Posted on: January 4, 2012 1:52 pm

Professional Trolls

Professional trolls are not an attractive phenomenon in the recent history of sports writing, and unfortunately CBS has at least one full time pro-troll and a few part timers.

We all know the identity of the full time pro-troll, Gregg Doyel. Doyel spins his little columns with a carefully calculated eye to creating the most controversy he can, and stepping on as many toes as he can. That way his little controversies spark a lot of outrage and a lot of page views. Thus we have the paradox of bad sports writing producing a more successful sports web site.

Once the concept of journalism meant something to the CBS Network. They had top notch reporting, and the most respected anchorman in the history of television journalism. Eventually, ratings greed began to creep in and spoil the milk. It didn't start with Doyel. In my opinion the first egregious early example was Dan Rather at the 1968 Democratic Convention, making an ass of himself, provoking a punch, and then screaming at the top of his lungs about "journalistic freedom". Cut to Cronkite in the booth ... he looked ready to throw up.

The trend continued on "60 Minutes". While "60 Minutes" was intended to be a tough investigative show, and often was, it also has descended just as often into spectacle. I can tell you that the only two stories on "60 Minutes" that I had personal knowledge of were presented in a blatantly slanted manner when they hit the air ... containing nothing like a factually balanced presentation of those events. It immediately made me wonder that if they intentionally presented such skewed versions of those two stories, how many more seemingly forthright reports were actually webs of lies for the sake of ratings. I decided to not take the chance on being conned, and I stopped watching "60 Minutes" then and there.

Now we have a wannabe like Gregg Doyel doing something similar on this site, evidently with the enthusiastic approval of his management. He defends his stature by exaggerating his past accomplishments, then writes on without any noticeable intellect or talent. However, he has mastered the art of inflaming reasonably thinking sports fans, who read his trash, become incensed, and post enough complaints to assure management that he is read in sufficient numbers to allow him to continue his embarrassing tactics.

The fact that he is allowed to crow over his "Hate Mail' column once a week is just a further indictment of this entire shoddy piece of the enterprise.

The old timey name for this practice is "yellow journalsim", and it exists on this site in volume.
CBS should be ashamed, Doyel should be ashamed. And we should be ashamed for them.
Posted on: July 1, 2008 1:11 am
Edited on: July 1, 2008 1:14 am

"The Snake" turns out to be a snake in the grass

Earlier in June, Kenny Stabler, a star quarterback from Alabama in the 60s and a mega-star for the Raiders in the 70s, was picked up at 1 AM driving while intoxicated. According to news reports, this was the thrid time he's been nailed. There's no count of the many other times he may have put lives at risk when he wasn't spotted.

On the boards, some of his fans were lamenting his arrest, and hoping things wouldn't go too hard on him, one even hoping that he could beat the rap. For reasons you'll read below, that attitude burns me up.

As much as I liked watching Stabler play, both in college and the pros, and as much as I like him in the booth, I'm never disposed to give a drunk driver a break.

My grandparents, who up until that time were actually more like my parents, were killed by a drunk driver on a Sunday afternoon. It was the Sunday before Thanksgiving when I was 11 years old, and their trunk was full of newly bought Christmas presents for my brother, my sister, and me. The drunk ran a stop sign on a road that came into the highway at a 45 degree angle and hit the right rear corner of their car. They never even had a chance to see him coming. Their car spun into a large tree. My grandmother was killed on impact. My grandfather died in the ambulance, having never regained consciousness from the moment of impact with the tree.

When you experience this close at hand, and realize that its not AT ALL difficult to avoid drinking and driving, you don't cut these CRIMINALS any slack whatsoever. Yes, they are CRIMINALS, cut and dried. Its illegal everywhere in this country (and almost every other) to drive in any impaired condidtion. Everyone who drinks and drives is well aware of that, and they know that this criminal activity frequently costs the lives of the criminals themselves, and tragically they also kill innocent drivers and pedestrians. 

There is absolutely no justification to hope they can 'get out of it', no matter how popular the loser might be in other circles. I'd much rather see Stabler in jail for a few years than see him kill a family the next time its more important to him to act like a complete jerk than it is to consider the lives he puts at risk.

As far as I'm concerned, the 'breath check ignition' needs to be ordered at the first hint that someone might drive under the influence. These peoples' immaturity and selfishness cannot be allowed to take others' lives, and devastate families.

That tragedy had an impact on me that I will feel until the day I die. I have never come CLOSE to drinking and driving. Its always been very clear to me that if I ever did that, then I become the low life that killed my beloved grandparents. Neither have I EVER let someone who's been drinking around me get in a car to drive. I've taken keys, called cabs, and often driven them on long round trips to get them home. I have a long history of volunteering to be the designated driver.

If you're not doing the same, put some long hard thought into it. You'll save lives, maybe even yours or someone close to you.


Posted on: January 29, 2008 11:51 pm
Edited on: January 30, 2008 12:13 am

How Does Tiger Stack up?

It seems appropriate upon the occasion of Tiger Woods equaling Arnold Palmer on the all time PGA Tour win list to revisit his credentials.

The question has often been asked, "Is Tiger's win total inflated by current circumstances and competition (or lack thereof) in pro golf?"

I'm going to set out here to definitively answer that question.

I'll always start out these editorials by setting out the foundation of how I view critical elements of the subject at hand, and here is how I view Tiger's skills, and what my bias might be.

I've been a major Jack Nicklaus fan since I started following pro golf tournaments at the age of 12 in 1969. I've known elation and despair with made and missed putts, particularly in the majors. I strongly believe that Jack is the best golfer ever given the entirety of the circumstances surrounding each great golfer, and when Tiger passes his win total for majors I'll mourn ... just a bit.

On the other hand, I take nothing away from Tiger's skill. I believe that as a technician of the golf swing, as a competitor with the heart and nerve to successfully complete, as an athlete with the hunger to win, and as a major sports figure with longevity of achievement, he stands in the most elite group of golf talent. Jack Nicklaus, Bobby Jones, Ben Hogan, Arnold Palmer, Sam Snead, and Byron Nelson are the men I consider the other members of that group.

Now the question: "Are Tiger's win totals inflated due to lack of competitoin?"

The answer is almost certainly, "Yes."

Here's why:

This is a list of major talent with whom Jack Nicklaus had to compete for wins during the 24 year span in which he won majors:
Sam Snead, Billy Casper, Cary Middlecoff, Tom Watson, Gene Littler, Lee Trevino, Johnny Miller, Gary Player, Raymond Floyd, Lanny Wadkins, Hale Irwin, Greg Norman, Ben Crenshaw, Hubert Green, Tom Kite, Curtis Strange, Tom Weiskopf

These are all incredibly talented men with at least 16 tour wins to their credit ... most of these wins during peak years of Jack Nicklaus' career.

Here is the list as concerns Tiger Woods:
Phil Mickleson, Vijay Singh, Davis Love III, Ernie Els, David Duval, Jim Furyk

Of those, only Phil and Vijay have been consistent competition for Tiger.

Jack's list includes 15 rivals with 19 or more wins, Tiger's contains 3. And let me mention, there is not an overflowing list of up and coming talent set to challenge him in the next few years either.

This isn't just an accident. There is a very clear explanation for why Jack had so many more rivals than Tiger ... Jack played during the "Hungry Era" of PGA Tour golf.

For most of Jack's career, you had to finish high in a tournament to make any significant cash. Jack's wins in the 70's were worth about 30 grand apiece, majors were about 50. Tiger gets 800 thousand to 1.2 million per win, and the purses are large right down the line.

In Jack's day, you had to have a LOT of high finishes to make a nice living on the Tour.

Today's players don't have to win, or even hit the top 10, to become quite wealthy. As a result, even a lot of very talented pros have never developed a real hunger for victory. Guys you never even see on weekly TV coverage break a million in purses. This doesn't include the largess from equipment and other endorsements that every pro enjoys, just for hitting a certain ball or wearing a certain shoe.

I think Tiger would have been a stand out talent even in the "Hungry Era", as he does indeed have the hunger to win, and the talent to back it up. But he'd have a lower majors total at the same age, and fewer overall tournament wins. Instead of having to win against AP, Trevino, Johnny Miller, Tom Watson, Raymond Floyd, Hale Irwin, etc., Tiger only has to worry about Phil and Vijay and some guy who might get hot that week (Jack had those come along too).

Let me tell you, when Jack won in a close one over Trevino, or vice versa, the guy in 2nd wasn't all that happy about it, and had been playing his heart out. Not many guys today are that unhappy to be coming in 2nd to Tiger, and are quite content to cash their $700,000 check for 2nd.

In fairness, there's nothing Tiger can do about this but continue to prove that he has the desire to use his skill to win when others are content not to. He can't control the circumstance that so many are so comfortable, and its not his business to try to talk them into stepping up! LOL


Posted on: January 22, 2008 5:43 pm
Edited on: January 22, 2008 8:14 pm

Stage Coach

I'm going to use my first blog post to cover a topic I've found myself writing on two years in a row, after the career moves by Nick Saban and Bobby Petrino.

I'm also going to use it as an opportunity to preserve a post I made some weeks ago on the subject.

Bear in mind that I barely knew who Petrino was before he moved to the Falcons, and hadn't paid much attention to Saban before he took the Dolphins job. As a disclaimer, I was born in Alabama and have been a lifelong fan of the Crimson Tide. I went to High School in Florida, starting the same year the Dolphins went 17-0, and was a fan up until the eventual retirements of Shula and Dan Marino. I was also a long time Falcons fan, having lived in Atlanta during the years my interest in pro football was developing, and gone back to the city during my time in college (or should I say "Institute").

In many cases I tend to be a fan of individual coaches or players rather than a team as an entity, and so have been known to abandon fandom for some teams when it has gotten ot the point that all of the people that drew me to a team are long gone.

My one time fandom for the Dolphins, and lifelong fandom of Alabama, however, do not influence my ideas on the merits of this discussion. I've long held these beliefs, predating this specific situations by decades.


I always have to shake my head in wonderment that sports fans think they have any right to stand in judgement of a career decision made by a coach or player.

Of course Saban's situation from last year has been drawn into this discussion of Petrino, and both men had an absolute right to make a decision based on what they felt was best for them and their families.

Now, I was a Falcon's fan on the day they started playing, and a Dolphin's fan for more than 40 years. Alhough I've been a fan of those teams, I never wore the rose colored glasses. The Falcons have never been a well manaaged franchise, and the Dolphins have done nothing but go downhill since Wayne bought them. (I'm sure the dynamics in Miami are more complicated than just Wayne's ownership, but that is another discussion).

However, in both cases these coaches found the reality of their situation with the team to be different than the expectations 'sold' to them when they took the positions, and likely discovered after fighting through the cold veil of experience that they were happiest in a different situation.

Life is both too long and too short to spend it in a situation where you are not happy or comfortable, if you have a choice.

It is very unusual for either a college or pro coach to stay in one position indefinitely any more, and it is more often the franchise or university that makes the choice, rather than the coach. To blame a coach for being the one to make the decision rather than the franchise really doesn't make any sense. Both Saban and Petrino would have eventually been fired by their pro franchise, after some number of years, no matter what success they achieved, unless they won the Super Bowl every year.

You cannot blame them for making a move on their own terms when an opportunity came along that they like better. Both took pay cuts, both knew they'd face criticism for leaving. That alone tells you a lot about how important it was to those two men to get out of the traps they found themselves in.

Head coach of the Falcons has NEVER been a long term career, and likely never will be.

The Dolphins have done a better job of sticking by coaches since Shula left, but their stubborn refusal to make a fundamental decision to fix the quarterback position is going to hamstring that team until they wise up and do so. Did Saban fix the QB situation? No. But that problem predated him by years, so its hard to blame him for it.

Here's the bottom line. These men have the right to make their own decisons regarding their professional futures, just like we do. Venomous criticisms of their career decisions are useless, ineffective, and really, completely out of line.

If you feel inclined to ridicule these men, the next time you make a career decision for the sake of your happiness and that of your family, ask yourself if you think its anyone's business to criticize it in media, message boards, or at all.

As a side discussion, you'd think it would be detrimental to a coach's career to do very much 'job jumping', yet history does not seem to bear this out. Nick's cousin, Lou Saban, jumped coaching jobs constantly throughout his career, and never seemed to have a problem finding his next coaching job. Interestingly, he once acknowledged this, but said that he always thought the next job was going to be the one that lasted until he decided to retire. I really believe he meant that, yet the temptation was always somehow too strong to enter the next green pasture.


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