Saturday, February 23, 2008

Sampson Has Head Shaved.

Kelvin Sampson is no longer head basketball coach at Indiana University. The school gives him $750,000 to go quietly. Blood-Hush Money. That's some lesson for the undergrads. Lie, cheat and steal, then, get 3/4 of a million to go away. Who says crime doesn't pay? Or at least, NCAA violation-type crime.

Some world in which I get to raise my four kids. You get paid hundreds of thousands to leave a job where you get to watch kids play a game and receive a huge salary in the first place. Instead of leaving with remorse and shame, you take your king's ransom and sit on your ass until ESPN comes calling and offers you a lot of money to talk about watching kids play a game. Stay in school and don't use drugs.

How do you instill in your own children that being honest and doing the right thing are the honorable qualities to possess? All you see is people cutting corners and working the angles to get that money. I just keep on keepin' on. It's a daily mantra around this house,"get the grades and be a good person." Follow the ultimate commandment, "Love thy neighbor as thyself." That statement guides my every decision. At least, I think about that during the decision-making process. You know what the right thing is to do, so do it. I say this to my kids over and over. I hope it sinks in. I hope they are good people. I hope they can take care of themselves someday. As Red says in Shawshank, "I hope."

From my dismal view on the world to my dismal view of NFL football in Chicago. I am keeping the tickets for another season. I do enjoy a couple games with the girls and my good, tall and slender friend, Kevin. The Bears have decided not to give Bernard Berrian $7.8 million under the franchise tag. That's fine. You don't overpay for non-#1 receivers. BB is no number 1 receiver. The money should be spent on Lance Briggs. Let's go get him boys. His play speaks for itself. He is an elite OLB who thrives in this scheme. He is worth the big contract.

The Bears should rebuild the O-line by going younger. Do not overspend for an older free agent OL. Especially a guard, aka Alan Faneca. I don't understand the desire to sign a grizzled veteran that is refused the big salary by his present team. Maybe that team knows something about the guy. The free agents du jour will be old and overpriced. We have got that already. Our GM has dumped some dead weight salary already. Let's avoid stocking up on some more. The Bears have to call it what it is, major offensive rebuilding. There are tackles and receivers in this draft. Go get some "need" players. And keep dumping that dead weight.

That brings me to the scouting combine. The annual NFL SAT test. It is the most ridiculous waste of time in sports. A player can prepare for this test in a Stanley Kaplan-athletic preparation course. You know which drills will be required ahead of time. In essence, you have the questions that are on the test. The players are trained to perform those tests for months. Then, teams evaluate the performance on the tests. The flaw: none of these tests have anything to do with playing FOOTBALL.

Every year some teams will draft a player in a very high slot based on his results of the running and jumping performed at the combine even though the player did nothing, and I mean nothing, on the college football field. Inevitably, those players get money that they richly don't deserve and become busts. Other players who can flat out play the game will be devalued, drafted later than they should be, and will be subsequently underpaid because they don't run around the cones fast enough. Those players come into the league with a huge chip on their shoulder, having something to prove. Because they are very good FOOTBALL players already, they crack the starting lineup as rookies, perform well throughout their career and spend the second week of every February in Hawaii. Poi for everyone. Mahalo!

I think its warm there. MMMM, warm.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

A Big Green Go.

A couple of years ago, the NFL owners and Player's Union avoided labor turmoil by agreeing to a new collective bargaining agreement. The players did well in this negotiation, carving out an increase in their share of total revenue. Some owners, however, felt that they gave the players too much dough and loudly voiced their displeasure. Of course, we feel sorry for them because they can't horde their extra millions at the expense of the players who chop years off of their lives to entertain us.

One provision in this agreement haunted the recent Super Bowl festivities. The owners can opt out of this contract for the 2009 season. That would force everyone back to the bargaining table. This is the talk around the NFL. This is bad. The owners want their money back while the players are exposing their rear ends for a kiss. Essentially, 2009 will be the last year with a salary cap and 2010 will be an uncapped year. In short, it means possible work stoppage...NO football.

The owners will take the heat and rightly so. This is a profitable, multi-billion dollar industry. No one is going out of business or losing money here. They are just greedy. The result of this stance will be that the players will decertify their union and strike. It also means that if they complete an uncapped year, the salary cap will be gone, forever. The players would never agree to bring it back. This ain't hockey, bitch. This would be death to the owners and would officially revoke the NFL's title as the best-maintained business model in all of sports.

What it means for me is very simple. Any work stoppage or NO football and I am out. For good, for life. No tickets, no games, no more Bears. I did it for baseball, and I will do it in football. Fuck these assholes. I will not tolerate another football strike, like 1982 and 1987. I cannot believe that anyone could be this stupid. I choose not to enable these idiots. I am sure they won't miss me. Everyone will come back. They're wrong to do that, but they will.

As for me, they play football over here at North Central College, Naperville North High School and at various colleges and universities around the country. I will watch plenty of football, just not the pro kind.

And you what? I won't miss it.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Win and Win Pretty.

Indiana University basketball coach, Kelvin Sampson broke the rules...again. He is a rouge cheater who has no respect for the integrity of his program. He would rather flaunt the rules, ignore the NCAA sanctions imposed upon him and do whatever it takes to recruit players in order to win basketball games. He is single-handedly tarnishing Indiana's storied and glorious basketball history. Simply put, he is a scumbag.

Now you can say that he is no different than most Division 1 athletic coaches, at least, football and basketball coaches. That argument doesn't resonate with me. Just because those sports may be scummy and some of the coaches are scummy does not exonorate those who scuzz out to keep up with the Joneses. If you are a crook, you're a crook. There is no "Scum" Scale to rate these jerkoffs. They all suck.

Bruce Weber, the coach of my favorite team, the Fighting Illini, is an excellent basketball coach, and he is a good man. He is the anti-Sampson. The problem is that he is not recruiting enough talented players. Sometimes, I wonder if winning at the D1 level is worth getting in bed with these Scum-coaches. That is the bottom line, right? Winning? No one belives the mandate at D1 is education, do they?

My problem is that I love the University of Illinois. Rather, I love being a fan of Fighting Illini basketball and football. Especially, the basketball. I did not attend school there. In fact, I ruled it out because it was too big, and I was intimidated by its size. However, since I was a little kid, I rooted for the Illini hoop team. I believe that the U of I basketball program has a great and interesting history. They also win. At least they have a history of winning. Recently, they won quite often, culminating in an appearence in the NCAA championship game. This season, my Illini are losing. Losing ugly, losing at home, losing games that they could and should win. And I hate it.

The big story this past recruiting season was the defection of super-scorer Eric Gordon from his verbal commitment to Illinois to the ScuzzySampson and Indiana. A lot of name calling and accusations were flung at Indiana about Gordon's change of heart. This is a common occurence in big time hoops. I was sad because Gordon can score and score easily which is the one major flaw in this year's Illini. With Gordon, Illinois wins 20 games and are a lock for the tourney. But Gordon wanted Indiana; so be it. I let it go. But I want Weber to recruit and land these types of players. I am starting to resent his inability to land top high schoolers. I can't believe that some kids would play for such idiots like Kelvin Sampson. Most of all, I want to win.

When I get this frustrated, I ask the question. Would I tolerate a Sampson for the wins? The answer is, No. Fuck No. The ends does not justify the means. Not now, not ever. There is no free lunch. As Coach Ditka says, in basketball and in life, at some point, you have to pay. The fact that Indiana fans had to have this turd forced into their lives by some goofy Athletic Director is unfortunate. Now, they should run him out on top of his free Escalade. I am proud of Bruce Weber, the program and his work ethic. I will take him any day over Kelvin Sampson, recruiting be damned.

But Bruce, no more losing, O.K.? I am only human.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Beaten Men

When I watched some of the highlights from last night's Super Bowl, I realized just how badly the Patriot Offensive line was beaten. Folks, they got their asses kicked. That was the difference in the game. The Giant front-four was ferocious and relentless, while the Patriots o-lineman were like lambs at the slaughter. The Giants broke down their technique and took their confidence. At the snap, the Pats would retreat too deep, their heads would drop, the roller skates came on, and they were not aggressive. It was a a clinic on every mistake an o-lineman can make. The Giants front-four, Strahan, Tuck and company were shot out of the cannon. It was their effort and intensity that caused the Pats O-line to make like the Bears O-line. Crappy. After the first line of attack caused the chaos, the lone blitzer would be on Brady immediately. Alternatively, a D-lineman would break through the blocker and hit Brady before or after the ball was released. The final insult was the jaw shot delivered to Brady by Alford during the Pats last possession. I will watch this game again and soak up the blood-letting. "Katie, Bar the Door!" Playing in Boston turns you into a sissy...right Colleen?

Here we go. It has been recently written in Pro Football Weekly, that upon further review of film, Bernard Berrian's shoddy route running was the cause of much of Rex Grossman's inefficient play. This comment had to have been leaked from the Bears' camp. This is the beginning of the re-signing of Rex. The Bears will offer him a reduced contract and let him compete for the job. Grossman will take the offer. One, it will be as good or better than anything he will get offered elsewhere. Two, he believes that he can beat out the present QB's. Third, he knows the system and does not want to start over. And finally, he knows the Bears won't bring in someone who is clearly superior. They may draft a QB, but not high enough so Lovie feels he has to hand the rookie the keys to the Yugo, otherwise known as the Bears offense.

This is very disturbing. The Bears need to overhaul this offense completely. I start with the O-line. (See above) I realize that QB is not the biggest problem, but the position does need some performance-based leadership. Rex can't perform, at least not consistently. No better way to start fresh than to cut ties with Roller-coaster Rex. Yet, the Bears will do the frugal thing. Name all the real contenders in the league, and you can name a money QB. I have fought this theory in the past. Today, I'm in for life. Gotta get that talent behind the center.