Every January since this blog was created, we here at Dubsism have given an award for achievements during the previous year in some under-recognized categories in the world of sports. In prior years, the nominations for the awards were done exclusively by an internal committee, but we’ve had so much success allowing nominations from the general public that we had no choice but to continue that. .
Between our committee and our valued readers, we had more quality nominations than we could ever possibly use. Thank you so much for that. When we received an outstanding nomination that proved to be a winner, we made sure to recognize those who submitted it. However, we did also receive nominations on multiple ballots that proved to be winners. If you see a winner that you nominated, and you weren’t credited, just know that you weren’t the only one who had the same idea.
With that, and after careful consideration, here are the winners of the Fifth Amnnual Dubsy awards.
1) This Year, the Entire BCS Argument is Moot
Name a team outside of the SEC that can beat Alabama, LSU, or Arkansas…I’m waiting…
2) We Sort Of Forgot About Miami
I think we all know why the scandal that gripped Hurricane football dropped off our collective radars. But now,for some reason, the University of Miami has decided to at least give the appearance of trying to do the right thing.
Despite qualifying with Saturday’s win over South Florida, Miami has made the decision to remove themselves from bowl consideration this season in response to the ongoing NCAA inquiry into the Nevin Shapiro allegations. The school has informed both the NCAA and the ACC of its decision.
“We understand and share the disappointment that our student-athletes, coaches, staff, supporters and fans are feeling but after lengthy discussions among University leaders, athletic administrators and outside counsel, it is a necessary step for our University. The University of Miami has not self-imposed any other penalties. “
Athletic Director Shawin Eichorst and head coach Al Golden addressed the decision briefly in a teleconference on Sunday afternoon. Eichorst informed Golden of the school’s decision early Sunday afternoon, and further meetings with the coaches and players followed.
Naturally, the fact that they were headed for the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl had absolutely nothing to do with this decision.
3) Teams we can start the “Death Watch” on right now
San Diego Chargers
It’s not just the five straight losses, its they way they’ve lost them. They have no offensive line. They are without Malcolm Floyd and Shawn Phillips. They rely entire too much on Philip Rivers since they have a marginal running game, and there is the matter of the Human Handicap, otherwise known as Norv Turner. Turner could screw up a grilled cheese sandwich, and the Chargers will never win as long as he is on their sideline.
Like the Chargers, it’s not just the six straight losses, it’s the way they’ve lost them. Nobody defines “inconsistent quarterback” play like the Redskins; they got the “good” Rex Grossman against the Cowboys and still lost. In fact, despite the sideline weakness present in Mike “I never won shit without a guy named Elway” Shanahan, you really can’t fault the offense. While the Redskins defensive line has proven to be improved and often more physical than the offensive lines they’ve faced, the back seven gives up far too much on pass plays.
New York Jets
It’s official…I’m off the Mark Sanchez band-wagon. This guy sucks swamp-water. This guy saves his job once every six games or so. This guy has to go.
Look at the pattern. When the Jets were on a three-game skid last month, Sanchez led them to a win over then-winless Miami. This is just like 2009, when the Jets came back from a 4-6 record to make the playoffs at 9-7.
Now, Jets fans are stuck hoping history repeats itself again. This time, the Jets are 5-5 after dropping their and a suddenly-remembers-they-are-supposed-t0-be-lousy Buffalo team is coming to town. But none of that accounts for the dirty Sanchez secret.
Sanchez has chucked pick-sixes in each of the last two games. He’s tossed three total this season. He also has lost two fumbles that were returned for touchdowns and had an interception returned to the 1 by Dallas on opening night, and the Cowboys scored a touchdown two plays later. That’s 42 points the Jets have allowed, almost all because of Sanchez.
To be fair, the Jets offensive line isn’t helping matters. They’ve reverted to their early-season ineptitude. They allowed four sacks on opening night 11 in the first four games. Sanchez has been dropped eight times in the last two games.
4) Teams I Want To Like, But…
The Bears are the photo negative of the Chargers. The Bears have won five straight. They don’t win pretty and they depend on the running game. But when do they get Jay Cutler back?
The Bears’ Achilles’ heel on defense is the deep pass. If you can set it up, you can you can hurt the Bears on deep passes, something that will be a test for them when they play Oakland this week. But after that, the Bears get Kansas City, Denver and Seattle. In fact, after Oakland, they won’t face a team with a passing game to speak of until week 16 with the Packers.
Carson Palmer and Michael Bush might just be what the Raiders needed. Palmer has yet to be dominant, but he is efficient, doesn’t make mistakes, and gives the Raiders the ability to move the ball against anybody. Michael Bush can be flat out dominant with his bruising running style. Plus, all they have to do to make the playoffs is win the AFC West. But can they do it? They’ve already lost to the Broncos once.
5) …And in what promises to be an on-going saga…
That whole bit about the Raiders brings us to the ever-present Tim Tebow story. His heroics against the Jets only serve as another chapter in what I fear may be a story that won’t be ending for a while. You can say all you wan’t about how he is a “terrible” quarterback…don’t look now, but this guy is winning games, and with every win, he gets more fans. If Tebow isn’t careful, he’s going to be one of the biggest stars in the league because his appeal transcends football. Watch it it happen if the Broncos make the play-offs.
Don’t scoff at that thought. Like I said about the Raiders, all that is required to do it is to win the AFC West, and the Tebow-led Broncos have already bested the Raiders. The Broncos would be in the “Teams I want to like, but…” category, but my “but” on the Broncos is more of a belief question. Do I believe that Tebow’s winning ways are due to him, or due to the fact nobody in the NFL has seen an option offense in 40 years?
There will never be another NFL figure like Al Davis.
I would be lying if I said that I never criticized Davis. Just a few months ago, I included him on my list of the 15 Worst Owners in Sports. However, as I said in that piece, that criticism was reserved for the Al Davis of the past 20 years or so.
For those of you under 30, you may not believe there was a time when Al Davis wasn’t a batshit crazy Cryptkeeper look-alike and the Raiders were not the laughing stock of the NFL. In an 18-year span during the 70′s and 80′s, the Raiders won 13 division championships, made 15 playoff appearances, and took home three Lombardi trophies. This is the era when the Raiders were the winningest team in all of professional sports, and love him or hate him, Davis was a respected and visionary leader who helped build the AFL into a league so successful the NFL couldn’t beat it so they joined with it.
That paragraph only scratches the surface as to what Al Davis meant to the world of professional football. Davis literally climbed the football ladder, going from college assistant coach to an NFL assistant coach, to head coach, to owner to AFL commissioner, to Super Bowl champion, and ultimately to the Hall of Fame.
Perhaps his single greatest honor is having made a record nine presentations of inductees to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Al Davis made presentation speeches for Lance Alworth, Jim Otto, George Blanda, Willie Brown, Gene Upshaw, Fred Biletnikoff, Art Shell, Ted Hendricks, and John Madden. Davis himself was enshrined in Canton in 1992.
Davis changed the game of football through sheer personality; a personality which was a collection of contradictions. At once, he was was loyal and rebellious; cantankerous and vindictive, yet sentimental. Yet through all that, Davis’ name must be included amongst the founding fathers of the NFL; a name that must be mentioned with same reverence in NFL circles as that of George Halas.
Davis was a trailblazer in a number of ways. Davis first arrived in Oakland in January 1963, At only 33 years old, Davis was the youngest head coach and general manager in all of professional football. The Raiders were picked to finish in last place but logged a 10-4 record, garnering Pro Football Coach of the Year honors for Davis.
In 1966, Davis became Commissioner of the American Football League. This was a post he accepted reluctantly. But AFL owners, in their battle with the rival National Football League, prevailed on Davis to accept the position.
Just eight weeks later, when pro football’s two major leagues put an end to their six-year war, Davis was credited as the man who brought the leagues to merge. He was also a major force behind the 1969 realignment of the newly-combined National Football League into two conferences — the AFC and NFC.
His contributions to the league as a whole notwithstanding, there the matter of his success with the Raiders. His trademark slogan weren’t just some words on a banner, it was a philosophy that propelled the three-time World Champion Raiders to the very top of the professional sports world. In the 48 year marriage between Davis and the Raiders, they had 28 winning seasons, including 16 in a row from 1965 through the 1980 World Championship season.
Part of the reason Davis and the Raiders enjoyed such success was the fact he would give opportunities to anyone. He hired the first Latino NFL head coach (Tom Flores). He hired the first black NFL head coach (Art Shell) since the 1920′s. He hired the first woman as chief executive, (Amy Trask).
Al Davis made professional football what it is today. When Davis became part of the pro football world, it was a sporting after-thought languishing for fans behind baseball, college football, horse racing, and boxing. Davis leaves the NFL as the pre-eminent sports league in North America; one with a growing global profile as well.
The days of Al Davis’ greatness may be in the past, preserved in NFL Films documentaries and so many printed pages. However, it age doesn’t diminish it’s existence. You can’t argue with three Super Bowl trophies in seven years.
Naturally, Davis didn’t go through this mortal coil without collecting his fair share of detractors…show me a man who has enemies, and I will show you a man who stood up for something. I certainly don’t agree with some of the decisions he made, or some of the things he did, but like time, they do not detract from his amazing list of accomplishments.
The “big picture” on Al Davis is despite his faults, there is no disputing the impact he had on the NFL, and the continued growth and success of the league will be his legacy.
This past weekend, we had yet another episode of violence at a sporting event. This time, three people were seriously injured in separate incidents at San Francisco’s Candlestick Park during a 49ers-Raiders game. So far, two have been upgraded to fair condition, one was a 24-year-old man who was shot several times in the stomach, and the other was a 26-year-old man who was beaten unconscious in an upper-level stadium restroom during the fourth quarter. An additional shooting victim was treated after receiving superficial facial wounds after the game.
This begs the question: What will be the response to this violence? Increase stadium security? Make sure the people who committed these crimes are arrested and have examples made of them? Revoking the season tickets of those involved?
That last one is supposedly going to happen, along with the idea of banning tailgating in the stadium parking lot after games start. Those both are good ideas, but they only go halfway in their approach as they only solve part of the problem. So what do the teams and the NFL see as a solution? Pat yourself on the back if you said we should cave in to this kind of crap and just don’t play the game.
Both the San Francisco and Oakland police departments have recommended that the annual San Francisco 49ers-Oakland Raiders exhibition game be eliminated following weekend violence during this year’s football game at Candlestick Park, officials with the 49ers told CBS San Francisco on Monday.
The 49ers said they were reviewing the police recommendations and scheduled a news conference for later in the day with team president Jed York.
The San Jose Mercury News and Oakland Tribune newspapers reported Monday that the NFL had decided to stop scheduling the rivalry game, but both 49ers officials and Oakland Raiders CEO Amy Trask told CBS San Francisco that no decision had yet been made on the Battle of the Bay’s future.
Welcome to another typical American over-reaction; it is weak, it is misguided, and it doesn’t solve the problem.
First of all, even though Raiders CEO Amy Trask says no decision has yet been made, you can tell cancelling the game is clearly the primary option on the table based on what she’s not saying. Go through the rest of the story; you won’t see any allusions to specific plans for solving the problem.
SFPD Chief Greg Suhr told KCBS Radio that “we added substantial numbers (of officers) for Saturday’s game” and added, “obviously we were right (to do so.)”
You would expect a police chief to talk about beefed-up security, especially since that is exactly what was done at this event. Yet, after increasing security, we still have three people shot and another beaten to a pulp.
There’s two problems here. First, we really don’t know what the original size of the security presence was, so we really can’t tell if the precautions taken for Saturday’s game were appropriate. Second of all, unless you declare martial law, security can’t stop every drunken bum who wants to throw a punch in a men’s room.
But let me ask three questions: How does somebody get into an NFL stadium or parking lot with a gun? How do they pull it out, use it, and get away in front of 50,000 witnesses? How does this happen more than once at the same event?
There’s one answer for all three questions: because even the “increased security” was monstrously inadequate. Look at any video out there on this issue; look at how long punches are being thrown without even the slightest hint of a security presence. Instead of addressing that issue, the hope is that if we simply throw our collective hands up in the air and say “nothing else could have been done, so let’s just not play the game anymore,” no one will ask the questions I just did.
But, there’s some flaws in that theory. It is one thing to call off a pre-season game, but what about the regular season? Granted, the Raiders and 49ers don’t play each other every season, but they do play each other. What then? Suppose the it wasn’t the meeting of these two teams that was the problem; let’s say both fan bases contain a gun-wielding component prone to violence? Are they willing to cancel all of the home games for these two teams, or re-locate them to “low-crime” cities like Fargo, North Dakota and Cheyenne, Wyoming?
The bottom line is that sports venues are becoming dangerous places. This quoted story naturally makes mention of the Dodger Stadium incident this past spring. But that is just an anecdotal example of what is by all accounts a growing problem.
San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee, Oakland Mayor Jean Quan, both teams and the NFL were all quick to condemn Saturday’s violence and pledged to work with law enforcement for a solution.
“Fans come to our stadiums to enjoy an afternoon of football, not to be subjected to intimidation or violence,” the mayors said in a joint statement. “The incidents are completely unacceptable.”
Lee, who was at the game, indicated Monday that he also personally observed numerous brawls among fans in the stands and was horrified at some of the conduct.
“We definitely have to curtail the violence,” he told KCBS Radio. “What we have to do is make everyone who comes into the stadium more responsible.”
Former Raiders head coach and NFL broadcaster John Madden told KCBS Radio during an interview Monday that the violence at Candlestick was symptomatic of the declining fan experience at NFL stadiums across the country.
“This isn’t something that just showed up Saturday night in San Francisco,” Madden said. “Over the years, I don’t think that the clubs, the NFL have really taken care of the fans… That’s what they have to watch out for, that the parking lots in our stadiums don’t become hangouts for hooligans, and that our stadiums don’t.”
The NFL, and sports leagues in general, would be well served to pay close attention to Madden’s comments, particularly that bit about the “declining fan experience.” It matters little if the quality of the product is first-rate, it matters little if the tickets are comfortably priced. If people can’t feel safe at the ballpark, they won’t show up. Then nobody will need to make a decision as to whether or not to play the games.
Editor’s Note: This article is a collaborative effort between Dubsism and Ryan Meehan from First Order Historians. Ryan also has his own blog, East End Philadelphia, which is featured in our BlogRoll and it is well worth the read.
Lately, all the attention for bad ownership has been focused on that shithead who owns the Los Angeles Dodgers and the horse-thief who owns the New York Mets. But the fires created by these two douche-nozzles are sucking the oxygen out of a room full of bad owners; these are guys who really should not be slipping under anybody’s radar.
There’s really three main types of owners who are bad for sports. There’s the “only in it for the money” guy, there’s the “I’m the owner so I know everything about this sport” guy, and there’s the “Incompetent and/or Insane” guy. Peruse the following list and remember, some owners may represent more than one type.
15) Jeremy Jacobs, Boston Bruins
This pick may be hard to understand considering the Bruins just won the Stanley Cup, and a great deal of you don’t give a rat’s ass about hockey. However, that recent victory still doesn’t hide the fact that for most of his nearly 40 years of ownership, the Bruins have had one of the lowest payrolls in the league despite the fact Boston is a Top 10 market. This would be like buying the best strip club in town and filling it with chicks who look like Tim Tebow.
It also helps to remember that before 2009, the Bruins went for a decade without winning a playoff series, largely because even when Jacobs had stars like Ray Bourque or Cam Neely, he never put enough of a supporting cast around them to make the team a winner. In other words, Jacobs is the first on this list of what will prove to be a long line of cheapskate assholes.
14) Jerry Jones, Dallas Cowboys
Jerry Fucking Jones…where do we start? The Dallas Cowboys are one of the most storied franchises in the NFL, and we’ve all had that “America’s Team” bullshit rammed so far down our throats that little brown drops of it land in our shorts every time we sneeze.
We are convinced that at least half of all currently worshipped deities hate the Cowboys because the Gods keep fucking with them. You know they were sitting around in some big “God” club drinking whatever “God” type dudes drink laughing their collective “God” asses off when Tony Romo fumble-dicked that extra point hold against the Seahawks a few years back. The best part was that was a year where the NFC was weaker than no-alcohol beer as hell and the Cowboys were flying down the E-Z Pass lane toward the Super Bowl until Romo slammed the bus into the toll booth.
Even though they have tons of moments like that in their history, nobody ever seems to remember the Cowboys haven’t won shit in 15 years. That’s pretty much Jerry’s fault. Nobody ever seems to remember Jones has a long track record of making some of the stupidest decisions (Dave Campo, Chan Gailey, and Wade Phillips for openers…) because he IS the front office. Nobody ever seems to remember Jones is a megalomaniac who has a thirst for power rivaled only by Kim Kardashian’s thirst for B-grade jock spooge.
That amnesia on Jerry Jones completely escapes me since sports fans hate him more than groin kicks and flat beer combined. He’s the perfect guy for blue-collar America to hate because blue-collar America loves to blame all its problems on big money businessman, especially if they are obnoxious Texans who own sports teams. Its like he’s a drunker, louder version of George W. Bush.
Bush gets blamed for everything from male pattern baldness to the terribly high lesbian ratio in the LPGA, yet Jones gets a free pass for screwing up the Super Bowl by selling tickets to seats that were not usable. Plus, it’s a nuclear-powered level of hilarious that he worked his spotted, flabby ass off to get the Super Bowl in his very own building only to watch his team leave their season floating in the locker room shitter. Hey, if they’re America’s Team, and America loves to hate, l then we’re just being patriotic.
13) Charles Wang, New York Islanders
It’s time to play a little game-show we like to call “Stereotype.” You would think that an Asian guy who got rich building his own computer company would be good at math, right? Sorry, but if you were to assume that about Wang, you would be hearing a loud buzzer right about now and finding out about our lovely consolation prizes.
It takes a special kind of idiot to buy a sports franchise in an era of explosive growth and actually find a way to lower the value of the franchise, and Wang is that special kind of idiot. Wang bought the Islanders in 2000, and since has found a way to wang himself out of millions through some seriously stupid decisions.
First, the fact he employed Mike Milbury speaks for itself. His nickname “Mad Mike” doesn’t really lend creedence to what a terrible general manager he was; were he in the NFL, he would have made Matt Millen look like a fucking genius. Hockey fans remember monstrous Milbury moves like inking an underachieving Alexei Yashin to a 10-year, $87.5 million deal, trading away star goaltender Roberto Luongo for a case of urinal cakes, and taking Rick DiPietro with the first pick in the 2000 NHL entry draft ahead of future stars Dany Heatley and Marian Gaborik. To top it all off, it was Milbury’s idea to sign DiPietro to a franchise-risking 15-year, $67.5 million contract extension which at the time it was signed was the biggest sports contract in history.
Sadder still is the fact the atrocities committed by Milbury with Wang’s blessing aren’t even the worst. My favorite Wang jerk-off move happens to be when he hired Neil Smith as general manager in 2006, only to fire him 40 days later and replace him with the backup goalie.
Things have gone so bad there is talk of this franchise leaving New York for Kansas Fucking City. Seriously, what could Kansas City offer over New York? More corn? Fatter chicks? A night life as exciting as spending an evening with your face buried in George Brett’s ass crack?
Not to mention, the NHL already failed in Kansas City. To find the old “Kansas City Scouts,” you have to look under “New Jersey Devils.”
12) Peter Angelos, Baltimore Orioles
Peter Angelos is Greek, and according to the Urban Dictionary, “greek” is a euphemism for anal sex. This is fitting, because nobody has butt-fucked Baltimore baseball more than Angelos has.
Before Angelos, the O’s were one of the most storied franchises in baseball; they had been to the World Series six times in the 25 years prior to Angelos. The O’s won three World Series Championships in that time. Now in the nearly two decades of Angelos’ ownership, the Orioles have made only two post-season appearances.
The contract that exemplifies Angelos’ extreme dumb-assery was the deal he inked with Albert Belle. This gargantuan bank-buster made Belle the highest paid player in baseball. Despite the fact Belle’s career would be in the shitter two years later, due to the terms of the contract he had to remain on the Orioles’ roster for the final three years of the deal.
But the biggest “peter” Angelos has wedged into the collective anus of Balitmorians everywhere is the fact there are a ton of Hall-of-Famers who have no role within the Orioles’ organization simply because Angelos’ values his pride more than his franchise.
First off, I stand by the story. Every single word.
Orioles’ owner Peter Angelos and Hall of Famer Cal Ripken, Jr. have taken turns denying parts of my report from last Friday, the gist of which was that Angelos recently declined to hire Ripken to help his wonderful team.Both declined opportunities to comment before I went with the story, and that’s fine.
Both dispute that Angelos told Ripken he didn’t want Ripken to receive credit once the team returned to prominence — a detail confirmed by three sources — and that’s fine, too. But now that both are in such talking moods, I have a few more questions, mostly for Angelos.
- Why isn’t Ripken already working for the Orioles?
- Why isn’t Brooks Robinson involved with the team?
- Why isn’t Frank Robinson?
- Why is a franchise with such a glorious history not taking better advantage of someof the greatest natural resources the game has to offer?
Funny, I don’t think it’s because the Orioles have all the answers.
A number of former Orioles — including Hall of Famers Jim Palmer and Eddie Murray —serve the club as paid broadcasters, but the O’s need to draw from their tradition inways that go beyond Boog Powell cooking ribs on Eutaw Street. It’s damning — and a direct reflection on Angelos’ tone-deaf ownership — that Hall ofFamers Ripken, Brooks Robinson and Frank Robinson are nowhere to be found at Camden Yards.
What else can you say? Angelos is that kind of guy as described by Gunnery Sergeant Hartman in Full Metal Jacket – “He’s the kind of person who would fuck somebody in the ass and not even have the common courtesy to give them a reach-around.”
11) Joe Lacob and Peter Guber, Golden State Warriors
Granted, The Warriors have been a doormat of the NBA for two generations now, and granted, they just bought the team from Chris Cohan, a douchebag worthy of this list in his own right because under Cohan, they missed the playoffs every year from 1994 to 2007. That’s the longest drought in NBA history. The single shining moment of non-suckititude came in 2007 when they upset the #1 playoff seed Dallas Mavericks.
Lacob and Guber get on this list for being David Stern’s poster-children in his attempt to cut the balls off the NBA player’s union. Something stinks about the way these two fuckwads got into the ownership ranks. The “sale” was rigged; it included $150 million in league loans to get it done and the league forced multiple small percentage owners to raise the cash for the “sale” after the supposed bid was completed in July 2010. The whole reason these two exist are to be more of Stern’s stormtroopers against the union.
10) William Clay Ford, Detroit Lions
You’ll notice a theme developing here; one of a franchise having success until it was purchased by a hemmorhoid with a big wallet. Picture a time when the Lions weren’t a dingleberry on the anus of the NFL. You’ll have to set the Wayback Machine for the 1950′s, when Lions arguably were the most successful team in the league. They appeared in four NFL Championship Games, winning three.
Then, in 1964 William Clay Ford purchased the Lions and they have not been in a championship game since. In the 47 years Ford has owned the Lions, they have a single playoff win. Even the Bengals and Cardinals have more than that. That’s fucking pathetic.
Right now, the Lions fins themselves digging out of a hole dug by the steam-shovel of suck known as Matt Millen. Lets’ make one thing clear; we don’t have an issue with Millen as a broadcaster. He was simply the prototypical shitty general manager. He took a franchise that was already in the shitter and kept inventing ways to keep shitting on it. By the time he was done, the Lions’ franchise was like the Matterhorn of shit.
Watching Millen manage was like watching a retard masturbate. His eight-year jack-off-to-nowhere spree as head of the franchise led to the worst record in the history of the modern NFL (31-97 / .319), yet it took Ford until a month into the 2008 season to fire his ass. Billboards were actually being erected in Detroit, some which simply said “Fire Millen.” Others had a picture of what the Lions’ Super Bowl ring would have looked like, captioned with “Not this MILLENium.” Not like it mattered, English has been spoken only as third language in Detroit ever since they burned the city to the ground in the 60s.
Plus, the only time people read billboards is when they are on their way to work. Since nobody in Detroit has a goddamn job (because Ford also sucks at running a car company) the only people that noticed were the national media.
9) Daniel Snyder, Washington Redskins
It’s no fucking wonder that a guy who is the chairman of the board and majority owner of a chain of amusement parks would make watching the Redskins a roller-coaster of nausea. Snyder purchased the Redskins in 1999, and since then its been far more down than up on the Redskin roller-coaster.
In fact, there’s been no up; 1999 was the best season the Redskins had since their last Super Bowl win in 1991. It’s no accident 1999 also happens to be the best season they have had during Snyder’s tenure. Snyder loves to spend like the proverbial drunken sailor, but he also gets drunken results. He’s replaced a Pro Bowl quarterback (Brad Johnson) with an aging head case (Jeff George). He pumped a Potomac River of money into a washed-up Bruce Smith and a way past primetime Deion Sanders. He thought Richie Pettibone, Norv Turner, Jim Zorn, and Steve “ol’ Ball Coach” Spurrier were NFL head coaches.
If you have any question as to how football-clueless Snyder is, just look at the last eighteen months. In that period, he signed Donovan McNabb (only to trade him to the Vikings for a ham sandwich, a move made much more hilarious by the fact Snyder is Jewish), made virtually no improvement in quite possibly the most active offseason free agency period in the history of the NFL. Of course, there is no need to improve on a team that in a single game elevated Michael Vick’s status in white America from “degenerate dog killer” to “allowed to doggie-fuck my daughter.”
Now Washington should actually be a good team, not one that needs a minor miracle to beat a shitheap franchise like Detroit. The franchise has a prime location (there’s a lot of money in DC), they have a huge, new stadium, and they have a ton of history. Not even the liberal cry-babys who bitch about everything don’t give a fuck about this team, otherwise you’d be hearing their bitching about that “racist” nickname somewhere other than Rachel Maddow’s penis.
The really messed-up part is that Snyder has done incredibly well with the Redskins from a business standpoint; the Redskins are the second-most valuable franchise in the league. Of course that success doesn’t keep him off this list as he has stooped to such extreme ass-hattery like suing his very own season ticket holders to ensure that the Redskins remain profitable.
8 ) Al Davis, Oakland Raiders
For those of you under 30, you may not believe there was a time when Al Davis wasn’t a batshit crazy Cryptkeeper look-alike and the Raiders were not the laughing stock of the NFL. In an 18-year span during the 70′s and 80′s, the Raiders won 13 division championships, made 15 playoff appearances, and took home three Lombardi trophies. This is the era when the Raiders were the winningest team in all of professional sports, and love him or hate him, Davis was a respected and visionary leader who helped build the AFL into a league so successful the NFL couldn’t beat it so they joined with it.
But somewhere along the line; somewhere right around 1992, it all went wrong. Horribly, horribly wrong.
Since 1992, the Raiders have had just five winning seasons. Their 2002 Super Bowl crushing at the hands of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers led to a stretch of seven straight season in which the Raiders never won more than 5 games, and they have yet to have a winning season since then.
How can this happen? Simple. Davis is destroying that which he built. You could call it “suicide by head coach and draft pick.”
Rather than list the rash of terrible draft picks the Raiders have made in the last decade, let’s focus on the most telling.
“JaMarcus Russell is a good quarterback” – Al Davis
Davis drafted JaMarcus Russell in 2007, and he got glowing reviews from a lot sports “experts” at the time, despite the fact there were some warning signs he would become “fat and lazy.”
Other NFL scouts literally shattered bones in their haste to jump off the Russell bandwagon once they heard him talk about how much he was going to “relax and eat” after the draft.
Other teams thought it was sheer insanity to pay roughly the gross domestic product of Australia to a completely unproven rookie.
Most other owners would have seen their big-money rookie fatting up like a Christmas goose, especially since that rookie holdout made him miss all of training camp and several weeks of the regular season.
Most other owners would realize that when his big-money rookie has cheeseburgered his way into being JaMarcus the Hutt, that’s nobody but the big-money rookie’s fault.
Most other owners would realize when the head coach says the big-money rookie sucks, he probably sucks.
When Lane Kiffin dared tell Al that JaMarcus Russell was as much an NFL quarterback as Jayne Russell, Al told Kiffin that Russell didn’t suck…he did.
“He is a great player. Get over it and coach this team on the field. That is what you were hired to do. We can win with this team.”
Then he did Kiffin the best favor he possibly could by firing him.
The beauty was that off-season proved to be a delicious one, Russell showed up at camp so fat he exerted his own gravitational pull. He was putting Shake N’ Bake in his Gatorade. When he wasn’t gasping for air or sweating bacon grease, he was showing his “commitment to excellence” by snoozing through team meetings, or just skipping them to go on a bling-gasm in Las Vegas.
Finally, even Al had to see his big-money rookie was just big. Four sets of “back-titties” big. Before being released, rumors were that Russell was well over 300 pounds, far above the 255 he weighed in his prime just 3 years prior. It takes a lot of prime rib to get that far away from your prime in only 3 fucking years.
But the Kiffin thing takes us back to Al’s relationships with his head coaches in the past 20 years.
Al hired Bill Callahan, a head coach who inspired so much trust in his players they accused him of ” sabotaging the season.” To regain their trust, Callahan said the Raiders were “the dumbest team in America in terms of playing the game.” We must admit we really don’t understand that motivational technique, but it worked since Callahan was the last coach to post a winning record in Oakland and the last to lead the Raiders to the Super Bowl.
Then it starts to get scary. Let’s look at the lowlights…Al hired Norv Turner as coach; the Raiders went a combined 9-23 in his two seasons. Al hired Art Shell twice, the first time went OK; the second brought a franchise-worst 2-14 record.
Then, Al hired Lane Kiffin, threatened to fire him on a weekly basis, and when he finally did, it was a great moment in “Crotchety Old Man” history; Al held a press conference during which he put his “Kiffin Bitch List” on an overhead projector! You read that right, it was the dawn of the 21st century, and in the shadow of Silicon Valley, and Al is using the same technology as your Dad’s 5th-grade teacher.
Then, Al hired Tom Cable, a man who most famously broke the jaw of his assistant coach with a sucker punch, then threatened to kill him.
The thing all of us can see that Al can’t is the Raiders have massive trust issues. Al doesn’t trust his coaches to make good draft selections, Al’s players don’t trust his coaches, the fans don’t trust Al’s “commitment to excellence” enough to purchase season tickets, and even those of us who don’t give a fuck about the Raiders don’t trust their franchise not to suck.
What this all comes down to is Al Davis is old and he’s lost it. Nobody like hearing that because it reminds us all our time is coming; it’s disturbing to know someday we will all no longer be able to control when we do and do not shit ourselves. Most people who are lucky enough to live that long don’t run their own professional sports team. Even though Al Davis is now the kind of boss that walks into your office and gives you the choice of lancing a boil on his back or letting him drop his band-aid into your coffee (and you MUST drink it), he’s still just an old man who needs to retire so we don’t have to keep watching him shit his pants.
7) Tom Ricketts, Chicago Cubs
Tom Ricketts is the CEO of of Incapital LLC, a Chicago, an investment bank that packages corporate bonds for retail investors. He’s also the son of the guy who founded Ameritrade, so if you the typical blue-collar American who gets off on o hating people who are born into money, this is a good place to start.
The Cubs suffer from a lack of real direction, and this is partially Ricketts’ fault. He took over the Cubs in the beginning of 2009, inheriting the Alfonso Soriano contract, which might be considered a good deal if the entire planet’s economy ran off of how much money we could all light on fire all at once. Since then, the Cubs have grown one of the highest payrolls in baseball, and have one of the worst records. They’re in a market that is extremely critical of all of their sports teams, and radio is brutal even when your winning. Just ask the last season’s Chicago Bears.
Since Meehan is a regular guest on a Chicago Cubs internet radio (insert shameless plug for ivyenvy.com here) you might expect him to have more of an opinion on Ricketts. But the truth is, unless the Cubs go on a five game winning streak, the guy’s a fucking ghost. (Editor’s note: The Cubs didn’t win five in a row this season until last week.) To be quite honest with you, if Meehan’s producer hadn’t attended a press conference with Ricketts a few weeks back http://ivyenvy.com/?p=6034, he might fall into that same level of “does he exist” along with Sasquatch and Oprah Winfrey’s heterosexuality.
Let’s just put it this way, Ricketts and his family believed in 2009 the Cubs were worth 900 million dollars with a relic of a stadium that’s falling apart and countless personnel and financial issues, and he hasn’t done much to change it.
6) Mike Brown, Cincinnati Bengals
Sometimes taking over the family business isn’t as easy as it looks. But when you get handed the keys to an organization built by a legend and you fuck it up beyond belief…that’s how you end up one of the most hated owners in sports.
Welcome to the world of Mike Brown. When the legendary Paul Brown passed away in 1991, Mike Brown assumed control of the Bengals. Since then, the Bengals’ record is a cesspool-worthy 124-211-1, with a single playoff appearance.
If the cavalcade of losing wasn’t enough to make fans want to piss in his hollowed-out skull, Brown continues to give the Bengal faithful all the reason they would need to want to drag his lifeless corpse around Paul Brown Stadium.
For some reason ESPN has continued to report on the Cincinnati Bengals situation. For the longest time, it was a complete fucking mystery why the World Wide Leader gives a tire-squished shit about the Queen City Kitties. But we finally figured it out.
ESPN is betting on curiosity…curiosity as to what will finally kill the Cats’ owner.
Will it be his ability to pinch a penny so hard he can make Abe Lincoln fart? Brown is notorious as cheapskate asshole. The Bungles have the most understaffed scouting departments in the league and he simply does not spend money on free-agents.
Perhaps, it will be his colossal stubborn streak. If there’s anything we’ve learned in the past, it’s that Mike Brown is one of the most stubborn owners in professional sports, and that also makes him exceptionally stupid. He steadfastly refuses to hire a general manager, which may explain this team’s terrible record.
He refused to grant Carson Palmer a trade, thus forcing Palmer to call Brown’s bluff and retire, thus forcing Brown to eat his value and not reap any of the benefits of such a trade. Granted, Palmer is also a total dick; he made it no secret that he thought Ohio sports fans were weak and simple since Day One. But when you consider all of the bullshit he had to put up with during his tenure with the Bengals, one can clearly see Brown is a dick of a higher order.
Not to mention Brown was the one who kept letting Chad Johnson act like a jackass, all the while believing that Chris Henry was going to turn his life around only to see him die by falling out of the back of a truck.
These issues are just the tip of the Brown-hating iceberg. Anyway you slice it, Bengals’ fans strive to ensure Brown knows they hate him, ranging from boycotts to erecting billboards to an anti-Brown website, fans in the Queen City have been nothing short of creative in their efforts.
What it comes down to is that Brown isn’t really a big dick; he’s actually a tiny, little dick who can’t get out from under the shadow of Daddy. Brown has been for years trying to prove to the sports media and the fans that on his watch the Bengals won’t take any shit from anybody and that you’d better do what he tells you if you know what’s good for you.
Typical pathetic little raisin-sac bullshit.
But in the end, it’s obvious nobody thinks Brown matters so nobody pays any attention to his false pride largely because nobody gave a fuck to begin with. After all, if you know you can’t finish higher than 3rd in your division for the next decade, then what the fuck difference does your pride make?
5) David Glass, Kansas City Royals
Glass may have been a great business executive, but he’s a shitty owner. In ten seasons as owner of the Royals, his team has finished and in that time – they have finished with a record above .500 just once, have lost 100 games or more four times, and have averaged nearly 95 losses for every season of the Glass regime.
Prior to his purchase of the Royals, Glass was the CEO of Wal-Mart. This is where he earned the reputation as one of the nation’s premier executives. In business, the Glass model was rather successful; reasonable products at dirt-cheap prices. That’s the same approach Glass has used with the Royals, and while the team’s revenue has increased every year, on the field performance and the player salaries have not.
This makes Glass the perfect representative of the parasitic effect silly things like “luxury taxes” in baseball have. They actually make it possible to be profitable and terrible at the same time, which is a cancer on the world of sport, not just baseball.
4) Jeffrey Loria, Florida Marlins
Very few people have shown the ability to drive a franchise over the brink, and this turdpipe has done it twice. Of course, what should we expect from a guy who made his money as an “art dealer?” I bet it isn’t even “real” art, I bet it is that “Elvis on black velvet” crap you see being sold at abandoned gas stations hanging on a chain-link fence.
There’s no coincidence in the fact that he owned two teams long rumored to be on the contraction block. His refusal to put any money in the Montreal Expos guaranteed their sale to MLB so they could be reborn as the Nationals and so he could buy the Marlins. His dismal leadership immediately placed the Marlins in a “build a new stadium or face the consequences” dilemma; and Miami knuckled under…the new ball park opens next season.
3) Bill Bidwill, Arizona Cardinals
The Bidwill family has owned the Cardinals for close to 50 years. In that time, have one exactly four playoff games. Three of those came a few years back when the Cards made that miracle run to the Super Bowl. Just the fact he is holding an NFC Championship trophy is proof a blind squirrel can occasional find a nut.
A common comparison is that the Cardinals are the Clippers of the NFL; it would be more accurate to say the Clippers who are the Cardinals of the NBA. The Cards have been the model were the model of dysfunctionality in the sports when the Clippers franchise were still the Buffalo Braves. The comparison stems largely from the fact these are both franchises that have had to move twice because of horrid ownership decisions.
2) James Dolan, New York Knicks and New York Rangers
James Dolan’s reign as the owner of the New York Knicks and Rangers has been an exercise in following the Steinbrenner model with the Yankees of the 80s; money does not cure bad decisions. Since 1999 when Dolan took control of both franchises, fans of both teams would be well within their rights to join the paper bag squad.
Dolan has pumped a river of money into the Rangers; they have the highest average salary in the NHL, yet they have only made the playoffs four times and have not once been past the semifinals. There’s a school of thought which believes the blame should fall on general manager Glen Sather, but the people who think that rode to that school on the short bus.
First of all, Dolan refuses to fire Sather despite his blatant incompetence. Second of all, Sather doesn’t control the Knicks, who have exactly the same problems, which makes Dolan the common thread. Dolan has overseen the Knicks through nearly a decade full of seasons of fewer than 40 wins, to go along with just two playoff appearance, despite having one of the top payrolls in the NBA.
Then’s there whole Isiah Thomas fiasco. Insert your own rant on that mess here.
1) Donald Sterling, Los Angeles Clippers
Sterling is possibly the best example of a guy being both a genius businessman and a complete shit-stain in the Fruit of the Looms of the sports world. There’s so many ways to look at the sporting idiocy that is Donald Sterling. There’s the numbers:
- 31 – Number of seasons he has owned the Clippers
- 2 – Number of seasons they have finished with a winning record
- .341 – Team winning percentage in those seasons
That is Donald Sterling’s sports resume in nutshell; great for the bankbook, lousy for on-the-court performance. The team has been a joke for over three decades, but Sterling keeps laughing all the way to the bank. Sterling has faithfully followed the model of keeping the payroll at “paying in recyclable cans” levels of cheap to maximize profit while never once giving a damn about the won-loss column. The Clippers have finished in the Draft Lottery so many times they’ve seen more balls than an Ava Devine gang-bang.
I know it won’t come as a shock to read that a miser like Sterling might also be just a bad human being. What kind of guy heckles his own players? We can’t imagine this would be productive under any circumstance, but of all of the sports where this would be a bad idea, basketball would have to be the worst. To top it off, of the all players not to piss off, you might think Baron Davis would be in the top five. For that matter, how sweet would it have been if Rasheed Wallace had ever played for the Clippers? He would have killed Sterling. Just picture ‘Sheed “keeping it real” by yanking Donnie Boy’s bow-tied ass out of his seat and dribbling his head off the scorer’s table for about five minutes.
I’m not sure there is a more telling commentary of Sterling complete level of tone-deafness than this:
It is actually fitting to use Blake Griffin in this ad. He is only half black, and this attempt by Sterling to reach out to the black community was completely half-assed, if for no other reason that Black History Month is in February.
But of all the stories, allegations, accusations and observations, this is my favorite:
“While ignoring my suggestions and isolating me from decisions customarily reserved for general managers, the Clippers attempted to place the blame for the team’s failures on me,” Baylor said in the declaration. “During this same period, players Sam Cassell, Elton Brand and Corey Maggette complained to me that DONALD STERLING would bring women into the locker room after games, while the players were showering, and make comments such as, ‘Look at those beautiful black bodies.’ I brought this to Sterling’s attention, but he continued to bring women into the locker room.”
There you have it, fifteen owners who haven’t been getting the attention they deserve. Like we’ve said, just because the world is fixated on the antics of the Frank McCourts and Fred Wilpons of the world, these guys still need to have the light shone on them; there’s no better disinfectant than sunlight.
-J-Dub and Meehan
First, let me define the concept of Cubsism. Named for the Chicago Cubs, Cubsism is an ideaology that permeates a sports franchise. It is characterized by the ability to be essentially viable while remaining an exercise in futulity on the field. It is named for the Cubs because no other franchise in sports embodies it nearly as much as the Chicago North Siders do.
A microcosm of most recent century of futility of this franchise lies in the last eighteen months. Look at what has happened before and after the sudden retirement of Lou Piniella last summer.
Usually, when a team makes a change at manager, the idea is to change the culture of the clubhouse by changing the leadership. Sometimes, when you make a change, the team doesn’t respond. That’s what happened last year at this time. Why? Because Lou Piniella was a respected “baseball guy.”
Just a few weeks ago, the rumors began circulating that new manager Mike Quade and general manager Jim Hendry will return next season in their respective positions. The logic is that Hendry is the guy who made the decision to hire Quade, knowing that Quade was never intended to be a long-term solution. The thought was Quade would be a bridge until the Cubs found an established manager when the team is ready to contend.
The problem is Quade should have never been the Cubs manager in the first place. There’s so many reasons why, and they all illustrate the concept of Cubsism.
Go back to the day Piniella pulled the plug. Not the day he walked for good; rather go back to the day he said he was leaving at the end of the year. While every sports writer rejoiced at the thought of not having to write another “fire Lou Piniella” column, they all missed the main point.
Why let a manager appoint himself into a “lame-duck” status? To that point, the team was certainly going nowhere; they were lifeless and unmotivated, and now they are playing for a manager who has decided to fall on his own sword. There was nothing left to inspire the team to play hard; to not look they rolled over and died. What is to be gained by that?
The answer is absolutely nothing. There’s one thing the Cubs have seemingly forgotten about their fans is that they live on hope. They have little other option; the Cubs have given them nothing else in over a century.
Flash forward one year, and the Cubs find themselves in essentially the same position. The Cubs collapsed early, fingers were pointed, and it looks like another change is coming somewhere in the leadership chain of the Cubs.
I don’t know how much hope that inspires in Cub fans, because I don’t know what the changes are going to be. Suffice it to say the Cubs are likely to make what I call a “Cubs-Type Decision (CTD).”
CTDs are the heart of Cubsism, and Cubsism is caused by four contributing factors, all of which have a long association with the Cubs.
1) Leadership and a fan base that doesn’t understand the difference between “good” and “great.”
This point is exemplified by Quade. He was a terrible hire not because he is a terrible manager, rather there was a much better and completely obvious hire, and he was already in your organization.
Face it, Chicago. Mike Quade was the “good” hire; Ryne Sandberg was the “great” hire. He was perfect for the job; let’s review why.
Sandberg became a Cub hero in the 1980′s being the best second baseman of that decade and arguably one of the top five at that position ever. Sandberg became the Wrigley fixture Cub fans latched onto as a transition in to the Harry Caray-less days after 1998. Sandberg was one of the smartest players in the game, and few played the truly complete game he did. Not only that, but Sandberg is not some Hall-of-Fame guy who thinks he should be able to blow into town and get the manager’s job on his name alone. Whether in his playing days or in his managerial career in the bus leagues, Sandberg has never been a guy to trade on marquee value, although he clearly could.
But instead of waltzing into the Cubs front office and saying “The fans that you need to keep want me in the dugout; I will be by before the Winter Meetings to pick the keys to my office,” Sandberg had spent the past four seasons prior to last year managing in the Cubs’ farm system. In fact, few managers in the minor leagues have built the reputation Sandberg has, and due to his humility, most of that has happened well beneath the radar. Sandberg has clearly “paid his dues” all while showing himself to be a cerebral skipper who can get his players to think before they act (Carlos Zambrano, I’m looking at you…)
In other words, he was the perfect man for the Cubs’ managerial job. How could the Cubs possibly entertain the idea of doing anything other than hiring the perfect candidate to end all perfect candidates? Because they are the Cubs, and they make Cubs-Type Decisions.
2) Terrible player/personnel decisions
In case you need a refresher, let’s review a few of my favorite CTDs:
- Trading Lou Brock to the Cardinals for Ernie Broglio (future Hall-of-Famer for washed-up pitcher)
- Trading Rafael Palmeiro to Texas for Mitch Williams (3,000 hit/500 home run guy for a relief pitcher whose stay in Chicago wasn’t as long as some people who change planes at O’Hare Airport)
- Drafting Josh Hamilton as a Rule 5 player, then promptly trading him to Cincinnati for a small amount of cash (3-time All-Star and reigning American League MVP for a few dollars when the Cubs were one of the richest teams in the league)
- Trading Sergio Mitre and Ricky Nolasco for Juan Pierre (one serviceable starting pitcher and one on the verge of becoming an ace for a “legitimate leadoff hitter” for a guy who in his ONE season as a Cub got caught stealing 20 times in 78 attempts).
- Letting Greg Maddox go to free agency (deciding a guy who would go on to win 355 games and 4 Cy Young awards wasn’t “the kind of pitcher who could help us long-term”)
- Trading Dennis Eckersley for three minor-leaguers (Once in Oakland, Eckersley becomes the dominant closer of his era)
- Trading Bill Madlock for Bobby Murcer (a solid defensive third-baseman who also would win four batting titles for a slugging outfielder whose career decline began immediately after this trade)
- Trading Bruce Sutter for Leon Durham and Ken Reitz (another dominant closer for two “bags of magic beans”)
- Trading Lee Smith for Calvin Schraldi and Al Nipper (another dominant closer for two “bags of magic beans”)
- Trading Manny Trillo for Barry Foote and Ted Sizemore (a second baseman who still holds the record for most consecutive chances without an error for one of the great mustaches of all-time )
3) Belief in the “quick fix” for decades of problems
Just in the past dozen or so years, I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve heard (insert new phenom and/or big free-agent signing) will change the fortunes of Cub nation…Kerry Wood, Todd Hundley, LaTroy Hawkins (even if he was only supposed to save the bullpen, I still can’t believe I just wrote that), Mark Prior, Nomar Garciaparra, Alfonso Soriano, Kosuke Fukudome, Milton Bradley, blah, blah, blah…Look at the knob-slobbing happening for Tyler Colvin, Darwin Barney, and Starlin Castro. How much you want to bet at least two of those names are on this list in five years? Doubt that? Just look back at what Cubs fans were bleating about Geovany Soto and Ryan Theriot…
This is the same reason Cubs’ fans always love deals like Carlos Silva for Milton Bradley. Remember, they loved Ernie Broglio for Lou Brock, too…
4) A fan base ignorant of the fundamentals of the game
Picture it…Chicago, sometime in the late 90′s. I’m at Wrigley taking in a summer afternoon affair against the Dodgers. It’s the top of the ninth inning, the score is tied and the Dodgers have a runner on third with one out. The Dodgers hit a long fly ball into left field, and the family seated in front me (resplendent in their Cubs gear) is wildly cheering the out, completely unaware the Dodgers had just scored what would prove to be the winning run on the sacrifice.
That family is the Cubs fanbase in a nutshell.
Having said all that, the next time you are looking to explain a franchise’s long term dysfunction, refer back to the four points of Cubsism. It runs rampant in professional sports; it takes little to see it.
Now for the fun part – here are ten franchises we have identified as having a very high Cubsism rating. Remember that Cubsism is not a short-term affliction; to be on this list a franchise must have shown a track record of futility for decades or have a generally dismal record with only the fleetingest glimpses of non-suck.
#10) Minnesota Vikings
What can I say about the Vikings that I haven’t already said? Go over to the tag cloud on the right, click on the “Minnesota Vikings” tag, and you will see that I’ve written the Vikings’ football miasma time and time again. But that’s because there’s so much to write about. Even in their heyday in the first half of the Bud Grant era, this team simply couldn’t push the sled over the hill. Over the past half-century, this team has had more talent and more opportunities and has less to show for them than any other franchise in the history of professional football.
There’s a simple reason for this. Pro football is a quarterback driven league, and the Vikings historically have had no idea how to handle that position. In 1967, the Vikings traded future Hall-of-Famer Fran Tarkenton to the New York Giants for a bag of magic beans. In 1969, Joe Kapp led them to an NFL Championship, threw 7 touchdown passes in one game, and the Vikes let him walk after that season. There’s Tommy Kramer, who earned the nickname “Two Minute Tommy” for many late game come-from-behind victories. Kramer, who was the first quarterback to throw for over 450 yards in a game twice, also ended up with a drinking problem. The Viking’s ham-fisted handling of the situation led to the demise of his career.
If those three were the bricks in their quarterback wall, the Vikings’ mortar in that wall has been an amalgam of over-rated talent (Daunte Culpepper, Brad Johnson, Wade Wilson, Rich Gannon, Jeff George), somebody’s else cast-offs (Gary Cuozzo, Bob Berry, Gus Frerotte, Bob Lee, Norm Snead) and a bouquet of faded roses from days gone by (Warren Moon, Randall Cunningham, Jim McMahon, Brett Favre).
#9) Chicago Cubs
This past winter illustrates the Cubs quite nicely. If Major League Baseball were the block you grew up on as a kid, the Cubs would be that rich, childless older couple who always had a new Cadillac in the driveway and a lawn covered in dog shit. The Cubs go out and look for a landscaper who can clean up the mess that is their lawn, their nephew Ryne Sandberg shows up as member of the family who is the perfect candidate and wanting the job, and the Cubs give the job to the paperboy because as child little Ryno farted in their house once 30 years ago.
#8 ) Oakland Raiders
Let’s face facts. The Raiders have become the North Korea of the NFL and Al Davis it’s Kim Jong-Il. Davis has sunk into some sort of self-deluded alternate reality that has him believing he can get a coach better than Tom Cable and that JaMarcus Russell was an NFL quarterback. Finally they stopped drinking the Kool-Aid, or Purple Drank in the Russell case, but there have been so many other bizarre tales emanating from Oakland that all have one thing in common: Al Davis has total control of this organization, as it clearly mirrors his dysfunctional personality. This is why Cable is no longer the head coach, and why they had to promote from within; nobody else will take the job.
#7) New Orleans Hornets
The Hornets seem to have all the characteristics of franchises on this list. Some teams are owned by morons, failed in more than one city, failed in cities where a team in the same sport already failed, are on the verge of being assumed by the league, have a history of making terrible player personnel decisions, or have just plain sucked forever. The Hornets have it all.
#6) Atlanta Thrashers
The Thrashers are dangerously close to being the second Atlanta-based NHL team to head for Canada. Thirty years ago, the Flames ditched Dixie for Calgary, and now the rumors are swirling the Thrashers may be heading to the garden spot known as Winnipeg. Honestly, this may be more of a reflection of the city of the city that its teams; Atlanta is a shitty sports town. The only franchise in that city that has ever drawn a reasonable number of fans are the Falcons (don’t talk to me about the Braves, I’ve seen playoff games at Turner Field with less than 15,00 people in the ballpark), but in the last decade you could have put an NFL franchise in Bettendorf, Iowa and it would fill a 65,000 seat stadium. But on the other hand, the Thrashers have never done anything of consequence.
#5) Los Angeles Dodgers
Thanks to their ownership of the Dodgers and their divorce which is threatening to become the ugliest in the history of California, we have to care about Frank and Jamie McCourt. Their dysfunction has totally spilled over into the operation of the team; they are hundreds of millions of dollars in debt while clinging to a grasp on ownership which is becoming ever so tenuous, especially now that Major League Baseball has cut them off from any new lenders. This is only going to get worse, stay tuned if you get off on train wrecks.
#4) Cincinnati Bengals
Does life imitate art, or does art imitate life? Does a city imitate a franchise, or does a franchise imitate a city. Cincinnati is a city that takes every good thing about it and totally fucks it up somehow. Take a deep breath while I list the examples….
First there’s the food. I love chili, but that shit they call chili in Cincinnati…well, I don’t know what the fuck it really is, but I know what it isn’t. Chili. Want to know how I know that? Ask any real American whether chili has cocoa, cinnamon, and allspice in it. Know what they are going to say? FUCK NO! More importantly, it doesn’t even taste like chili. It tastes more like a fetal cow that before it was brutally aborted was stuffed full of the world’s worst gingerbread cookies.
Then there’s the only show about Cincinnati that ever mattered; WKRP in Cincinnati. I didn’t get what a great show this was when I was younger; it wasn’t until my adult years when I realized that this show ruled because it had characters that you worked with every day. Look at the list:
- Mr. Carlson: the “boss” who only is the boss because he’s “juiced in;” in his case, Mommy owned the damn station.
- Herb Tarlek: Who doesn’t work with an idiotic sales guy?
- Venus Flytrap: The prototypical “smoove brotha.”
- Dr. Johnny Fever: The stoner.
- Bailey Quarters: Every office has that one chick who you know could be totally hot if you could get rid of her big, dorky glasses and “tomboy” wardrobe, more importantly, you know she might be a freak in the sack if the time was right.
But then they fucked everything up with Jennifer Marlowe. Leave it to Cincinnati to get a big-titted, blond character all wrong. First of all, they are always leaving the viewer with the impression that she is either independently wealthy, or has some big-time connections, yet she’s answering phones at the 14th-ranked radio station in a shithole like Cincinnati.
Then there’s the whole matter of her hair. Look at that shit; theres so much industrial strength hair spray in that mess it has become some sort of razor-sharp, rock-hard, bleached cotton-candy winged beehive of death. Like if that woman were giving you a “trouser-friendly kiss” and she suddenly jerked her head in the wrong direction, that hair could slice through your junk like a fucking light saber.
Let’s take this back to sports, and let’s start with basketball. Remember the Cincinnati Royals? They are the most-moved franchise in professional sports. They began as the Rochester Royals, who moved to the Queen City in 1957. In 1972, the shipped off to the midwest for nearly ten years of splitting time between Kansas City and Omaha being known as the Kings. Then came the 80′s, the decade when the Kings headed west for the greener pastures of Sacramento. Six months from now, they will probably be in domicile #6, Anaheim. This franchise is drawn to crappy cities for sports, and there’s a reason why Cincinnati is on the list.
Then’s there’s baseball. Forget about the “Big Red Machine,” forget about the current young crop of promising Reds. Cincinnati is where Joe Morgan made enough of a name for himself that he was able to spend over two decades torturing our ears as a broadcaster and for that crime against humanity, there is no forgiveness.
But let’s get this back to the Bengals. Some people in Cincinnati are fans of the Cincinnati Bengals. But many, many more are not. It is really hard not to understand why. Take the currently unfolding Carson Palmer situation for example. No wonder the guy wants out; he’s stuck in the only NFL hell for quarterbacks worse than Minnesota. The Bengals share many characteristics with the Vikings in this area; namely you can drop all their signal-callers into a few distinct buckets. There’s the over-rated talent (Akili Smith, David Klingler, Virgil Carter, Greg Cook, Jack Thompson, John Reaves), somebody else’s cast-offs (Jay Schroeder, Jon Kitna, Gus Frerotte, Scott Mitchell, Neil O’Donnell), B-students they tried to move to the head of the class (John Stofa, Dewey Warren, Sam Wyche, Wayne Clark, Turk Schonert, Jeff Blake, Ryan Fitzpatrick), and legitimate, top-flight NFL quarterbacks (Ken Anderson, Boomer Esaison).
In 2005, Palmer was on the verge of ending up in that last bucket. Four years ago, Palmer was primed to join Peyton Manning and Tom Brady at the top of the NFL quarterback list. He was remarkably poised; his downfield touch was perfect, he led the Bengals to their first winning season in fifteen years. He had that moment in time where he could effortlessly slip the rush and flick the ball downfield at 30 yards. He was oozing confidence, he was getting the ball to nine or ten different receivers a game. It seemed as if this was the the dawn of a new era of Bengal football; the vision of Palmer leading the Bengals 10+ wins a year suddenly didn’t seem ridiculous.
Then came that knee injury against the Steelers in the playoffs. I watched that moment (while recovering from a major leg injury of my own) and I wanted to puke. Not just because at the time I had a heightened sensitivity to that sort of thing, but because I knew that was the beginning of the end. It had to be, you don’t stay that snake-bit as a franchise without having those course-defining moments. The football gods really want to forgive the Bengals for shit like the “Ickey Shuffle,” but then they draft Akili Smith. This is why bad shit always happens in Cincinnati. Chad “Ocho” Johnson went batshit crazy, Marvin Lewis’ balls fell off, Palmer’s elbow turned into tapioca pudding, and Chris Henry learned the hard way the beds of pickup trucks don’t have seat belts.
By education, I’m an engineer, which means I have a big background in risk management and failure analysis, which is just a nice way of saying “recreating the scene of the crash.” In that field, the first thing you learn is that all disasters are not the result of one cataclysmic event; rather the are the culmination of a series of small events that link together. Take one link out of that chain, and the disaster is likely averted. But the Bengals can’t figure that out; in fact, they keep adding links thinking the longer the chain, the further away they are from that one link on which they blame all their troubles.
#3) Phoenix Coyotes
How bad do you have to be when a even a small Canadian city that has done nothing but bitch for for fifteen years about losing the NHL doesn’t want this franchise?
Point the finger anyway you like — at the City of Glendale, the NHL, Matthew Hulsizer or the Goldwater Institute — but the bottom line is no one wants the Phoenix Coyotes. Or more to the point, no one wants to pay for them. Hulsizer wants to own the Coyotes but he either can’t or won’t fork over the US$170 million the NHL wants for the franchise it bought out of bankruptcy over a year ago.
Dissect this. The Coyotes were led by Wayne Gretzky, the most mythic figure in hockey, and they still couldn’t turn out fans in a city crammed with northern transplants. To understand what that really means, imagine a baseball team owned by Babe Ruth in 1940 that drew sixty thousand fans a year. Epic fail.
#2) New York Mets
What else can you say? New York hasn’t seen a mess like this since Ground Zero; an economic terrorist like Bernie Madoff is on the verge of turning one of the “big-money” franchises into a pauper for the next quarter-century, and it couldn’t happen to a better organization. The Mets have pissed away every advantage they’ve had in baseball thanks to a couple of greedy mental pygmys like Wilpon and Saul Katz. Not only did these guys get caught with their hands in the Ponzi Scheme cookie jar, they have the unmitigated balls to somehow get Bud Selig, Major League Baseball commissioner, to buy that bullshit “too big to fail” argument that got us into that fucking Bush/Obama bailout. This is exactly why Big Brother Bud (who also happens to be drinking buddies with Wilpon) just gave the Mets’ owners $25 million to help the team with financial woes.
Yeah, that doesn’t totally smell like the Bush/Obama two-stage bailout in which drinking buddies/cronies/contributors weren’t bailed out of their bad decisions courtesy of the public coffers. These buttloafs make a series of bad decisions, and every person who has ever aimed a buck at Major League Baseball gets to pay for it. Nothing says dysfunctional like rewarding bad decisions.
Here’s the best part; Selig is pumping money into a liability that ranges anywhere from $400 million to over a billion, depending on who you talk to and who decides to file a lawsuit. Wilpon and Katz could be deep-sixed financially if a lawsuit filed from victims of the Bernard Madoff rules in victims favor. According to the New York Times, the victims are seeking upward of $1 billion from the Mets and related business partners through trustee Irving H. Picard. The victims claim that Wilpon and Katz ignored warnings about investments made with Madoff and acted only through self-interest. The Times also has reported that the Mets are in over $400 million in debt, so even if they get hit on the lawsuit, they won’t be able to pay the tab. That means Major League Baseball gets stuck with it. Wilpon and Katz already have blown through the $75 million allocated as general credit to teams in need of financial assistance, but their cratering situation threatens to take an even bigger bite. Selig should have cut these guys off a long time ago.
In the meantime, until Selig grows a pair and starves these guys out like he is doing with the Los Angeles Dodgers ownership situation, the fact is the Mets will remain a financial dumpster fire. The proof will be evident on the field; this team can’t sign new players considering they sucked more than the new girl at the Tijuana donkey show last year. It ain’t easy getting players to come to a team with no money that consistently fails to make the playoffs. This will lead to the Mets ballpark looking levery year ike the Sahara Desert by the time August rolls around.
#1) Los Angeles Clippers
This is just a team that gets to be on the list for sheer shitty. They’ve only had 4 playoff berths in a nearly 30-year history in the best basketball market in America. They might have good players, and a star like Blake Griffin, but their management and coaching just flat out sucks, and it always has. Not to mention owner Donald Sterling celebrating Black history in March should tell you all you need to know.
George “The Grand Old Man” Blanda passed away yesterday and the football world certainly feels a huge loss. From his days as the son of a Czech-born Pennsylvania coal miner to the University of Kentucky under legendary head coach Paul “Bear” Bryant, to the NFL, the AFL, and the Hall of Fame, Blanda left a mark on the game that was uniquely his yet universally great.
Blanda began his career as a quarterback and placekicker at the University of Kentucky. Coach Bryant arrived in Lexington in Blanda’s his sophomore year, following a 1–9 season. Bryant transformed Blanda and the Wildcats into a 7-3 team each of the next three years. Blanda was the starting quarterback in his last two seasons at Kentucky compiling 120 completions for 1,451 yards and 12 touchdowns. Recalling the time he met Bryant, Blanda said: “I thought this must be what God looks like.”
Blanda’s professional career started for $600 in 1949. While the Chicago Bears primarily used Blanda as a quarterback and placekicker, he also saw time on the defensive side of the ball at linebacker. It would not be until 1953 that Blanda would emerge as the Bears’ top quarterback, but an injury the following year effectively ended his first-string status. For the next four years, he was used mostly in a kicking capacity.
Actually, Blanda retired after the 1958 NFL season because of Bears owner George Halas insistence of only using him as a kicker, but returned in 1960 upon the formation of the American Football League. He signed with the Houston Oilers again as a quarterback and kicker. He was derided by the sports media as an “NFL Reject,” but he went on to lead the Oilers to the first two championships in AFL history, and he was the All-AFL quarterback and won AFL Player of the Year honors in 1961. During that season, he led the AFL with 3,330 passing yards and a record 36 touchdown passes. That record, although tied by the Giants’ Y.A. Tittle in 1963, was not surpassed in pro football until 1984 when the Dolphins’ Dan Marino tossed 48 scores.
In 1962, Blanda had two 400-yard passing days for the Oilers; a 464-yard, 4 touchdown effort against the Buffalo Bills and a 418-yard, 7 touchdown blasting of the New York Titans. Blanda threw at least 4 touchdowns 13 times during his career and once attempted 68 passes in one game. Blanda would have easily been comfortable in today’s pass-happy game; from 1963 to 1965, Blanda led the AFL in passing attempts and completions, and ranked in the top ten for attempts, completions, yards and touchdowns during seven consecutive seasons. A four-time member of the American Football League All-Star team, Blanda’s already-long career seemed over when he was released by the Oilers in 1967. However, the Oakland Raiders signed him later that year, seeing his potential as a contributing backup passer and a dependable kicker.
During the 1967 season, Blanda’s kicking saw him lead the AFL in scoring with 116 points. The Raiders went on to compete in Super Bowl II, but the following two seasons ended in heartbreak as they lost in the AFL Championship games both times. In 1970, Blanda was released during the preseason, but bounced back to establish his 21st professional season with one of the most dramatic comebacks in sports history. Beginning with the game at Pittsburgh, Blanda put together five straight clutch performances.
Against the Steelers, Blanda threw for three touchdowns in relief of an injured Daryle Lamonica. One week later, his 48-yard field goal with three seconds remaining salvaged a 17–17 tie with the Kansas City Chiefs. Against the Browns, Blanda once again came off the bench to throw a touchdown pass to tie the game with 1:34 remaining, then kicked a 53-yard field goal with three seconds left for the 23–20 win. Immediately after the winning field goal, Raiders radio announcer Bill King excitedly declared, “George Blanda has just been elected King of the World!” In the Raiders’ next game, Blanda again replaced Lamonica in the fourth quarter and connected with Fred Biletnikoff on a touchdown pass with 2:28 remaining to defeat the Denver Broncos. The streak concluded one week later when Blanda’s 16-yard field goal in the closing seconds defeated the San Diego Chargers, 20–17.
In the AFC title game against the Baltimore Colts, Blanda again relieved an injured Lamonica and had a superb performance, completing 17 of 32 passes for 217 yards and 2 touchdowns while also kicking a 48-yard field goal and two extra points, keeping the Raiders in the game until the final quarter, when he was intercepted twice. At 43, Blanda became the oldest quarterback ever to play in a championship game, and was one of the few remaining straight-ahead kickers in the NFL.
Chiefs’ owner Lamar Hunt said, “Why, this George Blanda is as good as his father, who used to play for Houston.” Although he never again played a major role at quarterback, Blanda would serve as the Raiders’ kicker for five more seasons. Blanda played in his last game at Pittsburgh’s Three Rivers Stadium on January 4, 1976, in the AFC Championship Game at age 48. Blanda went out on a 41-yard field goal and one extra point as the Raiders lost to the Steelers 16-10.
In later years, Blanda would remain a strong supporter of AFL heritage, saying “That first year, the Houston Oilers or Los Angeles Chargers could have beaten the NFL champion (Philadelphia Eagles) in a Super Bowl.” Blanda said further “I think the AFL was capable of beating the NFL in a Super Bowl game as far back as 1960 or 1961. I just regret we didn’t get the chance to prove it.”
Blanda finished his 26 professional football seasons having completed 1,911 of 4,007 pass attempts for 26,920 yards and 236 touchdowns. Blanda also held the NFL record for most interceptions thrown with 277, until Brett Favre broke in 2007. He rushed for 344 yards and 9 touchdowns on the ground, kicked 335 of 641 field goals, and 943 of 959 extra points, giving him 2,002 total points. Additional stats include 1 interception, 2 kickoff returns for 19 yards, 22 punts for 809 yards, and 23 fumble recoveries. Blanda holds the following professional football records:
- Passing Touchdowns in a game: 7 (Tied with 4 others) November 19, 1961 vs. New York Titans
- Most seasons played: 26 (1949–58, 1960–75)
- Most seasons scoring a point: 26
- One of two players to play in 4 different decades: (40s, 50s, 60s, 70s)
- Most PATs made (943) and attempted (959)
- Most interceptions thrown, single season: 42 (1962)
- Held record of most pass attempts in a single game: 68 (37 completions, vs. New York Titans on 11/1/1961) until 1994 when Drew Bledsoe had 70
- Oldest person to play in an NFL game: 48 years, 109 days
- First player ever to score over 2,000 points
- Oldest quarterback to start a title game
- Most total points accounted for (including TD passes) in a career: 3,418 (not an official stat)
- He is the placekicker on the All-Time All-AFL Team, and was one of only 20 players to play all ten years of the AFL, as well as one of only three who were in every AFL game their teams played. Blanda was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1981, his first year of eligibility, and also was inducted into the University of Kentucky Hall of Fame.
- Blanda held the record for most professional football games played with 340 until 2004, when it was broken by another placekicker, Morten Andersen.
- U.S. Route 119 in Blanda’s hometown of Youngwood, PA was renamed George Blanda Boulevard in 1985.
- In 1999, Blanda was ranked number 98 on The Sporting News’ list of the 100 Greatest Football Players.
- Blanda also is regarded as the first ever fantasy football draft pick when the game was first created in 1962.
Vaya con Dios, Mr. Blanda…there will never be another like you.
I love Listverse. The one beef I would have is that it doesn’t have enough good sports lists. But what it does have is many lists that have equivalencies in the sports world. Today’s installment involves 10 forms of government and gives a representative example from the sports world. Think of it as a civics lesson with a jockstrap.
#10) Totalitarianism: Total Rule
Ruled by an ideology that penetrates every nook and cranny of its society. The regime is often headed by a cult of personality type leader. The government gets its power from a goal or idea, such as the dominance of Nazi Germany, that its people embrace so much they will give up rights to defend it. It builds up control through eliminating and confining anything that acts independently of the state, until it regulates and enforces nearly every aspect of public and private life. Giving themselves power through propaganda, control over media, economy, restricting free discussion, mass surveillance, and use of terror tactics. Totalitarianism is really just a concept, but many countries have advocated and built off of it. The two best known being Nazi Germany, and the Soviet Union. The George Orwell book 1984 deals extensively with the subject.
Representative Sports Organization: The Oakland Raiders
Let’s face facts. The Raiders have become the North Korea of the NFL and Al Davis it’s Kim Jong-Il. Davis has sunk into some sort of self-deluded alternate reality that has him believing Tom Cable is an NFL head coach and that JaMarcus Russell was an NFL quarterback. Finally they stopped drinking the Kool-Aid in the Russell case, but there have been so many other bizarre tales emanating from Oakland that all have one thing in common: Al Davis has total control of this organization, as it clearly mirrors his dysfunctional personality. This is why Cable is the head coach; nobody else will take the job. For a good detailing of the lunacy running rampant in Oakland, check out the blog Al Davis Sucks.
# 9) Theocracy: Ruled by God
Ruled by a god or deity, the state is governed by an individual that is divinely guided, or more often an institutional representative (a church). The local laws and rules are set by a dominant religious leader on behalf of God. In pure theocracy, the leader is believed to have a direct connection to God, such as Moses and Muhammad ruled the early Israelites and Muslims. What they say is to be the law of God. Ecclesiocracy on the other hand, the leaders do not claim to be a direct religious link, but instead uphold a pre-received revelation. Other theocracies may hold a secular government to delegate civil law to religious communities. Vatican City (an absolute theocratic monarchy), Saudia Arabia, and Iran are a few notable Theocracies.
Representative Sports Organization: The NCAA
The NCAA bears all the hallmarks of an organization trying to emulate the 16th-century Catholic Church. I’m surprised they aren’t right now trying to get Reggie Bush’s forfeited Heisman for their Sacred Reliquary of Hypocrisy. Even if they don’t get their mitts on the trophy, you know this bunch of “Holier-than-thou” buttloafs almost tore their collective rotator cuffs patting themselves on the back when they finally finished their Inquisition against USC.
See, there is a fundamental problem in play here. First of all, what got USC whacked was not recruiting violations, or illegal payoffs, or fraud, or insert criminal charge here. Rather the Trojans got punished for proving the NCAA model is broken. Don’t think for a minute that USC was the only school violating the NCAA’s commandments; two of the last four BCS championship game participants were on some form of NCAA sanction. Rather, USC’s leadership figured out that punishment doesn’t outweigh the benefit of committing the crime. Pete Carroll skulked out of town in the middle of the night to cash a nice NFL paycheck; athletic director Mike Garrett will also not face any punishment for his actions. Oh, and USC will still make money despite the NCAA probation.
How do you get a punishment that really isn’t a punishment and isn’t meted out in an impartial manner? Simply put, the NCAA is a collection of university presidents seeking to carry on the hypocritical idiocy started by their dear departed idol Myles Brand, specifically through the financial transubstantiation needed to establish the NCAA as a cash-collection machine while “defending” the fraudulent premise of the “student-athlete.”
# 8 ) Exilarchy: Ruled by ethnic or religious diaspora
The exilarchy is set to rule a religious or ethnic group, rather than the place the group originates from. The leader only has power through cultural and honorary means, and only rules the groups followers. They are ultimately governed by their host countries. Two examples of an exilarchy are the Reish Galuta, and Dalai Lama’s rule over the Tibetan diaspora.
Representative Sports Organization: Brigham Young University
Mormons are like the Jews in the sense that they had to do a lot of wandering before they found a placed where they could settle. The difference is the Mormons were smart enough to pick a piece of land nobody else wanted. The problem is that by being isolated in Utah also has made them delusional. Have you ever had occasion where you say somebody about to make a decision so bad that it will cause chaos in so many respects you just cringe thinking about it? A buddy of yours drinks too much and drunk-dials his ex, or doesn’t see the problem with lending money to a new girlfriend, or even worse, thinking that living with the significant other’s parents can work …all of them will end disastrously, and all of them are a better idea than going independent in college football.
BYU needs to take a hard look at what being an “independent” means; look at who is “independent” now…Notre Dame, Army, and Navy. Look at the schedules they put together, look at the revenue those schedules can generate, and understand your schedule won’t generate anything near that. So before it is too late, BYU, review your decision to be independent.
# 7) Minarchism: Minimal Statism
Not far off from anarchism, Minarchists believe government should be limited to protecting the basic right of life, liberty, and property. They endorse a Night Watchman State, which is limited to Court, Police, and Military. Minarchists favor small, local or city level jurisdictions, rather than a large national government. Leaving anyone who doesn’t want to work or live under a certain municipality, be able to move to another jurisdiction easily. Although closely related to Market Anarchists, minarchism understands that government is inevitable, so instead of fight it, limit it.
Representative Sports Organization: Major League Baseball
The whole model of Major League Baseball is like that of the United States under the Articles of Confederation. In other words, the Office of the Commissioner functions as a weak central government with specifically enumerated powers, such as dealing with the player’s union and keeping baseball’s anti-trust exemption. This leaves and landscape dominated by a few powerful owners who really determine the direction the enterprise as a whole will take. Just wait until the winter meetings in December to see the struggle that will emerge as somebody attempts to fill the power vacuum created by the death of George Steinbrenner.
# 6) Ethnocracy: Ruled by race
Ethnocracies are used to make one race, religious group, or language, politically dominant to the rest. With all other issues being subordinate to their cause. The degree of discrimination will vary from system to system. In Uganda there is an ethnic cleansing of the Indian people, along with an extreme political favoring of the indigenous people. However ethnocracy can be a full fledged democracy, with only a lack of representation for a certain group. A few other places experiencing ethnocracy are Pakistan, Israel, and South Africa.
Representative Sports Organization: The National Football League
The NFL is dominated by a particular ethnic group, and that dominance has created a situation in which a permissive attitude toward bad behavior has become the expectation of said group of all other groups. In other words, the NFL has replaced the NBA as America’s pre-eminent “thug” league, and while it does contain bad actors of all stripes, there is simply no denying two facts. First, until the arrival of Roger Goodell, there was a “boys will be boys” attitude towards criminal behavior amongst players. Second, for every Ben Roethlisberger, there are ten Michael Vicks.
I’m fully aware that somebody is going to slap a “racist” label on me for saying this; this is how anybody seeking to defend this sort of disparity discredits anyone who dares point out the emperor is naked. They have no choice but to discredit guys like me; they can’t refute the argument. The underpinning of such a “racist” allegation is the belief that the act itself is not as important as who committed it or who was on the receiving end of it. This is how you get people to buy such monstrously flawed arguments such as “NFL players are slaves.” Face it, slaves did not have the choice to be slaves; find me one guy in the NFL who was driven at gunpoint to play on Sundays, let alone one that didn’t have an agent who negotiated a lucrative, mutual agreement that was entered in complete free will. That’s all just a smokescreen for the fact it is not allowed to criticize or hold black players accountable for their performance or their actions.
#5) Kleptocracy: Ruled by Thieves
Similar to a plutocracy, the kleptocracy is ruled by a few people of wealth. In this system however, the rich get richer by embezzling from its citizens. A kleptocracy degrades the peoples quality of life, taking money that is often supposed to go to schools, hospitals, roads, and other public services. In 2004, an a German-based NGO, Transparency International released a list of what is believed to be the ten most self-enriched leaders, Indonesian and Philippine Presidents ranking on the top 2. The US Senate recently coined the term narcokleptocracy, building off the existing term for kleptocracy to address societies involved in narcotic trades.
Representative Sports Organization: The franchise owners of the National Football League
How else do you describe a group of people who have extorted taxpayers into building stadiums and twisted the television networks into agreements that will pay the owners even if there is no football in 2011 because the owners are going to lockout the player’s union in order to force financial concessions?
#4) Plutocracy: Ruled by the Wealthy
Economic inequality at its finest, the plutocracy gives power to the most wealthy. A few of the places who are known for their plutocracies are Ancient Greece, Carthage, Italian merchant republics of Venice and Florence, and Genoa. In recent times there is no true plutocracy, although many countries are criticized for showing similar signs. Corporations raise and donate significant amounts of revenue for politicians and political parties, and use their financial power to influence favorable legislation; similar to a corporatocracy. The Plutocracy is classically an oligarchy, so a handful of the wealthiest people control everything. If there is no proper form of control, the plutocracy collapses into a kleptocracy.
Representative Sports Organization: The New York Yankees
If there were ever a franchise ruled by the almighty dollar, it is the Yankees. The late George Steinbrenner is amongst the initial wave of owners who saw sports franchises as investments; hence he built the Yankees into a powerful corporate brand. Now that he is gone, it will be interesting to see the future of this organization; does it continue to be a model sports business, or does it digest itself by making that collapse into kleptocracy.
#3) Logocracy: Ruled by Words
A more ironic or parody government, a logocracy is a government ruling through words. Described in Washington Irving’s 1807 work, Salmagundi, a logocracy is a government that uses tricky wording to control its people. The Soviet Union has been accused of being a logocracy, citing that its language was a “stereotyped jargon consisting of formulas and empty slogans, whose purpose was to prevent people from thinking outside the boundaries of collective thought.” George Orwell’s 1984 is a good example of a logocracy, and used the Soviet Union’s “Neo-language” as the basis for its Newspeak.
Representative Sports Organization: ESPN
The World Wide Leader owes its existence to words, even if some of them aren’t really that useful. ESPN would have you believe that anybody cares about women’s basketball. ESPN would have you believe dolts like Skip Bayless and Woody Paige actually have even the remotest knowledge of sport. And it is ESPN that has you beleiving any former jock can be a commentator.
#2) Technocracy: Governed by Technical Decision Making
Technocracy is a government ran by scientists and engineers. Placing the most knowledgeable professionals in charge of their specialized area to ensure administrative functions are carried out efficiently. For example, a group of medical professionals would control the health care system, political scientists would control political policy, Judges would control the law, with all the groups working together to maximize each one’s performance. The officials would be selected through bureaucratic processes to test knowledge and performance, selecting the most qualified. Though never used in a state wide setting yet, there is a technocracy movement pushing to make North America one large technocratic based land mass. The area would use a system of “Energy Accounting” instead of money and use a non-market economy – hypothetically becoming the most energy and production efficient place in the world.
Representative Sports Organization: The “Instant Replay” Crowd
The “Instant Replay” people believe that by introducing technology all officiating mistakes can be eliminated. What happened in the Bears-Lions game last Sunday is the classic example of why they are wrong. The point behind slowing down the games to introduce “Instant Replay” was to eliminate mistakes, so now that is has been proven not to be effective, why not get rid of it? Because we live in an “I-pod, I-pad, I-phone” society which has an entrenched belief that anything involving technology is superior that doesn’t.
#1) Demarchy: Ruled by people
A government ran by randomly selected citizens called a ‘citizen’s jury’. The system is similar to a democracy, without the need for elections. Proposed by Australian philosopher John Burnheim, this style of government has never actually been used. Hypothetically, the random selection will remove the chance of political corruption, as it is unlikely the elected people involved would be part of a ‘political machine’. A Demarchy also avoid the issue of having to please anyone for political gain, and is dependent only on the selected persons beliefs and standings on what is best for the population. Cutting down the time that is spent by today’s elected officials to influencing, and be influenced by others to achieve political goals and popularity.
Representative Sports Organization: The Green Bay Packers
The Packers are the sole non-profit, community-owned franchise in major league professional sports. Based on the original “Articles of Incorporation for the Green Bay Football Corporation” put into place in 1923, if the Packers franchise were to have been sold, after the payment of all expenses, any remaining money would go to the Sullivan Post of the American Legion in order to build “a proper soldier’s memorial.” This stipulation was enacted to ensure the club remained in Green Bay and that there could never be any financial enhancement for the shareholders. At the November 1997 annual meeting, shareholders voted to change the beneficiary from the Sullivan-Wallen Post to the Green Bay Packers Foundation, which makes donations to many charities and institutions throughout Wisconsin.
As of June 8, 2005, 112,015 people (representing 4,750,934 shares) can lay claim to a franchise ownership interest. Shares of stock include voting rights, but the redemption price is minimal, no dividends are ever paid, the stock cannot appreciate in value; though private sales often exceed the face value of the stock, and stock ownership brings no season ticket privileges. No shareholder may own over 200,000 shares, which ensures no individual can assume control of the club.
When you are a kid, two things that get your juices going are music and sports. Face it, being good at either was the ticket to Chick-town, and since I was 14 with enough testosterone surging through my veins to kill a man in his 50’s, I got involved in both because I was taking any ticket I could.
Fast forward to that age where you start realizing that to remain visible to the 23-year-old residents of Chick-town will require investment in a sports car, and you start flashing back to the salad days. If you are as deranged as I am, you start noticing that the two have more parallels which have only become visible through the prism of age.
Dunk that prism in a Sea World sized-tank of bourbon and impending mid-life doom, and I came to realize in between the bouts of pre-suicidal sobbing that the bass players and drummers that influenced me shared characteristics with the sports figures I idolized.
1) Jack Bruce and Ginger Baker: Cream
Don’t be fooled by Jack Bruce’s skull pelt and the skeletal remains of Ginger Baker, together they formed the backbone of the greatest jam band of all time. Forget that its 1966, forget the heroin stupor, and remember that every garage band MUST pay homage to these guys.
Sports Figure Comparison: The Bambino
Sure, lots of guys had a breakfast of a quart of bourbon, five ball-park hot dogs, and two hookers, then slugged three homers, but Babe Ruth was the first. Just like all the bands that bands snorted God-knows-what up through a cymbal stand, then just flat-out rocked it for two hours, Cream not only did it before you, but did it better.
2) Roger Glover and Ian Paice: Deep Purple
Keeping the rhythm behind The Purp’s keyboard-and-axe assault was no easy task, but Glover’s ability to seamless bridge that assault and Paice’s monstrously-underrated drum chops more than got it done, it laid the groundwork for the rock riff so classic it made some serious cultural leaps.
Sports Figure Comparison: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
Despite the fact that Glover and Paice define what a rock rhythm section should be, they played behind such a wall of “showtime” that their classic status often went unnoticed. Jabbar was also overshadowed by the “Showtime Lakers,” even though he was the classic old-school NBA center and is still that league’s all-time leading scorer. Besides, the soccer scene in this video is a reminiscent morsel of the cheesy hilarity of Jabbar’s fighting Bruce Lee.
3) Geddy Lee and Neil Peart: Rush
Let’s face it – Canada is simply an odd combination of Europe and North America. The recipe for a Mountie is equal parts British Redcoat, horse, and Smokey the Bear hat. But when it comes to music, they got the combination right. Rush found a way to take the musicianship of the Europeans and mix it with a dose of good ol’ North American power-trio. But, it still isn’t cool to like them because being Canadian automatically costs them 20 style points. Well, here’s my 20 points and you can freakin’ eat me…RUSH RULES!
Sports Figure Comparison: Youppi
The 1994 Montreal Expos were massively talented, on a roll toward the playoffs, and God screwed them by placing a baseball strike squarely in the path of Canada’s third straight World Series title. Why? Because they are Canadians. See, even though the Expos fielded some very good teams, they consistently drew about nine fans. This explains Youppi, the best mascot that never got his props.
4) John Entwhistle and Keith Moon: The Who
No two musicians in rock history had such diverse styles, yet blended so seamlessly. Entwhistle was a student of music, and his bass work was melodic and richly architected. Moon was a rock stars’s rock star, and his drum lines were savage. But the differences came together in a surprisingly rhythmic fashion.
Sports Figure Comparison: Bert Blyleven
The pure smooth that only Bert’s knee-buckling curveball brought, yet with zing brought by a guy whose off-day past-times are rumored to have included setting Tom Kelly’s shoelaces on fire. It’s the same odd combo that can sell you a house while dropping the F-bomb. If Keith Moon were a pitcher, you just know he’d do stuff like this on the road, and if Bert were a drummer, he’d be rocking the goldfish.
5) Geezer Butler and Bill Ward: Black Sabbath
When they first hit ears across the world in 1969, Black Sabbath had a sound like no other heard before; they were musical, yet raw. There was something beautiful, but at the same time frightening about them. Sabbath was the music for the “bad kids,” and even though you might not have been a badass, you couldn’t get enough.
America’s bicentennial year may have been the high-water mark for the Oakland Raiders and its bad boy mystique. John Madden played the hulking maniacal leader of this bunch of escapees from a southern chain gang. Ken Stabler fulfilled the role of gun-slinger quarterback, but it was the overlooked defense that set the tempo and supplied the power for this team, with such scary figures as Jack Tatum, Otis Sistrunk, and Ted Hendricks raining destruction on offenses across the NFL.
6) Tom Petersson and Bun E. Carlos: Cheap Trick
If you are my age, there was a solid five-year span where Cheap Trick may have been the perfect band to play the soundtrack of your life. If you aren’t my age, catch a re-run of “That 70′s Show” and you’ll get the idea. Cheap Trick is the quintessential American Rock N’ Roll band; good times just seem to break out wherever their music is played.
Sports Figure Comparison: Kyle Orton
It is well-established that we here at Dubsism believe Kyle Orton is the greatest athlete is in the history of ever, because he is living the life you would kill to live. If you couldn’t be Kyle Orton, you’d be Cheap Trick. They both kick ass where it matters; Orton wins football games and Cheap Trick flat-out rocks. They are both famous enough to live the “rock star” lifestyle, but not so famous their fame becomes an all-consuming black hole of douchebaggery (see Tom Brady).