Posted on: January 29, 2013 8:17 pm

Unanswered Questions

In the fine tradition of ESPiN here are some of their leftover Media Day questions for the Harbaughs:  

1. How long have you been brothers? 

2. When you play tennis do you pretend to be the Williams sisters?       

3. Did your folks make you coach on opposite sides of the country so you won't fight in the car?                               

4. Do you know Brett Favre?               

5. When did you notice your last names are spelled the same?                   

6. You're both coaches. How come the Lakers didn't hire Phil Jackson?   

7. Are you guys related?                       

8. Is that the Ryan brothers selling programs outside the dome?                   

9. How come you didn't play QB for the Patriots when the Ditka brothers were coaching in the Super Bowl?       

10. Can your folks tell you apart?           

11. Do you think Peyton and Eli are brothers too?

As always feel free to add your own.
Category: NFL
Posted on: December 31, 2012 7:42 pm

Good Chief Hunting

Lately its become second nature to be a little embarrassed to be a Chiefs fan. At what point does Clark Hunt look into the mirror and ask himself how long he can continue selling a crap product and expect the fans to keep filling his wallet? At 2-14 this season the Chiefs would have to improve tenfold just to suck. The standard line from the front office hasn't changed in years: We're young, the players need time to learn the pro game, etc. Yadda. Yadda. Yadda.  Patience is a virtue...unless its coming up on the twentieth anniversary of your last playoff win. I guess in context it could be worse. In eight short years we can celebrate fifty since Chief uniforms have been seen anywhere near a Super Bowl.
Well, on the field anyway. The Chiefs have fallen and after a few weak attempts still can't get up. Why? Good question. Answering will sound like placing blame, but its not. This is about figuring out where and when things went wrong and what isn't working. This is about finding solutions.

During the Carl Petersen era maybe we grew complacent, or dare it be said....lazy? The team was consistently at the top of the division and Arrowhead was accepted as the toughest place to play on the road. Chiefs fans expected no less, demanded no more, and got just enough to keep us coming back next season. And then it happened. We had to know it could and likely would but we all still got blindsided. Shortly after the draft Willie Roaf retired. A little unease crept in, but KC could survive. Simply a need to address short term and fill next draft. Then Will Shields retired too. I have to admit at that point I was concerned. The O-line was now down two perennial All-Pro/future Hall of Famers. I told myself the whole season to Keep the Faith, that Chief management had a plan to replace them. Except they didn't have a plan (Even Custer had a plan). And did little toward even trying to replace either Shields or Roaf. In the few minutes it took for Roaf and Shields to make their announcements the biggest strength became the most glaring weakness.

It remains a weakness. Brandon Albert has been decent but unfortunately there are still five positions to fill. What the Chiefs are doing on D is confusing at best. Glenn Dorsey came out of college hailed as the prototype 4-3 defensive tackle. Shortly after the draft the Chiefs revealed plans to switch to a 3-4. Hmmm. Dorsey is too small for nose tackle and not quick enough to be a speed rusher off the end. Brilliant! If thats not enough of a setback needing years of recovery KC followed up by taking another lineman 3rd overall. Nothing really wrong with that-except they probably could have gotten Tyson Jackson with the third pick in the second round. Again, brilliant! All that aside the defense has enough talent scattered around to at least offer slim hope.

The offense? Guess it depends if the glass is seen as half full. Jamaal Charles and Dwayne Bowe are potentially in the top few at their positions, Payton Hillis is a solid backup, Jon Baldwin was drafted as a downfield threat, and Steve Breaston was brought in. Great. Plenty of weapons, no way to get them the ball.

The hard truth is Kansas City hasn't had a QB since Trent Green hit the broadcast booth. He'd still be better than anyone now this many years later. It'd be nice to see Ricky Stanzi get a shot but it won't happen. Not as long as KC remains the NFL's recycling center for washed-up, has-been, or never-were quarterbacks. Not when there is still a one-hit wonder available. Rick Mirer? David Klingler? Matt Leinert? Vince Young? I suppose Todd Marinovich is beautiful this time of year. Brutal. Yet still all cheaper than Matt Cassel. It could be argued all were more effective too.

Soooo, how does it get better? There is talent here but no clear or coherent team 'identity'. Trying to make the Chiefs into New England West has been a resounding failure so how about something original-starting with making Arrowhead a sure 7-8 wins every season again? Okay thats a longer term goal. How about ways to improve from this season to 2013? The Chiefs are in line for at least a top-five pick, if not the top pick. Despite what we've seen this season there is talent in Kansas City. Really. No, seriously. But the Chiefs are nowhere close to being one player away from contention. Not even if that player is the next Peyton Manning. The Chiefs have plenty of money so trading down for a Matt Kalil or another Pouncey brother and some depth picks would seem logical. The last few years it appears the Chiefs don't take having a high first rounder (read top-10) very seriously anyway. Having been without a QB for so long just fill out the rest of the roster and start Stanzi.

So now the head coach has been fired-again. Unless there is a Parcells or Cowher or a Jimmy Johnson on the horizon the Chiefs might as well just leave the position open and have coaching related decisions made by fan polling. There hasn't been an exceptional coach in Kansas City since Marty Schottenheimer was run out of town and when it comes down to it no GM once Carl Petersen started phoning it in about 5-6 years into his reign. Until Clark Hunt finally notices that his team lacks identity and leadership the Kansas City Chiefs will remain a moderately
talented team well capable of underachieving a 4-12 record (5 wins with a favorable schedule and a gale force tailwind).

Until that time queue up the new entrance music: Tiptoe Through the Tulips. Arrowhead ain't no jungle anymore.

Category: NFL
Posted on: February 20, 2011 2:58 pm

Reflections in the Super Bowl afterglow

Some things to consider about the parody of parity that is the NFL. Any team can beat any team any given week eh? Until the playoffs anyway. Seven teams have 29 Super Bowl wins among them; if you add in the Colts , Dolphins , and Broncos it means ten teams have won 35 of the 45 Super Bowls. The twenty have-nots share ten wins. Whats my point? Something smells in football, whether its the BS of college or the NFL needing marketable QBs with a Lombardi on their resume.

A quick political aside: If Julian Assange was really about all high minded ideals like complete openness he'd have already hacked into his own legal issues and shown us the evidence or lack of concerning the rape allegations against him. Hypocrite.

Where are all the good Amish professional athletes?

The NFL doesn't see fit to save a tape of the first Super Bowl but when footage of the entire game is found in an attic in Pennsylvania league officials immediately jump in and claim ownership for purely righteous and unselfish reasons. Considering a thirty second ad during the Super Bowl is running a cool $3 million that would seem a fair finders fee to the folks who have held on to the tapes the last FORTY FIVE YEARS . If nothing else lets call it an idiots tax for the NFL to wake up and focus on the legacy of the game instead of marketing marketing marketing.

Funny to hear Mario Lemieux crying about another team employing dirty play. Pot, meet kettle. If Matt Cooke isn't enough of an everyday reminder that the Pens aren't above employing chippy, remember the name Ulf Samuelsson ?  For that matter, you weren't exactly the paragon of Mike Bossy -type play either Mary. Oops, Mario.

Its difficult to support either side in a battle of billionaires vs. millionaires, but considering that we rarely hear of former professional sports team owners suffering from post-concussion disorders or needing multiple replacement surgeries etc. siding with the players becomes much easier.

Really like how Blake Griffin plays, really don't care for or watch the NBA hardly at all, had no idea they still did the dunk contest. Haven't all the good dunks been done before?

Gotta love the marketing geniuses at NFL.COM. Offering a playoff fantasy game is great right up to the final big game.....and there is no longer a link on the website to find how your team is doing. With the money they're saving on a low-rent commissioner there should be plenty of cash left to support more than a half-assed attempt at a decent fan friendly site.

Speaking of, the esteemed commissioners Goodell and Stern will work cheap if their leagues sustain a work stoppage. Gee guys, thats big of you. It doesn't sound like a cheap PR stunt either. Credit where its due, the two of you almost deserve congratulations for making Gary Bettman and Bud Selig look borderline competent. Almost.

Condolences to the family and friends of Dave Duerson 

Posted on: January 23, 2011 11:47 pm

Defending Jay Cutler? Seriously? Yes. a little.

I don't care for Jay Cutler and never did. Personality aside I felt he was overrated coming out of college and the Bears way overpaid when they traded for him. That being said questioning his injury and/or his toughness without having all the facts seems just plain wrong. Can the viewing public somehow draw some sort of magical insight into the medical status of Jay Cutler simply by watching a televised football game?

If he truly did quit on his team he deserves every last bit of criticism he'll get, but until more information on whether he was really hurt or not is released we all need to hold off on passing judgment.

Let he who has never called in sick without really being sick cast the first stone.

Category: NFL
Posted on: July 6, 2010 12:56 pm


Bob Probert, dead at 45. The headline was a shock. Tough guys aren't supposed to die, let alone one considered the toughest of the tough of his era. He played hard and he fought even harder. Let's remember him for the intensity he brought to the ice, and if we must rehash his problems away from the rink lets use them as an opportunity to learn from his mistakes.

Bob Probert had his demons, as we all do. As intense as my dislike is for the Red Wings, he always had my respect. He's a hockey player, he's human, and a damned tough man. That's how I'll remember him.

RIP #24. You're always a true tough guy. Condolences to your family, friends, and the Wings organization (Yes, I know he played elsewhere, but he'll always be a Red Wing in my eyes).

Category: NHL
Posted on: March 18, 2010 10:32 pm


What is it about people and society that makes us reflexively think more rules and regulations and laws are an improvement? Hockey has an opportunity to break from the other major sports by NOT legislating more crap rules. The NFL is a shining example of over-legislation. Its ham-handed attempts at 'protecting' the players have piled rule upon rule upon rule to the point of creating confusion and subsequently frustration over what is and isn't dirty. To paraphrase a Supreme Court justice from years ago 'dirty might be hard to define, but we know it when we see it'. So what's the problem with identifying and weeding out dirty players?

The biggest problem with defining what is a dirty play and, to a larger extent a dirty player, is the incredible amount of excuses that come into play after the fact. A player who commits a dirty play, whether an isolated incident or in the case of Alexander Ovechkin on a continued and consistent basis, isn't identified by geography or uniform color. The team he played for last season may not be the team he's on this time around, but the dirty player underneath is the same. Its the excusing of dirty play that needs to stop.

Over and over its said that today's athletes are 'bigger, stronger, faster' than ever before and yet somehow today's athletes have less bodily control than ever before too. How can this be? Maybe it comes down to some misplaced priorities and lack of respect for the game. As the games are played today more emphasis is put into making a crippling hit and maybe, just maybe, get a quick mention on Sportscenter. Good fundamentals and actually helping the team win be damned. Egos have inflated bigger than the sport that made the ego possible in the first place. Today's games are all about 'Look at me'.

Deflating player egos has to start in the commissioners offices. The marketing gurus and toothless disciplinarians in the league hierarchies honestly don't seem to realize that they're killing the golden goose by turning off the fans who only want to see good clean honest games. So, how does hockey turn itself away from the selfish and egotistical type of athlete that has ruined the other Big Four sports and is slowly infecting the NHL? It won't be easy.

Teaching kids how to play solid fundamental hockey while still having fun wouldn't seem to be terribly complicated, but outside forces continually corrupt the process. Whether its overbearing parents with delusions of grandeur or the cesspool of sports coverage known as ESPiN instilling a sense of sportsmanship and fair play is an upstream swim against a tidal wave. Overcoming a generation of 'me first' athletes, thirty years of mind-numbing Bermanites, and a healthy dose of Baylessness is a heavy challenge but if we truly care about the future of hockey its a challenge worth accepting.

Teaching love and respect for the game and a sense of sportsmanship and fair play will correct many of the problems in the NHL-years down the road. Of course, dropping the instigator rule would be a simple and effective short term fix in the meantime.

Category: General
Posted on: January 29, 2010 6:31 am
Edited on: February 21, 2011 7:53 pm

Patrice Cormier

The elbows of Gordie Howe are part of his legend. A player doesn't get the nickname 'Mr. Elbows' for no reason. Elbows have been part of the game forever, and so have elbowing penalties. These things aside there is no excuse for the couple of elbows thrown by Patrice Cormier over the last month.

Preaching about respect for the opponent and the game has all been said before here. Simply put, the lax leadership of the various commissioners, presidents, and rule enforcement officials has created any anything-goes atmosphere catering to the lowest common denominator of fan-all in the name of the almighty dollar. Couple that with a toothless sanction/suspension system and you get a defenceman from the Quebec Remparts convulsing face down at center ice. 'Suspended indefinitely' sounds pretty on paper. 

If the leagues were serious about stopping crap hits like the ones in the video clips above, there'd be a blanket suspension across all leagues: If you want to play this way, be prepared to be suspended for as long as the injured player is out plus one season. No exceptions, no appeals. Of course, dropping the instigator rule is such a logical option to help along the process of discouraging this type of play as not to be given even remote consideration. 

Excuses abound, but no matter how good a kid Cormier is said to be, or how popular he is with his teammates, its all simply a poor attempt to excuse and justify bad behavior, so go ahead and make all the allowances that have been tried before. None of it is going to get the Tam kid out of a hospital bed any faster, or for that matter make it clear whether he'll ever play again. 

Patrice Cormier has received a preliminary suspension and may even be disciplined further. Its a shame that the hockey establishment can't be sanctioned for the soft discipline program in place that has allowed cheapshot hockey to flourish. 

Thanks for reading.

Category: General
Posted on: January 26, 2010 4:52 pm

Drama Queen Revisited: PRFD

A rerun from August 2009. May as well put it up before the drama starts. Again.

A little discussed disease is slowly affecting the sports world and it needs to be brought into the light. Lately many have suffered its effects but few athletes have talked much about it and it remains not only frequently undiagnosed but without exception untreated. Growing public concerns have been met with an apathetic ear by the owners, media, and respective (but not respected) commissioners.

The scientific and medical research communities must soon address these concerns before this illness spreads into the general population. By no means am I crying Chicken Little . Continually ignoring the signs and symptoms won't make this disease go away. It must be treated. I'm talking of course about

                                    Post Retirement Favre Disorder

The list of afflicted athletes seems to grow daily. Some we hear about, but many wander through their post-professional career everyday lives without even realizing they've been exposed to the virus. Just recently WR Derrick Mason of the Baltimore Ravens was stricken. We recognize many of the names, but how many more must fall before the powers-that-be take notice? Here is a partial list (feel free to add the names of other victims I missed or was unaware):

Derrick Mason-Baltimore Ravens
Roger Clemens-Pick a team
Michael Jordan-Chicago Bulls/Birmingham Barons
Alonzo Mourning-Miami Heat
George Foreman-Boxing
Lance Armstrong-Cycling
Mario Lemieux-Pittsburgh Penguins
Wilt Chamberlain-Los Angeles Lakers
Sugar Ray Leonard-Boxing
Ricky Williams-Saints/Dolphins/CFL
Muhammad Ali-Boxing
Magic Johnson-Los Angeles Lakers

How many more must fall victim before this growing epidemic is addressed? It only takes a moment to open your hearts and your wallets. Won't you please (Yes, I'm channeling Sally Struthers )

One last thought (now channeling Homer Simpson ): Brett, you liar!

Thanks for reading.

Category: NFL
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or