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Lipscomb Basketball

I'd planned a post giving big ups to the Lipscomb basketball team for losing by less than ten points to South Carolina and Vanderbilt and playing Alabama close until the final few minutes...but then they launched into a string of losses to Kennesaw State and East Tennessee State I'm not so impressed any more.

Link: Lipscomb schedule/results

Cowher Era to End

cowher_bill.jpgThe speculation has been simmering since before the season began. Word is that tomorrow Bill Cowher will announce his retirement as Steelers coach after 15 (mostly successful) years. It will certainly be strange if he, as is speculated, returns to coach another team after taking a year off. Despite the fluke of last year, I think his career is a bit tainted by failing to win the big one when so many times he appeared to be in the driver's seat. As a life-long Steelers fan (my dad used to read me the scores out of the paper before I could read, and I could spell Pittsburgh in second grade), it'll be strange to see someone else on the sideline next season.

Player Arrests Put the NFL in A Defensive Mode

Via Slate's Today's Papers column, there was recently an interesting article in the Washington Post with the same title by Mark Maske and Les Carpenter:

At least 35 NFL players have been arrested this year on charges ranging from disorderly conduct to felony burglary, a number that alarms league and players' union officials. "We can handle all the other issues, but this is the one that concerns me the most," NFL Players Association Executive Director Gene Upshaw said.

Fantasy Football Week 15

After losing in the first round of the playoffs last week, I assumed my season was over. Tonight I realized that I had a meaningless game this week. Needless to say, I hadn't adjusted my line-up from last week. It turned OK, though, as I eeked out a victory by less than a point.

Fantasy Football Week 14

Backyardfootballgc.jpgTralfaz was eliminated in the first round of the playoffs with a 5-point loss. I thought it was a decent rookie season for the coach who made his share of mistakes but did OK.

I've been referring to Tralfaz as "our team", but apparently Elliot wasn't happy with my management and insists that he wants to have his own team next year...a 6-year-old with his own fantasy football team? He was excited when I was talking about "next year" because he thought I meant January. He's got the Backyard Football computer game that he loves, and he's started writing down the stats from the games he plays (T=touchdown, S=sack, Fr=fumble recovery).

Tonight I watched CostasNOW. Like always, the montage summary of the year in sports tugged at your heart strings, especially with Explosions in the Sky as the soundtrack. Also, Charles Barkley admitted that he's lost between 5 and 10 million dollars gambling.

What John Wooden Gets Wrong About Basketball

Wooden_program.jpgI thought this article by Tommy Craggs on Slate about John Wooden and basketball was interesting. An excerpt:

Wooden, and our beatification of the man, has had its toxic effect on the game. It's certainly there in the NBA, which over the past year or so has hired a chief strategist of President Bush's re-election campaign to win back Middle America; instituted an absurd and paternalistic dress code (glossed nicely here); and stood idly by while Chicago Bulls coach Scott Skiles benched Ben Wallace, one of the hardest-working players in the game, for wearing a headband.

I don't know...I thought the dress code (as silly as it may be) was more about what was perceived to help sell the product that the NBA is, not necessarily some sort of legacy of Wooden's.

Fantasy Football Week 13

Tralfaz limped into the playoffs with another loss due to poor coaching. I stuck with the Steelers defense all season, through thick and mostly thin (like > 30 points against the Falcons, Broncos, and Saints)...but finally I got fed and dropped them after the Ravens game. Just in time for them to play Bucs, give up only 3 points, get 4 turnovers and 5 sacks...20 fantasy points. Instead I went with the Cowboys who managed 17 fewer fantasy points, just slightly more than what I lost by.


From the November 17, 2006, installment of The Writer's Almanac:

It was on this day in 1968 that NBC executives made one of the worst broadcasting decisions in the history of network television, interrupting their coverage of a football game between the Oakland Raiders and the New York Jets in order to show the scheduled movie, Heidi, about an orphaned girl who goes to live with her grandfather in the Swiss Alps.

There was one minute left in the game and the Jets were leading by 32 to 29, when NBC went to a commercial. No televised football game had ever gone longer than three hours before, and executives weren't sure what to do. Timex had paid a lot of money to advertise during Heidi, and network executives figured the Jets would win the game anyway, so after the commercial break, the movie began.

Football fans were enraged. So many people called to complain that the NBC telephone switchboard in New York City blew 26 fuses. People were right to complain. What they missed was the Raiders coming back to score two touchdowns in the final minute, winning the game 43 to 32.

It was that game, and the storm of protest by fans, that forced TV executives to realize how passionate the audience for football really was. Two years later, networks began showing football on Monday nights as well. And because of that game, the NFL now has a contract with the networks that all football games will be shown until their completion.

Athletic Ability

irvin.jpgThis is kind of old news, but I thought this on was funny...that a joke like this one would create a big controversy.

Michael Irvin (ESPN commentator and former Dallas Cowboys receiver) joked on ESPN Radio that...

Dallas Cowboys' quarterback Tony Romo's athletic ability must be the result of an African-American heritage.

Irvin later apologized for his comments...

"They were inappropriate and insensitive. My whole thing, what I always try to do, is give people a first-hand knowledge of what it's like in the locker room and how we as players joke around with one another," Irvin said.

"Generalizations about heritage are inappropriate even in jest, and what Michael said was wrong," ESPN spokesman Mike Soltys told USA Today. "We have spoken to Michael about it."

The Big Lead has a transcript. Based on that, I can see why Irvin's statements were a little more inflammatory than than they would seem based on the ESPN story:

"… [there must be] some brothers in that line somewhere … (laughs to himself) somewhere there are some brothers … I don't know who saw what, where …. [maybe] his great, great, great, great Grandma ran over in the hood or something went down … (laughter)"

Dan Patrick, sensing disaster, jumps in and says, ‘that's the only way to be a great athlete?'

Irvin comes back with, "No, that's not the only way … but it's certainly one way … [maybe his] great, great, great, great Grandma pulled one of them studs up outta the barn [and said] ‘come here for a second' … back in the day …(more sinister laughter)"

Fantasy Football Week 12

Tralfaz lost this week. In retrospect, picking up and starting Devery Henderson was a stroke of genius...but starting Roethlisberger during a week when he was playing the Ravens was very dumb...and I should have bailed on the Steelers defense a long time ago.

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