ESPN

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NFL: Limits and Stupidity with Colin Cowherd

I know, I know. He’s not a smart man. He acts like one. He postures like one. He speaks with the force and tone of a man who thinks before he speaks, but it’s all a front. I had the misfortune of overhearing ESPN’s bombastic Colin Cowherd’s assessment of Cam Newton after a week 2 loss vs. the defending champion Green Bay Packers. Newton threw for a rookie record 432 yards.  The finer points of the assessment were as follows:

  • He’s thrown for a ton of yards. So what! Everyone has. Look at the record book.
  • There is really nothing to see here. Keep it moving. 854 yards in 2 games by a rookie is not a big deal.
  • Andy Dalton has won a game. He’s deserving of as much attention as Newton. Wins matter most.
  • Newton is one of only 4 mediocre QB’s with more interceptions than touchdowns.
  • It’s early.

Well, it’s certainly early. With Week 3 not quite complete, the list of quarterbacks who have thrown more interceptions than touchdowns has some new names:

  • Philip Rivers
  • Ben Roethlisberger
  • Josh Freeman

These are not mediocre quarterbacks…but this is what happens when miked morons like Cowherd go on uninformed rants. For what it’s worth, Newton is off that short list and now has 4 touchdown passes to match his 4 interceptions. He also has rushed for 2 touchdowns and become the first rookie to pass for 1,000 yards in his first 3 games.

As for winning games, Newton took care of that as well by leading the Panthers over the visiting Jaguars on Sunday. Dalton, for his part, remains winless in the real world. His Bengals could manage only 8 points against the San Francisco 49ers. His lone statistical win comes via an weird and absurd NFL rule that grants wins to the starting QB of the team that wins a game. If that QB plays for one down and throws a Pick 6, but his team recovers to win the game with the backup, the starter gets the win. For Dalton, it’s not much better. He was granted one of these statistical wins even though Bruce Gradkowski did the heavy lifting in Cincy’s Week 1 win over Cleveland. Dalton was knocked out with the Browns leading 14-13. He has yet to beat a real live, flesh and blood football team that plays with cleats and pads and stuff.

Andy Dalton: A Real QB in Search of A Real Win

So, what do we do with miked misinformation machines like Col(o)n Cowherd who talk crap about things they don’t understand? I suppose we just let the record speak for itself. It’s not as if his editors could actually make him WATCH the games.

The Village Idiot

Comment Sections: Where Haterade is Poured to the Rim

From ESPN’s recent article on Mike Tomlin:

“The Steelers could save baby seals, end world hunger, cure cancer, help little old ladies cross the street, adopt an entire third world country, plug the hole in the ozone layer, capture Bin Laden, cure Lindsay Lohan’s and Charlie Sheen’s drinking and drug problems, stop the fighting in the middle east, bring our country out of debt or write a Nickleback song that doesn’t suck and people would still go out of their way to slam the team and their fans in a thread that has absolutely nothing to do with their own team.

Regardless, it’s nice to see ESPN actually writing a football related article about one of these two great franchises.”

The comment section seems to draw out the worst in every one.

2010 NFL Season: John Clayton’s Quest for Integrity

ESPN reporter John Clayton is routinely lambasted on his “blog” for ESPN.com because he makes outlandish and often ridiculous statements.  Perhaps no single statement has garnered as much ridicule as his singular proclamation that Baltimore Ravens starter Joe Flacco is “an elite quarterback.”

Clayton has been stuck on stupid for some time now.  He affirmed Flacco’s future greatness years ago.  He was sure the evidence would come.  Clayton even went so far as to suggest that we were seeing was merely a mirage.  Flacco’s 4-10, 34 yards, 1 INT nightmare vs. the New England Patriots was not really a disaster!  It was a sign of greatness because he was a young QB winning playoff games on the road.  Clayton’s statements read as if Ray Lewis and Ray Rice had suddenly changed uniforms; as if Flacco’s 4 measly completions actually impressed someone in Foxboro other than his own mother and John Clayton.

Clayton, a former beat writer for the Pittsburgh Steelers, even went so far as to ignore the pitiable performance Flacco offered up in the 2008 AFC Championship game.  He served up another fitful apologia after the Colts put Joe to bed without any dinner in 2009.  In 2010, it’s been CRICKETS. (more…)

McNabb Trade: Playoff Bound Redskins Cause Expert Reversal

All it took was ONE DAY for ESPN’s Mark Mosley to start hedging his bets.

All it should have taken was a quick look at the fact Washington lost 7 games by less than a touchdown last year…that they always have a chance to beat their division rivals (because that’s the way it is in the NFC East)…and they’ll play the AFC South next season and will surely benefit from Mike and Kyle’s familiarity with Houston, Albert’s knowledge of Tennessee, and their ability to compete against the largely one-dimensional attacks of Indy and Jacksonville.

The Unstable Stable

The additions of Maake Keomeatu on the D-line, the conversion of Brian Orakpo in the new alignment and the addition of quality depth in the secondary and in the offensive backfield mean this team is poised to go to the next level. The Bengals went from 4-11-1 to 10-6 and a Division Title with Carson Palmer at the helm.  The Redskins should have similar expectations.  The Giants and Cowboys cannot be expected to pose a tougher challenge than the Steelers and Ravens.

Good to see Mosley get that hedge in early.  The problem is that the first piece was written as if he’d neglected to even look at the Redskins roster or to weigh the impact of how they will operate on offense.  The Redskins are going to feature three experienced backs in Clinton Portis, Larry Johnson and Willie Parker.  Each one has faced different challenges over the past few seasons, but none of them should be concerned with hitting the wall in Week 16.  The Redskins should have one of the most dominating rush attacks in the league in 2010.  Mosley spent so much time attempting to minimize the impact of this trade that he ignored the return of Chris Cooley and maturation of Fred Davis until today.

Doesn’t Mosley know that the last thing a defensive end wants to face is a zone-blocking, two tight end offense featuring all of those backs and Donovan McNabb or any elite mobile QB running play action?  Apparently not.  Mike Shanahan coached a Top 10 offense in Denver for a DECADE.  His son just converted Michael Vick’s perennial backup into the leading passer in the entire league.  And, the Redskins defense has been ranked in the Top 10 for 8 of the past 10 seasons.  Do you really think the wheels are going to fall off with the addition of elite offensive coaching, play-calling and execution?  Really?

GOLD STAR QUESTION: By how many games did the New Orleans Saints improve when they added Sean Payton and Drew Brees?

GOLD STAR ANSWER:  SEVEN.

RED STAR QUESTION: By how many games did the Atlanta Falcons improve when they added Matt Ryan and Alex Gibbs?

RED STAR ANSWER: SEVEN.

Both New Orleans and Atlanta made the playoffs.   Perhaps all that can be said about Mosley and the Redskins playoff chances is that he denied it was possible before he thought it might be “kinda-sorta” possible.


Murder in St. Tammany Parish?

From the Seattle Post Intelligencer:

Terreal Bierria, a former Seattle Seahawks player who started 12 games for the team in 2004, was arrested Tuesday on charges of first-degree murder in Slidell, La.

Bierria, 30, was a fourth-round draft pick of the Seahawks in 2002 and played 30 games for Seattle between 2002-04.

According to this story in the New Orleans Times-Picayune, Bierria was arrested the day after Soron Salter, his long-time friend, was found stabbed to death inside his apartment in Slidell.

The newspaper reported that police indicated evidence pointed toward a fight over drugs and that a “significant amount” of cocaine was found inside the home.

One decision — it’s worth noting it was the right decision — changed everything. It altered his NFL career. Some might even say it killed it.

That decision, though, saved his family.

Bierria had started 12 games for the Seahawks in 2004, but was replaced late in the year because of performance and played only on special teams in Seattle’s playoff loss to St. Louis. In training camp in 2005, he was fighting for a spot on the team. That’s the NFL. And he was struggling.

But Bierria wasn’t worried about his football career. He had far bigger concerns.

In the final days of camp, he had been sick with fear. His family — some 150 relatives — was trapped in the New Orleans area during Hurricane Katrina. He paced restlessly at the team hotel, watching as one news program after another showed thousands of people being feasted on by the deadly natural disaster.

He dialed family members’ cell phones nonstop. He could find out only bits and pieces. He didn’t know who was dead or alive. And he’s supposed to worry about blitz schemes?

Thank God he heard from his daughter, mother, father and brother within the first couple days of the storm. His mother reached him from a hospital phone in Ruston, La.  She did not have good news.  The home Bierria bought for them was all but gone, along with his high school and Milne’s Playground in downtown New Orleans, where his mother first signed him up for rec football.  His grandmother was OK, but her home was buried by seven trees. A cousin was stranded on his roof, another on a bridge; some more family was in the Superdome, where news reports said something close to anarchy was taking place. An uncle was in intensive care in San Antonio, fighting for his life.


So many people he loved were suffering, and he was thousands of miles away feeling totally helpless.

“Just hearing the stories about the rapes going on in the shelters, people killing themselves, just the mad pandemonium going on down here,” Bierria says. “As a man, I can’t not go home and see about what’s going on there.”

He couldn’t justify staying in Seattle, sitting comfortably in a lucrative NFL lifestyle while his relatives’ lives were being torn apart.

“I didn’t know where half of my family was, and the other half, I didn’t know if I was ever going to see them again,” he says.

Take a moment to read the entire article.  It’s worth it.

There is often more to a story than meets the eye.  Bierria was charged this week.  We’ll all see how it plays out.

If You Were a Story, I’d BURY You!!

From Yahoo Sports — 3rd NFL link of the day:

MINDEN, Nev. (AP)—The woman who has accused Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger(notes) of raping her at a Lake Tahoe hotel-casino where she worked told authorities she has received dozens of threatening and harassing phone calls.

In a police report filed with the Douglas County Sheriff’s Department, the 31-year-old woman said she has received “well over 100” annoying messages since she filed a civil suit against the football star on July 17 in Washoe District Court in Reno.

The woman said people have left phone messages calling her a “whore” and threatening that “something’s going to happen” if she did not drop the lawsuit, according to the police report filed July 30.

digging

From ESPN — 9th NFL link of the day, and sinking:

MINDEN, Nev. — The woman who has accused Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger of sexually assaulting her at a Lake Tahoe hotel-casino where she worked told authorities she has received dozens of threatening and harassing phone calls.

In a police report filed with the Douglas County Sheriff’s Department, the 31-year-old woman said she has received “well over 100″ annoying messages since she filed a civil suit against the football star on July 17 in Washoe District Court in Reno.

The woman said people have left phone messages calling her a “whore” and threatening that “something’s going to happen” if she did not drop the lawsuit, according to the police report filed July 30.

It’s the same story.  ESPN can say they covered it, but they’re sure to keep it furthest from sight.  What’s most interesting about this story is that it was credited wholly to the Associated Press.  Often times, though not always, ESPN pays some intern to crank out one or two lines so that they can label the article as coming from the “ESPN.com News Services.”  Oxymoron that it is, the term provides an indication of the “ownership of a piece.

ESPN is clearly keeping as much distance from this piece as possible.

“Rape charges!?  What rape charges?  Oh, the false ones we’ve already proven to be false — those rape charges.  Riiiiight.”

ADDENDUM: The story has been pushed OFF the ESPN NFL page, as of Friday afternoon.  It’s gone, but not forgotten.

Is ESPN pouring haterade on Darnell Dockett?

Of course they are.  If they weren’t, I’d have another title. 

The henchman for this particularly banal act is Mike Sando. 

Sando has been working with what D.K. Wilson refers to as “the Big Subliminal” for a few years now.  He writes a blog of the NFC West.  Here’s what he scratched together this week.

Franchise player rules will force Dansby to wait, and he should be content “settling” for a one-year franchise deal worth nearly $9.7 million. The volatile Dockett (my emphasis) has also committed to letting his play do the talking, a good sign for the team.

When did Darnell Dockett become “volatile”?   Perhaps after he sent a message on Twitter about the double standards employed by ESPN in covering the civil lawsuit filed against Pittsburgh Steeler quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.  Could it be that Mike Sando is engaged in an early attempt to poison the well by simply creating inflammatory and prejudicial statements in the absence of information?  Is Mike Sando writing hit pieces to run cover for his boss? 

Surely it wasn’t when Dockett’s mother was executed in his home.  He was only 13.  Surely it wasn’t after his father died of cancer four months later.  Perhaps it was during the Super Bowl when he was inches away from being the games most outstanding defensive player. 

Maybe it was when he earned a new contract based on his superlative play a few years ago.  Did Dockett go berserk in camp and threaten to kill the GM?  Probably not.  The last time Dockett went down this road of seeking fair compensation for his considerable talent, he said:

“I’m here. This is what I’ve been looking forward to: continuing my career where I left off last year,” Dockett said.

“Right now, I’m here. I’m just trying to do whatever I can to help this team win.

“I’m excited to be here. I know my teammates are excited for me to be here.

“All my other issues are put to the side right now.

“It ain’t just about me. There are 60 other guys that depend on me to do a job to make them better.

“I’m even looking forward to making (offensive tackle) Levi Brown better in training camp. I’m going to get after him like no other.”

That was in July 2008.  The Cardinals went to the Super Bowl and Dockett was dominant. 

Mike Sando should either find a new employer or pick a new target.  This sort of vendetta journalism on behalf of his masters is flatly pathetic.  Perhaps Sando’s wife and kids will want to renegotiate — just like Dockett did after realizing he was receiving the short end of the stick.  He is a year late to a Super Bowl party that began with Darnell Dockett’s dedication in 2008.  And Dockett has been a star since he was drafted.  Mike Sando is off base and behind the times.

Korey Stringer: A Thought

On Monday, ESPN’s Kevin Seifert announced a legal victory for the wife of deceased Minnesota Viking’s star Korey Stringer.  The Riddell athletic gear manufacturer was deemed liable in his death for failing to provide heat stroke warnings about the use of its equipment in extreme heat.

Seifert’s article:

The family of former Minnesota Vikings offensive lineman Korey Stringer won an important legal victory Monday against the manufacturer of the helmets and shoulder pads he wore when he died nearly eight years ago from complications of heatstroke.

A federal judge in Ohio concluded that manufacturer Riddell Inc. had a duty to warn Stringer that its helmets and shoulder pads could contribute to heat stroke when used in hot conditions.

As a result, U.S. District Court judge John D. Holschuh ordered a Nov. 2 jury trial to determine whether Riddell’s failure to warn Stringer comprises legal culpability for his death.

Regardless of that eventual outcome, Stringer family spokesman James Gould termed Monday’s ruling “landmark” because it makes the connection between the equipment and heat stroke. Gould said the best way to uphold Stringer’s legacy is to “make sure what happened to Korey doesn’t happen to any other football player — from the National Football League all the way down to kids in Pop Warner.”

“This decision should go a long way to ensure it doesn’t,” Gould added.

A Riddell spokesperson did not immediately return a phone call seeking comment.

Stringer collapsed after a training camp practice on July 31, 2001 and died the next day in Mankato, Minn.

His wife, Kelci, settled legal claims in 2003 against the Minnesota doctor who treated him. She also settled a lawsuit earlier this year against the NFL, which agreed to support the creation of a heat illness prevention program for athletes of all ages.

Gould said the case against Riddell likely represents the final step of the family’s legal pursuits.

“The timing of this is really compelling,” Gould said. “Coaches all around the country, at every level, are getting their equipment ready now for camps. This really brings the issue to the forefront.”

Holschuh wrote it was “reasonably foreseeable … that a user of [Riddell’s] helmets and shoulder pads during extremely hot and humid conditions might suffer from a heat stroke.” Thus, Holschuh concluded, Riddell “owed Stringer a duty to warn.”

That conclusion paves the way for the jury trial next fall. It does not legally require Riddell to label its equipment immediately. But Stringer’s attorney, Paul DeMarco, said it should provide ample incentive to do so in order to avoid future legal liability.

“Any manufacturer who sells football helmets and shoulder pads without a heat stroke warning, knowing they’re being used in extreme heat, does so at its peril,” DeMarco said. “The same goes for leagues, coaches, and equipment managers who permit such equipment to be used without heat stroke warnings.”

This case, the details of which were not revealed in Seifert’s article, could have significant ramifications down the line.  It may change the methods and expectations of coaches.  It may impact the research and development side of sports apparel.  It may even impact our belief that lineman really need to be 6’6″ and 350 lbs in order to do their job.

It’s all too late for Korey Stringer, but at least his passing has not been in vain.  For that, we all owe a debt to his wife Kelci.

ESPN’s Chris Broussard on Cavs Coach Mike Brown

Read Broussard’s piece on the leader of the Cavaliers:

“It happened at barbershops, on radio interviews, at playgrounds and in church. It even happened at the home of my parents, proud season-ticket holders since the day after the Cavaliers won the 2003 draft lottery.

Everywhere I went — in Cleveland and sometimes elsewhere — I seemed to find myself defending Mike Brown.

Folks who had never played one minute of organized basketball, who couldn’t diagram a pick-and-roll on the chalkboard, who didn’t know a jump stop from a jumpsuit, were killing the Cleveland coach.

cavscoachmikebrown

2009 NBA Coach of the Year - Mike Brown, Cleveland Cavaliers

I had no vested interest in standing up for Brown, but I did so every time. Because to me, the criticism was bizarre.

After covering the NBA since 1995 and witnessing various coaching styles, philosophies and demeanors — from hotheaded control freaks to laid-back delegators — I had come to this conclusion about the men who roam the sideline:

A good coach consistently gets his team at least as far as, and sometimes further than, it should go. Period.

And for all the ugly offensive sets the Cavaliers ran during Brown’s first three years as coach, he always, without question and without fail, pushed his team further than it should have gone since his arrival in 2005.”

Click the link above for the rest of the article.