Jan 30, 2007 

Raiders & 49ers Will Not Join Forces For Stadium


Sure, the logistics and cost-effectiveness of building one massive football stadium in the Bay Area instead of two sounds the most practical to most, except to one man.

Al Davis, a notorious 49er-hater would never enter into such a deal even if, as Matier & Ross note, the NFL could heavily fund such an endeavor like they have with the New York Giants and Jets in New Jersey.

The reality is Davis would rather install the wishbone offense for his beloved Raiders than make nice with John York's Niners and his legal nemesis--the National Football League.

This notion is so set in stone and impervious to any rationality around the NFL and the Bay Area it begs the question why did Matier & Ross even bring it up? Because York off-handily mentioned it to a Raiders executive? I'm sure the caterers for Candlestick Park mentioned selling quiche at the Coliseum, but, of course, the Raider Nation would never eat quiche. Period.

Which now leads to the Chronicle's editorial today. Not only did they latch upon the story, but add this non-sensical proposal--including the University of California into the equation. The Cal athletic department is having difficulty remodeling Memorial Stadium, trouble meaning' left wing tree-huggers--literally, wackos sitting in oak trees at the proposed site of a new training center.

This 3-for-1 proposal only foments within a certain liberal constituency in the Bay Area that is openly hostile to professional sports and the expenditure of building venues with public money.

Why not include every single Bay Area team in the equation, then? Have Stanford play there too. Put a tent over the field and have the Sharks and Warriors play there and for good measure build the new stadium without a scoreboard so nobody ever loses.

This cheapo way of building a stadium in the Bay Area almost makes me wonder whether we deserve any professional franchises in this part of the world.

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Jan 29, 2007 

Gump Worsley Old School Old Schooler Dies


Hall of Fame goaltender Gump Worsley died Saturday night at age 77. Worsley played 21 years for the Montreal Canadiens, New York Rangers and Minnesota North Stars.

He was one of the few left from an era when goalie used their face as a mask and played at all cost.

During the decisive seventh game of the 1965 Stanley Cup Worsley could barely stand on an injured knee. He puts his health on the line by experimenting with a horse serum never used on humans.

Whether it was the injection or the pure will to win Worsley and his Canandiens blanked the offensive-minded Chicago Blackhawks to win the Stanley Cup.

They don't make selfless athletes like Worsley anymore. They barely make men like that anywhere, in general.

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Jan 23, 2007 

Davis Wronged By The Sporting News Cover


Paul Attner's piece in the current issue of The Sporting News puts the spotlight on nearly everything wrong with the Raiders organization. Read it here.

Aside from the truth that Attner's cover story conveys, the cover is unbelievably demeaning to Al Davis. The headline is a bit confrontational for The Sporting News, too.

Second, they chose the worst possible photo of Davis to splatter on the cover. The Sporting News should remember that the renegade owner of the Oakland Raiders is also an elderly man struggling along with the aid of a walker for his two ailing legs.

Davis' decisions in the past decade need to be viewed in a critical manner but not by attack journalism from a second-tier sports publication.

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Jan 22, 2007 

Lane Kiffin Is The Raiders' Man


This entire flitation Al Davis has had with Southern Cal coaching staff continues to sound like one school yard soap opera. First, Steve Sarkisian shuns Big Al and basically dumps him and then consoles him by saying there's other fish in the sea.

Now, with the hiring of USC'S Lane Kiffin it's a case of the Trojan taking sloppy seconds.

By most accounts, Sarkisian turned down the Raiders offer. It's not known how Kiffin, who was reportedly interviewed for the offensive coordinator position suddenly became the favorite other than the fact few in America wanted the job.

In the end, by just perusing the Kiffin's resume the Raiders got the better prospect. Not only has he been more actively involved with USC's pro-style offense than Sarkisian and seen a large quantity of high quality future NFL stars pass through the program, but he also has a very esteemed coaching pedigree.

Being Tampa Bay's highly-respected defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin's son, the new Raider coach's youth probably wasn't much of a concern to Big Al.

All in all, the hiring of Kiffin seems like the very best the Raiders can do considering the state of the team and its reputation around the league. They get an offensive mind who may not be noted as a offensive genius just yet, but at least, he's been in the midst of a high-powered offense living in the present rather than circa 1976.

Oh, and he also looks young and tough. Somehow, this is something that seems very important to the Raider Nation.

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Jan 21, 2007 

Brady Gets The Ladies; Manning Gets Trip To Super Bowl


New England's Tom Brady has all the statistics on his side. He's 10-0 in domes. 10-1 in the playoffs and has been masterful against Indianapolis' Peyton Manning in the playoffs. But, this time around Manning's team is playing better all-around football than any team left in the playoffs.

Bill Belichick seems to always have a new wrinkle to throw at Manning, but exactly what can he draw up that Manning hasn't already seen? An eight man front dressed in clown costumes? This is not to say Manning, with all his pent up frustration, will carve up the Patriots, either.

The story of the Colts two playoff wins against Kansas City and Baltimore has been its defense. They've been nimble, quick and as formidable as the Bears vaunted defense. The rather pedestrian-named Bob Sanders has been a key for this defense with his tackling and high-paced play. He's been the difference between a Colts defense that was allowing an unprecedented amount of rushing yards to one one game short of the Super Bowl.

Brady continues to be a latter-day Joe Montana without the weapons #16 had in San Francisco. New England's brain drain and turnover in personnel has made this the Patriots least talented team, yet with one of the weakest receiving corps in football they continue to excel.

This would be Belichick's greatest accomplishment if he could get the Pats to Miami, but the resurgence of the Colts defense, the whimsy of Manning and a raucous RCA Dome, it's the Colts who will return to the championship game for the first time since Super Bowl V.

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Da Bears Are Shufflin' Through To Super Bowl XLI

William "Refrigerator" Perry looks undersized compared to defensive lineman today.

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Weather Conditions Will Lead Bears To Super Bowl


This should be a memorable NFC Championship Game. Before the reports of poor weather in Chicago I would have given the overall edge to New Orleans. Besides, the fact that no dome-dwelling team has ever won a conference championship on the road and especially in the chilly confines of Chicago, as Saints coach Sean Payton said, the footing may be iffy.

That doesn't bode well for a Saints team banking on the quick cutbacks and breakaway speed of Reggie Bush and I believe he's the key to this offense. Without his versatility the Saints are still a potent offense but the "x" factor for defenses is how to keep the rest of the offense tamp down while keeping Bush's magnificent ability to make big something's out of little or nothing to the bare minimum.

Football lore says the Monster of the Midway were created for a game like this. Brian Urlacher has a lot more responsibility than usual with a few injury on defense, but he's going to have be the stopper, as always, for the Bears. I like their special teams with Devin Hester--a weapon that can be a gamebreaker in high-pressure games. This game will be tight and surely on the foot of Bears kicker Robbie Gould.

We should be spared from the unbelievably obvious Super Bowl storyline involving New Orleans rise(?) from Katrina to the Super Bowl because the Bears will pull this one out in the last seconds. Unfortunately, instead, we'll have to read about how bad Bears QB Rex Grossman has played despite winning 15 games this year.

||||||||IN-GAME BLOG||||||1st QUARTER
Turnovers have been big in this game, but the Bears have only three points and maybe more. Interestingly enough it hasn't been the chilly conditions that have caused the two Saints fumbles, but hard tackling and stripping of the ball by the Bears....Rex Grossman's attempt to call a second consecutive timeout near the goal line should be a bit disconcerning. The QB position is personified as the leader of the team and Grossman looked anything but a field general when his tight end Desmond Clark motioned him back under center....Fox announcer Joe Buck described the turf at Soldier Field as "soupy"--great imagery.

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The first half was a microcosm of the Bears season. Rex Grossman: 3-for-12, 37 yards, zero touchdowns and the Bears dominanting 16-7......The last minute touchdown drive showed there's a lot of fight still in the Saints. After a few drops and poor passes from Drew Brees everything started to click culminating in a pinpoint pass to Marques Colston. It will be interesting to see if the Bears can squelch their newfound hope......Reggie Bush has 15 total yards.....Surprisingly, bullrunning running back Deuce McAllister has been silent, maybe by design. McAllister's freshness might be important if this game is tight in the fourth quarter

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The Saints came out of the half with momentum and held onto it. Sean Payton is a great coach and he proved it with his playcalling on Bush's 88-yard scamper. He must has noticed that the Bears secondary was suceptible to an over-the-top pass.....The Bears safety on Brees' penalty in the endzone could be big. It took a one field goal game and made it two. Brees did everything he could. Two points is better than a back breaking touchdown.....As freezing rain and snow flurries began to fall, the warm weather Saints played better. Go figure. It's down to the fourth quarter for these two great teams.

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After a tough afternoon, the Bears effectively ended the game with Cedric Benson's touchdown at 11:37.....The safety by the Bears, in hindsight, effectively halted any momentum the Saints had from end of the 1st half to the middle of the 3rd quarter. In the end, the weather may have gotten to the Saints or they were plainly demoralized by the Bears ferocious d-line......I've felt this jubilation before. At some time during the fourth quarter it became obvious that, indeed, their team is going to the Super Bowl. Standing in the Coliseum in Oakland during the 2003 AFC Championship against Tennessee it was Rich Gannon's rushing touchdown that made our dreams a reality. It think Benson's TD to make it 32-14 brought that same euphoria to Chicagoland.

Saints 0 7 7 0 - 14
Bears 3 13 2 21 - 39

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Marichal Endores McGwire For Hall Of Fame

Let me get this right. Hall of Fame Giants pitcher Juan Marichal thinks that Mark McGwire deserves induction into Cooperstown because he hit so many home runs.

Of course, he failed to examine whether the hulking steriod monster hit a good many of those dingers juiced.

I suppose his own induction was clouded since he nearly killed a man on the diamond in 1965.

Marichal, while batting against Sandy Koufax, felt that Dodgers catcher John Roseboro's return throws were coming a bit to close to his head. Words were exchanged and the deranged Dominican struck Roseboro's unprotected head with his bat.

Maybe when the intersection between major league accomplishment and integrity occur Juan Marichal might not be the best example.

Jan 19, 2007 

Sarkisian Says No Thanks To Raiders Job


It's happening all over again. Just like last year when the Raiders settled for Art Shell--the only human willing to coach the Raiders--the bottom of barrel looks like Raider territory.

Two days after it seemed like USC coordinator, Steve Sarkisian, was set to be the next coach in Oakland, the Jimmy Kimmel-looking assistant told the Raiders, "no thanks".
No thanks?

What has Sarkisian done to tell a NFL team "no thanks"? What's worse is the mocking tone of his statement Friday.
I strongly believe that the Raiders' job is a great opportunity for whomever their next head coach is going to be."

Translation: You're not attractive enough to me, but don't be so down on yourself, there's other fish in the sea.

It's come to this in RaiderNation we can't even attract a coach who wasn't even the offense coordinator at USC, but the co-coordinator. He didn't even make the offensive calls, but signaled them to the quarterback from the sideline.

Does anybody want this job?

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Jan 17, 2007 

Davis's Faith In Sarkisian Is All We Need


Despite James Lofton's believe that terms were discussed regarding the Raiders perpetual search for a head coach, it looks like former BYU QB Steve Sarkisian might be Big Al's guy.

Why not? I guess.

The San Jose Mercury's Tim Kawakami agreed in his column this morning and did a fine job of sorting out the Raiders self-imposed dilemma with regards to the dearth of desirable coaching candidates. Basically, we're looking at the bottom of the barrel, but that doesn't mean Sarkisian can't revive the Raiders.

Kawakami is correct that the Raiders cannot attract a sane man willing to wear a silly headset while roaming the sidelines of McAfee Coliseum. It's the worst job in the NFL for many reasons luborious detailed in this blog. The meddling of Davis, the rundown and neglicated state of the organization and a relentless zeal to keep the calendars stuck at 1967 is a large part of the demise of this club. The "greatness of da Raidahs" and "commitment to excellence" clearly refer to a place much more ballyhooed in Davis' memory. It's called the past.

Despite the limited credentials of the Raiders coaching candidates and the inexperience of Sarkisian, we are once again left to believe in Big Al's golden touch. There is no doubt that he's an NFL visionary who is noted for his ability to salvage once-promising careers. He's led the way in hiring black coaches and hired the first female executive in the NFL. Most importantly, when Big Al chooses a young coach to just win baby, his credentials are nearly flawless.

John Madden, Tom Flores, Mike Shanahan and Jon Gruden. All with Super Bowl rings (although all not with the Raiders and one against). Davis nearly hired the surefire coach of the year Sean Payton and was turned down by Atlanta's Bobby Petrino.

It's a matter of faith with Big Al. His eye for young coaching is still intact and if Sarkisian is his man success will follow if history is our guide.

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Jan 11, 2007 

Giant Problem: Get Rid Of Bonds Before He Signs Contract


Caveat emptor, or, let the buyer beware; is definitely a bit of Latin the San Francisco Giants' brass should have learned. As they resumed adding the fine print to Barry Bonds's shiny and completely undeserving $16 million dollar contract, the specter of his pass indiscretion again pop up.

According to the New York Post today, Bonds failed a drug test for amphetamines last year and promptly blamed the team's clubhouse favorite, outfielder Mark Sweeney.

This has to be a stark reminder and warning to Owner Peter Magowan that any further dealings with the steroid slugger is fraught with embarrassment for the franchise. Quick, drop the contract in the shredder and nobody gets hurt!

The Giants' insistence of ignorance over Bonds' 2006 drug test is likely to be true. According to the New York Times, the collective bargaining agreement states that individual clubs are left in the dark when a player fails an initial drug test for "greenies", or amphetamines that have populated Major League clubhouses since the 1960s when former Yankee Jim Bouton detailed them in his book, "Ball Four".

Other than being a veracious cheater, drug user and total curmudgeon, if Bonds failed to be forthcoming with the Giants during negotiations for his one-year contract, his actions would be completely in bad faith and cause for the Giants to rip up the contract.

At that point, Hank Aaron's home run record would be safe. Nobody would dare sign Bonds with the steroid scandal hanging over him and the perception of another form of drug abuse linked to him.

It should have been ominous week for Bonds and Giants when the equally tarnished Mark McGwire fell well short of induction into the Hall of Fame despite his 583 homers. Having #25 in leftfield is not a good idea for the Giants or baseball. It's not too late to back off.

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Beckham Arrives In America Along With MLS


The biggest news day in Major League Soccer history was today. Real Madrid midfielder David Beckham along with his wife, Posh Spice, are heading to Hollywood.

The signing of Becks is huge for so many levels other than someone of his stature venturing to play in the 11-year-old league. The league and its founder have finally let go of the stigma of the North American Soccer League's demise in 1983.

If you remember the NASL at all, you'll know that the great Pele once played for the New York Cosmos. An infinitely small number of Americans would be able to name another player and a handful of those could name another team in that league. Pele's signing and the subsequently three seasons detailed in last year's insigthful documentary, "Once in a Lifetime" (watch the trailer here), were the pinnacle of American soccer in this country. When Pele retired the league went kaput overnight.

The lessons of Pele's signing and the mad rush to match the publicity effectively swamped the NASL and this phenomenon has clouded the men who run and finance MLS from day one. The lessons were learned and safeguards like the single-entity model were implemented effectively making the league office in New York City the focal point for every franchise, namely the rigid and stingy salary cap that was subsequently challenged in court by the players union.

These safeguards may have coddled MLS in its vulnerable and nascent years when the biggest thing going was the golden afroed Carlos Valderrama and cool uniforms, but as time went on their terrified reluctance to open up their product to meaningful growth became almost clinical.

With the implementation of the so-called "Beckham Rule" and the signing of the Beckham, MLS commissioner Don Garber is taking the role of a proud father walking his lovely daughter down the aisle. From this day, MLS no longer needs to be coddled. It's grown up and the founding fathers must believe in the slow and consistently care its given the entity. There's no going back now. Chelsea midfielder Edgar Davids is rumored to be talking to FC Dallas and, of course, one of the New York Red Bulls two Beckham Rule roster spots is rumored to be the great Ronaldo.

MLS in 2007 is much different than any season in the history of NASL. One of the problems of the former league was the extreme dearth of American talent or any perceptible breeding ground for domestic talent. MLS, of course, has a deep well of yankee talent universally believed to have kick started the U.S. National Team's meteoric rise in the eyes of the soccer-playing world.

The owners of MLS are littered with millionaires and billionaires in Los Angeles, New York, D.C. and Denver as opposed to sole deep-pocketed owner in the old NASL, Warner Communications executive Steve Ross of the Cosmos, who not only signed Pele to amulti-million dollar contract, but Franz Beckenbauer, Giorgio Caniglia, Johan Cruyff and Carlos Alberto which furthered the financial gap between teams but also the competitive gap. It's the primary reason that the New York Cosmos seems like the only team in the NASL to our collective memory.

Aside from this day, the second most important announcement in this league's short history was the opening of Crew Stadium in Columbus, OH.

By far, the impetus to open up the purse strings lies in the realizations among soccer media, fans and advertisers is that the league is not going away, not with soccer-specific venues opening, planned or under construction all over MLS. The NASL never had the luxury of building their own soccer parks like every team in MLS except for New England and Houston.

In the short term, every soccer-playing 12-year-old will be donning the bright gold jersey of the L.A. Galaxy and the media attention for his first game will be a spectacle and Beckham and Landon Donovan might lead the Galaxy to the MLS Cup championship, but unlike Pele's arrival in the 1970s, this rise of MLS will continue on much the steady curve it has for the first 11 seasons, except now, more Americans will know about it and most of the world's dynamic players will eventually desire a move to America.

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Jan 7, 2007 

Petrino Gives Raiders The 'Dirty Bird'

Well, cross Bobby Petrino off the Raiders' coaching wishlist. The successful Louisville coach who spurned the Silver and Black last year has taken the Atlanta Falcons job before the ugly step-sister of the NFL came-a-courtin'.

There's a myriad of reasons beyond X's and O's that illustrate why the Raiders are the NFL's worst and Petrino's swift hire by the Falcons is one of them.

Is Al Davis going to pigeon-hole himself again by waiting until every single viable coaching candidate has been hired and then wait out until every "hot" coordinator has been hired, too?

The Falcons, by contrast, quickly interviewed Pittsburgh offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt, Chicago defensive coordinator Ron Rivera, San Diego offensive coordinator Cam Cameron and San Francisco assistant head coach Mike Singletary.

All some of the cream of the crop of next generation coaching prospects. Will the Raiders interview any of them or, more likely, will any of them want to talk to Big Al?

Whisenhunt for one cancelled his interview at the last moment and Petrino said no thanks to just the interview.

If Davis sits on his decision again the Raiders will likely end up with the leftovers and that turkey looks like it will be former Giants head man, Jim Fassel.

He's a former Raider assistant, unwanted by most teams; therefore desperate for a job, and offensive-minded.

The RaiderNation could live with someone like Fassel and return the "glory years" of Norv Turner, who share eerily similar resumes, but new blood is sorely needed to turnaround this pirate ship. Coaches like Petrino are slipping through the Raiders hand too often.

Remember, what happened the last time Al took a chance on a young and dynamic coaching prospect (he passed him over for Joe Bugel before hiring him)? His name was Jon Gruden and we were all proud to be Raider fans.

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Jan 5, 2007 

Wildcard Weekend Is, Well......Wild!


Everyone seems to think K.C.'s Larry Johnson is going to run and run and run the Colts out of the playoffs. Indy's league-worst rush defense is a red herring because it's too much to ask of Johnson, with his league record rushing attempts, to be a chief among Chiefs. The poor guy is just overworked. Aren't we all?

More importantly, remember that only those dubious Oakland Raiders had a better pass defense than the Colts and with a tiring rusher and few passing options the Chiefs are at the mercy of the NFL's premier quarterback Peyton Manning and his passing mates Marvin Harrison and Reggie Wayne.

The Chiefs are very lucky to be in this position and I don't like the presence of Herman Edwards on their sideline. The Colts will quickly jump all over K.C. and advance.
Colts 35, Chiefs 19.

The stars come out for the primetime matchup Saturday night. There's T.O., Tony Romo, The Tuna, and the NFL's reigning MVP, but this game will be determined by the little guys.

With Seattle's secondary decimated by injury, the job of stopping Terrell Owens, Terry Glenn and Jason Whitten, comes down to the leadership of Jordan Babineaux. He could do it but, of course, he won't.

Sure, Seattle has the vaunted 12th man in the Pacific Northwest, but it won't be enough to stop a Dallas team that thrives away fromBig D. Coach

Bill Parcells has quite a job to do this playoff season. If he can get the notoriously inconsistent Cowboys to perform the next three weeks, a surprise invitation to Miami is more than possible. Nevertheless, this game will come down to the last minute. Cowboys 21, Seahawks 17.

Of the four games this wildcard weekend the game in Foxborough is the hardest to predict because of one man--Jets coach and former Bill Bellichick lieutenant, Eric Mangini.

The surprising Jets are playing efficient football for the past month which is why a few prerequisite turnovers New York's way and the apprentice may upend the master. If New York can ride a mediocre but flawless performance from QB Chad Pennington and few bombs to Lavernues Coles it will happen.

The end of the Patriots playoff dominance has to end sometime, right. The slide has been steady, but protracted as not to be sensed by the casual fan, but Tom Brady has had to assert himself on the sideline more than usual and it's not because he's grown as a leader, but the personnel around him is not what it once was.

It's hard to prognosticate the intangibles but it's everything that the Jets have become under Mangini and there's nothing wrong with that. Some call it luck, I call it solid coaching. This will be the highlight matchup of the weekend. Jets 34, Patriots 31 (OT).

Three words: Sports Illustrated jinx. Put it this way, it's not Tiki Barber on the cover, but Jeff Garcia and the Cinderella Philly Iggles. For the sake of allotted column space, I'll continue.

A rerun of New York's final regular season against Washington will have to occur for them to pass another division rival.

It sort of sadden me to think that it took until the possibility of Barber's last pro game to appreciate his greatness. What agility! What desire! What a nice guy!

Barber single-handily picked up the moping G-men off the gridiron and carried them last week. The still fragile psyche of the Giants is still evident, but Tiki can and will empty his tank for the chance of another week.

Garcia has been a great story himself as has their veteran defense led by the excitable Brian Dawkins, aside from the jinx, the NFL's 26th ranked defense against the run is problematic.

A big, early lead or a couple of Joe Pisarchick (Miracle of the Meadowlands) moments will have to go down for Prozac-laden Giants to fall. Giants 27, Eagles 24.

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Jan 3, 2007 

Saban Is As Weasely As He Looks


Has Nick Saban no shame? Why would an esteemed university like Alabama give $30 million to a man with such a dearth of character and allow him to teach impressionable collegians?

After hemming and hawing whether he would even entertain an offer from Alabama, the double-crossing Saban finally did what many envisioned, but never realize he would actually do.

He's free to do what he wants and he's free to conjure up lame excuses such as his wife didn't particularly enjoy Florida and his $7 million home just didn't have that roomy feel. It's common knowledge that sports figures solely use the "family decision" as a smokescreen and it's exactly what Saban did.

Sure, dollar signs flashed before his beady eyes and I presume the realization that the Miami Dolphins were unlike any college football team in that the buck did not stop at Coach's desk, criticism from the locker room was prevalent and perky sorority girls became gruff lesbians hellbent on getting tanked in the parking lot of Dolphins Stadium.

It's not that he couldn't excel in the NFL. Saban ended his Dolphins career with a losing record, but the team was anything but horrible and aside from consecutive poor starts would have been playoff-bound. A dependable QB would have helped, too.

What rankles South Florida is that he was unbelievably dishonest with them. Talk of a turnaround in Miami emanated like a fountain of mojitos from Saban's mouth and now this. Like a wife unwilling to believe her husband had been cheating on her despite a load of evidence, the realization that the Dolphins Nation has just wasted two years on a low-down, dirty rotten carpetbagger on his way to the most un-Miami place in America--Tuscaloosa--has caused an uproar quite unifying and uncommon in American sports.

The ghost of Bear Bryant is angry tonight.

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Jan 2, 2007 

Boise State Coach Has Big Balls


Undoubtedly sports and balls go hand and hand, but some have bigger ones than others. Just like Boise State's first-year coach, Chris Petersen.

After a thrilling Fiesta Bowl win over Oklahoma last night, no other coach in America has a bigger pair than the guy in Boise. You could count the number of coaches on a fingerless hand that would have taken even one of the succession of risky, but well thought out play calls that Petersen used to beat shock the blue blooded Sooners.

The game-winning modified Statue of Liberty play has received more press, but to me, the hook and ladder play with seven seconds left in regulation was straight out of Coach Klein's playbook from the movie, Waterboy. In fact, it was one of the most surreal plays I've ever seen. Something out of a hokey film like, well, the Waterboy!

If this game goes far towards bringing College Football's its much-deserved playoff system, the landmark status of the game coupled with it thrilling ending, could become one of the greatest and most important games ever played.

How many times did Fox's lead announcer, Thom Brennaman, refer to the match up as the "Big dog versus the little dog"? Just about eight times with some variation.

To the uninitiated, this metaphor may have seemed confusing given that the "Little dog" was undefeated and ranked two spots higher than the supposed "Big Dog">.

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