Monthly Archives: November, 2010

Ask The Geico Guy: Is Auburn a Dirty Program?

Do woodchucks chuck wood? Look, I’ll make it easy for you. I will explain this in a way almost any Auburn grad can figure out: a monstrously obvious rebus…that’s a “picture riddle” for you Plainsmen.

A rabid, yet not too bright fan base…

+

...plus piles of illicit cash...

-

...minus any semblance of legitimate academic standards...

=

...equals quarterback with a criminal record.

I Still Believe in “Innocent Until Proven Guilty”

The headline tells it all, I still believe in America that the accused are innocent until proven guilty.  To prove it, I still have a fun collection of hate mail I received for defending Ben Roethlisberger. But I have to admit, the Cam Newton/Auburn story is making it hard to maintain that faith. At least in the beginning, Roethlisberger kept his mouth shut except for one prepared statement on the matter. But this situation involving recruiting violations produces a new wrinkle every day, and a new opportunity for either Auburn or Newton to makes themselves appear guilty.  It is CRUCIAL you do not misunderstand that last statement. Until somebody shows me the “smoking gun,” nobody is guilty of any charge. But the accused in this case certainly are not helping themselves.

First of all, there are such things as reputations. In the Roethlisberger case, he had created a trail of instances where it was clear he exercised some seriously questionable judgement. Newton and Auburn both are no different.  Newton has some issues stemming his time at Florida, and Auburn has been through the NCAA sanction mill before. If forced to do so, I would much rather judge character rather than reputation; I would much rather judge facts than impressions.

Cruel, but fair...and hilarious.

Cam Newton arrested is actually old news, but with Auburn doing well and Cam Newton being talked about for the Heisman Trophy, it keeps coming up that Cam Newton was arrested 23 months ago and charged with felony counts of burglary, larceny and obstruction of justice after allegedly stealing a fellow students Dell laptop while attending the University of Florida. According to the police report, the burglary was reported on October 16th, 2008 and Newton was booked at 2:25 p.m. the same day.

Police had checked the Gatorlink wifi system at the college under Newtons’ account on the laptop. Newton then signed a waiver allowing police to view his Dell laptop which had appeared to have been painted black with Newtons name in white on the cover. When police checked the serial number on the laptop compared to the number the burglary victim provided the was only one digit that did not match; a “Q” instead of a “2″.

Because of the possibility of a mix up with the serial number, the police stepped away from Newton’s room to call the student and inquire about the numbers. Once the officers re-entered the room, the computer was gone and later it was found that it had been thrown from Newtons third story dorm room and was found near a garbage dumpster outside of the dorms. The charges were eventually dropped after a pre-trial diversion program.

An arrest, no conviction, and the charges were dropped after entry into a “diversion” program. What that usually means is the accused was a first-time offender who was given the option to enter the “diversion” program and upon completion the charges would be dropped. It a nice way of tacitly admitting guilt without ever having to officially admit guilt. in any event, in 99 times out of 100 it a nice way to skate on a non-violent felony charge.  If that weren’t enough, isn’t the simple act of chucking that laptop out the window another “makes ya look like ya did it” moment?

Another thing that bugs me are the table-pounding denials offered by Auburn coach Gene Chizik.  Loud denials are one of only two things that make somebody look more guilty than the old “no comment” routine, probably because they smack of “thou doth protest too much.”

“Let me tell you something: He’s the leader of the Heisman race because he deserves it. That’s fact,” Chizik said. “So distractions or whatever’s out there, whatever people want to drum up and dream up and try to distract, it is what it is and it’s not changing. Cameron’s going to be focused on playing Georgia this week. Nothing’s changed in terms of who he is and what he is. But he is like our son here, and I’ve got a problem with this, got a problem it.”

“Cameron Newton is one of the young men on our football team that has not only excelled as a tremendous athlete, he has done everything we have asked him to do since the day he stepped on campus at Auburn,” Chizik said. “So I want to make this very clear, because I’m wasting my time addressing allegations that completely, to be frank, blow my mind that they’re even out there because there are federal privacy laws that dictate that these things don’t even get out in public.

“But I’m standing up here on a very important week trying to defend something that quite frankly is garbage. Is there a wizard behind the curtain? I don’t know. Is there one? Is there two? Are there 10? I don’t know, and I don’t care. But what I do care about is coming to the defense of not only a great football player, but a great human being who comes from a great family.”

I never buy this stuff, because every guy in prison has somebody who will defend them regardless of the situation. No matter how flat you make a pancake, it still has two sides, and this stuff is just the opposite side of the accusations. It can be just as much unsubstantiated puffery as the other side, and it almost always hurts a case more than it helps. Chizik would have done himself and Newton a much bigger service by pulling a Paterno-like deflection, saying something like “I’m just worried about Georgia this week” and leaving it at that. Now he seems like a guy who has far more skin in this game than just his Heisman-caliber quarterback; perhaps he knows we aren’t far from “What did Chizik know and when did he know it?”

Speaking of Watergate references, Newton’s father Cecil sure as hell isn’t helping matters. The following non-denial denial gets about a 9.6 on the Nixon-o-meter.

“I’m not going to confirm nor deny nothing that has been taking place,” Newton told Thayer Evans of Fox Sports. “I’ve answered what I need to answer. If they’re out there, go with it and make the decision or determination based on whatever you’ve got to say.”

And if all that weren’t enough, now the FBI is getting involved. How many stories do you know that include the phrase “the FBI is getting involved” that have happy endings?

But what really gets to me is the attitude of Cam Newton himself. At least when Roethlisberger stood accused, he seemed to take the matter seriously. Newton, on the other hand, seems to have one of those incredibly smug grins on his face as if he is above the fray.

I’ve never met Cam Newton, but I’ve known plenty of guys who wore that same attitude on their faces, and every single one I knew had a huge fall coming their way. It drove me crazy when I saw that smirk on Newton’s face, not because it makes him look like he knows he did something and is going to get away with it, but because I knew there was a prior famous classic example and I couldn’t remember where I had seen it.  Then it dawned on me…

I guess it is fitting, since despite all the evidence to the contrary, The State of California believes he was not guilty…

The Self-Interview: An Idea Whose Time Has Come…Maybe

One thing that has been overlooked in the latest Randy Moss saga is that the man truly may be a visionary. Hark back to his last press conference as a Minnesota Viking; the one in which he announced that for the rest of this season he will conduct his own press conferences. Moss would be the one providing all the questions, Moss would be the one providing all the answers, Moss would be the one providing all the everything.

Maybe removing reporters from the equation isn’t such a bad idea. Sure, it may be a blow to journalism, but let’s be honest. True journalism has been slowly bleeding out with the rise of the interwebs anyway, so why not make another evolutionary step? Entities such as Twitter make this all perfectly possible; all one really needs is a smartphone and the ability to refer to one’s self in the third person; two things most athletes are perfectly capable of.

Let’s picture how this might work. First, you need somebody who likes to talk about himself, a characteristic that really shouldn’t be too hard to find amongst pro athletes. with any smartphone, he could Tweet questions to himself, answer them on-line, all while verbalizing all of this on Skype. It would be perfect; bloggers could blockquote until their hearts were content and fans could ReTweet stuff to their fellow fans. Instant, honest real-time communication; the ultimate goal of the the internet age. What could possibly wrong with it?

It would be horribly, mind-crippingly, shoot-yourself-in-the-face-with-a-flare-gun boring.

Can you imagine what a snooze-fest listening to some cerebral pygmy like Moss verbally masturbate would be? Here’s what Randy thinks about what Randy thinks.  I’d rather drill holes in my teeth and chew on aluminum foil while getting a lap dance from Rose O’Donnell all to the soothing strains of Kenny G.  Am I the only one who gets that it is precisely the adversarial relationship between sports figures and the media that allows for these meltdown moments, which are really the only thing entertaining about these press conferences.

But that isn’t even the big problem. The worst part of all of this, especially in the Moss case, is that I now am left with the conclusion that a professional athlete who makes millions of dollars a year is such a complete pussy he can’t handle a question. A guy who deals with rabid, drooling, neanderthal linebackers for a living gets his ovaries bruised by a question.  Seriously?

Here’s the deal, Randi. Those reporters are the same people who created your fame. If it weren’t for reporters, nobody would give a shit who you are. Go look at the sports where nobody has to do press conferences.  Would you  rather play Arena Football or in that UFL thing? They don’t have to talk to reporters, but that’s because nobody fucking cares.  Here’s an idea…if you don’t like the questions, try not being an over-the-hill douchebag. It isn’t the media’s fault that your skills have declined, and it certainly isn’t their fault that a simple question-and-answer session chafes your vagina.

As for the rest of you jocks, before you say something stupid in a press conference, take a moment to remember why they exist, what they do for your wallet, and that in this era of Twitter, blogs, and YouTube, all it takes is one moment for you to look like a crybaby forever.

Open Letter to Football Teams Firing Their Head Coach: Why You Should Hire Me

Let’s start with who I am…I’m a guy who played football at the D-II college level; I’m a middle-aged professional now who has 15 years experience in management. I am an engineer, and I make a living diagnosing problems and devising solutions. If you will, here are those skills described in a quasi-BS  “elevator speech” said entirely in Corpo-speak. Brace yourself…

In nearly 15 years of professional experience, I have successfully directed dynamic programs and projects of all sizes involving mission-critical products in both the medical and technology industries that are based largely on designing and implementing processes to promote strategic partnerships, improve production efficiency, product quality and usability, and foster the growth of internal and external teams.

Regardless of my role on a team, I have always employed the philosophy of combining the most effective use of resources and the continual education of and communication with teammates to achieve departmental and/or organizational objectives. The bottom line to my philosophy is increasing the quality of internal and external customer interaction can be as much of a revenue driver as the product itself.

If you are done vomiting, let me explain why this makes me the ideal candidate for your open head coaching position. Please allow me to begin by translating that utter BS into plain ol’ English.

I’ve got a 15-year track record of knowing how to get things done. I know how to spot a problem, I know how to develop and implement a plan, and I know how to get that plan to a successful completion. Along the way, we are going to find who the performers are on the team, and we are going to build a culture that turns performers into leaders, and leaders into winners.

I will be the first to admit that I am no better than the average arm-chair, play-calling coach when it comes to college or professional football. My limited experience with the game on the field is twenty years old, therefore of limited usefulness. In fact, I am on record as saying that such  arm-chair coaches are largely full of hot air. But my reasons for believing I should be your next head coach have little to do with what I will do; rather they revolve around what I won’t do.

As your head coach, I will not…

  • …be afraid to delegate responsibility. I am not the “Xs and Os” guy. That’s the role for coordinators and position coaches. I’m also not going to be the guy filling the Gatorade bucket or folding towels. Rather, it is my role to make sure everybody in the organization knows their role, understands its importance, and executes its duties with zeal and dedication. People perform far better when you give them the ownership over their duties.
  • …call out a member of my organization publicly, or tolerate a team member who does. Teams must have accountability not only to their leadership, but to each other. Teams must have the ability to “keep each other in line,” but making “family business” public is never acceptable.
  • …make decisions based on personal gain rather than team needs. I don’t care what the blowhards on the local sports radio station think, I’m playing guys who I think give the team the best chance to win. Since I’m the guy in the locker room, I’m going to assume I know more than guys who aren’t. I will not make a decision to asguage public pressure, nor to curry public favor. If I am proven wrong, then it is incumbent upon me to own that.
  • …ever let a team member think I don’t have his back. Whether you are a coach or a player, my philosophy is that I chalk out boundaries based on your role, and within those boundaries you are free to make any decision you feel is necessary. I will never question a judgement call;  all I ask is that you feel able to defend your action if needed.
  • …pretend that I make the difference in the team’s performance. Because I don’t; my role is no more important that anybody else’s in the organization. I believe that importance to a team is based not on your responsibilities, rather on the impact your failure would have on your teammates. This means on a true team, everybody matters. It also means everybody must believe they make a difference. People who don’t believe their contribution matters don’t perform.
  • …shrink away from recruiting duties. This likely applies on a larger scale to the college game insofar as you must take in active role in acquiring on-field talent. But in the professional game you certainly must recruit your off-field team; you can’t draft position coaches, coordinators, trainers, equipment managers, clubhouse managers, and all the other people who make a complete sports franchise.
  • …fail to honor contractual obligations. I will not be the guy who storms out of press conferences just because I didn’t like a question. I will not be the guy who refuses to show up at ribbon-cutting ceremonies. I will not be the guy who won’t let players appear at public events and/or sign autographs. In fact, all those things are a central theme to a role as a public figure; failing them means I likely have failed several other points on this list.
  • …obfuscate the truth. In my professional life as an systems engineer, I literally have had thousands of chances where I had to tell a design engineer “your baby is ugly,” and yet still need that guy to work with me. Patting somebody on the head who is failing, holding someone to a different set of standards than the rest of the team, and giving vague, non-descript, politically-correct answers to requests for constructive criticism or inquiries from the media or public are all examples of insulting people’s intelligence, which always leads to failure and it is a terrible reflection on you.

Take a critical look at the head coach you are contemplating firing, and you likely see the reason you are faced with this decision is because they did not adhere to one of the principles I’ve listed.  I’m not saying I will never make a mistake; mistakes are defined largely by a mixture of situation, perception, and outcome. What I am saying is that I will not violate what I consider to be the basics of leadership.

The Best Movie Baseball Managers

Charley Pegler – Brewster’s Millions

Charley Pegler would the perfect manager for the Cubs, as he knows how to deal apparently self-destructive people. If you don’t remember the plot, Richard Pryor plays a minor-league pitcher who inexplicably inherits a shitload of money on the proviso he wastes $30 million in 30 days. Naturally, everybody thinks the cheese has slipped off his cracker, but it is Pegler who is able keep the focus on baseball, at least on the diamond. Who better for a dysfunctional organization like the Cubs?

Jackie Robinson ‘J.R.’ Cooper – The Kid from Left Field

Only in the movies can the “What Choo Talkin’ ‘Bout, Willis” kid lead the San Diego Padres to a World Series. Or is it the San Diego Padres can only win a World Series in the movies?

Uchiyama – Mr. Baseball

In order to get this reference, you have to understand the actor who played Uchiyama, Ken Takakura, is regarded as the “Clint Eastwood” of Japan. Let’s be honest, just how freakin’ awesome would it be to have “Dirty Harry” as a manager? Get your bets down on the first umpire he would waste (I’ve got “dibs” on Joe West)

Jimmy Dugan – A League of Their Own

Sometimes the coach is the one who needs to learn some leadership. Dugan is a former slugger put out to pasture because a knee injury and the fact that he is a liquor sponge ended his productive days, but he remains a big enough name to serve as a box-office draw. Somehow, he sobers up enough to utter the classic line “There’s no crying in baseball!”

Dutch Schnell – Bang the Drum Slowly

In a movie that mixes the Americana of baseball with the reality of  slow, debilitating death, Schnell is always looking for ways to reveal that he is a rough diamond with a heart of coal. Even though his catcher is dying, Dutch believes he is the game, and the team, and the all the hopes therein. Schnell permeates the movie with a comic diligence that denies the character even the semblance of second-rate decency. In other words, he is Billy Martin, the quintessential Yankee manager.

Pop Fisher – The Natural

Here’s the part where I’m going to sound like some fruity-cup English Lit major who smokes clove cigarettes and oozes smarminess, but Pop Fisher represents almost a perfect baseball version of the Arthurian “Fisher King.”  He is the ailing king with the strange and inexplicable illness and there is an inextricable link between his health and that of the land.  Without the Holy Grail (the pennant), Pop can never be truly healed. While the team is in last place, their field is desiccated waste land; the players are all depressed, even the water in the dugout isn’t fit for drinking. However upon Roy Hobbs’ first hit, the clouds burst forth with rain for three straight days, Pop’s health improves as the Knights do better and better. However, Hobbs is an anti-Percival, and when he ultimately fails, Pop is left with his waste land.

Joe Riggins – Bull Durham

Just on the strength of one of the greatest baseball scenes ever…”You guys…You lollygag the ball around the infield. You lollygag your way down to first. You lollygag in and out of the dugout. You know what that makes you? Larry! Lollygaggers!”

Lou Brown – Major League

Most of Brown’s memorable lines are delivered in the salty, burly manner you want in a baseball manager.  Just looking at some of his classic lines on the page, you can just hear them coming out of his mouth…

"Let's give 'em all a big shitburger to eat!"

  • “Nice catch, Hayes. Don’t ever fuckin’ do it again.”
  • “I dunno”
  • “Give ‘em the heater”
  • “Shut up, Dorn!”
  • “Well, you can run like Mays, but you hit like shit. With your speed, you should be hitting the ball on the ground and be legging them out. Every time I see you hit one in the air, you owe me 20 pushups.”

Morris Buttermaker – The Bad News Bears (Walter Matthau, not Billy Bob Thornton)

What better choice is there for a team of misfits than a short-tempered, foul-mouthed, alcoholic? Despite the fact he throws a beer can at one kid and calls another a ”booger-eating moron,” he ultimately gets it across to these kids in his own drunken, slovenly way that perseverance, teamwork, and self-respect are more important than winning.

Joe Paterno and Ted Williams: Two Guys Who’s 400 Will Be The Last

Greatness overcomes, and greatness perseveres; it did both in the form of Joe Paterno’s 400th career win on Saturday. The momentum swing was so drastic, it felt as if Northwestern was getting blown out even though the Wildcats led Penn State by a touchdown early in the third quarter.  Northwestern spent the first half marching through the Nittany Lion defense like the Red Army rolled through Hungary in 1956. But then a team that could do no wrong suddenly lost its ability to tackle, defend passes and block for quarterback Dan Persa, who had been Persa-cuting Penn State.  The tide turned, Matt McGloin led the Nittany Lions to 35 unanswered points, and Joe Paterno notched his 400th win, giving the man who is the face of Penn State football more wins than any other major college coach.

After Northwestern’s three-touchdown lead gave way to an ego-bruising 35-21 defeat, Joe Paterno celebrated his 400th victory in style. With the Beaver Stadium crowd of 104,147 chanting “JOE PA-TERN-O!” and fans creating camera flashes of light, Paterno was carried by his players to midfield.  Beaver Stadium public address announcer Dean DeVore says the atmosphere was electric.

“It was just kind of a great big love fest, and it should be. They were giving love to a man who has done so much for Penn State University.”

The 83-year-old Paterno has led the Nittany Lions since 1966. But in his normal deflective style, JoePa didn’t want any fuss made over this achievement. Over the next few days, you may have opportunity to read plenty about Joe Paterno’s 400th win, but consider these facts as you ponder a feat that like Ted Williams’ hitting .400 in a season, probably will never be duplicated.

Paterno won his first game in 1966. That year, Steve Spurrier was a Heisman Trophy winner at Florida who went on to become a Hall-of-Fame level coach. Now, Spurrier has 183 wins, which means to get into Paterno territory, Spurrier would have to average 11 wins a season for 20 more seasons, at which time he would be 85 years old. Sticking with Florida, the current Gator coach Urban Meyer is one of the game’s best coaches who just won his 102nd game. For Meyer to get to 400 hundred wins, he will need to average 11 wins per season for 28 more years. at which time Meyer would be 74 years old.  If you drop the average to a more realistic 9 wins per season, Meyer needs to do that for 34 years at which point he will still be 80. That’s still younger than JoePa is now, but Meyer already has a history of stress-related health problems. Even Nick Saban, who has 126 wins, would need to win 11 games per season for 25 more years to reach 400 wins, when he would be 84 years old.

Even the two active coaches closest to Paterno’s mark, Virginia Tech’s Frank Beamer and Texas’ Mack Brown, have their work cut out for them. Beamer has 236 wins at 64 years of age, which means he needs to average 11 wins per season for fifteen more years. Mack Brown on the other hand, has 218 wins at age 59; he only needs to average nine wins per season for 20 years to reach 400 wins before he turns 80.

As for the unreachability of 400 wins, this is the part where I remind you that 400 is just the “big-school” record, the overall record is almost beyond belief. Most college football fans don’t even know the name of the man who has established himself as the most successful college football coach of all time with 477 (and counting) wins. That’s because John Gagliardi has spent his entire career at the Division III level. Gagliardi’s career began in 1949 at Carroll College, and he moved to St. John’s College in Minnesota in 1953. Like Paterno, Gagliardi was born in 1926 but Gagliardi became a head coach at age 22, where Paterno did not do so until age 40. When you stop to consider that Paterno has only 77 less wins in 17 less season as a head coach, his rise to the 400 mark becomes that much more impressive. It means Paterno had to averaged 9.09 wins per season in his 44 years at the helm of the Nittany Lions. Compare that to the other coaches mentioned here, along with Northwestern’s Pat Fitzgerald:

  • John Gagliardi (age 84) – 477 wins, average 7.81 per season
  • Frank Beamer (age 64) – 236 wins, average 9.83 per season – needs 16.68 years to reach 400 wins at current pace (would be age 80)
  • Mack Brown (age 59) – 218 wins, average 8.38 per season – needs 21.71 years to reach 400 wins at current pace (would be age 80)
  • Steve Spurrier (age 65) – 183 wins, average 8.71 per season – needs 24.91 years to reach 400 wins at current pace (would be age 89)
  • Nick Saban (age 59) – 126 wins, average 8.40 per season – needs 32.62 years to reach 400 wins at current pace (would be age 91)
  • Urban Meyer (age 46) – 102 wins, average 10.20 per season – needs 29.21 years to reach 400 wins at current pace (would be age 75)
  • Pat Fitzgerald (age 35) – 33 wins, average 6.60 per season – needs 55.61 years to reach 400 wins at current pace (would be age 90)

Meyer would be the youngest, but he also has to maintain the highest average number of wins to get there. By this table you would guess Mack Brown has the best shot to get there, but when you stop to consider his team now only has four wins on the season, and may be looking at a few years of below the needed average performance. As for all of them, stop to consider there are only a handful of coaches who stay in the game past age 70, and there’s a reason for it. Coaching at the Division I level is a rough business, and old guys tire of it quickly. Paterno is in his mid-80’s, and even after hip and knee surgeries, still jogs on and off the field.

Not only has Paterno been great, he’s been great for a long time, which is why his accomplishment has to be ranked as one of the unbreakable records of all time.

From One Campaign To Another: Vote Jamie Moyer in 2012!

Jamie Moyer turns 48 on November 18th. Now, thanks to the Phillies cutting their ties with the veteran left-hander, he’s a free agent.  The team placed him on waivers last month to clear a spot on the 40-man roster and hasten Moyer’s move to the open market.  Moyer has 267 wins and 2,405 strikeouts in his 24-year career and was an effective pitcher for a great portion of last season. However, his age and the fact that he ended the season on the disabled list with a sprained elbow meant his prospects for offers this winter were limited at best.

To increase his odds, Moyer was rehabbing the elbow in winter ball in the Dominican Republic with the hope of joining a team. Now even that hope seems distant as Moyer re-injured his pitching elbow on Saturday.

If you are a regular reader of this blog, you know that Dubsism is your home of the Jamie Moyer for the Hall of Fame Campaign. While we know that Moyer’s induction into Cooperstown is a bit of a long-shot, there is no denying that his career numbers put his name next to many baseball immortals. Moyer has made 686 appearances in a 24-season big-league career, starting 628 games and winning 267 since his major league debut on June 16, 1986.

However, we are not the only people who think Moyer might have a shot at the Hall of Fame.  Stretcthing a bit perhaps, but when you look at the wins and strikeout totals and the names that are around him, one does wonder.

However, stats are but one part of the Jamie Moyer story. Another feature of this blog is the File Dump, a bit of a twisted salute when we go through the bits and pieces we have amassed over the years. Clearly, Moyer’s is one of the most interesting, because there’s so much about the man he deliberately kept out of the limelight, However, File Dumps are usually like a eulogy; in this case it is a metamorphasis.

For example, you know Moyer is a World Series Champion, but you don’t know that he donated all his World Series champagne to starving children in Darfur.

Naturally, one would expect such a level of responsibility and awareness of world events in a man with Moyer’s massive intellect. Moyer’s IQ is so far off the chart that his wife became a jet-screaming genius just by being near him.

Moyer’s academic prowess led to his Doctorate of Baseball Stuff and it should come as no surprise he is a firm believer in continuing education.

Moyer is also a Renaissance Man, being the inspiration for a classic American work of art.

Back to baseball, Moyer’s humility led to the under reporting of some of his noteworthy career. Many people don’t know of Moyer’s exceptional athletic prowess; Moyer was so feared as a baserunner he was never intentionally walked in 24 years.

Moyer is also the only player in baseball history with at least 40 hits, 20 runs scored, 10 runs batted in, and 500 home runs allowed.

In other words, Jamie Moyer is the kind of man who only comes along once in a generation. This means we here at Dubsism are shifting gears a bit; we feel the Hall of Fame simply is not a lofty enough goal for a man of Moyer’s caliber. Therefore, we here at Dubsism are beginning the Jamie Moyer for President campaign.

Face it, America. None of us are getting anywhere with the current class of dopes we keep electing, so why not?

Coaches’ Death Watch: The Universal Football Edition

Since we last visited this topic, there have been many changes. Tim Brewster at Minnesota did indeed bite the dust with the rare mid-season canning; while some have gotten closer to being next, while others have likely saved their skins. But just for fun, since some of the coaches who are clearly under fire are NFL guys, we’ve have decided for the first time to include them in the Death Watch.

Those Who Have Likely Saved Themselves:

Ron Zook, Illinois Fighting Illini

The Illini are a lock to go to a bowl game at this point, since they only need one win to be eligible and have cupcakes like Minnesota and Fresno State still on the schedule. Besides, how many teams do you know that score 65 points and lose?

Ralph Friedgen, Maryland Terrapins

Don’t look now, but the Terrapins who were 2-10 last season are already bowl-eligible with a shot at winning the Atlantic Division of the ACC. Plus, when the athletic department can’t afford to buy you out, and you are retiring after next year anyway…

Still Can Save Themselves, But…

Rich Rodriguez, Michigan

He either has to win a bowl game or beat Ohio State. Period.  Because nobody is going to get more than three years to win in Ann Arbor. Jesus himself would be staying way from lumber stores in Michigan right about now…

Dennis Erickson, Arizona State

Erickson is a Hall of Fame caliber coach, so nobody at Arizona State wants to look as if they are giving him the bum’s rush. But he clearly hasn’t lived up to what the Sun Devil nation wanted. His National Championship experience was supposed to be reflected on the field. It wasn’t. His NFL experience was supposed to be reflected in recruiting. It hasn’t.

Erickson either needs to get to a bowl game or beat the hated rival; in this case winning the ” The Duel in the Desert” looks like a tall order as Arizona is ranked and looks like they have a legitimate NFL quarterback leading them.

Bob Toledo, Tulane

Lets’ face it, short of Washington State, this team might have the lowest expectations on this list. The Green Wave has gone a swampy 9-27 in the last three years. All Toledo has to do is not finish last  in Conference USA again.

So Incredibly Fired It Isn’t Funny

Dan Hawkins, Colorado

The Dan Hawkins Death Spasm: Coming Soon to a D-II school near you.

I don’t know how many “final nails” I’ve pounded into this guy’s coffin; add “letting the sorry-ass Kansas Jayhawks hang up 35 unanswered points in the 4th quarter” to the list. I wouldn’t be shocked if he gets “Brewster-ed” and spends Sunday morning cleaning out his office.

Paul Wulff, Washington State

Wulff’s problem isn’t the fact that his Cougars are 1-8, its that they haven’t been closer than two scores in any of them.  He couldn’t even  beat SMU, and four losses of 20 or more points means it is time for Wulff to wave bye-bye.

Mike Locksley, New Mexico

This absolute joke of a D-I program is sinking to historic depths. This is the program Purdue fans look at to feel better about themselves. It is no longer a question of if he Lobos will lose; it’s just a matter of how much. An 0-12 season seems like a lock at this point. Things are so bad in Albuquerque the Lobo faithful have constructed a list of excuses worthy of Minnesota Viking fans; the refs are out to get us, we’re too young, blah, blah, blah. Locksley can’t assemble talent on the coaching staff or on the field, which is why neither the players or the athletic director have any respect for him. Combine that with the fact that Locksley has had some off-the-field issues which seem like they are just another note on the jack-in-the-box from springing back into the headlines, and his departure must be a foregone conclusion.

Brad Childress, Minnesota Vikings


What can you say here that hasn’t already been said? The latest example of Childress’ fading grasp on the controls came in the form of yet another player altercation.  According to Judd Zulgad of the Minneapolis Star Tribune, Brad Childress got into an argument with Percy Harvin during Friday’s practice. The report states that Childress questioned Harvin’s effort this season, creating an even darker cloud around the team. The relationship between Childress and Harvin is already shaky, so it isn’t surprising they would have a blow-out, not to mention Harvin was “livid” over the release of Randy Moss.

Besides, when word gets out the owner wanted you gone, its time to piss on the campfire.  It’s funny this whole Moss thing started over a caterer, because Childress is the kind of guy who burns dinner, serves it anyway, and then bullies you into telling him it is delicious. He was a shitty offensive coordinator in Philadelphia, which helps to explain why a Childress offense with the greatest running back to hit this league in 25 years still can’t run the fucking ball. The guy is just an incomprehensible choad. He needs to go back to coaching high school kids where his “look at what a tough guy I am” bullshit still works.

Wade Phillips, Dallas Cowboys

Phillips is the anti-Childress; he is both an exceptional defensive coordinator and by all accounts one of the genuinely nicest guys in the league. But like Childress, he really has no business being a head coach. This isn’t an indictment of Phillips, rather just an observation that he simply doesn’t have the skill set to be a head coach. He now is clearly in over his head with the complete collapse of the Cowboys; he even admitted this in last week’s post-game presser when he said “If I knew what to do, I’d be doing it.”

And much like Childress, his job is safe through the end of the season for one big reason. Firing a coach means hiring a new one, and nobody wants to hand somebody a new job knowing there’s a lock-out coming next season. Don’t kid yourself, there’s going to be a work stoppage, and it is likely going to be a long one. Who better to play care-taker to a do-nothing job than a guy who isn’t in your future plans anyway?

Welcome to the Hot Seat Club

Danny Hope, Purdue

The honeymoon has got to be over in West Lafayette.  Everybody in Boiler Nation now has to admit that Danny Hope isn’t the savior they thought he was. Boiler fans heard a lot of stuff about what a great recruiter he was, and how he was going to take Purdue to the promised land of the upper division of the Big Ten. While he has upped the talent pool a bit by getting more kids from Florida and less of the home-grown stiffs like Jason “AARP” Werner, he simply is not a very good game-day coach. He makes some of the most bizarre decisions and can’t even make the simplest in-game adjustments. A Hope game plan better work from the jump, because there is no ability to tweak it.  A great case in point comes from Saturday’s loss to Wisconsin. All you have to do is follow the Tweets of the local beat writer who covers Boilermaker football.  See if you can spot when Wisconsin made an adjustment Hope couldn’t handle…

  • #Purdue only had 64 yards in the first half at Illinois last week. #Boilermakers have 93 yards right now.
  • Could we see a repeat of last year’s Ohio State game? #purdue #boilermakers
  • Two things Wisconsin has done well this season: No sacks and no turnovers. Today, 2 sacks, 1 turnover. #purdue #boilermakers
  • Wisconsin has now scored 10 points off #Purdue turnovers. #boilermakers
  • #Purdue only 13 yards in 2nd half. Badgers third drive starts at their own 49 after starting at Purdue 18 and Purdue 49.

You would think Purdue fans would be so used to this they would see it coming, but they never do.

Marvin Lewis, Cincinnati Bengals

Let’s be honest, it is time somebody got held accountable for this team’ s complete underperforming. They’ve run through all the other excuses short of calling out Carson Palmer.  Besides, it is easier  to fire a coach than to come to terms with the fact the problem is cultural and systemic and may take years to fix.

Norv Turner, San Diego Chargers

See the entry above for Marvin Lewis and replace the words “Carson Palmer” with “All the holdouts.” Also, add a sentence that says something to the effect of “only Norv Turner can have a quarterback on a pace to have 5,000 passing yards and still lose.”

Sports Cliches: What They Want You To Think vs. What They Really Mean

Lately, we’ve had a lot of controversy in sports, dust-ups requiring the almost flagrant use of cliches. To paraphrase Crash Davis from Bull Durham: “Cliches are important, get to know them.  Of course they’re boring, that’s the point.” Cliches in sport are an exercise in Politico-speak; an exercise in saying things without saying things. Since we live in a culture that “can’t handle the truth,” perhaps it is time some of the most commonly used cliches were properly translated. After all, despite the romanticism, there are still certain things you can’t say.

The Cliche: “We have to take it one game at a time.”

What They Want You To Think It Means: “Rest easy, fans, all those off-the-field problems have nothing to do with our six-turnover performance, and our coaching staff firmly believes that we have the talent and the leadership as a team to overcome any adversity.”

What It Really Means: “We have a serious problem that threatens to prison-rape our whole season, and we are don’t have the foggiest notion that our “solution” will work, so at this point were are just hoping we don’t get our asses handed to us again on Sunday.”

The Cliche: “He’s a great ‘clubhouse’ guy.”

What They Want You To Think It Means: “Even though (insert jock-under-fire here) has had his struggles, he’s a leader on this team and the rest of the guys really look up to him.”

What It Really Means: “For us to get a meaningful athletic performance out this hump, we would have to move our stadium to the no-tell motel where “Captain Skin-Flute” has been banging cocktail waitresses two at a time.  As far as leadership is concerned, he couldn’t lead a pack of starving wolves to fresh meat. If it weren’t for his bazillion-dollar contract, he’d be as gone as yesterday’s lunch.”

The Cliche: “Those guys put their pants on one leg at a time just like we do.”

What They Want You To Think It Means: This is a tough one, because it can be applied either way; it can be subtle pity for a team you just shit-hammered, or it can be a reminder that those guys who just bare-butt spanked you on national television are in fact not gods.

What It Really Means: “Regardless of results, we as a team aren’t man enough to claim our victories with humility, or to accept our defeats with grace, so we will just cover our own douchiness with meaningless clap-trap.”

The Cliche: “We just need to focus on the positives”

What They Want You To Think It Means: Since you usually only hear this right before the team bus plummets off the proverbial cliff, they want you to think there ARE positives.

What It Really Means: “We are so screwed, we don’t even know how screwed we are.” Last week’s Dallas Cowboys’ presser offered a classic example of this, when Wade Phillips said “If I knew what to do, I’d be doing it.”

The Cliche: “There’s a lot of season left, it’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon.”

What They Want You To Think It Means: “We are not finished yet.”

What It Really Means: “Stick a fork in us. We’re done.”

The Cliche: “That was taken out of context/I was misquoted.”

What They Want You To Think It Means: “Whatever offensive comment attributed to me that is circulating in the media really didn’t happen. It was a misunderstanding.”

What It Really Means: “Hell, if you think that was offensive, you should hear what I really said.”

The Cliche: “I’m not here to dwell on the past”

What They Want You To Think It Means: “No matter what transpired to get us here, no matter what microencephalic decisions we’ve made to ruin this season, there’s still a future for all of us to focus on.”

What It Really Means: “If you are outraged over the stupidity and incompetence you’ve seen so far, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet!”

The Cliche: “They’re a disciplined group.”

What They Want You To Think It Means: “We have a lot of respect for their organizational philosophy and team leadership.”

What It Really Means: This is the sports equivalent of describing a knuckle-dragger of a girl as having “a great personality.”  In other words, this is what you say when you are playing a team that lacks any other positive attribute, such as talent, athleticism, or character.

The Cliche: “I just want to thank God.”

What They Want You To Think It Means: “God makes all that I have been blessed with possible, and God is why I am where I am today.”

What It Really Means: “By pretending to be a religious man, nobody will pay attention to the fact that I use steroids, have eighteen illegitimate children , that I’ve gambled away most of my fortune on dog-fighting and what I didn’t blow gambling I spent on hookers and blow, and, uh…..oh yeah, those two guys I stabbed to death that nobody has found about yet.

The Cliche: “This is a great sports town.”

What They Want You To Think It Means: “This is a great sports town because no town has incredible fans like this one!”

What It Really Means: “This town sucks for everything other than sports.” (We like to call this one the Randy Moss Caterer rule).

The Cliche: “There’s no I in Team.”

What They Want You To -Think It Means:  “Even though I’m a five-time all-star who just got traded to this team of suck-asses, rest assured that I will not become a cancer in the clubhouse and I will use mu position as a leader to make this a playoff team.”

What It Really Means: “There’s also no team on my $20-million, so y’all can suck it, bitches (we like to call this the Randy Moss in General rule)

I’ve Got Five…Do I Hear Six?

In our on-going quest to cover the College Football Heavyweight Champion, we have been all over the map this season. In the last calendar year, the title has changed hands five times, going from Florida, to Alabama, to South Carolina, to Kentucky, To Georgia, and now thanks to the Gator’s overtime win at the World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party, back to Florida.

Even though Florida is decidedly in a post-Tebow hangover, they still have a 4-1 record against Georgia under Urban Meyer. Looking forward, Florida travels to Vanderbilt this week. Barring a meltdown in Nashville, this sets up a battle in The Swamp on November 13 that is not only a Heavyweight Title Fight, but may mean who wins the SEC East as well.

Grab your wiener and stay tuned, America…

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