Friday, March 26, 2010

Site Change

J Fish Sports will be up for a little while longer, but will eventually move over to Sports Sabbath. It'll be my new home for writing, podcasting and the Sports Sabbath radio show. All the old archives will be over there, but there won't be anymore new posts at J Fish Sports.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Live NCAA Blog

Ugh. Woke up late due to St. Patrick's festivities. Have to do half of my office pool brackets by hand. On the flip side, listening to the much improved Jay Bilas. It has begun. All times are Central, by the way.

(11:44) Trying to figure out why Kansas City gets Notre Dame/Old Dominion. What control group decided this was better than BYU/Florida?

(11:47) Tim Abromaitis. The Greek God of Drunken Three Point Shooting.

(11:52) I saw roughly 6 guys at the bar last night dressed like Notre Dame's mascot. And I think no matter what game CBS was showing, I'd be mad at it. How can you not glance at those scores and wonder?

(11:57) Old Dominion playing awful. Not sure what this team does so well. Then again, I could say the same about Notre Dame. Neither of these teams winning their Round Two game.

(12:09) Four team parlay: Tennessee -3.5, Baylor -550, Butler -2, Michigan St. -1400. Somehow, only game I'm worried about is Michigan St.

(12:11) ROBERT MORRIS?!?!?!?! Jay Wright decided not to start Scottie Reynolds AND Corey Fisher. He surely has cash on the Robert Morris money line.

(12:21) About time to order a pizza. When you order online, there is a section labeled "Special Directions". I'm going to write "Pick up 30 pack of Bud Light. Big tip." It's worth a shot, right? If Villanova loses, I will need all 30 of those (I have KU over Nova in my Championship).

(12:36) Pizza ordered. It's much harder juggling a live blog, Tweet Deck, 3 Facebook chats and 3 box scores at one time, while watching the games. Even though I didn't pick Old Dominion to win (a lot of people did), I am rooting for them. Remember when Luke Harangody was good?

(12:50) There is a 15-2 upset in the making, and the winner of two of the past four Championships currently losing, but CBS gives me the Notre Dame game. Fantastic.

(1:05) OK. Pizza guy couldn't find my apartment and turned around, Villanova is still losing and I have no beer. Oh, and I'm hungover. What God did I piss off? The mighty Abromaitis?

(1:15) I admit, I haven't followed Notre Dame at all this season, but what's with Harangody? He doesn't even score until 12.6 seconds left in the game? This used to be a Player of the Year candidate.

(1:18) ODU just swished two free throws right after Bilas said "Old Dominion isn't a very goood free throw shooting team." Not that Jay is wrong, but any time you mention how bad/good a team is shooting free throws, the opposite will always happen.

(1:20) One game done, one "upset". Old Dominion wins.

(1:30) BYU is choking, as is Villanova. I might go 0-3 to start this tournament. I hate sports sometimes. However, if Robert Morris wins and Duke doesn't make the Final Four in what will be the easiest region in NCAA tournament history, you can pencil Coach K in as Phil Jackson's replacement in L.A.

(1:37) ESPN's GameCast isn't working. Yeah, the BYU/Florida game is great, but the Nova game matters more.

(1:40) That final possession by Florida is why I had them losing. A backhanded NC State tip-in to win the game? How did Billy Donovan win 2 titles?

(1:43) I was hoping Urban Meyer showed up to hang with his old Mormon peeps. By the way, if BYU pulls this out, they might not get a single rebound during the KSU game.

(1:50) CBS didn't switch to the Villanova game until 25.4 seconds left. You payed 6 billion dollars to show BYU? Really?

(1:57) Looks like BYU and Nova are gonna win. Now 2-1 instead of 0-3. Still, my pick of Nova in the Finals looks really awful right now. Also, how good of a start is this? One game goes into double OT and one game is currently in OT.

(2:11) So, a 62% free throw shooter passes up a wide open dunk/layup (closest defender was at the top of the key) to dribble around and waste clock. Clanks first free throw. That might be the dumbest play we see in the tournament.

(2:15) Bill Rafferty talking about Robert Morris: "They only lost on the scoreboard". Yeah, the only thing that matters.

(2:20) You're not cool by referring to Robert Morris as "Bobby" or "Bob" Morris. You are, in fact, a tool.

(3:09) Looks like Kansas State is going to supply the first rout of the tournament. And I live in Kansas, so I have to watch the whole thing. It's insane that Time Warner can't get a package for the NCAAs. Even then, they would probably switch to BYU post game analysis.

(3:30) Did not realize Bill Simmons was doing this exact same thing today. I'm not even going to try to compete. Have fun. I need to pay more attention to the games anyways.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

96 Problems, But This Ain't One

I'm not going to rant about how bad of an idea to expand the NCAA tournament to 96 teams is. Everyone - and I mean everyone - thinks it's awful. So let's just leave it there. What I want to focus on, and what I feel is the important subtext here, is what this idea and the ideas that come after mean for the future of sports.

Cesar Chavez said, "Once social change begins, it cannot be reversed." The social change in this context is the pursuit of television money. It is the hamster that spins the wheel. Everything you see, from Bob Knight struggling through broadcasts to TBS butchering baseball playoffs, is the result of a very lucrative piece of paper. And of course, this is what is pushing the 96 team bracket.

The only thing sports fans don't want more than this is the BCS. Well, guess what: the BCS is here to stay. And the tournament expansion will be here soon. We have to live with it, just like we had to live with over expansion in all the major sports.

If there were less teams in the NFL, NBA, MLB and (most importantly) the NHL, the games would be better. More teams means a more diluted playing field. The 12th man in a 20 team league sees significant playing time in a 30 team league. It's simple math, it hurts the sport. But we've accepted it. When's the last time you had a heated discussion about getting rid of the Raptors, Marlins or Jaguars?

I suspect we will get used to 96. Remember, the tournament wasn't always 64 teams. I guarantee you that teams like Kansas, North Carolina and Duke would have more banners if the postseason was more limited. Look at how it has progressed over the years:

  • 1939–1950: eight teams
  • 1951–1952: 16 teams
  • 1953–1974: varied between 22 and 25 teams
  • 1975–1978: 32 teams
  • 1979: 40 teams
  • 1980–1982: 48 teams
  • 1983: 52 teams (four play-in games before the tournament)
  • 1984: 53 teams (five play-in games before the tournament)
  • 1985–2000: 64 teams
  • 2001—present: 65 teams
The famous North Carolina State championship wasn't even in the 64 team era. UCLA's Wooden years? That's the 22-25 team era. The 64 we know and love isn't a staple, just a transitional period. The bigger the sport gets, the bigger the field.

We will learn to love it. Especially the first time #82 gets to a Elite Eight. Then you can expect the field to expand to 128. And we'll have this same argument over and over again. Is it for the right reasons? No. Will it matter in the long run? To quote Chavez once more, "There is no turning back".

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Official Sports Sabbath Website

Be sure to visit Sports Sabbath, hosted by UMKC's University News. Hear me talk shit, it's quicker than reading it.

Click here!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

The NHL Versus Itself

Everyone is asking, will the NHL capitalize on the the popularity of USA vs Canada? And everyone is answering with a resounding "No!". I tend to agree. But the problem is that nobody is asking the right question. We all know nothing will change. The big question is: how does the NHL capitalize on the popularity of USA vs Canada?

I was excited to find out that the first game back for both Sidney Crosby (the game winner) and Ryan Miller (the MVP) would be - wait for it - against EACH OTHER. Imagine if during the Summer Olympics, LeBron James blocked Dirk Nowitzki's game winning layup during the gold medal game of USA vs Germany, and then two days later the Mavericks played the Cavs. I would be more excited for that than the actual Olympic game. But then I found out what I should've already known; the Crosby/Miller rematch was not going to be televised.

This is why the NHL will never make the jump. You cannot be a fan of that which you cannot see. It's why college basketball and football make billions but college baseball is a niche sport. The only time you see college baseball is during the College World Series, much like the Stanley Cup. It's time to get hockey on TV.

Of course, ESPN doesn't want it. Fox Sports probably doesn't either. But Versus shows NHL games. Why not make Versus just a hockey channel? Wouldn't a 24/7 NHL station get better ratings than reruns of "Wild and Wacky Sports" or whatever hunting program is on at ten in the morning?

All the NHL would need to do is request very little money from the channel itself. Let Versus keep all the profits. Why would Gary Bettman agree to this? Because the money he doesn't get from Versus would be made back tenfold from the increased fanbase. All you needed to do was by up a bunch of advertising on ESPN the day after, market the Crosby/Miller rematch, and watch the ratings soar. Have Canadian/American panels discuss the game for weeks. Bank on it.

Instead, the NHL is just going to hope that the game was good enough to get you hooked. It wasn't. You need big plans to become a big sport, and while baseball is begging someone to take them over, Bettman refuses to spend the money necessary to make the money hockey needs. He has to force-feed hockey into America's mouth. If left to choose, we'll take the NFL Combine over NHL playoffs every time. You know why?

Because the Combine is on television.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Sympathy for the Devils

Imagine the scene. Police walk in, they see the body of a man who has hung himself. A woman is bound and strangled to death. Then the body of a seven year old boy, strangled as well. It sounds straight out of a horror movie. This was the scene of the double murder-suicide committed by professional wrestler Chris Benoit. It's a story that is seen as the tipping point for experts and ex-athletes who have called for action for the protection of players. It is what ex-wrestler Christopher Nowinski has made a career out of.

Nowinski and others have been pleading for years that something needs to be done about the dangers football players and other athletes face. The concussions, the violence. It all leads to dementia, Alzheimer's, brain damage, etc. It's the evil leagues that have no sympathy for the players. The NFL lets old linebackers wither and die. Major League Baseball turned the other cheek while players were destroying their own bodies. This is what men like Nowinski claim.

But here's the reality: it's the players' own unions that are killing them. As was seen by many people, including myself in September of 2007, a test for HGH was coming, and the unions wouldn't like it. Well, the test is here, and according to the NFL Players Union, "at this point, there's no reason to believe that blood-testing for NFL players will or should be implemented."

Actually, there are reasons. It's the same reasons why Benoit murdered his family and countless ex-NFL players have committed suicide. The same reasons why Nowinski thinks the NFL is the devil. Contact sports can literally kill you. Now multiply that by 100 when you add HGH in the picture. The hits are harder and the after effects are more damaging. But the Union's stance? They don't want it.

The NFL wants it. Roger Goodell wants it. For as much criticism that the league gets, it's really the Players Union that could care less. And for what? So it won't come out publicly that many of the league's stars are using the same drugs that Chris Benoit used? That would be just as damaging to the NFL itself, not just the players. But they are willing to accept that trade. The Union isn't. The only protection they are interested in is financial protection.

So the next time you hear about some old player dangling from his ceiling or drooling over himself at age 45, don't just attack the leagues. Ask yourself, what are the unions doing to prevent this? The answer: absolutely nothing.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Woods' Apology Was Enough, Unfortunately

There's something interesting in the fact that the first big media event of the new decade was Tiger Woods' "apology". It will be one of those things that we look back at in 2019 and say, "Wow, that was ten years ago?" It already feels like Thanksgiving 2009, when this whole melee began, is in the far away past. But what is more telling than that, and what is the most frightening, is how the media handled the whole thing.

I was watching the fifteen minutes of blame on ESPN2, during First Take. Immediately afterwards, Pat Forde and some apology expert (yes, that's a job), went on to proclaim how great of a speech it was. I scanned the radio and television for the next couple of hours and pretty much heard the same sentiment. Eight hours later, I arrived home from work to see the slew of articles that had come out about the subject. 99% of them came to the same conclusion I had; Tiger Woods' apology was simply pathetic.

I'm not going into the details. If you watched the entire thing and thought of it as anything else than another regurgitated pseudo-apology constructed from the Tiger-machine, than you are either two things: retarded, or desperate for the old Tiger to come back. I think most people fall into the latter group. Pat Forde, who I like, is desperate. That apology expert is just retarded. Either way, I am reminded about why I am saddened that newspapers are dying.

Nowadays, the most heard commentary is the immediate. By the time well thought out columns come out, the talking heads have already beaten the subject into your brain. I am writing this the night of the speech, but when you read this, you will already be tired of the story. A thousand writers have already told you that this speech sucked.

I know it's way too early to say, but this might already be the defining moment of the decade. A speech so robotic, so choreographed and so insincere now has a 50% approval rating, simply because split-second reactions were favorable. Any opinion that took at least an hour to construct would deem Tiger Woods as a fraud. But at face value, in the moment, it might have seemed real. So that's the perception you receive.

The reality is that Woods is a corporate machine. It's the way superstars talk in a post-Jordan world. Any reactionary opinion would see this as the way things are now, without question. The beauty of writing is that you can reflect and put into perspective, only that the columns that get heard are the ones that get out the fastest, which makes them no different than radio or television.

It's sad, and if you weren't paying attention, you might think that this morning's apology had a smidgen of heart in it. It didn't, but because we were told it did, we believe it. Which I guess made it worthwhile, and makes Tiger's ignorance turn into genius. He gave us nothing, but we didn't ask for anything.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

When High Standards Equal Wins

I will admit that I'm not too aware of what the fan bases are like in any towns not named Kansas City or Lawrence. Perhaps those who follow the Tarheels, Longhorns and Bruins act the same way as those who follow the Jayhawks. All I know is from my own experiences, so with that being said, this is what I know: criticism breeds winning.

Last night's domination of Kansas over Texas was just that - a domination - unless you happen to be in Jayhawk country. Nationally, it would seem as if KU had just cemented their sixth straight Big 12 title and is now waiting for April to begin. But locally, you only hear one thing from the fans: Kansas has a lot of work to do.

This might seem a little out of place if you don't follow the team every day. Because when you compare them to your favorite team, no matter who that might be, then the Jayhawks come off as being better. But in Kansas, you have only one team to compare them to: themselves. When you do that, then you are never satisfied.

All I hear day after day is how Sherron Collins has too much on his plate or Cole Aldrich isn't playing very well or Marcus Morris needs to stay out of foul trouble or that Xavier Henry is a disappointment or Tyshawn Taylor makes too many mistakes or how Brady Morningstar is offensively challenged. You know what the reality is? Every single one of those players is better than the guy he's matched up against in most of the games they play. I dread every time Markieff Morris comes onto the court, but that's only because he isn't as good as the other KU players. He's still better than your sixth or seventh man.

You can find a flaw in any championship team, especially when you know them like the back of your hand. The truth is they rank in the top ten in most of the statistical categories that matter, and they've lost one - count 'em, one - game all season long, which was a road game against a ranked team early in the season. They are undefeated in the conference with the highest RPI. They have three NBA draft picks. They have a shoe-in Hall of Fame coach. They have veteran leadership. What more do you want?

Kansas fans want perfection, just like Bill Self does. No, perfection isn't possible. But when K-State beat Texas while their two top players struggled, at home, it was seen as the biggest win of the year. When Kansas beats Texas with their two top players struggling, on the road, in dominating fashion? We pick out the negatives. That's the difference.

But when you do that, when you demand perfection and are never happy, it's hard for the players to think any other way. These players know that somehow, some way, being 22-1 and the #1 team in the country doesn't satisfy their fans, so it shouldn't satisfy them.

It's why certain teams always rise to the top, and why those teams can still have a chip on their shoulder. It's also why other teams should fear the Kansas Jayhawks. Yes, we're good, but guess what: we're only getting better.

Monday, February 8, 2010

J Fish on Sports Sabbath

Take a listen to the new sports podcast, Sports Sabbath. I co-host this new show, which is a weekly sports talk show every Sunday night. Recorded right after the Super Bowl.

Sports Sabbath

America's Team

A lot has been made of the plight of New Orleans. Katrina, the horrid history of the Saints, the city that was forgotten. That's why every non-Colts fan was rooting for them. But you can take all of that and throw it out the window, because the real reason we were all Saints fans for one day can be described in two words: Who Dat.

Those words are ignorant. They are uneducated. They are words spoken with a down South, good ole boy dialect, representing a lack of knowledge or interest in the right or proper way to speak or act. In the 21st century, we strive to be smarter. We want to be more refined. But the heart of America and what it means to be American is why we were so anxious to jump on the Saints bandwagon to begin with; the love for the underdog.

To quote Bill Murray in Stripes:

We're Americans, with a capital 'A', huh? You know what that means? Do ya? That means that our forefathers were kicked out of every decent country in the world. We are the wretched refuse. We're the underdog. We're mutts!

That's America. We love the Louisiana natives who still speak in a faux-English that is otherwise deemed as the dialect of the dumb. They are more honest and true than their progressive friends of the North. A lot of conservatives bad-mouthed the city for not leaving during Hurricane Katrina and standing tall at their homes. But that's NOLA; loyalty and patriotism over knowledge and reason.

It's why an Aints fan is still a Saints fan. It's, like it or not, why this win means more than a Colts win would've meant for Indianapolis. It's why American optimism still exists when there's so many reasons to give up.

New Orleans is full of mutts, full of citizens that were so easily forgotten. But that makeup is what has made Americans so impressive to the rest of the world. You can be Peyton Manning - a new-age technological machine - but that can't overcome passion and voodoo. It's the unmeasurable that beats the stats.

That's America, and the New Orleans Saints are America's team.

Friday, January 29, 2010

The Importance of Greg Oden's Penis

Alright, probably not the most tasteful headline I've come up with. But Greg Oden's manhood is all over the internet, and damn, it bothers me. Not that he is hung like a genetically altered horse (he's a 7-foot black man, what did you expect?), but that he is getting so much crap from just about everybody. I say don't blame Greg Oden; blame the wretched bitch that posted it on the internet.

We have grown so accustomed that whatever we do, no matter how mundane, has the potential to wind up on YouTube or Facebook. The lesson we've learned seems to be to not do anything that could possibly incriminate us in any way. Which, you know, is impossible. We all do things that we wish nobody will ever know. Drunken fights/sex, racy photos, anything I wrote pre-2008, etc. Washing away the evidence isn't the answer, washing away the lust for fame and money is.

Look, I once had a girlfriend who moved halfway across the country for school. I would've killed for some sexy pictures or a webcam strip show in the year she was away. Most people will think she was smart for not coming through with either, since we aren't together anymore and I would surely post those pictures on some amateur porn website. Except, I wouldn't have, because I am not vindictive and actually care about people just enough not to completely ruin their lives. And I generally hate people (especially ex-girlfriends).

Greg Oden, the chick from High School Musical, pick any victim of the internet you like. There's nothing wrong with sending a significant other pictures of your birthday suit. There is, however, something very distasteful and disturbing about letting everyone in the world view something you were given in confidence. It says much more about that person than whoever snapped the photos.

Of course, Oden can't really complain. His cell phone is probably blowing up right now with gorgeous women wanting a little bit of his lotta bit. But I don't see it as immature or dumb on Oden's part. It just shows that his ex is a sick and twisted person. The fact that people see no problem in the trend of posting private pictures is way more alarming than anything below Greg Oden's waist. We should be condemning the woman in this case, but people don't like to condemn private citizens. Celebrities can never be a victim unless it's a celeb vs celeb crime.

We live in a very sick society.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Be Careful What You Wish For

For me, the most important athlete of all time is Michael Jordan. He was the first superstar to brand himself, to go corporate. He inadvertently set the bar for every athlete after him. Since Jordan, the template to become a sports celebrity is to be as clean as possible and never take a stand on anything. Because of this, we pine for more athletes to have opinions on social issues. That is, of course, until an athlete actually has an opinion.

Now, I'm no fan of Tim Tebow. The background to my Twitter page is a picture of him crying after the Alabama loss. But the criticism he's receiving over his anti-abortion ad that's set to premier during the Super Bowl is a clear case of hypocrisy.

I also need to add that I'm not a fan of his message either. Truthfully, I don't care enough about abortion to have an opinion, but if I were to choose sides, I would be pro-choice. So everything about this ad should anger me. But it doesn't. I say let Tebow and whatever Christian group that funds him (Focus on the Family, in this case) do what they want. It's a free country.

But the fact that people are coming down on Tebow just goes to show that when people finally get what they want, they find that it wasn't exactly what they were looking for. Here we have a superstar that has the balls to express his opinions, and now everyone wants him to shut up. It's not like this is news; Tebow has always been an outspoken Christian. What did you think his stance on abortion was?

However, this is a very bad career move for Tebow. It's hard to be a franchise quarterback in the NFL when half of your fanbase disagrees with you on such a polarizing issue. It would be different if he played a non-team sport like golf or tennis, but the most important position in football? You need your guys on your side, and like it or not, some players will not want to play for a guy like him. It actually makes this stand even more impressive that he's willing to sacrifice that. Or, he was just incredibly short-sighted and doesn't understand what these kinds of outspoken opinions mean in the long run.

I cannot stand Tim Tebow the player or Tim Tebow the man, but I'm not going to vilify him because he's taking his message to the streets. The kid is brave. He's going to need that bravery when his non-pro skills get him pummeled in the NFL by an angry pro-choice linebacker.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

The Sweetest Gig

The NFL needs to borrow the NBA's motto, "Where Amazing Happens". It doesn't make any sense for professional basketball. Good teams beat bad teams, the Finals are nearly set by February. The only thing amazing about the NBA is that the Nets have only won 3 games this season. That's as many games as the Jets have won in January alone. That's a football team, by the way.

But the NFL never ceases to amaze me. Not because of so-called "parity" or jaw-dropping skill. What amazes me about the NFL is the amount of horrible decisions that are made at a staggering rate of regularity.

For example, Norv Turner and Wade Phillips getting extensions. Now, I'm all for consistency and not making knee-jerk reactions by firing everyone involved, but extensions? It's the same mindset that Notre Dame used when giving Charlie Weis millions of dollars because he won a few games with somebody else's players. Not firing the coach is one thing, but giving more money and more years to a guy after he failed to meet expectations for the Xth year in a row?

The NBA gets it right with coaches. GMs have no problem canning a guy one month into a season because it's obvious he can't get it done. You don't hear things like "they just need more talent, it's not the coach's fault" in basketball. I mean, what's the point of a coach if you don't expect him to win with a team that isn't loaded from top to bottom? Any fan off the street could coach the Chargers into the playoffs. From there on out, it's strategy and motivation that keeps a team rolling.

Seriously, where is the bar set for NFL head coaches? Marvin Lewis got Coach of the Year basically for keeping his team from self-destructing. Then the playoffs happened. And they self-destructed. First year head coach Jim Caldwell decided to scrap a perfect season to let a team into the playoffs who might end up beating them. Brad Childress lost his head coaching job to Brett Favre. Wade Phillips got out-coached by Brad Childress. Must I go on?

Couple those decisions with the Bills hiring Chan Gailey (seriously?) and the Raiders interviewing head coaches before they even fired their current head coach, and I must ask, are the best football minds even working in the NFL? Or is there something I'm missing? Is there some kind of genius working behind the scenes that keeps Eric Mangini employed while Jon Gruden has to sit in a booth?

Perhaps the reason there is parity in the NFL is because all teams are equally inept at making the right calls. Even dynasties like the Patriots, who have arguably the smartest coach of all time, plagued themselves with poor decision making this year. Nobody's perfect, but hell, some of these teams aren't even trying. Maybe I'll be proven wrong with next year's Chargers/Cowboys Super Bowl, but I doubt it.

Every football fan in America couldn't possibly be wrong about this, could they? Amazing.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Big Brother, Where Art Thou? (Part Two)

I wrote an article a few months ago laying out why baseball should be controlled, in nearly all forms, by a review booth. Balls and strikes, home runs, everything. And after the horrid refereeing during Sunday's Packers/Cardinals game, it got me thinking: should football be controlled from the eye in the sky as well?

The answer is yes. And no. Let me explain. Here's what I wrote in terms of baseball:

How about every call is booth reviewed? Every ball, every strike, every close call. If TBS can install a strike zone during its telecast, why can't the MLB? It's easy: someone upstairs watches the pitch using the boxed strike zone, hits a button that signals a remote to the home plate umpire (like where the little box used to keep track of balls and strikes would be), and then the ump signals ball or strike. There would be a one second delay for every call, which would be virtually undetectable. Hell, you could do it right now without telling anybody and not one fan could tell the difference.

In theory, I guess you could use the same buzzer system, but with every penalty being called with a delayed flag, questions would be raised about the honesty of the reviewers. The reason it works in baseball is because we know when the calls will be made. Balls and strikes come at the same time, and we know exactly when. Holding, pass interference and just about every other call in football doesn't have the same timetable. Nothing has to be called. Sure, we'll expect some calls that are blatant (like the missed calls in the Packers game), but not all. This matters.

Because of this difference, the reviewer (or more accurately, reviewers) would have to watch the entire game in real time, like a referee with laser eyes. But that doesn't do a whole hell of a lot, because actual refs don't miss a whole hell of a lot. What they do miss is usually the consequence of the game being too fast, which would be the same problem a review booth would have if used in real time. What makes the booth effective now is that the game stops and they get to see multiple angles in slow motion.

So you really couldn't use it the same way baseball can. Football can, however, use it the second way I proposed:

With fair or foul calls, and calls at the bases, let the umps do their thing. There is ample time in between the call and the next pitch for someone in the booth the review it. If the call is wrong, they can just buzz the umpire. It would add what, one minute to each game? So be it.

This part would work. At the end of every play, as well as while the play is actually happening, the booth can go through things and see if anything was missed. Buzz the ref, throw the flag.

You need the human refs out there to make the calls and stop Albert Haynesworth from going American History X on guys, so there's no reason to scrap them altogether. Oh, and if you think this is going to slow things down, then you would have to admit that there are a lot of missed calls throughout a game. I'm talking over ten penalties, in which case we obviously need this.

I'm really tired of these hugely important games being affected by bad officiating. If someone can explain to me why the system we have now is the best available, please tell me. Then tell the Green Bay Packers fans.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Kansas City, Here They Come

The new Millennium has been pretty disappointing so far. No flying cars, no teleporting, no sex robots. The saddest thing is that the latter is closest to happening. None of the things I was promised as a kid have come true. So I look to something that's probably more fiction than any of those other fantasies. My wish for 2010 and the decade to come? Continuity.

Seems simple enough, right? But when I watch Brian Kelly and Butch Jones leave for greener pastures, Bobby Bowden get forced out from an empire he built, and Urban Meyer decide to take the money and run - only to come back 24 hours later - it makes me pine for the days of your coach being your coach.

Not that it's only a problem for college football. Jim Zorn got 16 games to prove he's fireable. Raheem Morris and Tom Cable might have the same concerns. Then I see the Chiefs hire Charlie Weis as their new offensive coordinator, with Romeo Crennel possibly on the way to anchor the defense.

Of course, these were the two head assistants of the Patriots' dynasty, and they might be reunited. In their proper place, these two failed head coaches could return to their niche and bring glory back to Kansas City. But then what? Then they get new head coaching offers. And the band breaks up.

Selfishly, I would never want that. I'm a Chiefs fan and want sustained success. But even if the Weis/Crennel hit duo were in Buffalo or Washington, I would still want them to stay together. I enjoy the idea of a winning team accepting their roles and helping each other. The point to being great shouldn't be the ambition for a greater paycheck. In sports, it's to win championships.

I accept that there's a better chance of flying Hummers than the idea of a sports team keeping all their great parts. But why not? Let's say that a Weis/Crennel/Haley team brings in a Lombardi Trophy. Hell, let's say they bring in two. Is a bigger check and the chance of complete failure alluring enough to walk away? To keep with the band analogy, would you quit the Beatles for a solo career, or would you recognize the history you're making?

Maybe the Rolling Stones are the band we want to look up to. Everyone accepted their roles and worked together to build a legacy. Weis tried to cover "My Sweet Lord" at Notre Dame and hit the dirt, Crennel's Browns were even worse than McCartney's Wings. And while football's Lennon, Bill Belichick, isn't available, Kansas City currently has Ringo employed at head coach.

And when you look back at it, wouldn't Ringo, McCartney and Harrison be a fresh breath in these times? And perhaps the Kansas City Beatles could pave the way for the new Rolling Stones - a team that keeps everyone together so they can win, not further their own careers?

Yep, we're definitely closer to getting flying Hummers.
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