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Monday, January 21, 2008

How NASCAR will win you over

As far as tradition goes you can't beat NASCAR. I mean we are talking about a sport that still supports a dirt track series as an acknowledgement of it's roots. You don't see the NFL going with a leather helmet development league. Not to mention the nicknames; Happy, Smoke, Buddy, The Intimidator, Buckshot, Ronda Road Runner, Awesome Bill from Dawsonville.

But it isn't the tradition that makes NASCAR. It isn't the tradition that makes it, it is the leadership of NASCAR being willing to change.
Everytime a tweak to improve baseball is proposed, we hear from the purists. I swear purist is becoming a foul word in my mind. Who cares if it isn't the way it has always done, let's find the best way to do it.

NASCAR was faced with the fact that often several of the last races were pointless, fue to the points lead of the number one driver. In respose what did they do. Instituted a playoff type system, the (insert cellular company fo the month here) chase for the cup.

Now NASCAR has announced that all drivers outside the top 35 will qualify in the same session in order to keep them as competitively equal as possible. Last year the problem arose that several times throughout the year the drivers outside of the top 35, who have to qualify on time in order to make the race, were spread throughout the day. This tends to give one team an advantage over the other due to track condition and temperature.

It's not that these changes really matter to the casual fan. Especially not to the non-fan. The thing that really matters is that the people in charge at NASCAR, listen. When the fans speak, when their competitors speak.

Meanwhile Roger Goodell can't wait to suspend another player. Baseball is mired in steroids and an initial 82 games that don't matter to any one. Basketball is a gem unto itself, I know for sure David Stern is going to have every player in ashirt and tie I just don't know how the ref's are affording Armani suits, Donaghy anyone.

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Philip Rivers is a full grown man

If you follow this blog you know I have been back and forth on the Philip Rivers for the last few weeks. ESPN has a report that Rivers had his knee scoped on Monday in order to be as close to playing condition as possible. He will require offseason surgery to repair his ACL. That pretty much solved my back and forth. I am now officially a Rivers fan. My big hang up was all that Jaw Jacking he does. You know what, after that performance on Sunday, all I can say is "Talk all you want bud, cause you are backing it up"

Also this kinda makes you question LT sitting out with a sprain, don't worry Ladanian. Now that your team couldn't punch it in the endzone, you will have a while to rest that knee.

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Tom Brady in cast

I was going to roll out a paragraph or two about Tom Brady’s demeanor, in my piece on the New England Patriots. Looks like we might have an explanation. You know I got to TMZ for my sports news. And ESPN reports the entertainment gossip sight has a video of Tom Brady in a walking cast on Monday.

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Reggie Bush responds to Tarnished Heisman

Reggie Bush (who apparently attended the Roger Clemens school of prompt reaction) finally spoke out about the book “Tarnished Heisman” in which Lloyd Lake, financier of now defunct sports marketing company New Era Sports and Entertainment, claims that he gave cash and gifts to both Bush and his parents.
Bush responded to the allegations claiming the other side is dodging him and his attorneys and they don’t actually want this to go to court and purely after money. Not surprisingly Bush gave a sports analogy for the situation saying, “ …It's like a trash talker on the field. If you're serious, meet me on the 50-yard line."

Interestingly enough the ESPN story where Bush is quoted was filed from Park City, Utah. Bush is their attending the Sundance film festival. Nice to know that a guy who is one, maybe two, seasons from being the biggest bust of all time has nothing better than critiquing films to do in the off-season.

Superbowl Preview - New York Giants

The Giants record is somewhat of a double edged sword. They are the first team to make the Superbowl with a losing record. The upside of that is that they are on a 10 game road winning streak. I was not as sold on this winning streak as most people. As the season came to an end they had defeated Buffalo Bills, Philadelphia Eagles, Chicago Bears, Detroit Lions, Miami Dolphins, Atlanta Falcons, and the Washington Redskins (x2), that is exactly 1 play off team. So that doesn’t tell us much about how they will play in the playoffs right. Wow was I wrong. They now have wins against 3 more playoff teams; Tamp Bay, Dallas, Green Bay, the 3 that matter.
Eli Manning has always been a great talent, nothing has changed in that regard. What has changed is the confidence in what he can do. On his part, as well as the people around him. Both the coaches as well as the media. Several people spoke out against the Giants playing at full strength against the Patriots in a “meaningless” game, including Skip Bayless and Jimmy Johnson. I think the Giants are sitting at home right now if they don’t get the confidence and momentum they gained in that game.
In the same sense that Coaches around the league should learn a little patience with their quarterback development. Owners, should also learn a little patience from the journey of Tom Coughlin. In the first 4 weeks of this season you would have needed Bill Belichick’s camera equipment to see the tiny thread Coughlin’s job was hanging by. Now all of a sudden he is back to being a football genius. I certainly have not always supported Coughlin (this isn’t going well we are on paragraph two I am on admission of error two) but while part of the credit for his work should go to his new found attitude and relationship with players, a big part should go to the ownership of the Giants waiting ‘til the end of the season to axe him. Yeah you read that right, if this doesn’t shake out the way it has, we all know Coughlin is joining the line of people turning Arthur Blank down in Atlanta right now.
I am a huge fan of the game. I love to watch the linemen work their skills, and I enjoy the technical aspects of the game. But the thing that really tops it for me, and let’s be honest the thing that really make the difference to the peripheral fan. Is the story, the sentiment. On the Giants side I love the story of Eli getting out from under his last name. I also like the angle of another Boston vs. New York struggle. But to me the real sentimental favorite is the Michael Strahan, last real run angle. Don’t let the fact that he will probably return make you think for a second you aren’t going to hear about it being his big shot to get a ring. Strahan who began the year by debating whether he would hang it up, or return for another year skipping training camp, already made reference to this last week. He basically said he was a little tired of hearing about Favre’s last chance to add another ring, when he and many other Giants don’t have their first one yet.

This week in sports

Check out my other blog Links and Lists.
Todays list is some of the tidbits form the week in the sports world

Skip Bayless should be a man

Skip Bayless, who is one of the talking heads on ESPN, is killing me. A few weeks ago Bayless said that Tom Coughlin made "the dumbest coaching decision" ever. He was referring to the decision to play all his players in a "meaningless" final regular season game.
This morning when the clip was played back so he could acknowledge the mistake. What does Bayless, Captain "I am never wrong" do. Bangs his hand on the table and continues to refer to the move as "the dumbest coaching decision" ever.
How can you continue to say it was a bad move. I don't think anyone actually believes at this point, that without the momentum and confidence(especially Eli's confidence) they would be where thay are.
Be a man admit you were wrong. It is so simple. I would have so much more respect for him and his opinion down the road if he would admit that he is wrong.
I would also have more respect for him if he didn't use more hair product then Jimmy Johnson but that is another rant

Open letter from a Viking fan to Brett Favre

Dear Mr. Favre, (After all we've been through that feels a little formal)
Dear Brett,
I know things have been rocky for us. We've had our ups and downs. Most of the ups yours and most of the downs mine. But hey who doesn't. I am willing to look past all the last second throws, the barely slipping from John Randle's grasp. The tosses barely clearing Orlando Thomas fingers.
But our relationship improved. Everyone said you only thought of yourself but I knew you cared. You gave a little, there were some wins for me to savor as well. I know it was hard for you, I could see it on your face. Their you were watching Moss with jealousy from across the field.
Lately you have been back to your old ways. Everything for you and your boys and nothing to savor on my side. Your friends even went so far as to hurt my new 'mate Adrian .
Let me shout this clearly. I don't care, I want you back. I can't stand the idea of having the NFL without you. Trust me I am risking some serious alienation by my fellow Purple People Eater's.
Again I don't care. I am reasonable, I am not asking for 10 more years, not even 5.
Just give me, give all of us, one more season. To enjoy the magic and the mastery.

Norm Benedict Arnold Chow

Traitor, scum, snake in the grass.

Ok maybe that is a little much, but Norm Chow I have been at your defense early and often. I have even taken a proactive offensive on your behalf. I think you are one of the greatest offensive minds in college football (let's be honest that whole pro thing didn't really work as well)

So you left USC, and went to the Nfl. Good luckI said, I would never begrudge you the opportunity to advance your self and your career. Now however, you got fired from the Titans job and where do you turn. Across town. To the Powder Blue. Tell me Chris Mortensen of ESPN's article is just a rumor. Tell me it is no stronger a possibilty than that of UCLA winning the Pac-10 this year. Just say it ain't so.

NFC Championship Recap

Could we ask for a better Sunday. I mean, we had two great games when we all expected one. With all the back and forth in the score, not to mention Eli's budding (possibly fully in bloom) leadership ability.
Basically the only thing that didn't deliver was Lawrence Tynes. I loved how he was popping off about how confident he was and how Coach Tom Coughlin "would have had to pull me off the field" listen mister two big choke jobs, I wouldn't have been surprised to see him go all Old ball coach on ya and just remove the kicker from the game plan. You were one overtime hook in, from being the newest member of the Scott Norwood support group.
I really hope that wasn't the last we see of Favre. Keep an eye out for my open letter to Brett Favre

Fan sign of the week - A man and a woman wearing Romo and Jessica Simpson masks, holding a giant(sorry packer fans)large sign that read "Jessica and Tony welcome you to Cabo San Lambeau"

True Fans(and raving lunatics) - This is an old pic but these girls were rocking basically this same gear at the championship game where it was -2 with -23 wind chill