The Honcho Awards, April 5th, 2011

Ugh, what a damnable game last night. Or, damnable in the way it played out, not damnable in the way it made me look like a damn savant. But there’s a time and a place to toot my own horn, like with every other post, but not this one. This one’s for tooting the horns of others, like…

– Wayne Rooney, who scored a hat trick in bringing Man U back from 2-0 down in the last 25 minutes to win 4-2 against West Ham. And then he swore at the camera (above) and was suspended for two games. Maybe the guy just needs to play pissed to thrive. He’s struggled all year… is it any coincidence that the first time we see that patented fire from the ginger ninja he scores a hat trick and wins a Honcho Award? I think not.

– Jaime Garcia, who threw a complete game, 4-hit shutout in helping St. Louis salvage something from their opening weekend series vs. San Diego with a 2-0 win. Picking right up where he left off last year, when he was named a starter on Baseball America’s 2010 All-Rookie Team. Oh, except now he’s got himself a Honcho Award.

– Roberto Soldado, who dropped four goals on Getafe in Valencia’s 4-2 win. Yeah, that’s four goals, and that’s pretty much guaranteed to win yourself a Honcho Award. And pulling it off against your former team? The proverbial icing on the cake, even if nowadays it has to be s0y-based on a gluten-free cake.

– Mike Smith, who had himself a 31-save shutout in Tampa Bay’s 2-0 win over Chicago. Not bad for a backup. Perhaps we should play him a little more, Tampa Bay, whaddya think? And look at his wicked fro! I just had to use his profile pic. I haven’t seen a white boy fro that sweet since some 1970’s era TV show.

– Edinson Cavani, who scored a hat trick in Napoli’s 4-3 come-from-behind win over Lazio. This kiddo’s making quite the name for himself… Serie A top scorer, foreign, multi-time Honcho Award winner. Pony up, big boys, he won’t be coming cheap.

– Ryan Hanigan, who went 4-4 with 2 homers, 4 RBI’s and 4 runs scored in Cincinnati’s 12-3 beatdown of the Brewers. And that’s the way to start the season, oldest franchise in American professional sports. A three-game sweep of the awesomely named Brewers. Only 159 more to go! Yay baseball!

– Juan Pablo Colinas, who stopped 13 shots as Sporting Gijon shocked Real Madrid at the Bernabeu, 1-0. It’s the first league game Real Madrid manager, the Special One Jose Mourinho, has lost at home in nine years. And it comes at the hands of little Sporting Gijon, led by the unbelievable efforts of their goalkeeper.

– Derrick Rose, who scored 36 rebounds and dropped 10 dimes in Chicago’s 113-106 win over sorry Toronto. He’s certainly making his case for MVP, that hotly debated award that basically means nothing, especially against the blinding light of a Honcho Awards, of which he’s now into the “many” category. Good for him. Good for him.

– Diego Costa, who scored a hat trick in Atletico Madrid’s 3-2 win over Osasuna. AKA Diego da Silva Costa, which is actually less convoluted than most Brazilian nicknaming standards, thus making info and pictures easier to find. Thank you, Diego Costa, for sticking to something resembling reason when applying your moniker. Oh, and congratulations!

– Brennan Boesch, who went 4-4 with a homer, 4 RBI’s and 3 runs scored in helping the Tigers beat the big, bad Yankees 10-7. And here’s another of last year’s stellar rookies making a quick start to the new season, even if he was sort of plugged in as a last-minute replacement at DH. That’s a way to make a mark youngster! Winning a Honcho! Can’t do it better than that.

And there you have it loyal Honchoans. Debate! Discuss! Deciper, in some cases!

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Another Postponement

Tomorrow, my loyal Honchoans, tomorrow. I have my reasons…

Tournamental

Since the NCAA Tournament has seen fit to give us this particularly bizarre foursome to decide our national champion, as I expertly discussed here, I suppose it’s my duty, nay, the duty of all prognosticators to break it down.

But what’s the point, really? I could delve into the strengths and weaknesses of all four teams, spend countless minutes of your time explaining how this team’s going to attack this particular weakness of that team, or how that team has a major advantage here, or how the coach of that team over there has an experience advantage, or how that team has the best player left, or any number of tricks to get you to believe I know what I’m talking about… and then the games would start and all that shit would go out the window, just like it has for the past 2.5 weeks.

So instead I’m just going to close my eyes, cross my legs, and think really hard ’til something pop into the old noggin…

Butler 69
VCU 65

UConn 72
Kentucky 64

UConn 69
Butler 67

Don’t ask me why, but that’s what I got, and my way of getting there is as good as anything else you’ll read leading up to the games, that much I know.

El Cuatro-uno-uno en Ochocinco

So Chad Ochocinco has “made” the Sporting Kansas City roster. All hail his translatable athletic skills and love of the world’s game. And while we’re at it, let’s mock a sport that a guy can walk into from another, right into the highest level.

Of course, that’s only what you’d believe if you just read the headlines. Delve further and you’d realize he made the Sporting Kansas City reserve team. “Yeah,” I can hear you saying, so unaware of the inner-workings of a soccer team, “but that still counts as making the team.” Not exactly, and to prove it, I’d like to offer up some analogies.

Let’s say Antonio Gates goes back to his basketballing roots during the lockout and tries out for the Spurs, probably because of the “Antonio” symmetry. He doesn’t make it, but begs them to give him something so he can stay in shape. The Spurs brass says “Well, you can always go play for our NBDL team, the Austin Toros. Of course, you’ll ride the bench, never play, and we don’t intend to pay you. But you can practice with them.” There’s your Ochocinco corollary.

Or let’s say Ricky Williams decides restart his baseball career. Oh, you forgot about that? Well he used to be quite the baseball prospect. And let’s say he went to the team that originally drafted him, the Phillies, for a spring training tryout. He still looks the part, but yeah, those skills have eroded quite a bit. But he needs something to do during the lockout (and something more competitive than shiatsu massage), so he begs for a spot. So they stick him in Lakewood with their A-ball affiliate the BlueClaws, tell him he can take batting practice now and then but that’s it, and they don’t intend to pay him one cent. Headline reads “Ricky Williams makes Phillies.” There’s your Ochocinco corollary.

Or say Canadian draft prospect Danny Watkins decides he’s big and strong enough now to give hockey another go. He walks into a practice for his almost-hometown Vancouver Canucks and they oblige, fearful of his footballing-accelerated size. He proceeds to look like an oaf on skates, but scared of the backlash, they stash him with their ECHL affiliate the Victoria Salmon Kings, let him toughen guys up during practice, and don’t pay him anything. There’s your Ochocinco corollary.

So no, Ochocinco didn’t make the Sporting Kansas City roster. They’re throwing him a bone for publicity’s sake, and it’s worked, since here we are talking about him. Just know what it is, a farce.

Words of Fury, With Mad Adam

Your honor, Mad Adam does not rest his case. Resting is not in his vocabulary. But he is finished.

Big Heads and Small Balls

Remember when Barry Bonds was a big deal?  The public hung on his every swing as he muscled his way past Babe Ruth and ultimately Hank Aaron.  I remember being in beautiful Dodger Stadium in July of 2007 watching the Dodgers duel with the Giants, and there were so many flash bulbs going off when Bonds was at bat that I was blinded from drinking in the visual treats of Chavez Ravine. ESPN’s reporters seemed to be contractually obligated to never be more than a Louisville Slugger away from big bad Barry.

Now?  Well, Barry seems like a bad nightmare.  He has been black-balled by MLB ownership, banished to the annals of history even when everyone knows he had a least a couple more years of DH duty in him.  No one talks about him.  When he shows up to Giants game as a spectator, he is treated like an honored guest.  An honored guest that let out a big fart at dinner, but no one wants to point out his flatulent faux pas, so they just ignore him and talk to their other tablemates instead.

As a result of sporting America’s collective decision to turn a blind eye to Barry Bonds, most people are missing out some of the funniest courtroom drama since Kato Kaelin took the stand at OJ’s trial.  In case you missed it, Bonds long delayed federal trial for lying to a grand jury began this week in a United States District Court in San Francisco.  The crowds in the wooden pews in the courtroom have apparently been sparse.  Long and tedious direct and cross-examinations about the minutiae of the chemical make-up of anabolic steroids will have that effect.

But, for those who have suffered through the boring stuff, the rest of the testimony has been riveting.  You want violence?  How about Bonds’ mistress Kim Bell’s accusation that Bonds repeatedly threatened her, telling her, among other things, that he would cut off her head and throw it in a ditch, cut out the boob job implants he bought her and that he would burn down the house he bought her.  Anger management problems…check.

You want intrigue?  There has been testimony from former Giants head trainer Stan Conte that Bonds did not trust Giant personnel in the locker room and sought to have many of them fired.  Paranoia…. check.

You want back acne?  This trial has it.

You want shrunken balls?  Oh yeah, Kim Bell says Bonds has those.

You want big heads?  Read about the testimony from Bonds’ trial that his melon size (and shoe size) increased exponentially in the span of just a few years.

Have you always wondered the difference between “girlfriend cities” and “wife cities?”  The lid has been blown off that secret.  Don’t expect any thank you cards from your former teammates on that one Barry.

You want questions about what is happening in the bedroom?  Plenty of questions have been raised about what Greg Anderson, Bonds’ personal trainer, and Bonds were doing in a whole series of bedrooms with syringes and black bags.

Do you like scathing cross-examination?  You know, vitriolic questioning that ends with responses like, “YOU CAN’T HANDLE THE TRUTH!!!”  Well, Bonds’ lead defense attorney Allen Ruby has not been verbally sparring with Colonel Nathan Jessup, but he is making mincemeat pies out of the credibility of the Government’s key witnesses.

You want alleged blackmail of Tom Cruise, Playboy pictures, back-stabbing, broken childhood friendships, drugs, infidelity, syringes, Giambi brothers, witnesses in jail, secret recordings and an inside look at how MLB owners looked the other way while testosterone infused druggies took a gigantic shit on the cherished record books of America’s former pastime?

Check, check, check, check….wash, rinse and repeat.  It’s all here.  If only we still cared.

Let Me Get This Straight…

So let me get this straight, NCAA Tournament, seen here reacting to itself…

…you’ve seen fit to give us a Final Four of Connecticut, Kentucky, Butler and Virginia Commonwealth, showing such little regard for your own history as to make us wonder if you’ve gone through some sort of life-changing event, like the CEO that finds love and becomes a hippie, or the hippie that decides he’s slept on his last floor and dons a suit and tie.

Because most years, there’s a few things you can count on… for instance, teams that make ridiculous runs to their conference championships almost never make the Final Four. Not only did you blow that up, you did so by allowing Connecticut, who made the most ridiculous conference-tourney run in history by winning five games in five days, to crash your party.

For instance, teams that finish fourth in a small conference AND struggled down the stretch AND were inefficient both on awfense (you like that?) and defense AND have to play in the “first four” AND have no experience making deep tourney runs have never made a Final Four. And yet, there sits Virginia Commonwealth, a team lucky to make the field and playing like they haven’t all season, in your Final Four.

For instance, teams that lose a first-round NBA draft pick AND have an enrollment of 4,500 AND were 14-9 in February AND lost to one of the worst teams in Division 1 (Youngstown State) AND made such an improbable run to the Final Four last year as to be compared to a little team from the most well-known basketball movie of all time simply don’t make return trips to Final Fours. And yet, there sits Butler, mocking the old versions of yourself.

For instance, teams that lose two Top 5 NBA draft picks AND are playing guys that got no run on last year’s “juggernaut” of a team AND were horrible on the road AND have very little experience in the tournament almost never make Final Fours. And yet you allowed in Kentucky, a blue-blood program sure, but one that hadn’t made your last four in 13 years, and this version of their team you let in?

So what are we to do as we fill out of brackets, NCAA Tournament? Are we to think like a child? Are we to throw darts at you (you’d like that, wouldn’t you)? What basis can we use for our selections. Of the millions of people that filled out ESPN brackets, only two people got all four teams right. Two! It goes without saying that’s the fewest ever, and I can only imagine the fillers were a housewife from Richmond and some six year old kid from Indianapolis.

Maybe you thought yourself too predictable. As if sending one lightly-considered team like Butler or George Mason per year wasn’t enough, that you really needed to blow things up. If so, kudos NCAA Tournament. You’ve blown yourself up alright.

And yeah, sure, it’s exciting. I imagine you’d argue that your abandonment by elite players within one or two years has caused this situation and this is your way of getting back at us. If Derrick Rose and Tyreke Evans were still at Memphis, or John Wall and DeMarcus Cousins still at Kentucky, or Blake Griffin still at Oklahoma, or Michael Beasley still at Kansas State, or Kevin Love still at UCLA, or Eric Gordon still at Indiana, or Evan Turner still at Ohio State, or Wesley Johnson still at Syracuse things would be a little more predictable. Instead smaller teams hold onto their cores for four years, developing together, learning systems, learning how to win, and thus, this Final Four. And I’d counter with Kentucky, who lost two of the top 5 players chosen in the NBA draft, the aforementioned Wall and Cousins, and still made it. What have you to say for yourself now?

And so our brackets collect in the trash bins, or that little graphic image of a trash receptacle in one corner of the computer screen, hours completely wasted trying to decipher your whims. You mock us NCAA Tournament, and do it too often, and this multi-billion dollar business will fall into the millions, you watch.

Keeping in line with your new ways, I feel like we should put our life savings on VCU to win the title. That would fit with this little prank you’ve been running for two weeks.

No, really, should we?

The Honcho Awards, March 28th, 2011

Today is a special day, loyal Honchoans. Today your Eddie’s kid brother Neddie celebrates yet another year here on earth. He’s survived, that’s worth celebrating, right? That’s what we’re all celebrating, right?

In his honor, I’ve dedicated today’s post to his honor and filled it with players from his two favorite sports, basketball and hockey. It’s a basketbockey kind of day. Hmm… hockball? Let’s go with the former.

Lucky for him, and me, and us, there were plenty of stellar performances to go around in both those sporting worlds. Let’s have a look.

– Jamie Skeen, who had 26 points and 10 rebounds as Virginia Commonwealth eased their way past Kansas and into the Final Four, 71-61. And that’s a statline that includes four made three-pointers, notable since he’d only made four the whole tourney and 29 all year. Maybe he should go by Jamie’s Keen, get it? Like Jamie’s Keen to hit threes when you least expect it, or Jamie’s Keen to lead VCU to the Final Four, or Jamie’s Keen to win a championship. Get it? Hilarious, right? Ah, what do you know anyway.

– James van Riemsdyk, who scored a hat trick in Philly’s 4-1 win over the New York Islanders. Not bad for the youngster who had his effort called out in the press by his own coach… and then, after this game, by a teammate. Do they just not like the guy? I’ll tell you how to retaliate James… print this out, take it to the locker room and tape it to the eraserboard while saying emphatically, “how you like them apples?” Yeah, that’s cinema quality shit right there…

– Brittney Griner, who scored 40 points, grabbed 10 rebounds and rejected six shots in leading Baylor to a 86-76 win over Wisconsin-Green Bay. Griner’s carving out a wing for herself in the Hall of Immortals in the Badass annex, next door to Kevin Durant and Lionel Messi. She just keeps excelling. And if she keeps up her current tourney pace, we might have to rename something for her. After a long WNBA career, it’s basically a foregone conclusion.

– Ryan Miller, who had 30 saves as Buffalo shutout New Jersey 2-0. The hero of the United States’ surprising run to the gold medal game of the Winter Olympics, Miller is finally starting to cast off his post-Olympic averageness. And I’d say he’s done it, he’s come complete, by winning himself a Honcho Award.

– Monta Ellis, who scored 37 points, grabbed 7 rebounds, and dropped 13 dimes as Golden State held off Washington 114-104. It’s starting to feel like Ellis is one of the more underrated players in the game. Yes, his defense needs some work, vacillating between unacceptable and appalling, but it’s not that he’s not capable (I don’t think), it’s that he’s not asked to focus on it. His mission, Golden State’s mission, is to put points on the board, and few in the NBA do it as well as Ellis.

– Shelvin Mack, who scored 27 points to go with his four rebounds and four assists in leading Butler back to the Final Four by defeating Florida, 74-71. How crazy is it that Butler is back in the Final Four. Even the most blue-blooded of programs rarely go to back-to-back Final Fours, and yet here’s Butler again, and probably favored to make it back to the championship game. Incredible. And this time they can thank Mack, who comes through in the clutch more than any player remaining in the tourney not named Kemba Walker.

– Mike Connolly, who had a goal and three assists as the University of Minnesota-Duluth knocked off #1 overall seed Yale 5-3 to reach NCAA hockey’s Frozen Four. And they’ll have the whole state behind them as the only Minnesota-based team to make it to St. Paul (rounding out the field are North Dakota, Notre Dame and Michigan). And Connolly’s input was timely, scoring early while short-handed, and setting up his brother Jack after Yale had taken some of the momentum back. Just the exact sort of contributions that lead to Honcho Awards.

– Derrick Rose, who had 30 points and 17 assists as Chicago dispatched Milwaukee 95-87. And now an appearance from your future MVP. It stands to reason, of course. An MVP-caliber season means MVP-caliber performances. If the NBA didn’t play so many mid-week games (i.e., non-Honcho-Award territory), he’d be working along with Brittney Griner on his own wing in the Gallery of Infinites.

– Logan Couture (#39 above) who dropped two goals and an assist in San Jose’s 4-1 win over Phoenix. Brother of Randy (maybe, but it sounds better), we’re sure he uses only the most fashionable skates and chicest of kneepads. He certainly requires a new custom jersey before every game, and now that he’s been admitted into the Realm of Greats, maybe he can spruce the place up a bit.

– David Lee, who scored 33 points, grabbed 12 rebounds, and even dished out five dimes in Golden State’s 114-104 win over Washington. Two players from the same game… usually that means some sort of one-sided beatdown or crazy high-scoring affair. But no, from the outside, a typical NBA scoreline, nothing to see here, move along. It’s only with a little sleuthing that it becomes obvious that this was a two man show. Such a two man show both of them win Honcho Awards.

So there you go little Neddie, and happy birthday from your big bro Eddie. May your day be filled copious amounts of booze and little memory of it.

Delighting in the Misfortune of Others

Is it wrong, loyal Honchoans, to be so happy after the beatdown Arizona put on Duke last night? Does rooting against a team to which my only emotional attachment is disdain say something about me? Say something about our country at large (because I know I’m not alone… and if you don’t believe me, just try out this search)?

Of course not. Rooting against certain teams is as much a part of sports as rooting for them. In fact, it wouldn’t surprise me if many fans had more teams they rooted against than teams they rooted for. And in a strange, sports-specific twist, fans of the hated teams don’t mind it. Sure, it gets under their skin from time to time (like maybe when they get hammered as favorites in the NCAA tournament), but better to be hated than ignored, or worse, charitably praised. It means you’re doing something right.

Take my list of hated teams, for example:

  • University of Oklahoma sports
  • Dallas Cowboys
  • Birmingham City
  • Los Angeles Lakers
  • Chicago Bears
  • New York Yankees
  • Duke Basketball
  • Green Bay Packers
  • Dallas Mavericks
  • New York Jets
  • Florida Football
  • Minnesota Vikings
  • Texas A&M sports
  • Real Madrid
  • Chelsea

Now, many events and circumstances went into the formation of the above list. Most obvious, and one that every fan understands, is rivalry. Your favorite team most likely has another team it considers a rival, and maybe more than one. It’s very natural to root against, nay, hate that team, with all of your being. Thus, as a Lions fan, the inclusion of the Bears, Packers and Vikings. Birmingham City and to a lesser extent, Texas A&M also fit that criteria, as do the Sooners and Mavericks, but they fit in other categories as well.

Another reason for sports hate, possibly an irrational thing, is an adverse reaction to media love. When a team gets praised and praised and praised in the media, especially when they don’t necessarily deserve it, the natural inclination is backlash. Virtually every team on that list, save maybe Birmingham City, Texas A&M and criteria have at one time or the other, over the last few years, had their cocks gobbled by fawning pundits. It’s disgusting.

Still another reason, and possibly my initial motivation for developing a disdain for a sporting team, is what I like to call a superiority complex. Basically it’s the belief, mostly amongst its fanbase, that a team has a god-given right to be successful. This angers me to no end. No team, no matter how successful in the past, has a right to success, they have to earn it. The list of fallen dynasties is long, from John Wooden’s UCLA Bruin basketball team, to Notre Dame football, to Nottingham Forest F.C., to the Cincinnati Reds, to the Cleveland Browns, to the Louisiana Tech Lady Techsters, to the Baltimore Colts, to the Montreal Canadiens, to on and on and on. And still some of those fanbases hold tight to the idea that they have a right to be good based on past successes. It’s the height of arrogance and hubris, and against everything America stands for. It’s the land of opportunity, remember? Not the land of you deserve it cause you’ve had it before (though, yes, I’m aware it often plays out that way… see ‘hated’ list above). And every team above, in one way or another, falls into this category. Even Texas A&M and its delusional fanbase believes they have the right, not so much based on past successes, but mostly because it’s a Texas thing I figure.

Now I’m not advocating for teams seizing that opportunity by buying their success. I have a major problem with teams that take that route, and it actually seems more the approach of teams trying to stay on top than up-and-comers. The Yankees, for years while they were winning championships in the late 1990’s, had virtually no farm system to speak of, they just bought everyone else’s best players. It’s bullshit, and it’s no way for a team, or a league come to think of it, to be run. Real Madrid and Chelsea do the same thing, as do Manchester City, who I’m sure will make the list once they’ve actually, you know, had success.

And failing all that, I just happen to hate all of Mad Adam’s favorite teams. Oh, Mad Adam rooting for them in and of itself isn’t what causes me to hate them, though I certainly enjoy seeing him squirm in his sports agony. Rather it’s that he seems to choose his favorite teams based on my criteria for hating sports teams. It’s mind-boggling. The Sooners and Lakers ooze with a vicious superiority complex (and by proxy, so does Mad Adam, which makes his teams so easy to root against). The Jets might not have made this list a few years back, but they sure seem to be getting shoved down our damn throats a lot recently, don’t they? And that damn blowhard coach? Yeah, I hope to see him crying every year come playoff time. And if Manchester City, a team he just happened to begin rooting for recently (hmmmm…) begins to have success, which seems only a foregone conclusion, they’ll make the list too, having paid billions for it. Only his beloved Dodgers bring me to shrug, and I’m sure it pisses him off to no end, because it means they’ve been a non-factor for years. Of course, they are from L.A., give them a few successful years in a row and watch what happens (hint: shoved down our throats, appearance on list above).

Now, if only I could get anyone to hate my favorite teams. It means they’re finally, finally, doing something right. Sigh…

A Full Circle in Half Steps

In 1994 the NFL thought itself too boring. Excitement was the name of the game as it pertained to making changes, so they instituted some new rules… limiting defensive backs in their efforts to slow receivers, limiting defensive players to certain forms of tackling… basically, handicapping the defense’s ability to play defense at all. More offense!

One more rule change from that year… in a nod to the increasing leg strength of its kickers, they moved the kickoff back from the 35 yard line to the 30. More returns!

Fast forward to 2011, and the NFL thinks itself too dangerous. “Player safety” is the name of the game as it pertains to making changes. And so you have the basically untouchable QB, the receivers who have to be tackled in a one-by-one foot area of their midsection (with head up!), and now, thanks to some pretty harrowing special teams injuries, you have the kickoff moved back to the 35 yard line, just as things were almost two decades ago. Progress!

When the new rule was first proposed, a touchback would have brought the ball out to the 25 yard line. Special teams’ coaches league-wide salivated at the idea of instructing their kicker to pop the ball up into the air so it didn’t reach the goal line, and sending their players marauding towards the unlucky returner into collisions that would have been far worse than what we’ve seen for the last 17 years, sure they could stop the returner short of the 25 yard line. Sounds safe!

Luckily for the ill-thinking rule-makers, someone mentioned it to them, and they quickly agreed, and moved the touchback to the 20 yard line again, the whole setup just like it was in 1994. Time warp!

In essence, the league has decided to remove the kickoff return from the game. Oh sure, they’ll still lineup and kick it, and we’ll still have to suffer commercials before and after the kick, but for all intents and purposes, after a score, the opposing team will get the ball at their own 20 yard line. Sounds an awful lot like touch/flag football to me. But what do I know!

My suggestion, stop insulting our intelligence (hmmm… do I tell the joke here about the average football fan and the Wunderlich? I think not, I’m thinking it might steadfastly oppose the point I’m about to make, in fact). Do away with the kickoff altogether. I know, it’s radical, but let’s say 75% of them end up as touchbacks, and the other 25%, considering the kicking team has a five-yard head-start on kicking teams of the last 17 years, are going to find their returners paying with rivers of broken bones and heaps of medical bills. The ever-elusive return will become so rare as to not be worth it – yes, it will be more exciting when it happens, but as improbable as an offensive lineman scoring or a returned field goal attempt for a TD… i.e., not worth planning for.

So scrap it. Save us the commercials, save us the whole charade, the going-through-the-motions of the whole thing.

The big problem with this, of course, is the onside kick. What would happen to it, “the most exciting play in football”? Well, when you need an onside kick, you just announce “we’re doing an onside kick”. It’s not like the other team doesn’t know when it’s coming anyway. It would still look, and play out, much like any onside kick we’ve seen since the beginning of football. Most of the time the returning team would recover, but a few times the kicking team would recover. Same as it ever was. Of course, the en vogue “surprise onside” would be lost, but it’s gonna be lost anyway. Think about it… with a touchback the predominant result of a return, special teams coaches will move more players to the front of the line to guard against the surprise onside, since they’re free(er) of their blocking duties. And they have less field to cover, what with the pushed-up kickoff spot, so they’ll be less spaced out anyway. The “surprise onside” is going the way of the run-n-shoot, or the dodo.

Or, instead of all that shit, they could just leave it at the 30 yard line and let them play, but you know, that might be just me. I’m guessing it’ll be back there in 17 years anyway.

Words of Fury, With Mad Adam

But there’s always the Lakers…

Putting the Mad in March Madness

Spoiler alert.  I am pissed off.

March is traditionally one of my favorite months of the year.  That’s because I love college basketball.  To be more precise, I love Oklahoma Sooner basketball.

That’s right, in a state obsessed with football, I found it in my heart to love basketball first.  I moved to Sooner Land in 1988.  The very first basketball game I attended was to watch the game where Billy Tubbs did this:

That’s right, Billy got tossed for using the microphone to air his grievances with the terrible officiating after he was asked by the refs to use the PA system to kindly request the audience to stop hurling ice and other objects on the floor in protest of the pieces of shit in stripes that night.  The place went fucking bananas afterwards, and OU went on a tear and won the game in OT.  I was officially in love.

From Billy to Kelvin to the Poster Child himself, Blake Griffin, I have been treated to over two decades of hoops fun since then.

And then the music died.  After about a quarter of a century of postseason tournament appearances (almost all in the NCAA tourney), a couple of Final Fours, a bunch of conference championships, loads of All-Americans and a No. 1 NBA pick, OU has fallen on hard times.

Two straight years out of the Big Dance have left me disenchanted.  Other than attending a smattering of OU home games (found in the dictionary under “glutton for punishment“), I basically did not watch any college hoops this year.

Thus, I am vaguely aware that there is some Opie looking guy named Jimmer (for real, Jimmer?) who is real good, and I know that fucking Duke is of course still near the top of the heap.  But, I am otherwise completely disconnected from it all.  I have watched about 37 seconds of the tournament so far.  It made me want to punch a hole in my television.

So, fuck you Bulldogs, Wildcats, Cougars, Gators, Jayhawks, Buckeyes, Golden Eagles (still the Warriors to me), Seminoles, Spiders, Aztecs, Wildcats (again), Huskies, Blue Devils, Tar Heels, Badgers and the Cinderella Rams.  I just don’t give a shit this year.  Which of course means that I am kicking ass in my bracket pools.  Go figure.