Friday, December 17, 2010

The Smorgasbord-Holiday Edition

*Not exactly all warm and fuzzy in West Virginia these days. Yesterday, Athletic Director Oliver Luck ripped his head coach Bill Stewart in a press conference in which he was announcing the hiring of Oklahoma State offensive coordinator Dana Holgorsen as head coach in-waiting. Among other quotes, this one stood out: "I don't believe we had a chance to win a national championship with the direction of the program. At the end of the day results matter and we weren't getting results." If that is how Luck feels, how can he possibly bring back Stewart, who went 28-11 in his three seasons but didn't make a BCS bowl appearance, for the 2011 season? There is going to be some tension in Morgantown for the next twelve months.

*The sideline trip by Jets strength and conditioning coach Sal Alosi has led to all sorts of arguments and commentary about what is and isn't legal and what kind of punishment should result. One unintended and fantastic consequence is that this old Bill Belichick video has resurfaced. Why you gotta cheat Bill?

*With the announcement this morning that Donovan McNabb has been benched by the Redskins, I can't decide which is currently the more dysfunctional franchise Washington or Denver. The Albert Haynseworth and McNabb sagas would suggest the Skins, but this article last week from NFL Networks's Michael Lombardi screams Denver. Either way it is clear McNabb won't be back with the Skins next year. Hard to believe that both these organizations have surpassed the ineptitude of the Raiders and Vikings. Tough times. (Update: Rick Reilly cast a vote for Denver)

*Is there a worse announcing team than the NFL Network's Bob Papa, Joe Theismann and Matt Millen? Papa's actually passable as the play-by-play guy, but the other two are horrific. How does Theismann have a job, he's the worst football color guy in the last twenty years. Unfortunately they'll be doing the Steelers-Panthers game next Thursday. The League's own channel can't do better? As the ESPN guys would say, Come on, man!

*The media is deifying pitcher Cliff Lee for his decision to sign with the Philadelphia Phillies and spurn a much more lucrative offer from the Evil Empire of the New York Yankees. Lee is being lauded for leaving money on the table, showing it isn't all about the money. Problem is, Lee didn't leave money on the table. The breakdown of the Phillies' offer shows it has the highest average annual value (AAV) with a vesting option in the 6th year that could pay Lee $27.5 million. Yes, his contract is a year or two shorter, but if he pitches reasonably well he can make up those dollars and more on his next deal. It would be nice if the media could get past the headline numbers.

*This guy, on the other hand, really is taking substantially less money to sign with his original team.

*Background: The Minnesota Vikings are going to play their first home outdoor game 29 years to the day on Monday night against the Chicago Bears. The collapsed roof of the Metrodome can't fixed in time so the Vikes are going to play at the University of Minnesota's TCF Bank Stadium.

Reality: The Vikings are 5-8 and out of the playoff picture. Starting QB Brett Favre is out after starting 297 straight games and backup Tavaris Jackson is also out, ending his consecutive game streak at one. The temperatures are going to be in the teens to single digits and their is a possibility of snow. Seating will be on a first-come, first-served event with 15,000 fewer seats available in the smaller stadium. Remember the Who concert in Cincinnati when a handful of people were killed in the stampede to get seats? Well, the Vikings have taken precautions to ensure that won't happen agreeing with the University that no alcohol will be served. I put the over/under for attendance at 30,000.

*There are some great stories about Cleveland Indians pitching great Bob Feller who died Wednesday at the age of 92. This one, about his enlistment and time in the Navy, is particularly captivating and well worth the time. But, it is interesting that all the sports writers who have called Feller a huge SOB and worse don't mention that now that he has passed. If it was part of the who the guy was and they were willing to write about it when he was alive, I don't know why they wouldn't include it now.

*The Steelers worked out four players on Tuesday including the CFL's Saskatchewan Roughriders wide receiver Andy Fantuz. Here is an interesting article where Fantuz describes the workout and here is his YouTube video where he says, "I definitely impressed."

*Yesterday's great sports story.

*FIFA president Sepp Blatter has been accused of being corrupt with the awarding of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups to Russia and Qatar. That may or may not be true, but he's definitely a Neanderthal.

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