Nothing quite like Friday afternoon, unless you're talking about Friday afternoon at home instead of work. In that case, their is something like Friday afternoon, only its far better than the original. I didn't call in sick to work today, I just took a vacation day because I've already put in enough hours this week. I did have to go meet with some lady from the local paper about our 2006 marketing strategy but that lasted a little over an hour so it was only mildy annoying. Anyway, I've been really busy this week and haven't been able to peruse the internet at my normal rate so I'm probably a little behind on some of the happenings of the sports world. Mind you, not nearly as far behind as Greg, who didn't find out that Miami had lost to Ga. Tech until this past Monday morning. Then again, Greg was in Mexico on Round 2 of "Greg's Magical & Mysterious Communicable Diseases Tour" so we'll cut him a little slack on that one. You'd be surprised how much scouring Guadalajarra for underage hookers can take out of you...seriously.
I'm gonna be straight with you here, I'm not very motivated today so we're going to keep it short and sweet. Nothing but random thoughts and events from the past week. Some of this stuff is a little dated at this point, but I took the time to write it down in my notebook so you're gonna have to take the time to read it, damnit. What else are you going to do this afternoon? Work? Right, I'm buying that.
Enough already. Do we really have to hear this crap for an entire month straight? I understand why the stores play it, but I see no need for it to take over the programming of every other english speaking radio station in America. I was out to dinner last night and this garbage was blaring over the speakers for the entire meal. Couldn't we just all agree to keep this shit off the airwaves until the days hit the double digit mark in December?
I like Christmas alot, really I do. I just don't want to hear Blue Christmas by Elvis three times a day for a month, and I may murder somebody if I have to hear Barbara Streisand's version of Jingle Bells ever again. You've been warned. Surprisingly, I could listen Jose Feliciano's Feliz Navidad during the middle of Agust and be completely content.
I didn't get home until just before halftime because I had two playoff games for the Men's Basketball League that I play in. Yes, you read that correctly, basketball. Unlike many men my age who play in softball leagues, I choose to play in a basketball league. I'm a whole lot better at basketball and the ball is a lot softer. So, you see, their is far less of a chance of me ducking away from the ball in horror and shreeking like some 12 year old girl in your junior high gym class. That would be embarrasing for everybody involved so I'm under the impression that my choice of sports is in everybody's best interest.
Anyway, on Monday we played two games because the league that I play in thinks its neccessary to have both it's semifinals and finals on the same night. Don't ask me why they do this, because I have no idea. It might also be hard for me to hear you because I've got my back to back league championship rings stuffed in each of my ears. Actually, we get t-shirts and visors (Gee, thanks) but my team did capture it's second consecutive league title game so I'm still way too cool to be bothered with that sort of inane question.
When I did finally get home from my games, I did notice a few things about the game:
- Peyton Manning sure is an asshole. Just watching him bitch at his lineman and dismissively wave teammates off the field makes me angry. It's not him being an asshole that bothers me, it that he is clearly a HUGE asshole but still attempts to come off as a genuinely nice guy whom his teammates enjoy. I had the same problem with Michael Jordan during his career. Listen, nobody appreciates a complete and total jerk off like this guy. Hell, I've patterned my entire life around the basic principles of being an asshole. here's mybeef: If you're going to be an asshole then just be honest about it and flaunt it. I much prefer my asshole athletes in the mold of Albert/Joey Belle and John McEnroe than to have them be like Manning or Jordan.
-Some guy in the crowd in Indy had a big "D-Caf" sign. That was good for a chuckle.
-I don't think that Pittsburgh would've won that game barring a major meltdown from the Colts. However, I did have a big problem with Bill Cowher's strategy on two key plays. First, the onside kick to start the second half. It's easy to criticize this move now (just watch me) but this move really hurt the Steelers. Other than the first play of the game, the Steeler defense had accounted for itself pretty well throughout the first half. Manning was clearly frustrated by the half's end. So, instead of kicking it deep and relying on your defense to get a stop and give your offense good field position, you onsides kick it and give Indy a short field. Momentum wise, this decision was a killer. Second, the QB draw playcall on 4 & 5 early in the fourth. I know this call has worked for Pittsburgh in similar situations this season, but it's a bad call on 4 & 5 with a QB who is just coming off knee surgery. On a 4 & 5 you have nearly your entire playbook at your disposal, Mr. Cowher. Next time this situation arises, I suggest you use it to find something other than a QB draw.
- ABC brought up a stat for Reggie Wayne that showed he has the highest "Passer Rating" of any receiver in the NFL over the last four years. When did receiver's start getting passer ratings? How does this even work? Was I out of the country when this decision was made? I am totally flummoxed by this. I don't even know what to do with this information.
-Marco Killingsworth looks like he should be working on an assembly line at one of the GM plants in Detroit. Are you kidding me? I'm not even joking when I say that he looks old enough to be Mike Davis' brother.
Speaking of Mike Davis, his relationship with Killingsworth and Lewis Monroe (the other Auburn transfer) was brought up numerous times during the game on Wednesday as the reason that these two guys transferred to Indiana. This is just a question, but doesn't that sound alot like tampering with another program's players? I guess that Indiana could take the stance that Davis didn't contact either of these guys until after they decided to leave Auburn. Yet, I still find it hard to believe that Davis bonded with the two of these kids so quickly after their respective decisions that they both decided to go to Indiana within weeks of being released from their scholarships at Auburn. Furthermore, it is highly irregular for anybody to transfer to another Division I school with just one year of eligibility remaining, much less two guys from the same program deciding to do this and also deciding on the same school as their transfer destination. As they used to say on Scooby-Doo, "This smells a little fishy".
-Sean Dockery has to be the worst scholarship point guard in the history of Duke's program. Other than the ability to play average (at best) pressure defense, I can't name a single thing that this guy brings to the table for Duke. Would somebody please explain to me how he was a McDonald's All-American coming out of high school? For Pete's sake, I wouldn't even trade jumpshots with the guy, whihc is saying something because my jumper isn't going to be portrayed in the Gugenheim anytime soon I bet Lee Melchionni gets sick everytime he thinks about having to give up his scholarship 9as a freshamn) for that no talent spazz.
-Shelden Williams might want top start brushing up on his Italian. When you get torched by Marco Killingsworth in the way that Williams did on Wednesday, chances are that you probably don't have much of a future as a starting power forward in the NBA. I see many supporting roles on other players' posters in your future, Shelden.
Why are people even bothering to discuss whether he's the best running back of all time? Shouldn't there be some rule that says your name can't even enter the discussion of all-time best backs until you've gone over 10,000 career rushing yards? Does everybody in the media have this much respect for Marty Schottenheimer? Don't get me wrong, the guy is a very good football coach but he's never even won a Super Bowl and he stuffs his play sheet down the front of his pants. LaDanian doesn't even make the Top Five and he's not going to for quite some time, so let's all just forget that Marty ever even said this, okay?
-They're actually playing pretty well right now. They had won 4 in a row before Wednesday's loss to Chicago. They are a completely different team this year, as evidenced by the 13 point drop in their defensive scoring average. Part of this is certainly due to the change in offensive philosophy under Brian Hill, but alot of the credit must also go to Hill and his coaching staff for instilling the need for defensive intensity in this group and for realizing that with big men like Kelvin Cato, Tony Battie and (to a lesser degree) Howard, it was in the best interests of his team to slow down the pace and force teams to try and score on the Magic in the halfcourt.
Some of the (especially) bright spots with this team are Dwight Howard (of course) who seemingly gets better with each game he plays, and is even managing to force teams double team him when he sets up on the block these days. Other than Dwight, special credit should go to Steve Francis and DeShawn Stevenson. Francis is playing under control and keeping his turnovers to a minimum while still maintaining his aggresiveness on offense. I'm still hoping that the Magic can ship him out by February for some picks and prospects but you have to like the way he's attempting to fit in with this team and it's philosophy. As for Stevenson, he's become the Magic's best perimeter defender and toughest player. He's playing on a badly banged up knee that keeps him from practicing (and will requrie surgery at season's end) but he's playing good enough D to frustrate guys like Dwayne Wade, Paul Pierce and Ricky Davis. He still has one of the 5 ugliest jumpers in the league, but he attacks the basket on offense and seems to add an edge to this team when he's on the floor.
The player who deserves the biggest pat on the back (from me, not himself...who do you think he is Barry Horowitz?) is Jameer Nelson. Jameer has become the Magic's version of the 2005 version Ben Gordon, if that makes any sense. He consistently scores in double figures during the fourth quarter and is in the middle of every big run that the Magic make late in games. I thought he played pretty well last year, but he's come back this year far better than at any point during his rookie season. Some of this is no doubt due to having a year's worth of experience under his belt, but alot of this improvement is a result of Nelson's much improved mid-range and three point jumpshot. I've said, since the day he was drafted, that I thought he had a lot of "poor man's Tim Hardaway" potential (save for the speech impediment) and this season's early returns have done nothing to make me think otherwise. If Jameer keeps this up and doesn't get invited to the Rookie-Sophomore game (once again) their ought to be a congressional investigation.
Just to summarize: I don't think that the Magic make the playoffs but they are competitive and tough. Two things you haven't been able to say about this franchis in quite some time.
- I take offense to the ESPN the Weekend ads that claim to "have something for every fan". Unless there is a Punch Stuart Scott directly in the face booth then their is absolutely nothing for me at this contrived cross promotional weekend in lovely Lake Buena Vista, FL, or as I like to call it, "Hell on Earth". At least DisneyWorld isn't in the middle on the Anaheim ghetto like Disneyland. I'm not even joking when I say that there's a pawn shop across the street from DisneyLand. Seriously, who could make something like that up?
-ESPN sure loves showing the highlights from the 1987 AFC Champioship game during the middle of the afternoon. This is at least the sixth time I've seen this show in the last year. I have to admit that it's not nearly as fun this time around because I'm not watching it with Calvin. Calvin grew up in Ohio (have I ever mentioned how much I hate the entire state of Ohio?) and loves the Browns. Whenver this came on, I would make a point to let Calvin know about it. Even going so far as to go into his office and turn on the TV so that he would have to watch part of it. Calvin's a bit irrational so this would normally end up in hom throwing (and possibly breaking) something, which is always good for a mid-afternoon chuckle at the expense of him and the godforesaken city of Cleveland.
I think we should all get drunk this weeknd and root for UCLA. That's what troy Aikman and I are doing anyway.
-Did you know that Bill Cowher was the special teams coach for the 1987 Browns? Me neither. I do know that the corduroy hat he was wearing during the Championship game is one of those fashion trends that just never, ever goes out of style.