April 28, 2007

Whenever I Feel Down About The 'Skins Draft...

I just take a look at this video created by ESPN for their draft a few years ago of the Jets sordid draft history. You get to see at about the 1:15 mark the Jets taking Ken O'Brien over Dan Marino. You get to hear a Jets fan shriek at the 1:00 mark "OH NOOOOO!!" when he hears that the Jets are going with a fullback. You get to hear Mel Kiper go off on the Jets at about the 40 second mark. You get to see a Jets fans despair when the Jets fans meltdown at about the 20 second mark when the Jets take a TE in the first round. And the video concludes with the Jets taking Penn State TE Kyle Brady over Warren Sapp in 1995 and Jets fans being absolutely crushed. Seriously, the Jets and the 300-pound, food-caught-in-mustache, distraught fans, never cease to entertain.

2007 NFL Draft

The draft is about to kickoff. We'll be adding our point of view in the comments section of this post.

April 27, 2007

The End of Michael Vick


I won't rehash the excellent points made by ProFootballTalk.com regarding Michael Vick's most recent run-in with the law. It seems he at least funded, and most probably actively supported, a kennel operation that raised dogs for use in fights to the death.

Don't get me wrong, there were no Strudels (see below) or Rogans (see belower) in these kennels, only Rottweilers, Pitbulls, and other fighting breeds.

So you give lifelong sexual diseases to unsuspecting women while using the alias Ron Mexico. We forgive you (mostly because the alias was hilarious). If we ran people out of pro sports for that we'd have missed out on Lenny Dykstra.

So you can't even lie convincingly about your secret compartment water bottle. We get it dude. You smoke weed so much you have to sneak it through customs. We've all seen your eyes, and we've all heard about your brother Marcus.

So your fishing boat might have found its way onto private property. That's no biggie; the charges were even dismissed!

But you mistreated dogs. Or worse, you turned a blind eye while other people mistreated dogs at your facilities. The previously described indiscretions can all be overlooked because none of them make you a bad person necessarily, though Ms. Mexico might disagree. The millisecond pictures of dogs mistreated while under your care hit the internet, you're done.

Here's a before and after:

I'm not particularly soft, though I do love dogs. The second picture, of the dead dog, is not supposed to be indicative of the dogs Michael Vick had at his facilities. It is indicative of what dogfighting breeders do with a losing dog. This dog died of starvation because it's owners left it on the side of a rural road once it was crippled losing in a fight.

My point is not to drive people to PETA (Really, PLEASE do not join PETA), nor vegetarianism. It's to show how this incident is the one that will drive Vick out of Atlanta, and perhaps out of the NFL--perhaps even into jail.

I mean, it's not like he's even a good quarterback.

1985 NBA Draft Lottery Controversy

I've reviewed the YouTube video of the 1985 NBA Draft Lottery. It could have been handled much better, but I don't think the Knicks were intentionally given the overall #1 pick.

But who cares about that? The Atlanta Hawks' GM in the video is Stan Kasten, currently the Nats GM. Apparently Stan is only 50-50 at resurrecting franchises.

The Fine Art of Bullshitting

This just in! ProFootballTalk reports via Adam Schefter of NFL.com that the Lions will take Calvin Johnson with the 2nd pick in tomorrow's draft, barring a "blockbuster" trade offer.

This not quite as just in! Sal Paolantonio of ESPN reports that TB, with the 4th pick, has made two trade offers to the Lions, one packaging both TB second rounders and the other sending a second rounder plus CB Brian Kelly.

This just a little further behind! All GMs are completely full of it right now. The Lions have determined, through extensive scientific research, that teams are interested in Calvin Johnson. They leak the TB offer, knowing it can be beaten, and then say they'd only move off the 2nd pick if a "blockbuster" offer came. They've basically shown the rest of the league TB's hand, and dared them to beat it.

If only the triumverate over at Redskins Park would respond. They need another WR about as bad as Detroit does.

Nats New Ballpark Taking Shape

This is the view down the third base line looking towards home plate. A few more pics to follow as soon as the picture upload feature on Blogger starts to work again on my work computer. One small thing to feel optimistic about for the Nats. Although Shawn Hill continued his surprisingly decent season in the 8 inning performance yesterday.

For now, I'll reserve this space to say that if Stan Kasten and the Lerner family continue to demonstrate a total lack of care for those of us who remain committed to the Nats during this final season at RFK, they will lose a huge chunk of their fanbase. Their sentiment seems to be "Listen, you're sacrificing now, but unless you make this sacrifice, you won't get to see the team in the new ballpark." Coercion generally doesn't work. From trolling the Nats message boards, the natives are definitely restless. Restless at a continued crappy promotional schedule. Restless that the team couldn't organize a Fanfest the way the O's could. Restless that concessions at RFK continue to suck in both service and what is offered (and we do all realize that a 40-year-old stadium's capabilities are limited). But bottom line is that RFK regularly handled 50,000 people for Redskins games. Why can they suddenly not handle 40K at Opening Day? Or even the 18,000 who show up on a regular weeknight game? At least you can bring your own food into the ballpark.

Skins' Portis for Jets' Vilma?

The New York Times is reporting that the Redskins and Jets (the only team the Skins have successfully put one over on in the last decade) are discussing a trade that would send Clinton Portis to New Jersey in exchange for almost-stud LB Jonathan Vilma.

So THAT's why they made the TJ Duckett trade last year. Now it makes a little sense. Wait, what do you mean he signed with the Lions on March 9?

Pornography, stuSee Skins' fans, it's not illegal for a defensive player to touch the ball

The deal makes sense in terms of the quality of the two players, especially considering Vilma's age. However, the Skins are going into the season with a QB with a half-season's experience. It might be a good idea to give him a strong running game to take some heat off. On the flip side, the Skins defense isn't going to be any better without a pass rush. Perhaps Vilma would make some tackles that were missed the year before, but I don't think it's an instant fix.

April 26, 2007

Jordan Steffy Gets National Pub

According to ESPN, and common sense, #19, Jordan Steffy, will make the transition from highly-recruited sign language expert to starting QB for the Terps. Nice to see we're getting some pub that doesn't include piecemeal stadium additions.

For the record, I won the Heisman in a landslide with Steffy on the XBox 360, scoring 89 TDs rushing and passing. I expect nothing less from the human version.

April 25, 2007

J-Red = Idol Genius (again)

I made this comment earlier today:

There's a lot of speculation that no one will be eliminated tonight. That would mean they'd have to eliminate two next week or have the final show be between the final three.

Just sayin' is all.

And I noticed that Jeremy referred to tonight's show as a snooze-fest. A friend of mine referred to it as a trick to watch a telethon.

I've seen telethons, and Lord knows I've seen snoozefests. Tonight's Idol was very well-produced and very well-communicated, especially the parts that focused on the U.S. My household, which isn't struggling but isn't comfortable either, was able to donate a significant amount. Go to www.idolaid.com and do the same.

And, on a side note, if you've donated to Save the Whales, PETA, Greenpeace, the NRA, Focus on the Family, the GOP, the DNC, the Green Party, your local Humane Society, any political candidate, the World Wildlife Fund, the Sierra Club or any other non-human charity since August 29, 2005, I hate you. I seriously hate you.

As for elected officials, we pay them. Trust me. As for environmental charities, what is sunburn when you're starving, or when you're dying of a preventable disease like AIDS or malaria? What is being American when you're STILL living in a FEMA trailer? Why is this okay?

NFL Draft What If

Every draft guru from Mel Kiper all the way down to GibbsRulz1991 has declared this the draft of mediocrity. After the top five (or more if you like the guys just off the elite cusp, e.g. Gaines Adams, Okoye, Landry, etc.) players, there is a massive clot of low-first high-second round talent. Naturally, if you have the 10th pick, that means you're going to pay 10th pick money for the same quality of player that the team with the 40th pick will get to underpay.

Perhaps this is less a sign of mediocrity in the crop than it is a sign that the elite players are easily distinguishable from the very very good. It could also be a sign that the seven NFL scouting services (six team-run independents and one service used by all the others) have access to so much information that they have managed to detect many flaws that were normally hidden in guys who proved to be busts. Who knows? Part of the allure of the draft is that everything is based on what we think we know about guys who have never played in the pros, what we think we know about the strengths and weaknesses of NFL teams that won't take the field for five months, and what we think we know about which teams always make brilliant picks (Steelers, Pats, Ravens, Cardinals recently) and which ones always find a way to blow it (Redskins, Texans, Bills, Browns recently).

But all that aside, how about this for a what-if scenario: the notoriously cheap Minnesota Vikings are on the clock with the 7th pick. The studs are all gone, and they're looking at paying 7th pick money for a 25th pick kind of guy. For this reason, no one will help them trade down. Perhaps they remember back to 2003, when they took too long deciding on a trade offer with the Ravens, had their time expire, and watched Jacksonville sprint on stage to select Byron Leftwich ahead of the Vikes' pick.

This event is instructive for two reasons: 1) Jacksonville is still trying to figure out what to do with Byron Leftwich; and 2) If you don't pick in time, the next team in line can jump in and pick ahead of you. I cannot not the find the official rules for the Draft, but I would guess that the 15-minute clock for the next team in the selection order begins at the expiration at the previous team's 15 minutes. I assume this because I have read that "a team is ALWAYS on the clock". So that means if team X fails to pick in time, team X+1 can pick at any time after that. The fun part comes if team X+1 also lets their time lapse. Then team X+2 also can pick from that point forward.

What if there is a Mexican Standoff on draft day? Team X intentionally fails to pick, perhaps with some pretext about working on a trade and getting distracted, with the hope of paying the player they want less. Then Team X+1 catches on to the idea, and decides they don't want to pay more than a player is worth, and they intentionally do not pick within 15 minutes. This could go on and on until multiple teams are staring at each other hoping one would just go to the podium and pick.

It seems far-fetched, but why overpay? I wonder if the NFL has a rule in place to handle such a standoff. Did it ever occur to them?

Byrd Stadium Renovation Plans

So I'm going to spare the discussion and picture of the added three tiers of luxury boxes along the current site of Tyser Tower because I don't think too many people who will be reading this will experience those seats. But HOW COOL IS THIS PLAN??? Reminds me a lot of Qwest Field in Seattle. I must say though that I'm genuinely concerned whether the Terps would ever be able to fill a stadium like this. I have this horrible feeling that this is basically an invitation for 15,000 more Hokie fans to fill the stadium whenever we play them. All I can say is good thing I'm looked into my Terp Club seats now in the lower bowl.

April 24, 2007

Idol Recap

Alright, so a very brief recap before I collapse in bed from muscle relaxants, ranking what I think will be the vote getters from top to bottom:

The judges are out of extraordinary things to say about her, and so am I. Her vocal performance this evening was simply soaring.

She and Jordin are the top two on the show, hands down, but I worry that there will only be room for one of them in the final show, as I think one of the guys will bump in.

Starting to make some noise in that country genre, showing a type of music he's comfortable singing and coming across as a truly genuine person, largely unlike the other two males remaining.

Imagine you sang with a personality, it's easy if you try. But seriously, not exactly a song that is made for Idol because there are no parts to show your range. He sang a very controlled version of the song, but ended up sounding like John Lennon on Prozac.

He had the worst vocals of the night, but I think that he's safe because I think Lakisha is gone. I couldn't believe the judges gave him good reviews, as I thought he gave a train wreck of a performance. I guess it was the opening performance of Idol Gives Back and the judges didn't want to start off on a harsh note. If they had been truthful, they would've told Chris that despite his protestations otherwise, nasally is not a valid way of singing, and he was singing nasally yet again. He has two weeks left, tops. I mean, next week is Bon Jovi. If I have to listen to him butcher Dead or Alive and make it sound like Justin Timberlake, I swear I'll break my TV.

I think this is the week our former frontrunner goes home. She doesn't smile, doesn't appear happy, and her "strategy" of picking songs by former Idol winners seems to be backfiring because it causes us to remember all the things those Idol winners had that she doesn't. Fantasia had Lakisha's voice plus charisma. Carrie had 3/4 of Lakisha's voice, but was ten times more attractive. Lakisha goes home this week to Fort Meade.

And Idol Gives Back... Jesus... this is fodder for an entire post, but all I'll say is if I heard Ryan Seacrest tell me that my phone call would be the most important phone call I'd ever make, I was going to scream. Hmm... I can dial the phone and a WHOPPING TEN CENTS goes to charity. Sure. Way more important than the phone call telling my parents I was engaged. Or that I passed the Bar. Or the one that I'll make eventually to tell my parents that they have grandkids. Nothing to see kids, no hyperbole here.

Thank goodness for DVR for tomorrow's two hour snorefest. Borat, Ford Commercial, results. That's all I need to see.

Is There a Page 2 Curse?

I was shocked and saddened this morning to hear that David Halberstam passed away yesterday in a car crash. When he started writing for Page 2 in 2001, I had no idea who he was, but I quickly learned that he was one of the most talented and interesting journalists anywhere.

I realized that he is the third current or former Page 2 author to pass away in the past three years. Ralph Wiley died in 2004, Hunter S. Thompson in 2005, and now David Halberstam. Is there a Page 2 curse? This seems much more serious than the vaunted SI Cover Jinx. There haven't been that many Page 2 writers in its 6 year history, so for 3 of them to die in 3 years seems very unlikely.

Maybe Simmons should have taken that offer from Sports Illustrated.