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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