Posted on: October 20, 2008 2:42 pm
Edited on: October 20, 2008 2:43 pm

Manic Monday Nuttahs

1. Tampa Bay finally did it. The Rays are in the World Series. Now, of course, we have the mainstream media (Freeman) whining that a Phillies-Rays World Series isn't "sexy enough" for him.! Do you hear that Bud Selig? You have failed in your duties as baseball commissioner because you did not produce a World Series matchup that appeases Freeman! How freaking ARROGANT can some sports writers be that they think that somehow who they want to be in the World Series matters! It doesn't matter, Freeman! The World Series does not exist to accommodate YOU! It exists to put the winners of the ALCS against the winners of the NLCS! If you don't watch it because it's not sexy enough for you, then that's your loss.

2. The head coaching change in St Louis better have teams worrying about the Rams. That team's mentality has changed drastically with the ouster of Scott Linehan and the promotion of Jim Haslett to head coach. Arizona better not stumble or else they'll see the Rams breathing down their neck for the NFC West Championship.

3. On the other hand, the Cowboys are NOT right mentally. Yeah yeah yeah. Tony's finger was hurt and he didn't play. But that's not why they lost 34-14. That's not why they lost 3 out of their last 4. The Cowboys are simply not right mentally. They aren't disciplined mentally. Stupid illegal shift penalties killing a scoring opportunity. Sleepwalking on the football field. Cowboy fans, your team is in trouble. Not talent-wise but attitude-wise. They got that star on their helmet and they are acting like that alone should win them football games. They better figure out their mental failings or they will be watching the playoffs on television.

4. Toxic Take: Hines Ward. I like Hines Ward. I don't like seeing a guy get hurt but I do like seeing guys play football. With all the wide receivers in the league that spend more time practicing their end zone celebrations than they do practicing their route running, it's nice to see a wide receiver remember that football is a contact sport and goes out there and pops somebody.

5. Then we have the Brett Favre silliness. I'm not going into the alleged accusations about him giving out Packer secrets. I'm more interested in examining his on the field play. And the entire Brett vs Aaron debate has been a roller coaster. The Packers started 2-0 and Aaron looked good while Brett and the Jets were just 1-2 and not so hot. Then the Packers lost 3 straight as Aaron was hurting and Brett had one ....key word game and suddenly everyone was jumping out and pointing out what a mistake the Packers made and how the Packers were going to regret the move. Then the Packers won a couple games, Rodgers outdueled Peyton Manning and Brett and the Jets just stunk up the joint against a Raiders team that, just a week ago, I would have thought would not win another game all season. Just another wacky week in the NFL.

6. Heads up, Texans. A second straight game is headed their way against a winless team. I always cringe when we have to play winless teams. Especially when the Texans have never beaten the Bengals in their existence. Texans need to take a class on how to step on a team's neck and choke them out. No reason to only win 28-21 against the Lions when you have a 21-0 first quarter lead!

7. Teams that are for real: Buffalo, Tennessee, Pittsburgh, Carolina, Giants. Not quite yet sold on: Denver, Arizona, Washington, the entire NFC North. On the rise: Rams. On the decline: Patriots, Chargers, Colts, Cowboys. Get consistent and you could be a contender: Jets, Jaguars, Saints, Buccaneers, Ravens, Eagles.

8. One last question/thought before I wrap up. Will the election put an end to all the political talk on this board or will it just make it worse? Why do you people bother? Seriously! I've read several of the threads on the political topics and all the good or relevant points get buried in the huge pile of personal attacks, insults, name-calling and stereotyping. Yankee and Red Sox fans think that Democrats and Republicans should be a bit nicer to each other!

And with that, Toxic Talk will now close for the day.
Category: NFL
Posted on: October 18, 2008 1:26 pm

Running Up The Score

Many times last season, I heard complaints about the New England Patriots running up the score. Also, earlier this season, Miami accused Florida of running up the score. I wonder if these accusers really know what it means to have the score run up on you.
Tonight, the Houston Cougars play the SMU Mustangs. So, I figured this was a perfect time to show everyone what it really means to have the score run up on you.
On October 21, 1989, the Houston Cougars faced the SMU Mustangs. Houston was in the midst of the run-and-shoot offense, with Jack Pardee at head coach and Andre Ware, who would win the Heisman Trophy, at quarterback. SMU was in its first season back from the death penalty, was starting 14 freshmen and basically fielding a team of walk-ons. Bunch of college students who just happened to want to play football.
Ware completes 25-of-41 passes for 517 yards and six touchdowns - in the first half. His five TDs in the second quarter alone are an NCAA record, as are his passing yards for a quarter (340) and a half. The Cougars led 59-14 at the half. Andre Ware's day was done as there was no reason to keep throwing and scoring. Right?
David Klingler came in after halftime and then he had 20 pass attempts of his own. That's right. Houston threw the ball 20 times with a 45 point lead. 12 of those passes were "bombs".
The Cougars became the most offensive team in college football history with an astounding 1,021 yards (771 passing, 250 rushing), the first team to gain more than 1,000.
So, even with a 45-point halftime lead, the Cougard throw for another 254 yards in the second half. Against a group of walk-ons. They weren't playing football players who just happened to be going to college. They were playing college students who just happened to be playing football.
The final score was Houston 95 SMU 21.
"I'd never run up the score like that on a group of freshmen and sophomores. I hope they're really proud of their accomplishment. It was a sad day for college football." Thus said SMU head coach Forrest Gregg.
Whenever I hear someone complaining about a team going for it on 4th down with a big lead or kicking a late field goal with a 2 or 3 score lead, I just want to laugh. Don't ever tell one of those Mustangs that someone ran the score up on your team if all that happened was someone kicked a late field goal with a 20-point lead. I don't think they will be listening.
Category: NCAAF
Posted on: October 17, 2008 10:13 am

More Nuttahisms

1. Normally, I'd jump on the Cinderella bandwagon. Normally I'd root for the Rays to beat the Red Sox and go to the World series. Normally, I'd want the low-payroll team to smack down the high-payroll team. At least I had that opinion until last night. No, it wasn't the great Red Sox rally that won me over. It was reading the game thread and watching all these non-Ray fans come on and make asses of themselves while bashing the Red Sox. It's one thing to cheer one team or another. But some of these posters started getting personal with their attacks on some of the Red Sox fans who were doing nothing more than posting about the game. I wonder how many of them would have been that brave and say that stuff had they been say in a Boston sports bar. But give them a keyboard and an anonymous nickname and suddenly they get brave. Pathetic really. And, thanks to those of you whom did that, all I have to say back to you is this: Go Red Sox!

2. It appears that of the two NFL head coach firings, one may have made the team better and the other made the team worse. The Rams came out and played with heart and looked like they were enjoying football and pulled a stunning win on the road over the Redskins. On the other side of the coin, the Raiders looked like they were sending a message to Al Davis. I won't bash them so much for giving up 34 to the Saints (even though Colston and Shockey were both out) but how do you only score THREE against a defense that has not stopped anyone all season? Maybe they would not have won had Kiffin still been there but they sure as hell wouldn't have lost 34-3! But it's not they head coach itself but the damn drama that Al Davis has put this group through that has done the most damage.  Make a head coaching change but do it in such a way that allows the organization to retain some shred of dignity. Al Davis' drama queen press conference that ended Lane Kiffin's tenure with the Raiders was more than just a hatchet vendetta designed to humiliate the ex-coach. It was also a demoralizing blow to an already fragile team psyche. Remember, John Madden once said that 90% of the game is half mental. And what Al Davis did to the mental health of his players could be seen clearly on the field against the Saints. I would not be surprised if the Raiders end the season 1-15. I've seen many times where teams have met such a demoralizing event and responded by losing the rest of their games. Remember when Jim Mora went off on his "playoffs?" rant? The Colts lost the rest of their games that season. Remember the Ravens meltdown against the Patriots last season? They didn't win another game under Brian Billick. Don't be surprised to see this happen to the Raiders.

3. So, I hear Jerry Jones will make a decision on whether or not Tony Romo will play. Why is Jerry making this decision? Isn't that why he hired a medical staff and a head coach? How can you Cowboy fans stomach this is what I will never understand. Don't you want to grab Jerry by his neck, squeeze it and scream in his face "Quit meddling!" Yes, I know. He's the owner. It's his team. He can do what he wants. But it's just like in any other business. You may be the owner, but you hire people to do specific things based on their skills! And Jerry has skills to run a business but he is not skilled at being a football coach. And he sure as hell isn't qualified in the medical profession! So, for the betterment of the Cowboys, Jerry should back off and let the medical staff and coaches determine Romo's playing status.

4. I was surprised to see Texas leapfrog Alabama to get to #1. But, if I were a Texas fan, I wouldn't be too thrilled about it. And, if I were an Alabama fan, I wouldn't be too upset. If we've learned anything over the past year and a half in college football, we have learned that being ranked #1 only means that you are about to lose a game.

5. Aren't you proud of me? I've gone this deep into my rants and have yet to criticize T.O. one time.

6. So Shaq is running his mouth again about cowards this time. You know who was really a coward? Shaq! Hey, Fat Aristotle. What a coincidence that you magically healed from your injury as soon as Miami traded you to Phoenix. Who do you think you are? Manny Ramirez? If anyone should be rapping, it should be the Miami Heat rapping about getting a refund for the money they paid Shaq last season before the trade. Because he damn sure didn't earn a dime of it!

7. Here's hoping the coming week in the NFL isn't as nuts as last week. I only went 7-7 on my picks. Inexcusable! As a Texan fan, I am obligated to blame David Carr for that too. Or maybe T-Mac. "It's my fault. Everything's my fault." Yep, T-Mac, It sure is!

The Toxic One is out!
Posted on: October 6, 2008 5:59 pm

Texans Officially Houston's Team

It took over six seasons, but the Houston Texans yesterday finally earned the right to be called Houston's team. Houstonians can now finally put to rest their Love Ya Blue shirts and Oiler decals for the Texans have managed to lose a game in a way that would have made those old Oiler teams proud.

Remember them? The Oiler teams of the past? Whom could find ways to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory and tease their fans into thinking it was their time, only to get smacked back into place? The Oilers of the Bum Phillips Era whom, as Sam Rutigliano famously said, "knocked on the wrong door." After finally getting over the Steeler hump, they still found themselves looking up, that time at the Cleveland Browns.

Then we had the famous late 80s/early 90s Oiler teams of Jerry Glanville and Jack Pardee. 7 straight playoff appearances. Forget not making the Super Bowl. They never even made the AFC Title Game. And there were some monumental collapses among that group. 1989. Game and a half lead over the Browns with 2 games to go and they lose both games, the AFC Central Title and then the wild-card round playoff game to a Steelers team they had beaten twice in the regular season. In 1991, they finally win the Central, take a playoff win over the Jets then hold a big halftime lead in Denver, only to lose on a last minute field goal. In 1993, they also won the division, finally got a first round bye, and still blew a halftime lead and lost to the Chiefs.

And then there was 1992. The 35-3 debacle in Buffalo.

Yes, once they finally cut all ties with the Houston Oilers, there very first year as the Tennessee Titans, they made it to the Super Bowl.

Now, we Houston fans can say that the Oilers have truly been replaced. Don't give me that talk about a miracle comeback by the Colts. That was an out-and-out Houston chokejob to go into the annals of Houston chokejobs, including Phi Slamma Chokah and the Cotton Bowl loss to Notre Dame and Joe Montana.

Welcome to Houston, Texans. You have finally earned your stripes as a Houston team!
Category: NFL
Posted on: October 4, 2008 8:55 am
Edited on: October 4, 2008 8:56 am

Ocho Genius

So, Chad Johns....errr....Ocho...errrr, hell with it, I'm just going to call him Chad. Chad says he is going to score a touchdown against the Cowboys and then kiss the star. Most of us are sitting there thinking he is just being stupid and needs to shut up. But wait....Let's think about this for a second.

Suppose, just suppose, Chad gets an early touchdown and goes off and does this star kiss thing. Now, who is watching on the other sideline? That's right. T. O. Now, let's get into the thought process of Mister Owens. This is the same guy who spiked the ball on the star twice in the same game. Why did he do it the second time? Because after he did it once, Emmitt Smith answered to even the score of sorts. But that doesn't work for T. O. He has to be one-up. He had to be one-up then and he will have to be one-up now. It's because he is ... "competitive". So, he has to be the top dog, even when taunting.

So, back to our hypothetical situation. Chad has scored and kissed the star. Now, T. O. will have to one-up him. So, he will have to do a bigger taunt. Which means he will have to score. Whick means he will have to get the ball. He'll be demanding it even more this week than he did last week. Remember that game? The Cowboys had 58 offensive plays. 11 of them were rushing plays. 2 of those went to T.O. 47 pass plays. 18 of them thrown to or were designed for T. O. Garrett and Romo were already going out of their way to try and get T. O. the ball. Then he had that complaining quote in the paper so they are even more aware that T. O. wants the ball.

Now, we have T. O. having to try and outdo Chad's kissing the star?

The Dallas offense will be in total chaos. All the Bengals defense will have to do is rotate an extra defensive back to T. O. on every play. The longer the game goes without T. O. being able to retaliate to Chad's kissing the star, the more frustrated he will get and the closer the Bengals will come to pulling off this upset.

All over a bunch of silliness.

But that is what we are dealing with when you put guys like Chad and T. O. on the field at the same time.

Who is running this show? Barnum and Bailey?

I'll have my popcorn ready.
Category: NFL
Tags: Bengals, Cowboys
Posted on: October 1, 2008 9:39 am
Edited on: October 1, 2008 9:54 am

Unfire The Coach

This week, two NFL head coaches were fired. By a couple of teams who are a combined 1-7. But really, were they fired too soon? Certainly there were insinuating circumstances in each case, but I am here to tell you that teams that fire coaches after two or three seasons are teams that will be watching the Super Bowl on tv.

Lane Kiffin wasn't even given a season and a half in Oakland. Scott Linehan did not even work for 2 and a 1/2 seasons in St. Louis. Boh these franchises have been in the Super Bowl since the turn of the century. And both of them are now down at the bottom of the league.

Let's start with the Raiders. Kiffin is the 4th head coach Al Davis has fired since that Super Bowl loss against Tampa Bay. That was less than 6 years ago. 4 head coach firings in under 6 years? Anyone who still doubts that Al Davis is the ruining the Raiders needs to digest that number. He has fired 4 head coaches in less than 6 years! How do you get anything done as a football team under that much chaos at the top?

By way of comparison, the Pittsburgh Steelers, arguably the most successful AFC franchise in the Super Bowl era (5 Super Bowl wins and 6 Super Bowl appearances, best in the AFC), are on their third head coach in a 30 year span!

Now, I know, the Raiders had some success early in the 70s and 80s under Madden and Flores. But they also had head coaching stability then as well. Madden was head coach for 10 seasons and Flores followed up with a 9 season stint. In 19 seasons, Al Davis had 2 head coaches. Now, in just 6 seasons, he's already on his 5th one. That, Raider fan, is just how deep into the dregs of the league the Raiders have fallen in terms of personel management.

But that seems to be the way some of the newer owners have pushed the league towards. Take a look in Dallas. Jerry Jones has owned the team 20 years now and is on his 6th head coach. That's just an average of a little over 3 seasons per coach. You can't change coaches that much and stay on top! Ever since winning their last playoff game, the Cowboys have gone from Barry Switzer to Chan Gailey to Dave Campo to Bill Parcells to Wade Phillips. Jerry Jones has never had a head coach last more than 5 years. And that one was his first one.

By way of comparison, the Tennessee Titans have had Jeff Fisher as their head coach since 1994. And, while the Titans don't have 5 rings, they have easily done better than the Cowboys in the past 10 years.

History tells us, you don't give a coach one or two seasons and then fire him. In 1980, a two-year head coach in California had a combined 8-24 record. Horrible. Awful. The kind of record after two years that owners today will fire a coach for. I bet old-time 49er fans are glad Bill Walsh didn't get fired after two seasons.

Cam Cameron had one season in Miami, went 1-15 and was fired. Can you imagine what might have happened in Dallas had Jimmy Johnson gotten fired after a 1-15 season?

The Cardinals are on their 8th head coach in their 20 year run in Arizona. Is it no wonder they have been a joke for all this time? Their head coaches are averaging less than 3 years per regime? How can you establish anything and build a team in less than 3 years? The Lions are on their 5th head coach since Wayne Fontes left in 96. Another franchise not even giving coaches 3 seasons to get something established. Wow, gee, the Lions suck? Really? What a surprise.

The Redskins had a great run under Joe Gibbs in the 80s. Three Super Bowl wins. 4 appearances. !2 seasons. Daniel Snyder hasn't even own the Skins 12 years and he is already on his 5th head coach. And the Redskins are far from being the franchise they were in the 80s.

I could type all day but I think the point has been made. The teams who give their head coaches time and allow them to build their system are going to have a better chance at being successful in the long run than teams who change coaches every two or three seasons.
Category: NFL
Posted on: September 30, 2008 1:25 pm
Edited on: September 30, 2008 1:29 pm

Bull Durham Answers To Reporter Questions

I loved Bull Durham. My favorite baseball movie of all time. Easily my favorite Costner movie of all time.

I wonder if T.O. has seen Bull Durham. He should watch that movie. And pay particular attention to the part where Costner tells the hot pitching prospect how to answer a reporter's questions. "I'm just trying to do what I can to help the team win. We're taking it one game at a time." Boring answers, I know. But they are the right answers.

This is not how you answer a reporter's question:
Reporter: Did the team do enough to get you the ball?
T.O.: I would say no. I’m a competitor, and I want the ball…everybody recognized that I wasn’t really getting the ball in the first half. I’m pretty sure everybody watching the game recognized it, people in the stands recognized it, I think my team recognized it

Now, alot of people are bashing T.O. for these comments because they are saying he is being selfish. I am not going to look at this from a selfish angle near as much as a T.O. is just being stupid angle.

Here is what I don't get. T.O. is a 14 year veteran. He has had these things happen to him multiple times where a reporter asks them this question and he gives this response and then is ripped for being a selfish player and then blames it on the media. As do his fans. Poor T.O. is just a victim of the media. No, T.O. is a victim of his own stupidity and his own big mouth that he just can't seem to shut.

Remember the story of Samson and Delilah? Remember how Samson would tell Delilah some lie about his powers. "Tie me up with silk rope," he would say and then what would she do? Tie him up with silk rope! The story ends badly for Samson and it is his own fault! For refusing to recognize that he was being played.

That's T.O. I do not want to hear any whining by T.O. or those who drink the T.O. koolaid about how the media is doing this or that to make T.O. look bad. The media has been doing this to him for 14 years and he keeps being stupid enough to think that somehow that microphone shoved in his face is his friend. I could overlook that kind of comment if he was a rookie or second or third year player. But these comments have been biting him in the backside for 14 years and he is still stupid enough to keep giving these reporters all the ammunition they need to shoot him with.

That comment after the Redskins game and the subsequent fallout from it is all on T.O. The media can not be blamed for it. Because we all know what will happen when T.O. makes a comment like that and he made it anyways.

You know, T.O. could say the exact same things but in a Bull Durham manner and nobody would ever have anything to print to sell newspapers.

Reporter: Did you get the ball enough?
T.O.: Well, basically, I am obviously disappointed that I could not do more to help my team win. But we have to learn from this game, work harder, and come back next week and try to get a win.
Reporter: Do you think you would have won had you gotten the ball more?
T.O.: Like I said, we all want to do as much as we can to help our team win. That did not happen today but next week I plan to try to do more so that we can go out and get a win.

See? It's not that hard to say you didn't get the ball enough without looking like a self-centered ball hog. All you gotta do is Bull Durham the question.
Category: NFL
Tags: T.O.
Posted on: September 27, 2008 9:25 am

We're Not On Life Support

When I first began to watch sports, the NBA was a couple years away from obtaining Magic Johnson and Larry Bird. And the league was on life support. I can clearly remember the NBA Finals Game 6, which would be the deciding game, between the Lakers with Magic Johnson and the 76ers with Dr J being telecast on tape delay. We knew who had won before the game ever began on television.

But things changed. The NBA grew as fans piled upon the Bird and Magic bandwagons. But Bird and Magic did not last forever and neither the Lakers nor Celtics won the Finals in the 90s. But the NBA did not collapse. No. In fact, it got even more popular as everyone piled upon the Michael Jordan bandwagon and off to the races they went.

But Jordan didn't last forever either. And the NBA had to deal with the Jerry and Jerry dissection of the Bulls and a lockout at the same time. If anything could have killed the NBA, that would have been it. But, the NBA just hitched its wagons to Shaq and Kobe and kept on rolling. Shag and Kobe had a nasty divorce that had such backstage drama that it could have made pro wrestling proud but the NBA has marched on as the Lakers and Celtics met in the last finals and the whole thing went full circle.

Now, you ask yourself, why the history lesson in the NBA? Because we have these people whom believe that if the current bandwagon isn't at the top of the world in sports, the sport would die. People like Colin Cowherd from ESPN Radio. He thinks that MLB needs the Yankees in the playoffs. Or the NBA needs the Lakers in the Finals. The NFL needs the Cowboys and Patriots in the Super Bowl.

Guess what folks. Baseball is going to survive just fine with the Yankees sitting at home and watcging on television. The NFL? Oh please. There have been so many bandwagons come and go in my lifetime and the NFL is still the most popular sport in America. From the Steelers and Cowboys in the 70s, to the 49ers in the 80s, to the Cowboys in the early 90s, then to Brett Favre, then to John Elway, then even the Rams got into the act with the Greatest Show on Turf. And, when the Patriots eventually tumble back to the bottom...and they will. All teams in the NFL eventually hit the skids and dive back to the bottom. When that happens, the NFL will be just fine because someone else will hop up and take their place.

That even goes for college football. College football isn't on life support just because USC lost to Oregon State Thursday. Even golf is surviving without Tiger Woods.

So, don't worry about the health of your sport just because the current bandwagon team has suddenly fallen on hard times. There will be plenty of other bandwagons for people like the Colin Cowherd's of this world to climb upon and then claim that their sport has to have that team on top forever and ever for it to survive.

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