Friday, October 9, 2009

Natural Order Restored in the NFL

Well, after a rowdy Week 3, some normalcy was restored around the Grill Room and the NFL last week.

I guess after righting a few wrongs, God decided to let the natural order of things get back to governing the NFL for a while. Lord knows, He has enough on His plate these days. Glad He checked in, though. He's certainly welcome anytime, and sure can liven things up.

To review:

(Continue to The Grill Room)

Hats Off to Pittsburgh

The latest edition of The Sporting News landed in my mailbox yesterday, and the cover had a picture of Sidney Crosby and Ben Rothlisberger, along with a banner proclaiming Pittsburgh as the best sports city.

And I thought that was kind of cool.

Now, I am big city all the way. Grew up in New York. Have worked in New York, or its environs, my whole career. Currently live in a suburb of Manhattan.

But Pittsburgh has always been one of my favorite stops on the NHL tours I have taken as a broadcaster and reporter. And the city---and its people---deserve to be recognized.

As do the teams of Pittsburgh. The disastrous Pirates aside, Pittsburgh has the reigning Stanley Cup and Super Bowl champions, with the Penguins having reached the Cup Finals two years straight, and the Steelers having won the Lombardi Trophy two of the past four years. Pretty impressive stuff.

(Continue to Jim Cerny's Rink Rap)

Baseball Slights Buck O'Neil Again

They've forgotten you already, Buck!

I figured they would. I had no doubt Bud Selig and the lords of baseball would relegate you to an afterthought, just as they did in not allowing you to enter Cooperstown along with your brethren from "black baseball." They asked you to be the face and voice of the Negro Leagues. You obliged. Once you could no longer handle those high-profile duties, Selig and the lords forgot you.

What did you expect from them?

(Continue to Justice Is Served)

Cardinals Waste Wainright Gem

Adam Wainright deserved better.

In a perfect world, the 6-7 Cardinal righty would have been rewarded for a stellar pitching performance Thursday night against Los Angeles in Game 2 of the NLDS. Instead, he a earned a
no-decision that would eventually turn into a crushing Cardinal loss.

True, Wainright wasn't perfect, but pretty close. He allowed only three hits including a solo homer. His curve demonstrated serious bite and when he did get into trouble, he survived. How can this guy not win the Cy Young?

(Continue to Paul's Redbird Report)

Horns-Buffs: Game of the Weak


At the University of Colorado’s senior football banquet last December, Coach Dan Hawkins stated what he wanted from the 2009 Buffaloes.

"Ten wins and no excuses."

In March, Hawkins said: "It was a challenge to the team . . . I don’t ever want to back off excellence as the bar. I want to keep that bar high, that standard high.

"To me, the expectation of excellence, the standard of excellence, I always want it high. I want it present in their minds. I believe in that philosophy."

(Continue to The Wiz of Odds)

Auburn's Luck About to Change

Today’s lucky number as far as the Auburn Tigers are concerned is 5.

The Gene Chizik Era at Auburn has begun with five consecutive victories, which is as many victories as Chizik had in two seasons as head coach at Iowa State, where he was 5-19.

The five victories match the number of victories the Tigers had in 2008 when they finished 5-7, leading to Coach Tommy Tuberville’s departure and Chizik’s arrival.

(Continue to Rue's Rant)

USF's Leavitt Irked By Billboard

South Florida football coach Jim Leavitt is mad.

He's unhappy. He's irked, he's irritated.

So what's new?

This time, it's not the Tampa media, it's not his players or his staff. He's not really happy with his athletic department's marketing gurus.

While USF has this week to prepare for next Thursday's HUGE home game with Big East power Cincinnati, the marketing folks decided they'd brag in a big way.

The big way was a billboard at a major Tampa interstate location declaring USF's entry into what it proclaimed as Florida's "Big Four." The billboard displayed the logos of the University of Florida, Florida State and Miami and added USF.

(Continue to Running with the Bulls)

Buccaneers Stagger Into Philly

Call the Tampa Bay Buccaneers lowly and you'd be elevating their stature in the world.

When it comes to lowly, the Buccaneers have made it an art form through the first quarter of the NFL season.

If four losses in a row isn't enough to make you a non-believer, then how about this week's visit to Philadelphia?

In previous years, the Buccaneers have tormented the Eagles. They've been a nemesis for Philly-fan. But not this time. With Donovan McNabb back at quarterback and Brian Westbrook good to go, the Eagles are armed and ready.

The Buccaneers?

They are playing without using arms most of the time, especially when it comes to tackling.

(Continue to Buccaneer Bow Shots)

The Jets' Big Catch?

I think there's somebody other than Mark Sanchez who has to be breathing a big sigh of relief that the Jets got another weapon at the wide receiver position in Braylon Edwards. I can't wait to see how this acquisition helps their former (still current?) number one receiver, Jerricho Cotchery.
Cotchery has actually had a good season so far - very quiet, but productive (so quiet I didn't realize he had had some decent games). He's gone for 90, 87, 108, and 71-yard games (one touchdown) so far this season. It doesn't seem like he's been thrown to an awful lot. You might say he hasn't built up a relationship with Mark Sanchez...but I would argue that he hasn't had much of a chance.

Cotchery has been in a tough spot to this point. If you're the opposing team going up against the Jets, are you paying much attention to Cotchery, Chansi Stuckey, or David Clowney? I think you make Stuckey and Clowney and their combind 500 career receiving yards beat you, and you devote your coverage to Cotchery. I don't know if teams have been doing this, but if so, it's a wonder Cotchery has had the types of productive games he's had.

(Continue to 200 Miles From the Citi)

Arizona In Need of a Good Rush

The Arizona Cardinals offense is sick.

The symptoms? Stalled drives in the redzone, lack of big plays and disgruntled star receivers whose brothers tweet about the receiver being disgruntled, before saying he was just joking. Other symptoms can be frustration and---the most painful of them all---a 1-2 record.

The Cardinals haven't scored points like they are accustomed and they're beginning to wonder why. The signs of struggle have been there for some time and so has the cure. Rest and liquids cure the common cold and a strong running game can revive a struggling offense.

(Continue to Arizona Sportspage)

Football's State of the Union

With both the NFL and college football seasons a quarter of the way done (or more), there are some interesting and inverted trends developing in 2009.

In the college game, anybody can beat anyone else anywhere at any given time. BYU beat Oklahoma, who lost to Miami, who beat Florida State, who beat BYU badly in Provo. That’s parity.

In the NFL, there are about a half-dozen teams who’re clearly better than the rest, and the players on the league’s lesser teams have a better chance of beating their wives after a 38-14 loss than beating any of the division leaders. There are five undefeateds and an astonishing six winless teams in the NFL right now, and half of last year’s playoff teams are a combined 6-16 at the NFL quarter pole. The Bengals should be undefeated, while the Patriots should be 1-3. That’s disparity.

(Continue to Sport Imitates Life)
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