joe Sacco is reluctant to say as much. The final 23-man roster, he's said, won't be determined until after the Avalanche plays its final three exhibition games.

Matt Duchene (left) and Ryan O'Reilly have been impressive in Avalanche camp.

"I think he's made some progress every day, and that's what you're looking for," Sacco said of Duchene, who was taken third overall in the 2009 NHL entry draft after collecting 31 goals and 48 assists in 57 games last season for the Brampton Battalion in the Ontario Hockey League.

(Continue to Through the 5 Hole)

Hockey in K.C.? Not a Good Idea

It was only a pre-season game, but by the looks of the crowd in Kansas City last night when the Islanders came to town, the 9,000-plus fans in attendance is a good benchmark for what it would be like in the regular season.

Ironically, the Coliseum looked awfully similar last season and by mid-season this year, will probably look the same. On a day when Islanders fans stormed the Adams Playhouse at Hofstra University to support their team and the Lighthouse initiative, the Isles were hundreds of miles away losing to the Kings, 4-2, in a foreign land.

A few days earlier the Islanders were in Saskatchewan - also far and foreign to Long Islanders. Let's hope that's the last time the Isles play in K.C. - aside from pre-season tune-up contests.

(Continue to Thin Ice)

PGA's Off Week Still Eventful

So we take a week off from the chase for the FedEx Cup in the PGA and you think that means all's quiet on the golfing front do you?

Not so fast.

A 57-year-old Southern California man decided to pay tribute to fallen duffers everywhere by throwing golf balls out his car window while driving through Joshua Tree National Park, located in the Mojave Dessert just northeast of Los Angeles.

By the time park rangers discovered who had been tossing the golf balls in the park, Douglas Jones had deposited nearly 3,000 golf balls in the dessert. Park rangers, who had to pick up each golf ball, along with some other items Jones left in the park for various reason, were not amused.

(Continue to Par for the Course)
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