Wednesday, August 27, 2008

See DJ Jazzy Jeff for Free!

Event: Victory Party – celebrating the release of Brothers in Arms: Hell’s Highway for the PC/Xbox & PS3 and Samba de Amigo for the Wii.

Date/Time: Friday, September 5th 2008 – Doors at 8:30pm

Location: The Palladium Ballroom on South Lamar, Dallas.

Entertainment: Candy West and the Whatchamacallits (40’s era Jazz band), Josh Taylor (local guitarist) and ending with the most amazing DJ ever, DJ Jazzy Jeff featuring MC Skillz.

Restrictions: 21 years and up only

Web Link (RSVP): Click Here to RSVP (list Bad Radio as ‘who invited them’)

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Labor Day Weekend Reading

Here at Bob’s Blog we just learned what a “label” is. For those others who use the net without understanding the net, it means that you can label each post and then easily find them by the simplicity of a keyword search or somesuch. Given that today is post #1150, I thought some organization could greatly help this blog’s greatest asset: It’s ability to go all the way back and read the archives to January of 2005. So, while I am in Guatemala, here is some light/heavy reading for you by simply clicking on the labels below, you may access everything that applies to said category:

2007 Cowboys Season Game Notes

2006 Cowboys Season Game Notes

2008 Dallas Stars Playoff Game Notes

2008 Dallas Mavericks Playoff Game Notes (a fairly small file)

More to come, but that should hold you through the Labor Day weekend.

Tuesday Blog

First things first….I think this may be our last blog together until one week from today. I have a Guatemala run tomorrow thru Labor Day, and I have not found any guest bloggers this time. So have a happy Labor Day weekend, and I will see you on the other side…

What do we do at Left Guard

Propped up by two crutches, Kyle Kosier couldn't believe he'll miss four to six weeks with a hairline fracture in his right foot.

"I've been inactive only one game in my career," the Cowboys' starting left guard said. "But what do you do? You move on and get better."

The team's offensive line is the latest group to have its depth tested this August. The cornerbacks, receivers and linebackers have all gone under the microscope, and nobody's panicked yet. That was the case again Monday.

Pat McQuistan, Joe Berger and Cory Procter will all play left guard in Thursday's preseason finale against Minnesota. Coach Wade Phillips left no doubt that whoever plays the best against the Vikings will start the season opener in Cleveland.

"It will be a good opportunity to show what they can do," Phillips said. "I think the tape will sway us one way or the other or keep us on whoever we thought was going to be there in the first place."

Whoever starts in Cleveland will be sandwiched by two Pro Bowlers. Center Andre Gurode has started 74 games in his six-year career. Left tackle Flozell Adams is considered one of the best in the NFL.

Familiarity is critical to a successful offensive line.

Kosier has started between Gurode and Adams the last two years and knows what to do when Gurode changes the blocking schemes before the snap. He also knows how to work with Adams to stop stunting defensive linemen and blitzing linebackers.

"It's going to be an adjustment," Adams said, "but it won't be anything like 2002. Larry [Allen] got hurt that year, and we must have used five guys – and some of them were coming off the
street. Now, that was hard."

Procter played guard and tackle at Montana. He's practiced at guard with the Cowboys and developed into Gurode's backup.

Peter King recognizes the true genius of Pro Football Prospectus

Stat of the Week

Five of my favorite meaningful stats from this year's indispensable Pro Football Prospectus 2008, courtesy of indefatigable writer/researcher Aaron Schatz:

1. New England was the first team in NFL history to use the shotgun on more than half of all offensive plays last year. Shotgun snaps in the league rose from 19 percent in 2006 to 27 percent in 2007.

2. Chad Pennington had eight passes dropped by his receivers, meaning 3.1 percent of his passes were dropped, the lowest percentage in the NFL. Eli Manning had a league-high 9.3-percent drop rate by his receivers -- 49 in all.

3. Indianapolis led the league in single-back formations for the third straight year in 2007.

4. The Steelers didn't abandon the power-run under Mike Tomlin. Not at all. In 2007, 48 percent of Steelers plays were carries by backs, the highest percentage in the NFL, including a league-high 60 percent of plays on first down.

5. The Chargers could be in big, big trouble without Shawne Merriman if he chooses to have knee surgery for two torn ligaments. You wouldn't guess this, but last year San Diego was the only defense in the AFC that hurried the opposing quarterback on less than 10 percent of all pass plays.

Texas and FAU? These two teams hate eachother!

People have questioned Texas' toughness before, although the comments have usually come from somewhere in the known football universe.

Florida Atlantic head coach Howard Schnellenberger calling out the Longhorns from the football hotbed of Boca Raton last week had a different feel, even if the talk came from a familiar face.

In his own way, Schnellenberger, a Bear Bryant disciple, may have done Texas a favor. If the Longhorns, faced with depth chart uncertainty, might have been looking past a Sun Belt opponent, they aren't now.

The comments first surfaced in the FAU student newspaper.

The video evidence came next, courtesy of the Palm Beach Post. The silver-haired Schnellenberger sat in an oversized leather chair holding court while flashing coaching championship rings from the University of Miami and the Miami Dolphins.

"Texas is a very polished team that has great talent," Schnellenberger part drawled, part growled in a voice that cried out for subtitles. "Texas has never been a tough team, a physically tough team.

"And that's what we've got to be. When my defense will get to the point where I think it will get, we'll be mean, nasty, ornery bastards. And that's what you need to beat Texas."

In a phone interview Monday, Schnellenberger clarified the quote.

Texas is a flagship program in a great football state, he said.

"We can't match up with them in talent, so we have to match up with them in some other way," Schnellenberger said. "That's not their long suit. It's probably not the long suit of most teams that have a lot of talent."

Texas offensive tackle Adam Ulatoski has heard similar Longhorn bashing statements before.

"We know people don't like us," he said. "That's everybody – not just Florida Atlantic – so we're going to go out and play the best game we can."

The brief controversy put a focus on Florida Atlantic – an obscure, dangerous opponent. Schnellenberger was hired to build the program from scratch in 1998 after an inglorious one-season meltdown at Oklahoma in 1995.

FAU went 8-5 last season, and beat Memphis in a bowl game. Schnellenberger compares unorthodox 6-5 quarterback Rusty Smith to his old University of Miami quarterback, Bernie Kosar.

While Florida Atlantic allowed 146 points last season in losses to Florida, Oklahoma State and Kentucky, Texas can't afford complacency against the Owls.

After all, the Longhorns still haven't found a featured tailback yet.

And with junior Ishie Oduegwu undergoing surgery on his left shoulder Monday, all five safeties on the depth chart are either redshirt freshmen or true freshmen.

"It's a real concern," coach Mack Brown said.

Big 12 Schedule – Week 1 …looks like all 12 teams take the field before the calendar turns to September…

Most interesting of the slate:

Thursday: Nationally Ranked Wake Forest at Baylor

Saturday: Illinois vs. Missouri

Ranking the Big 12 QB’s

1. Chase Daniel, Missouri: Just seems to have the magic touch to lead his team against practically every opponent -- except maybe Oklahoma.

2. Sam Bradford, Oklahoma -- Amazing first-season performance was marred by late injury against Texas Tech. He has the best collection of offensive tools around
him in the conference and could be poised for another big season.

3. Graham Harrell, Texas Tech: Could be in line for a 6,000-yard passing season if he can remain healthy and his team isn't so good that he has to leave games early.

4. Todd Reesing, Kansas: Jayhawks respond to his fiery leadership. And his 33-7 touchdown-to-interception ratio might be the best indication of his abilities. But he might want to avoid Missouri -- He's 14-0 when not playing the Tigers.

5. Colt McCoy, Texas: Has to receive better protection after struggling through sophomore season?

6. Zac Robinson, Oklahoma State: Most underrated player in the Big 12 and maybe the nation. The Cowboys can't afford to even think about losing him for an extended period.

7. Stephen McGee, Texas A&M: Look for him to flourish in Mike Sherman's pro-style offense, which is more akin to the offense he ran while breaking Texas high school records.

8. Josh Freeman, Kansas State: Thrown to the wolves too early in his freshman season and is playing with his third coordinator in three seasons. But has freakish athletic talents could help him fulfill those lofty NFL ratings his coach always seems to be pushing on the media.

9. Joe Ganz, Nebraska: Passed for big numbers in his three-game starting assignment late last season (1,399 yards, 15 TD passes), but must do a better job of staying away from interceptions. He threw seven during that three-game period -- the same number that Sam Keller threw in the previous seven games.

10. Cody Hawkins, Colorado: Undersized, fiery leader who should improve with a more experienced line and better skill-position players around him.

11. Blake Szymanski, Baylor: Broke most of the school's passing records last season, but will be facing a difficult chore to protect his starting job from Kirby Freeman or Robert Griffin.

12. Austen Arnaud, Iowa State: Looked good in late performances against Kansas State and Kansas last year, but Phillip Bates might have the athleticism to challenge him for the starting job.

Rangers Deal Eddie for a Hamburger! ….Norm laugh here…

Teams had interest in Eddie Guardado a month ago as the non-waiver trade deadline approached, but the Texas Rangers declined all offers because they thought they were playoff contenders.

That belief is long gone, and, as of Monday afternoon, so is Guardado.

The Rangers sent their acting closer and veteran bullpen voice to Minnesota for a rookie-league pitcher. Frank Francisco takes over for Guardado, who started his career in Minnesota and was a two-time All-Star.

Guardado was the Rangers’ best reliever this season and had become an All-Star mentor to, among others, his replacement. The Rangers can’t replace Guardado’s experience but will replace him in the ninth inning with Francisco.

"He was great to me, and I build a lot of confidence from that guy," said Francisco, who is seeking his first career save. "I learned a lot from him. He’s a great guy, a great teammate, and I’m going to miss him."

Guardado, a left-hander, has landed in the thick of a playoff race in Minnesota — which entered Monday a half-game back in the AL Central and a game behind Boston in the wild-card race — and will be eligible for the postseason because he was acquired before Sept. 1.

The Twins made a waiver claim on Guardado and were the only team who could negotiate a trade with the Rangers. General manager Jon Daniels could have withdrawn their waiver request and kept Guardado, but the current slide that has dropped the Rangers below .500 made him expendable.

"That certainly plays into it," Daniels said. "If we were three games out, we wouldn’t be in a position to trade a veteran. But that’s the reality of our situation right now."

Guardado’s former teammates wished him well and were excited to see him with a chance to win an elusive World Series ring.

He left them with several lasting lessons, such as commanding pitches, battling each outing and the importance of sticking to a routine.

Need your hockey pants to feel life? Watch this video …Sean Avery in Stars black at :35 in….

Tommie Harris dances well

Hitler Reviews the Rangers (language alert)

Monday, August 25, 2008

EPL: Round 2 - Gerrard!

Week 2 saw another amazing winner for my beloved posers, Liverpool. This kind of reminds me of Green Bay’s 1999 when Favre opened the season with 3 amazing 4th Quarter comebacks and emotional wins that had the entire league clapping. But, I was sitting there wondering why they were always in such a bind in those games – knowing that they were there because they were not very good.

Liverpool has gotten away with playing very poor football 2 weeks in a row against 2 teams that are not anywhere near the title mix. They have two wonderful winners in the late minutes to steal victory from the jaws of defeat. But why are they behind 80 minutes into the game at home against Boro? Good question. Victory, but not by much.

Meanwhile, at Wigan, Chelsea unleashed the genius of Deco again as he scored on a beautiful set piece and quickly showed that when there is a kick to be taken, Ballack and Lampard might want to take a powder.

Deco Compilation from his days at Barca…

And now the games of Round 2 for the Big 4 in England

Fulham 1, Arsenal 0 as the Gunners drop 3 points in a London Derby against maybe the weakest of the city clubs. Fulham scored on a corner kick in the 1st half, and despite pressure throughout from Arsenal from Van Persie and Adebayor. There is certainly some fear amongst the Gunners fandom that they may be a piece or two short throughout the club and that it could be another year of rebuilding for Arsene Wenger.

Liverpool 2, Middlesbrough 1 as a game that lacked class for 70 minutes proved to have an amazing conclusion at Anfield. Mido, the sometimes fat Egyptian striker, came off the bench and scored from distance for Boro, but almost as if the script was written, Carragher scored in minute 85 with a fortunate deflection and Gerrard scored a goal that would be the goal of a lifetime for most on the final kick of the match, but for Liverpool’s captain, it was just another notch on his belt.

Chelsea 1, Wigan 0 where Deco scored in the first 5 minutes. In 4 seasons with Barcelona, Deco had 13 goals. In 2 games with Chelsea, he has scored twice. Wigan put huge chances on the goal during this game, but the headgeared Peter Cech was up to the challenge. He was very good, but he still looks like he has lost his baseball. Big Phil gets 6 out of 6 points in his first English Campaign.

And finally, Manchester United 1, Portsmouth 0 on Monday Night Football on the South shore. In their last 5 trips to Pompey, United was 1-3-1, so they will be very pleased to take their group down there and leave with their first win of the season. Darren Fletcher scored from tight against David James for the games only strike, and then United just put Pompey in the meat grinder. A clinical result for the champions as they never looked in trouble in a tough setting with half of their squad out of action.

Story of the week: Tottenham still hopes to keep Manchester United from adding Berbatov. But as ugly as it is getting, and as poor as Spurs have started, expect Sir Alex to get his guy (again) and for United to just get richer

Standings after Round 2:

Chelsea 2 Games Played: 6 Points (0 Points Dropped)
Liverpool 2 GP: 6 Points (0 PD)
Manchester United 2 GP: 4 Points (2 PD)
Arsenal 2 GP: 3 Points (3 PD)

This Weekend’s Round 3 Menu:

Saturday, 11:30 Newcastle at Arsenal – Fox Soccer
Sunday, 7:30 Tottenham at Chelsea – Setanta
Sunday 10:00 Liverpool at Aston Villa – Fox Soccer
Manchester United – off for UEFA Super Cup

Redeemed Team

I am really proud of those guys. All 12 of them. They made America proud, and did it all the right way. They were classy. They were united. They were what USA basketball needed. Lebron, D-Wade, Kobe…I will always remember what these guys did in Beijing. Bravo!


With their elbows locked, smiles iridescent and extreme image makeover complete, the United States men’s basketball players took their final step into Olympic lore in the most appropriate way — together.

They pulled one another up to the gold medal podium on Sunday after a 118-107 victory over Spain in an old-fashioned shootout that could long resonate as a standard for international play. After hammering their opponents by an average of 30.2 points through their first seven games, the Americans outlasted the Spaniards in their first wire-to-wire test of the Olympics, a game as aesthetically pleasing as it was entertaining.

The United States never trailed in the second half but did not officially put Spain away until Dwyane Wade, unofficially the best player in these Olympics, drilled a 3-pointer with 2 minutes 2 seconds remaining.

Wade, who led the team with 27 points, stayed in that spot for a second and posed with his hands on his hips and a cocksure grin. If there was ever a night for the Americans to show off a bit, this was it: They had completed their long journey back from a disappointing bronze medal at the 2004 Athens Games.

Carmelo Anthony, a veteran of Team USA, said the squad had put “American basketball where it’s supposed to be — on the top of the world.”

After embarrassing the United States on and off the court in Athens, this so-called Redeem Team lived up to its moniker with vigor. The players guarded as if their meals depended on it, shared the ball as if they were starring in “Hoosiers” and made not even a wisp of trouble off the court.

Their performance here validated the formula of USA Basketball’s managing director, Jerry Colangelo, who had dozens of the country’s best players commit to the program for three years. The players’ defensive zeal and camaraderie were a testament to just how far the Americans had come from the petulant and selfish group in 2004.
“The fact that we had this team for three years was the telling difference in this game,” Colangelo said. “It was a great game. It was a pressure game from the get-go, and we never cracked. The fact that we were together for this period of time was the difference.”

And afterward, the Americans had a chance to tell everyone about it as a team. Just as they planned to walk up on the podium with their arms locked, the entire team showed up at a news conference designed to accommodate no more than six people.
They complimented Spain’s valiant play but talked about how their shared experience of the past three years had allowed them to fend off every Spanish run.

The United States shot 60 percent from the field. Aside from Wade’s late 3-pointer, Kobe Bryant came through with numerous clutch fourth-quarter shots. After Spain had cut the lead to 2 points in the fourth quarter and forced Coach Mike Krzyzewski to call a timeout, Bryant hit a shot that started a 12-2 run. He later made a 3-pointer to boost the lead to 8 with 3:10 remaining, putting his finger over his lips to quiet the crowd.

“Everybody wants to talk about N.B.A. players being selfish and arrogant and being individuals,” Bryant said. “Well, what you saw today was a team bonded together, facing adversity and coming out of here with a big win.”

The victory appears to portend well for USA Basketball. Although Krzyzewski is not likely to return as head coach, Bryant is one of five core players — Chris Bosh, Chris Paul, Deron Williams and Dwight Howard are the others — who said they would gladly return to play in London in 2012. LeBron James, Anthony and Wade said they would consider it when they must decide.

“I think it’s important to play for the national team now,” the assistant coach Jim Boeheim said. “I think that’s what Jerry wanted to do. That was the whole goal.”
The other goal was to end up atop the podium. Along they way, they contributed to an instant classic of a game.

“It’s going to elevate the image of basketball worldwide,” Colangelo said. “It was
one of the great games of all-time in Olympic history. The quality and caliber of player in this championship game was extraordinary. The bar has been raised, and it’s going to be even better next time around.”

No sooner do I highlight the health of the Cowboys OL over the last few years then they lose a key component of the Cowboys OL is lost for 6 weeks

Dallas Cowboys left guard Kyle Kosier will be sidelined for the first month of the season.

He is expected to miss up to six weeks after suffering a sprained right foot in Friday’s 23-22 preseason victory against the Houston Texans.

Kosier joins linebacker Kevin Burnett (knee), receiver Miles Austin (knee),
cornerback Terence Newman (groin) and linebacker Anthony Spencer (knee) on the team’s injured list.

Newman should be ready for the season opener against Cleveland on Sept. 7.
It will come down to the wire on Burnett, who underwent arthroscopic surgery on his right knee Aug. 15. Austin is out four to six weeks with a sprained medial collateral ligament in his right knee, and Spencer will miss two to four weeks after undergoing arthroscopic surgery on his right knee Wednesday.

While Burnett, Austin and Spencer are reserves, Kosier is a starter, and his possible extended absence is a huge blow to the Cowboys’ offensive line.
Joe Berger and Cory Procter top the list of possible replacements, though the Cowboys could move tackle Pat McQuistan back to guard.

Receiver Isaiah Stanback suffered a dislocated shoulder against the Texans. The Cowboys will continue to monitor him before deciding if he needs surgery.
His injury complicates a precarious situation at receiver. Austin’s injury had already left the team with no proven options behind top three receivers Terrell Owens, Patrick Crayton and Sam Hurd.

Osi out; Strahan in?

Former New York Giants defensive end Michael Strahan would consider returning to the team in the wake of Osi Umenyiora's season-ending knee injury, the New York Daily News has reported, citing an unnamed source.

According to the paper, Strahan, 36, who retired in the offseason after helping lead
the Giants to a Super Bowl championship, would come back with the Giants if offered an $8 million contract for this season, according to a source close to the seven-time Pro Bowler. "If the Giants make a sincere overture, it's a good chance that Strahan would consider coming back," the source said, according to the Daily News. "There are other things he has to take into consideration: the money and his contract with Fox."

Strahan currently holds a position at Fox Sports as an NFL studio analyst.

"But if the Giants really want him, they have a shot," the source said. "It's not out of the question."

The Giants appear open to the idea.

Co-owner Steve Tisch told the New York Post the Giants have warmed to Strahan returning.

"Would I like Michael to be a New York Giant this season? Absolutely. Absolutely," Tisch told the Post. "Will he be? I have no idea. I don't even want to put a percentage on it but things changed very quickly [Saturday] night and if one of the potential solutions is to reach out to Michael, worst-case, it's certainly worth a phone call.''

Strahan was in Greece on vacation Sunday when he heard the extent of Umenyiora's injury, the Daily News reported.

Strahan wouldn't confirm the possibility of returning in an interview with the NFL Network.

"I haven't heard from anybody else, so to say if I would or wouldn't is premature," Strahan said. "So I'm enjoying my retired life right now.

Understand the Tampa 2 Defense here

RudyJax asks whether Mike Sherman can be successful at A&M ….

What happened to Reggie McNeal?

Once again it will be Reggie McNeal to the rescue for the Toronto Argonauts.
For the second straight week, the Argos fourth-string quarterback will start at wide receiver when the CFL club takes on the Montreal Alouettes in a key East Division contest Friday night at Rogers Centre at 7:30 p.m. ET.

McNeal, 24, made his first CFL start in last week's game against Hamilton due to a rash of injuries at receiver. The six-foot-two, 205-pound former Texas A&M star was one of the Argos few bright spots in the 45-21 defeat, registering six catches for 101 yards, both team highs.

So when the Argos offence takes to the field against Montreal, McNeal will once again find himself looking to catch the football instead of throwing it.
"I just want to make plays, that's what I went out there to do," he said. "That's what I've been used to doing all my life.

Playing receiver is nothing new for NcNeal. Despite leading Texas A&M to the Cotton Bowl as a quarterback in his junior season, the native of Lufkin, Texas, was drafted in the sixth round of the '06 NFL draft by the Cincinnati Bengals, who immediately projected him as a receiver.

McNeal saw action as both a receiver and backup quarterback with the Bengals before being released by Cincinnati in September 2007. McNeal signed with Toronto the following month and was added to the team's practice roster.

But McNeal said a football player must be prepared to step in wherever he's needed.
"This is a team, man," he said. "You can't be selfish in here. Everyone has to play for the same goal. If they need me to help out and go play receiver, I will do it."
McNeal's best season as a quarterback at Texas A&M was in 2004 when he completed 200-of-344 passes for 2,791 yards and 14 touchdowns. He passed for more than 200 yards in 10 games and had a career-high 298 yards passing versus the University of Wyoming.
He also ran for a school-record 718 yards and scored eight touchdowns. But the Aggies' season ended on a miserable note as Tennessee defeated Texas A&M 38-7 in the Cotton Bowl.

McNeal ended his college career on a down note, though, as the Aggies posted a 5-6 record in 2005. However, McNeal was invited to play in the East-West Shrine game in San Antonio and completed 9-of-11 passes for 211 yards and two touchdowns in leading the West past the East 35-31.

McNeal says he's never surprised with what he does on the football field, be it at receiver or quarterback.

"I want to go out and be one of the leaders on the team and make plays and make things happen.," he said. "When the ball comes my way, make the play.

"That's what they pay us to do. When the ball comes my way, make sure I don't drop it and make something happen when I get it."

Chad Johnson is insane

“The problem with Michael Phelps is there’s no competition where he is,” Johnson said. “Now if he came to where I’m from, which is the inner city, Liberty City [in Miami], I was the three-time Charles Hadley Pool champ. . . . I know a couple people who could beat Michael Phelps right now. Seriously, I’m telling you. And I’m one of them.”

In Television news, It appears Timothy Treadwell is about to walk back into our lives

The documentary "The Grizzly Man Diaries" shares the same subject -- the eccentric bear enthusiast Timothy Treadwell -- and producers as Werner Herzog's 2005 film "Grizzly Man." But the eight-part nature series, debuting on Animal Planet Aug. 29 at 9 p.m. EDT, couldn't be more different in its mission and tone.

" 'Grizzly Man' is so much a product of Werner's world view and interpretation of Timothy's life, that I wanted to go the complete opposite way with this series," says Erik Nelson, executive producer of both projects. "If Timothy didn't film it personally or write it in his diary, it's not here; I wanted viewers to enter his world without filters or a narrator telling you what to think."

Jewel Palovak, Mr. Treadwell's former business partner and also a producer on both projects, wanted to do the television series even before the idea for the film materialized. " 'Grizzly Man' just happened so quickly -- we had to finish it in six weeks to get it ready for the Sundance Film Festival," she says. "With his new show, I got to properly put together the tale Timothy wanted to tell."

Mr. Herzog, who was sent early cuts of the series but has not watched them yet, was unavailable for comment, according to a spokesperson.

A former drug addict turned amateur naturalist, Mr. Treadwell spent 13 summers embedded with the grizzly bears of Alaska's Katmai National Park before he and his girlfriend were mauled and devoured by one of his beloved creatures in October 2003. But as a budding filmmaker, Mr. Treadwell left behind an unusual legacy: more than 90 filmed hours and 10,000 photographs of his personal experiences with Katmai's wildest.

I have another weekend trip to Guatemala this week, and one place we are going is Tikal …this should be amazing.

Here is a take on the state of SMU this season …as they open Friday at Rice…

WE will get the full EPL Report tonight after Manchester United plays some Monday Night Football (At Portsmouth, 2pm, Setanta), but until then, here is the greatest goal of the season from the great Steven Gerrard, Gerrard!

And now, sports email:

Dude, that was freaking AWESOME!!!!! I stayed up last night for every second of the gold medal game between team USA and Spain. And then I hung in there for the medal ceremony. I was glued to the TV. I found myself cheering for both teams each time they scored. The energy and intensity was crazy. Man you could tell, those guys wanted it bad. I will always remember that game. I am definetely back into USA mens basketball. I am also now a lifelong fan of Kobe,Lebron,Dewayne Wade and everyone else on that team. They have been nothing but class throughout these olympics and even before that. I will never forget that game, and I will never forget these olympics. Freaking Awesome!!!!

Sports are fun

Here's a bit of useless but interesting fact bout the reach of Jamaican's Mr. Bolt's stride; After watching his domination of the 200 I took advantage of the wonderful technology of the DVR and slowed mo'd it.

Mr. Bolt was landing across the finish line on his 80th step (counting each left and rt step separate). By contrast the only other medalist ( cant remember if it was the S or B ) that ne camera had in pic the entire race that I could count, landed across the finish line on his 88th step. 10% more steps.


Here is the some additional and accurate data Bob. Share with your public. BE Sports Sturm. ;)

Here are Bolt's 10m splits from the race.

RT 0.165
10m 1.85
20m 2.87 (1.02)
30m 3.78 (0.91)
40m 4.65 (0.87)
50m 5.50 (0.85)
60m 6.32 (0.82)
70m 7.14 (0.82)
80m 7.96 (0.82)
90m 8.79 (0.83)
100m 9.69 (0.90)

So if we subtract his reaction time (.165) from his 40m time (4.65) we get 4.485s for a 40m least the way it is done in football with the runner starting on their own. After converting that to yards per second (9.7535yd/s) and then converting that to a 40yard dash time it comes out to 4.10 seconds not 3.5 like ESPN said which is what you get when you just convert the whole 100m time into a 40yd time (3.54 seconds to be exact....)

If you really want to get crazy with numbers Bolt covers 100m in 41 strides while Tyson covers 100m in 46 strides. Tyson can cover 89.1299m in the same 41 strides that Bolt can cover 100m. Tyson's split last year from the World Championships was 8.99 for the first 90m (41 strides) of the race....So I propose that everyone run the same amount of strides and see who is fastest.

I took out the reaction time for a simple reason. At the combine, the time starts at first player movement, not a gun like in track. Therefore, it has to come out to accurately reflect a 40 YD.

Mike P


So after picking Demarcus Ware over Shawn Merriman with the 11th pick in the 2005 draft the Cowboys and Bill Parcellss faced a lot of scrutiny. Does everybody remember Parcells whole outlook on drafting around that time frame? After dealing with the Antonio Bryants and Quincy Carters of the world, one word described what Big Bill was looking for...character. Ware was the poster child of character. Merriman was quite the opposite.

Merriman showed up to camp with like 30 lbs of muscle that he did not have in college. He stole the headlines after blowing up his rookie year and he quickly became the NFL leader in sacks. (of course he tested positive for steroids which in essence makes him a cheater) But that's ok Shawn...keep doing your lights out dance.

For those of you who live in a cave and don't know- Merriman will motion as if he were turning out a light switch after every sack or big if to say his hits cause the opponent's lights to go out. Jason Taylor commented once that Shawn should not have been considered for an award because he was on steroids. Merriman responded by sending Taylor a "lights out" T-shirt and a box of popcorn, mocking the fact that Taylor was at home during the playoffs while he his Chargers were still in the hunt. Class act huh?

I guess Shawn decided that his now famous celebration had become tiresome, announcing before the 2007 season that he would no longer do it. It only took 4 games for him to breakdown and showcase his oh-so-exciting gesture once again. I guess the temptation got too strong. During the 4th game he gets up after a sack on Damon Huard (wow big accomplishment there) and he's such an attention whore that he wants to crowd to cheer for him even more.

I can see the thought process going through his head as the little hamster in his tiny brain starts running on the wheel. I bet he was like "man I really need to showboat because that was a good sack...should I do the homerun swing? many people do that...should i do the axe chop? just doesn't feel right...well I guess I can do the lights is after ALL my signature move!" What a jackass...He is just another meathead with an over inflated sense of self worth and a fat bank account. Nobody will even remember him 10 years from now.

Now while all these semantics are going on Demarcus Ware is quietly becoming one of the best all around linebackers the game has ever seen. Not only sacking the qb constantly, but running back interceptions for touchdowns and chasing down rb's who try to swing to the outside. He is an all around phenomenal athlete and a leader in the locker room. I'm pretty sure he will be in the running for Defensive MVP this year.

While Mr. Merriman is busy flying directly from practice to LA to be an anchor on a Fox pregame show, Demarcus is at home with his wife and their recently adopted little girl.

While Shawn's testis are shrinking from steroid abuse, Ware is adding on lean muscle the old fashioned way...working for it.

While Merriman gets a sack against a putrid team like Kansas City and does a clown dance...Ware is chasing down Brian Westbrook from behind and tackling him for a loss...quietly returning to the huddle.

Oh did I mention Merriman's career might be in jeopardy? I wonder if Shawn will give the lights out signal as they put him under to do reconstructive surgery on his bum knee. I think the Cowboys made the right decision don't you?

Well time to get back to work-



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Good-bye to Generation Kill….Gen Kill sings Wheatus

Try watching this without laughing

Friday, August 22, 2008


Some Friday links for your enjoyment….

Tim MacMahon strikes gold – with a chat with Football Prospectus

1. Roy Williams' coverage ability (or lack thereof) is always a hot topic in Dallas. What do your numbers indicate about Williams' performance in coverage over the last few years?

Our numbers, in this case, back up what the naked eye sees; Roy Williams has a target on his back, and it's there for a reason. Williams was targeted with 59 passes last year, the second-most of any safety in the league. Those passes "succeeded" (our measure for tracking whether the pass did enough to contribute towards earning a first down) 63% of the time; therefore, Williams had a 37% success rate, which was 72nd amongst all safeties. Remember that there's only 64 starting safeties in the league and, well, it wasn't a pretty year for Roy.

2. Adam "Pacman" Jones arrived here with a lot of talk about his Pro Bowl potential. How close was he to being an elite cornerback for the Titans?

He wasn't close. He already was one. Jones often lined up in man coverage, and absolutely shut down opposing wideouts in 2006. His success rate was 63% -- that was second-best amongst all corners, and the 5.4 yards he gave up per pass were the best in the league. It's impossible to say what he'll be this year because of the year off, his obviously bizarre mental state, and the time it may take to adjust to a new system, but when his mind is right, Adam Jones is on the shortlist of best cornerbacks in football.

3. Can Tony Romo put up the same kind of numbers he did while rewriting the
franchise passing record book last season?

He's certainly capable of doing so. We were expecting some regression from Romo and the Cowboys offense in 2007 because of the third-down principle that we've discovered exists in the NFL. Without getting too deep into the gory details, what we've found is that teams whose third down performance on offense or defense exceeds their performance on first and second down tend to see that third down performance decline in subsequent years. That was true of the Cowboys in 2006, but instead of seeing their third down performance decline, instead, the Cowboys' offense improved on first and second down.

The biggest concern for Tony Romo and for the Cowboys as a whole is injury. The team has been the healthiest in football by far over the past five years, and it goes a huge way in helping to explain the team's success. If you remember the second Eagles game last year, Romo and (I believe) Andre Gurode got hurt, and although Romo stayed in the game, he really, really struggled with his mechanics and getting the ball out on time. Romo's a very talented player, but he has a risky, daredevil style and honestly, both he and the Cowboys' offense are overdue for a year full of injuries.

4. Felix Jones averaged 7.7 yards per carry, better than any major college back other than Army's Glenn Davis in the '40s. According to your research, is there a strong correlation between college yards per carry and NFL success?

Not particularly. If we look at the ten best yards per attempt for players that we've seen at the college level, it's a mix of stars (Larry Johnson, LaDainian Tomlinson, Ahman Green) and relative disappointments (Mike Rozier, J.J. Arrington, Rashaan Salaam, Damien Anderson).

The item we've seen that best correlates to NFL success is a metric we've come up with called Speed Score, which weighs a player's performance in the 40-yard-dash relative to his weight. No one doubts that Felix Jones has fantastic speed, but it was very surprising that he ran only a 4.47 at the Combine. For a guy who weighs 207 pounds, that's a 103.7 Speed Score -- the average Speed Score for first-round picks is 112. Combining that with concerns about the style of offense that Arkansas ran and its application to pro performance, and I have reservations about Jones' ability to succeed at the pro level.

5. Judging by Football Outsiders data, who is the most underrated Cowboy? Overrated?

That's a tough one. Roy Williams would be the one who's overrated. For most underrated...I'll go with Marc Colombo. He did arguably the best job of any tackle in handling Michael Strahan last year -- particularly for the first three quarters of the playoff game, while the Cowboys were aces at running to the right last year. The Cowboys were second in the league at running behind right tackle, and first in the league at running to the outside besides it.

Chill with a fine preview of the game tonight against Houston ….until the end…

With coach Wade Phillips planning on giving the starters extended playing time tonight against the Houston Texans, the Dallas Cowboys are out of excuses.
After two disappointing preseason efforts against San Diego and Denver, it’s time to put up or shut up.

The traveling training camp circus is over. The trips from Oxnard to San Diego to Oxnard to Denver are done.

It’s time for the Cowboys to show their fans what they are about in what will be their first preseason appearance at Texas Stadium.

Winning is not necessary.

Looking efficient and productive is a priority.

Here’s a look at some storylines for tonight’s game:

Dress rehearsal

The Cowboys are preparing for the Texans as if it was a regular-season game. They have a game plan on offense and defense. Quarterback Tony Romo and the first-team offense might play into the third quarter. The same holds true for the starters on defense. The increased focus resulted in some of the best practices of the preseason this week. The time is now for the Cowboys to put it all together.

More Felix Jones

With the starters likely playing into the third quarter, the Felix Jones-Marion Barber package should be unveiled for the first time. The Cowboys already have the nice change of pace by sending in the shifty Jones after Barber’s physical runs. But they will be doubly tough in the lineup together, where Barber will play the role of fullback or Jones will split out wide as a receiver.

Pacman will start

Cornerback Adam "Pacman" Jones will be in the starting lineup for the first time since December 2006 when he was with the Tennessee Titans. Jones sat out the 2007 season for repeated violations of the NFL personal conduct policy. Jones has done everything right since joining the Cowboys. He has had a strong training camp and preseason. It was only a matter of time before he received a chance to run with the first team in place of rookie Mike Jenkins.

Receivers on notice

The Cowboys had concerns about their wide receiver depth before Miles Austin, who had a strong camp, was sidelined four to six weeks with a sprained MCL. With him out, the question of depth is back on the forefront. Patrick Crayton and Sam Hurd are reliable. Isaiah Stanback has the athletic ability to be a difference-maker, but he still needs development. Can he step up or will the calls for disgruntled Arizona receiver Anquan Boldin grow even stronger?

Texans’ Super Bowl

The Cowboys better be prepared for a dogfight tonight. What is just a preseason tuneup to the Cowboys is the Super Bowl to the Texans and their fans. The biggest win in the Texans’ history was the season-opening 19-10 victory over the Cowboys in 2002 at Reliant Stadium. In other words, the Cowboys better bring some emotion to go along with hopes for an efficient outing against what will be a fired-up and improved Texans team.

C’mon, Clarence. That is the most insulting final paragraph in the history of paragraphs! Houston does not treat this as the Super Bowl! That is beyond idiotic. Talk about Cowboys Homerism! They went 8-8 last season, played in the toughest division in football where every other team made the playoffs. I could see if this was Houston’s first year, but I am quite sure in the franchise’s 7th year, they are beyond a preseason game in Dallas.


What about this Peyton Manning story? ….could you imagine the guy with the 2nd longest start streak in the sport missing the opening game in his new stadium?

I talked to several people in the NFL yesterday who know things and they assure me that Peyton Manning’s knee is a huge concern for the Colts. Apparently Manning had to go through another procedure on his knee to clean things out after having his bursa sac removed last month. What is the most concerning is not the second operation (which the Colts are denying), but that they cannot control the swelling in Manning’s knee and any physical movement causes MORE swelling. Once he returns to the game, gets hit, has to place a load on the knee, and drive the ball, there can be swelling. All I know is that there is MUCH more here than meets the eye. Manning has the trainer come over to HIS home for rehab and is rarely seen. Now, I have been with some big-time quarterbacks in my career like Joe Montana and Rich Gannon and never have they rehabbed from home. I thought this was not an issue and that Manning would be back. However, after talking to my friends in the league, it’s clear that this is a HUGE concern short- and long-term for the Colts.

Football Outsiders prepares for the preseason weekend

Jamey Newberg’s Top Rangers Prospect list


The jump to AA may be the toughest in the minor leagues, but it hasn't tripped up the 20-year-old Feliz, who skipped High A altogether. He continues to strike out more than 10 batters per nine innings, has yet to allow a home run in eight AA starts, and punches up triple digits on the radar gun from time to time. Feliz threw five no-hit innings Tuesday night, improving his opponents' batting average for the year to .198.


The greatest breakthrough in the system this year, without question. In his first full season out of Wallace State Community College, Holland has lost one game in 24 starts between Low A, High A, and AA, sporting a 12-1, 2.40 record with 145 strikeouts and 36 walks in 138.2 innings. His power arsenal (featuring a fastball that sits 91-97) is playing up: Clinton opponents hit .228 off Holland, Bakersfield opponents hit .185, and Frisco opponents are hitting .156.


The youngest position player in the Texas League, Andrus hit .260 / .302 / .310 in
April, .278/.343/.22 in May, .309/.385/.397 in June, and .330/.382/.423 in July. He's stolen 49 bases and makes every play defensively. Special player.

4. MICHAEL MAIN, RHP, Low A Clinton

Sidelined with a ribcage injury for the first half of the season, the 19-year-old Main has been dominant since returning, striking out more than a batter per inning and walking only a third as many. The Midwest League is hitting just .217 off the athletic righthander, who works in the mid-90s.


Teagarden's year at the plate (.217/.331/.378 in the minors) has been less productive than his 2007 season, but he's a brilliant defender and one of the top catcher prospects in baseball, as evidenced by his selection to the Futures Game in July and Team USA as it competes in Beijing.

6. MAX RAMIREZ, C, AAA Oklahoma

If Justin Smoak hits .315/.415/.520 as a minor leaguer, he'll be on every publication's list of the best prospects in baseball. That's what Ramirez has done offensively in his five pro seasons, and he has shown this year that he's a better catcher than his reputation suggested. Great future.

7. JUSTIN SMOAK, 1B, Clinton

Power from both sides of the plate, good size, outstanding defender at first base. He'll be higher on this list in the spring. Signed minutes before last week's deadline, Smoak should never have fallen to Texas at number 11 in the draft. Perceived signability issues didn't scare the Rangers off.

8. ENGEL BELTRE, CF, Low A Clinton

The youngest position player in the Midwest League, Beltre is built like a middle infielder but throws like Josh Hamilton. Some view him as a leadoff hitter with game-changing speed (though he has alarmingly low walk rates), others think he will hit with middle-of-the-order power. A .208 hitter when Texas insisted that Boston include him with David Murphy and Kason Gabbard in the Eric Gagné trade, Beltre has hit .286 since joining the Rangers.

9. BLAKE BEAVAN, RHP, Low A Clinton

Pitching at age 19 in a league full of hitters three years older, Beaven is 9-6, 2.50 in 21 starts, walking only 1.5 batters per nine innings. Outstanding pro debut for the Irving product, whose ERA in his last nine starts is a sparkling 1.47.

10. KASEY KIKER, LHP, High A Bakersfield

Kiker, still just 20, is unfairly overlooked because of the massive influx of new talent since he arrived in 2006. Pitching against older competition in the hitter-friendly California League, the southpaw is 5-4, 4.18 with a 3:1 strikeout-to-walk ratio, posting a 2.39 ERA in the second half.

Here is a great study on the Cred of Usain Bolt and the Jamaican Olympic team

First things first, when the issue of doping comes up, don't shoot the messenger. Rather save your bullets for Ben Johnson, Tim Montgomery, Marion Jones, Dwain Chambers, and the countless other cheats who have defrauded you (and Bolt, by association) in the past. The sport is unfortunately tainted - there are no major sprint champions in the last 30 years who have escaped suspicion, and many have been caught or confessed.

So Bolt is guilty by association, which is of course not fair. However, because it's become impossible to prove innocence, we rather default into a position of "implied guilt", and we doubt spectacular performances. Marion Jones proved that NEGATIVE test results are meaningless by passing more than 100 tests in her career, and so the fact that Bolt has passed 11 doping controls this year is almost irrelevant to the debate.

Similarly, Bolt (or any other athlete) can appeal to our consciences and human trust all they wish, but Jones, Montgomery, and the many other drug users who have been caught after forcefully denying that they ever used drugs have shown that athletes can be world-class actors too. So while Bolt may deny doping, and do so sincerely, the athletics loving public are at the point where they've seen it all before. Once bitten, twice shy, so to speak.

Now, Bolt might well go on to join the ranks of cheats, if he's ever caught. But until then, I'm prepared to go out on a limb and say that I believe Bolt is less likely to be doping than any sprinter before him. That may be naive (perhaps I want to be naive on this one, it beats cynicism), but I honestly get the perception, watching Bolt run, that his advantage lies not in the power and strength of sprinters before him, but in his co-ordination and some level of neuromuscular advantage which I must confess I can't fully pin down.

So while it is a 'bald assertion', Bolt alone doesn't arouse the same level of suspicion, partly because of his appearance, his running style, and because his prodigious talent as a junior doesn't create the same doubt one would get from the sudden emergence of a sprinter.

However, Jamaica's dominance in the sprint events doesnt' do Bolt's case any favours. Jamaica have now won EVERY SINGLE short sprint at the Beijing Games - the 100m and 200m titles for both men and women belong to Jamaicans. In fact, out of a possible 12 medals, Jamaica now own 4 golds, 2 silvers, 1 bronze. They also have the 400m hurdles champ for women, and should win the relays too. For such a tiny island to dominate to that extent is generating a great deal of suspicion, thanks to the events they happen to be winning. One argument is that the people are just "born sprinters", naturally endowed with some gene that allows them to run faster than anyone else. But then, the same gene pool has been there for decades, and Jamaica has never been this dominant. Good, yes, but not to this extent.

So I for one am dying to know what is happening in Jamaica. I'm not suggesting they're cheating, but whatever they are doing, I'd love to know, and to implement it elsewhere. At the risk of losing my scientific objectivity, I do believe it to be possible that they might be so dominant without doping. But while I think that, there's this nagging voice at the back of my mind reminding me of just how many major champions over 100m or 200m have been dopers, so why should this be any different? Success as sprinting is an automatic "flag", thanks to the exploits of Marion Jones, Ben Johnson and the like. So while it's not a specific slight on anyone (regardless of where the medals were headed after Beijing, the same debate would be in play), it's a flag that will cast even more scrutiny on Bolt's performances...Let's hope this flag denotes coaching excellence and great genes, not systematic doping.

But returning to Bolt, we have to wait out to see what his future holds. As I said, I am less sceptical of Bolt than of any other sprinting champion, and don't believe that he is doping. I may be proved incorrect (and "idiot", even, according to some), but I think there comes a point where you have to view performances with a bit less of a cynical view, until provided with reason to do otherwise.

Tomorrow’s EPL Action on TV ….

Aug 23, 2008 9:00am Tottenham Hotspur vs Sunderland FSC

Aug 23, 2008 9:00am Newcastle United vs Bolton Wanderers Setanta-Broadband

Aug 23, 2008 9:00am Liverpool vs Middlesbrough Setanta Sports USA

Aug 23, 2008 11:30am Fulham vs Arsenal FSC

Try this one – I am not very smooth yet…

The Mario Williams Show is coming to town

Thursday, August 21, 2008

"I Blew My Mind and I Blew the World's mind"

Another week in the Olympics, and another personality that will be remembered.
Usain Bolt. What an amazing competitor.

If only he had confidence!

Dominates the 200

As the stadium announcer introduced the world's fastest man Wednesday night, Usain Bolt rose up the entire length of his 6-foot-5 frame and pretended to wipe sweat from his head. Then he pointed at the 91,000 adoring fans at the Bird's Nest who had come to witness sports history.

After the pre-race show, the Jamaican sprinter lowered into the starting block on this late summer night. Then the report of the gun echoed in the still air. A cheer rose.

And then it was over. Bolt's great stride made the world's best sprinters look like children trying to keep up with an older brother. He won the 200 meters in 19.30 seconds, breaking Michael Johnson's 12-year-old world record by two-hundredths of a second.

"I blew my mind and I blew the world's mind,'' Bolt said.

The performance was so devastating to the rest of the field that it seemed almost incomprehensible. And it happened on a bizarre night in which two other medalists were disqualified for stepping on the line, giving the United States' Shawn Crawford the silver and Walter Dix the bronze.

Bolt, who turned 22 today, won by the biggest margin since the 200 meters became an Olympic event 108 years ago. He annihilated the field by 0.66 of a second, an unheard-of margin in a race measured by hundredths of a second. Crawford, the defending Olympic champion, crossed the line in 19.96 seconds, leaning to edge out Dix (19.98).

Then is ripped by the IOC for showboating

IOC president Jacques Rogge criticized Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt on Thursday for showing a lack of respect to other competitors after his record-breaking gold medal performances in the 100 and 200 meters.

"That's not the way we perceive being a champion," Rogge said.

The International Olympic Committee chief hailed Bolt's stunning achievements in the two sprints, comparing him to American great Jesse Owens, but said Bolt should have cut out the look-at-me flaunting and acknowledged the other athletes.

"I have no problem with him doing a show," Rogge said in an interview with three international news agency reporters. "I think he should show more respect for his competitors and shake hands, give a tap on the shoulder to the other ones immediately after the finish and not make gestures like the one he made in the 100 meters."

Having built a huge lead in Saturday's 100 final, Bolt slowed, glanced around with arms outstretched and pounded his chest before crossing the finish line in a world record time of 9.69 seconds.

"I understand the joy," Rogge said. "He might have interpreted that in another way, but the way it was perceived was 'catch me if you can.' You don't do that. But he'll learn. He's still a young man."
Bolt, who turned 22 on Thursday, stormed to another one-sided victory Wednesday night in the 200, breaking Michael Johnson's 12-year-old record of 19.32 seconds and lowering the mark to 19.30.

Bolt made little effort to congratulate the other runners as he wrapped himself in a Jamaican flag and set off on a solo victory lap. Swaying to the reggae music on the stadium loudspeakers, he walked barefoot around the track, putting his face inches from a TV camera, raising an index finger and yelling, "I am No. 1! I am No. 1!"

"He still has to mature," Rogge said. "I would love him to show more respect for his competitors. That's not the way we perceive being a champion. But he will learn in time. He should shake hands with his competitors and not ignore them. He'll learn that sooner or later. But [he's] a great athlete, of course."

American sprinter Shawn Crawford, who crossed the line fourth in the 200 but was upgraded to the silver medal after the disqualifications of Wallace Spearmon and Churandy Martina, said he saw nothing wrong in Bolt's showboating celebrations.

"I guess there's mixed feelings among athletes," he said. "To me, I don't feel like he's being disrespectful. If this guy has worked his tail off, every day, on his knees throwing up like I was in practice, he deserves to dance."

Bolt became the first man since Carl Lewis in 1984 to win the 100 and 200 golds at a single Olympics, and the only man ever to do it by breaking world records in both. Owens completed the 100-200 sweep at the 1936 Berlin Olympics, adding golds in the long jump and relay.

But is it clean?

Several sprint experts called Usain Bolt a “freak” after he set the world record of 19.30 seconds at 200 meters on Wednesday. One Jamaican coach took him out of the realm of track and into the realm of theoretical physics, comparing Bolt to Einstein and Isaac Newton.

“You have people who are exceptions,” Stephen Francis, a Jamaican sprint coach, said. “It’s not explainable how and what they do.”

I want to believe that talent and hard work and determination are not fossil fuels, that a human, unlike a car, does not need chemical additives to run at peak efficiency.

Bolt is likable, as playful as he is fast. His speed is breathtaking.

He is the first man to win the Olympic 100 and 200 meters since Carl Lewis in 1984, the first ever to set world records in both events at the same Summer Games.

But when I want to fully believe, I feel a twinge of skepticism. It nags, like a strained hamstring.

For 20 years, I have covered this sport. I have seen the East Germans and Flo-Jo and Ben Johnson and Carl Lewis and Michael Johnson and Maurice Greene and Marion Jones. And now Bolt. I have seen inspiring moments, but I have also witnessed the corrosive implosion from doping. Try as I might, I can’t break the tape in unrestricted trust. I always pull up at the last minute, limping from doubt.

Three of the last five male Olympic 100-meter champions — Ben Johnson, Linford Christie and Justin Gatlin — have served drug suspensions. A fourth, Greene, has been accused by an admitted steroid supplier of receiving banned substances, although Greene has denied this and has never been charged by antidoping authorities.
Meanwhile, Jones, the disgraced women’s 100 and 200 champion from the 2000 Sydney Olympics, must watch these Olympics from federal prison.

It would be naïve not to have suspicions. At the same time, I feel guilty for doubting.

Why should sprinters be mistrusted when Michael Phelps and other swimmers get the E-ZPass lane on wariness, not having to pay the toll of answering questions about doping?

And I feel bad for track and field.

NY Times profiles the Cowboys image …\

Welcome to America’s Team. Or is it Only in America’s Team?

This is where Jerry Jones, the owner of the Dallas Cowboys, can proudly point out two of his team leaders: Terrell Owens, who left behind a locker room’s worth of ulcers in San Francisco and Philadelphia; and Tank Johnson, who has collected enough guns and ammo to start a militia.

It is also where Pacman Jones, who was suspended for last season because of a litany of off-the-field troubles, is being counseled by the twin pillars of humility and virtue: Deion Sanders and Michael Irvin.

It is not clear if this is a sociology experiment, or the Mean Machine gone cinéma vérité.

What is clear is that the Cowboys have not won a Super Bowl since the 1995 season.
And after last season’s disappointing end — Dallas’s 13-win team, with 13 Pro Bowl players, lost to a Giants squad it had beaten twice in the regular season — there is a palpable sense of desperation to reach the title game.

Thus, the addition of Jones, a dynamic cornerback and punt returner who was acquired from the Tennessee Titans, and the ascension of Johnson, an athletic tackle, into a key role on the defensive line in his first full season with the team.

“It’d be naïve and not realistic to think there aren’t going to be people who are skeptical and waiting for the next shoe to drop,” Jerry Jones said this month during training camp here. “But I’ve already passed that in my mind.

“We’re very sensitive about our image, we’re sensitive about our reputation. There’s no free lunch here when we bring in a player that has some controversy involved. I always want to make sure that an individual understands that we’re paying a pretty big price to have them involved.”

Jones, who made his fortune in the oil business by buying up leases to drilling sites that bigger companies had walked away from in the 1960s, has taken the same approach with building his team. Where others see risk, he sees reward.

He took defensive end Charles Haley, a malcontent in San Francisco, and won three Super Bowl titles with him. He took chances on defensive linemen Alonzo Spellman and Dimitrius Underwood, who had been found to have mental illnesses. (Those did not work out as well.) He has always regretted that he did not take one on receiver Randy Moss when he had the chance to draft him.

“Jerry’s a wildcatter,” said Calvin Hill, a former Cowboys running back and a consultant for the club in its off-field program for players. “But he doesn’t do it without good geologists talking him through what the risk is.”

In the case of Pacman Jones and Johnson, the risks are not a matter of science. They are a matter of public record — police records, to be more precise. Bad raps are one thing; rap sheets are another.

Jones has been arrested six times and been involved in 12 incidents in which the police were called since he was chosen sixth over all by Tennessee in 2005. Most notably, he was part of a strip-club melee in Las Vegas in 2007 in which three people were shot.

Johnson served two months in jail on a parole violation after the police raided his home in late 2006 and found 6 unregistered firearms, 550 rounds of ammunition and 2 pounds of marijuana. Two days after the raid, a man who was Johnson’s bodyguard and friend was shot and killed while the two were at a Chicago nightclub.

When he considers a troubled player, Jerry Jones said, there are three criteria he examines. The player must be extremely talented. Also, Jones said the Cowboys’ success is more likely to keep a player out of trouble. And there must be a core of “top-quality people” in the locker room who lead by example.

Once the Cowboys decide to take on a player, Jones said, there is constant communication with at-risk players throughout the organization — the coaching staff, the player support staff, the public relations staff and himself. The key, he said, is to always make them aware of what is at stake.

“There’s a sign in the offices,” Hill said. “It says, ‘There are lots of reasons, but no excuses.’ We make it very clear what the rules are, what’s acceptable and what’s not.”

That was also the point being made when N.F.L. Commissioner Roger Goodell toughened up the league’s personal-conduct policy last year after a number of incidents — particularly the ones involving Pacman Jones and Johnson — left the league with a public relations problem. Goodell promised longer suspensions, heftier fines and also threatened teams with penalties.

“What happens to young guys — they get overzealous,” said Nate Newton, a former Pro Bowl offensive lineman for the Cowboys. “Nobody ever told them no, so they went on to their next wild adventure.”

Newton, who retired nine years ago, understands this well. He spent 32 months in prison after being arrested twice in 2001 for transporting several hundred pounds of marijuana across state lines.

“I’m not going to make excuses for athletes,” said Newton, who does radio and TV work in Dallas. “I’m not going to say, ‘Oh, man, look where he’s come from, look what he’s been through.’ What football does is it exposes us, as athletes, to every nature of person there is. If we want to grasp the good people, the intelligent people, we can. If we want to grasp the ignorant people and the stupid people, we can, too. When you play football, you meet everybody — from the lowest dope dealer to the highest prince of Egypt. It’s just what the person wants.

Big Road win for the USA in Guatemala in the 1st World Cup Qualifier

The U.S. men's national team faced an inspired Guatemala team that pressed and attacked and looked every bit a team capable of knocking them off, but one vicious elbow changed the momentum of the match, as the U.S. would go on to win 1-0 on a Carlos Bocanegra goal in the 69th minute.

When Steve Cherundolo was sent off after a second yellow card in the 60th minute, the U.S. team suddenly found itself facing 30 minutes with a man down in front of a hostile crowd, against an inspired opponent. The signs of an upset hung in the air, threatening to overwhelm the U.S.

"We looked at the clock and there was a long time left so we were going to have to defend for a long time," U.S. goalkeeper Tim Howard said. "We've been resilient and we showed that against Argentina as well. We've figured out ways to make a block of eight and fight through that time. It's not always easy. That's when we got let off the hook."

They were let off the hook when Guatemalan defender Gustavo Cabrera drew a red card for a late challenge on U.S. midfielder Eddie Lewis that resulted in Lewis leaving the match with a cut over his right eye. The ejection erased the man advantage and seemed to give the U.S. team some much-needed energy.

It also helped pave the way for DaMarcus Beasley to take the field and make an instant impact. The speedy winger not only helped set up Carlos Bocanegra's winning goal with a perfect curling corner kick, but Beasley's pace on the left flank helped neutralize Guatemala's main source of attacking menace.

Bolstered by another top-shelf performance from Howard, the U.S. defense made Bocanegra's goal stand up by neutralizing a Guatemalan offense that looked so dangerous early in the second half, led by some runs from MLS castoff Mario Rodriguez.

"Their right winger had done a good job," Lewis said of Rodriguez. "I think he was by far their most direct attacker up the wing and I think he was having a lot of success getting behind us."

"It helped us a great deal when we brought DaMarcus Beasley in," Bradley said. "He did a very good job of working with Heath Pearce and helping to make that situation better."

Beasley's defensive work, as well as better possession from the Americans in the final 20 minutes, helped kill off a game that will never be confused with an example of quality attacking soccer. The Americans basically found themselves in a street fight and showed enough heart to win in hostile territory.

"Although probably everybody would assume that we're the strong team of the group and everything else, we haven't won here in 20 years and there's a reason for that," Lewis said. "It was a quick reminder for everybody tonight that these qualifiers are tough. They're hard games and it was a testament to the player's efforts tonight and it's a great result."

Lewis' words helped provide some perspective on a match that wasn't likely to please many American fans from an aesthetic standpoint. While you can certainly criticize the U.S. team for being outplayed by Guatemala for the first 60 minutes of the match, you must also credit it for withstanding that onslaught and taking control of a game that looked like it might overwhelm the Americans.

No, it wasn't pretty, but an ugly win beats a loss any day of the week.

Are you seated? Ok. The Mavs have retained Devean George! …seriously!

Agent Mark Bartelstein cited Rick Carlisle as one of the primary reasons Devean George is returning to Dallas after having serious discussions with "six to eight" other teams.

Carlisle visited George at his home in Minnesota a couple of times this summer to talk to him face-to-face about how the 6-8 veteran would fit in his system with the Mavs.

"He was really impressed with Rick Carlisle," said Bartelstein, who confirmed that George agreed to a two-year, $4 million deal with a player option after one season. "He's really excited about the opportunity and direction they're going. He's looking forward to playing a whole season with Jason Kidd."

Re-signing George won't cause a sudden spike in season-ticket sales, but I can understand why Carlisle wanted him. He's a solid team guy who can play three positions.

Jan Hubbard on Josh Howards’s summer

His track record with the media has made the past few months difficult because, although he deserves criticism for bad judgment, he has built credibility. It’s like the kid next door who is always polite and helpful yet he keeps hitting baseballs through your living room plate glass window. You want to break his neck, but you know he’s a good kid.

The infamous radio interview when he admitted smoking marijuana, the ill-advised birthday party after the Mavericks lost three of their first four playoff games to New Orleans, and the recent attempt to emulate a NASCAR driver, which resulted in an arrest for going 94 mph in a 55-mph speed zone, are lamentable decisions on Howard’s part.

But the conclusion reached by way too many people is that exercising questionable judgment in his personal life translates to a decline in ability on the basketball court, and that is ridiculous.

Howard had the best season of his five-year career in 2007-08. His averages of 19.9 points, seven rebounds and 2.2 assists were career highs. In the first two months of the season, he was so good that Dirk Nowitzki willingly deferred to him.

Nothing that he’s done in the off-season offsets the ability he demonstrated on the court. Yet there were fans and media who were in favor of the Mavericks trading Howard for Ron Artest before Sacramento traded Artest to Houston.

Wait a minute. Ron Artest? The guy who initiated that ugly Auburn Hills scene in 2004? The guy who once asked for time off during a season to promote a rap album? The guy whose dogs spent 77 days in a pound because Artest did not properly care for them? The guy who was charged with four misdemeanors in a domestic dispute at his home?

Howard may have had his moments as a space cadet, but he’s hardly Darth Vader.
"I know a lot of 20-somethings who have made mistakes, myself included," Mavericks owner Mark Cuban wrote in an e-mail. "The smart ones learn from the mistakes. Josh is smart. He has learned from all of this, and will continue to learn from it, and use it for motivation on and off the court."

But he might need some help. Howard held a charity softball game in DeSoto on Saturday and a local TV crew showed up and asked an easy question about being a role model. Howard was irritated and complained that he should not have been asked such a question at a charity event. He provided audio and video that did not make him look good.

Howard will face distracting challenges this year. If he starts slowly, the home fans may boo. On the road, he will hear derisive chants. Tough questions will be asked.

If Cuban is right and Howard is smart, he will answer all questions and the Mavericks will let him. The last bit of assistance Howard needs is someone standing next to him trying to censor reporters. It will make Howard and the Mavericks look bad.

Any professional media trainer would tell Howard that his response to questions is simple: "I’ve made some mistakes and apologized to the appropriate people. I’m moving forward and focusing on basketball."

And if he’s asked the same question 100 times, he needs to answer it the same way. Eventually it will go away.

Cuban believes in Howard’s basic goodness and pointed to Howard’s community work in the Metroplex and his home state of North Carolina as an example of his character.
"While others might have run away from responsibility when they get hit with negative media," Cuban wrote, "Josh not only followed through with all of his camps, he expanded the camps, increasing the number of scholarships [in his foundation]. In addition to the camps he has in Dallas and in Winston-Salem, in addition to his annual bowling tournament, this summer he added a charity softball game."

Howard has made himself the focal point of criticism, and he had a poor playoff series against the Hornets. But Cuban said that as a basketball player, "I have complete confidence in Josh."

And he should. Howard still has All-Star talent, which doesn’t mean the Mavericks would not consider a trade if they were offered equitable value. But despite nervous fans and media, the Mavericks are confident going into a season with Howard. A few wrong turns off the court have nothing to do with shooting straight on it.

Yesterday, we had spirited sports talk with Mike Hindman about the Rangers and their philosophy to acquire pitching.

his initial essay

His Follow up

And, A thread where I am not overly popular with the Rangers fans who disagree

And stop accepting collect calls from jail! …who does that?

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Cowboys are Owned...By Olympics?

I can’t remember ever leading with Galloway, but I must. This little gem leaves me no choice ….The Olympics doubled the Cowboys!

Just so you know:

I’m shocked — no, really. I am actually shocked — to learn the Cowboys have been KO’d this month in local TV ratings. We were all aware it was a team with a glass chin in January, but to be HDed floored in August by … swimmers and teenage pixie gymnasts, well

Jerry Jones might want to demand a recount, but the Olympic telecast Saturday night
doubled the Cows-Denver game in local viewership, and when Mr. Phelps was going for No. 8 just past 10 o’clock, it more than tripled the football game.

This came after the Cowboys had finished a close second to the Olympics in viewers the previous Saturday while playing in San Diego. That was considered an upset, but nothing compared with what would come next.

A friend from a foreign country (New York City) responded with a "duh" to that information, as in: It’s the Olympics; it’s exhibition football. What’d you expect?
How do you explain to these outsiders that the power grip of the Cowboys on local precincts has forever been partly defined by the TV audience for meaningless games in August. But Saturday night may have been the lowest rating in 30 years, if not 40.
In touting its Olympic ratings bonanza, NBC can start right here, the fourth largest market in the land.

Not only that, But the Olympics beat the Cowboys last week, too

OK, so it was an exhibition game against the San Diego Chargers on Saturday night. But it was a Cowboys game, and if the team's won-loss percentage on the field were anywhere near its won-loss percentage on the preseason ratings charts, they'd be Super Bowl-bound every season.

In the two hours the Olympics and Cowboys butted heads, the Olympics on Channel 5 topped the Cowboys-Chargers on Channel 11 by a score of 15.2 to 13.8. That's a difference of 34,100 homes. For the night, the Olympics scored a 14.1 to the Cowboys 12.8, a difference of 31,663 homes.

CHill gives us 5 and 5 On Los Vaqueros ….

Five reasons to feel good

Adam "Pacman" Jones

The man formerly known as Pacman is back to calling himself Pacman. He doesn’t want the media to address him that way. Whatever he’s called, Jones has more than lived up to expectations. He might not be a shutdown corner in the mold of Deion Sanders, but he is very good and a huge upgrade over former third cornerback Jacques Reeves. His biggest contribution might come on punt returns where Jones plans to challenge Devin Hester for league-best honors.

Thunder and Lightning

The Cowboys apparently pegged it right on draft day by selecting running back Felix Jones as a great complement to Pro Bowl starter Marion Barber. Barber got the team and the fans excited last year with his bull-in-a-china-closet style. It looks as though Jones will put a similar charge in the offense and Texas Stadium crowd with his explosiveness. He is simply lightning in a bottle and will give defenses fits when the Cowboys unleash him following Barber’s thunderous runs.

MVP Ware

There was not a lot of talk about DeMarcus Ware during training camp. But that’s because he’s the quiet sort or doesn’t seek attention. And with the media crazy after Terrell Owens, Pacman Jones, Tank Johnson and Tony Romo on the roster, Ware can find solitude. But make no mistake about it, Ware might be the best athlete on the team. After getting 14 sacks in his first season in Wade Phillips’ attacking defense last year, 20 sacks is distinct possibility. Phillips calls him a defensive MVP candidate.

Tank Johnson and the line

The defensive line is the only unit that did not have a Pro Bowler last season. But don’t cry for this bunch, which is active, deep and versatile. Nose tackle Jay Ratliff is the perfect example. He is the best of the bunch and could see a lot of time at end. Johnson is the wild card. Coming off his first full off-season and training camp since 2006, he is in the best shape of his career. He said it himself; he is a beast again.

Zach Thomas’ nose for the ball

Owner Jerry Jones predicted over the summer that Thomas might have the biggest impact of all their off-season acquisitions. And after watching Thomas in training camp and preseason, it’s hard to disagree. He just has a knack for being around the football. But also a knack for showing up with a thud. If he stays away from the concussion woes that sidelined him last season, look for Thomas to amass more than 100 tackles for the 12th time in his career.

Five reasons to be concerned

Tight end Martellus Bennett

The rookie second-round draft pick from Texas A&M has become a favorite of the Hard Knocks cameras because tight ends coach John Garrett has been all over him. The Cowboys want Bennett to exploit his enormous athletic ability, but this will likely be a season-long project. “I know what’s real and what’s not real, so it doesn’t bother me,” Bennett said, regarding the Hard Knocks-generated perception. “I don’t regret anything I did. I’m picking things up every week.”

Threat of injuries

Injuries are a concern for every team. If the Cowboys sustain injuries at the key positions -- Tony Romo, Flozell Adams, Terrell Owens, DeMarcus Ware, etc. -- there will be problems. The Cowboys are like most teams in that they have depth here and there, but not everywhere.

Call 1-800-Pass-Catcher

“We haven’t played anything yet,” receiver Sam Hurd said. “Give us a chance to show what we can do. We haven’t played to our full ability yet.” Hurd wants the media/fans to allow the backup receivers to at least play a game before they are collectively buried. Before the injury to Miles Austin, who has one career catch, this unit was thought to be an area of concern, even in the front office. Until proven otherwise, this is regarded as a concern.

Big Top becomes a Big Mess

Among a Pacman, a Tank, a T.O. and a Romo, there are a lot of personalities on this team, as well as lots of talent. It should work. But if it doesn’t, it has the ingredients for a finger-pointing salad.

Head coach Wade Phillips

It borders on unfair that a coach with a career record of 61-42 has his feet in the fire, but this is unique. His rumored successor was hired before he was, is his top assistant, and makes a lot of money. If for some reason the season doesn’t start well, do players look or even align themselves with offensive coordinator Jason Garrett? The situation is tenable, largely because of the two personalities involved, but there is a potential distraction should losses become more prevalent than wins.

Do you want Joe Horn? Consider this ….from Michael Lombardi….

As forecast by the National Football Post on August 13th, Joe Horn’s release has more to do with his talent than his loud-mouthing about wanting out. In fact, whichever team signs Horn better make sure he is going to be talented enough to be their third wide receiver. He will never see the field if he is their fourth, and he won’t play in the kicking game. He has to be the second or the third to have any realistic shot at a playing role. So, a word of advice to any teams interested in Horn: before assuming he can come in and play, you might want to check out the tape. Horn has really declined as a player.

Mickey casts sunshine on Cowboys nation

Who is ready for a little blog hockey? James Mirtle has recently offered his view on the Stars

Avery says he watched the Stars battle the Red Wings in the Western Conference finals and felt like they were one piece away from getting past Detroit. You can guess who Avery thought that piece might be.

"If you throw me in the lineup in that series, it's definitely going to make the difference," he says.
— Craig Custance, Sporting News

I don't know about that, but I do think the Stars will be a team to watch this season in the Western Conference.

To this point in his career, Avery has received far more pub than his output has merited, something that stems from just how much he stands out among hockey's pretty bland bunch. Being controversial these days is reason enough for copy to be spent, and Avery — along with Ray Emery — is as close as the NHL comes.

Avery's 28 years old, but prior to his latest 104-game stretch with the Rangers (including playoffs), he had only had 42 goals and 114 points in 293 games, the equivalent of three and a half full seasons.

In New York, he scored at a 22-goal, 51-point pace, but his $15.5-million, four-year contract calls for more than that going forward. Dallas is paying for potential, as much as any team does these days with its youngsters, and I don't think that's such a bad bet.

Avery played under 16 minutes a game last season with the Rangers, with very little time on special teams, and that'll change this time around. The Stars have done a decent job adding top-end pieces after being a team short on scoring depth for so long, but they will still lean heavily on their top six forwards: Brendan Morrow, Brad Richards, Jere Lehtinen, Mike Ribeiro, Mike Modano and Avery.

So he's a factor — but hardly the only one. More than anything, what should propel Dallas forward will be some better luck in the health department, as Sergei Zubov, Lehtinen and Philippe Boucher all missed 30-plus games last season. All will be integral when it comes to taking on difficult opposition, especially with some green players like Fabian Brunnstrom coming into the fold.

Toss in a full season for Richards, who should be re-energized after a lost campaign, and they'll be tough to beat in the Pacific Division.

Then, in the comments, there was an interesting number or two on some of the Stars agitation skills:

Morrow Drawn 55 - Committed 40
Avery Drawn 46 - Committed 38

So their penalty +/- is actually a +23 combined. As long as they put us on the PP 23 more times than they put us on the PK, they'll be fine. Factor in Steve Ott:

Ott Drawn 56 - Committed 43

And you have a formidable trio who can run on different lines and cause other team's top players to get off their game and take stupid penalties. They're effective at what they do. Especially when of their combined 121 Penalties taken, 24 of those were fights. That doesn't even take into account those b/s roughing calls that go to players on both teams during scraps.

I don't see a down side when it comes to their penalties especially given the fact that the Dallas PK was 2nd in the league last season (barely) behind San Jose.

AMAZING! Brian from Ball State is now in Waco!

Brian Came from the great state of Ohio and grew up near Cleveland. Although his family now lives in Cincinnati he remains loyal to the Cleveland Browns regardless of how bad they're doing. He loves going out on the lake to fish, relaxing on the bay, and watching endless amounts of football. He also loves to spend time with his dog Rocky who he rescued from an animal shelter.

While he has never been to Texas before Brian is becoming a big fan of the area. He hopes to soon visit the Dr. Pepper Museum, Cameron park, and Lake Waco. He also loves to travel. While he was only visited Mexico, Jamaica, and Canada so far he hopes to add more countries to that list as soon as possible. Ireland is the next stop on his list.

Brian began working at KXXV in August 2008 after graduating from Ball State University in Indiana with a degree in Telecommunications. While in college he interned at WANE in Fort Wayne Indiana, and at WTHR in Indianapolis, Indiana. Brian Current lives in Waco and encourages residents to contact him about any story ideas.

Reminder time:

Show I am really enjoying right now: When We Left Earth

Craziest/Wonderful email of the Day:

Dear Bob,

Last night I had a dream where I was watching an A&M vs Arkansas game while at the new Cowboy Stadium in Arlington. I was sitting comfortably at a table, when out of no where LeBron James walks up and just sit down next to me. We start talking about hoops, the Olympics, (fell asleep watching, so maybe contributing the dream), and even a little Aggie football when.......out of no where, storms in the visibly upset Sturminator who is taking LeBron away because he's late for an interview.

So 2 things here:

1. If you're ever cruising through Texas Stadium during an A&M Arkansas football game, please just let LeBron James continue his conversation. I am a fan of his.

2. Is it gay that I had a dream involving Bob Sturm who is admittedly my favorite personality on the station?? You had all of your clothes on, were only in the dream for about 5 seconds, and really didn't do anything special besides cut short my conversation with possibly the best basketball player of all time.

Mike Goodson for Heisman,

-jason in dallas

My Son would be more impressed with me if I could do this:

Low Quality, but you get the idea: Pac Man Highlight Film

And in case you are the type:

Adam "Pacman" Jones
Autograph Signing
This Saturday, August 23rd
1:00 PM
Gameday Connexion
Ridgmar Mall in FT Worth
Tickets are $50