Saturday, January 22, 2011

Tigers Dance Off

During Tigerfest, pitcher Jose Valverde and shortstop Ramon Santiago had a dance contest. The final result was that Valverde ended up the winner.

Scott Warmed Up For Post-Game Interview

Before his epic post game interview with the network's Sal Paolantonio, New York Jets linebacker Bart Scott was jawing with the New England Patriots mascot.

Scott says he was "actually cussing out the Patriots mascot, the one with the big chin", telling him to "go home and drink some Sam Adams".

With the Jets it's always something.  

Worst Performances In The AFC Championship Game

The poster boy of this subject.
Based on stats or otherwise, these are some of the worse performances in the AFC championship game, win or lose.

Johnny Unitas, Baltimore Colts-1971-1972. Some might think this choice is blasphemous considering the decorated career Unitas had. In two AFC championship games in 1971-1972, Johnny U. was hardly at his best, even though the Colts came out with a split. Unitas was a combined 31-66, 469 yards, one touchdown and three interceptions. Granted, one of the games came against the undefeated Miami Dolphins team. Still, he's Johnny Unitas.

Richard Todd, New York Jets- 1983 AFC title game. This was the year of the New York Sack Exchange. The Jets had a good playoff run torpedoed by Richard Todd. Todd picked the wrong day to have his worse game as a pro. The Jets defense kept them in this game and Todd simply blew it. I know there was a diving rainstorm that day and Freeman McNeil also didn't have a stellar day, but there was no reason to get picked by A.J. Duhe three times, once for a touchdown. Todd was 15-37 for 103 yards and three big interceptions.      

Terry Bradshaw, Pittsburgh Steelers- 1976 AFC title game. Bradshaw owns four Super Bowl rings. I don't own that many on Madden. The Steelers came into this game shorthanded and it showed in Bradshaw's stat line. 14-35, 176 yards and one interception. There were rumors that the Raiders played with vaseline on their jerseys.

Dan Pastorini, Houston Oilers- 1978 AFC title game. For some reason Pastorini was spooked at the sight of the Steelers defense. This game proved it. I hate to put any blame on Earl Campbell because Bum Phillips ran the gas out of him, but he was stuffed in the run game. Pastorini was 12-26 for 96 yards and five interceptions. No one would've won with Pastorini on that day.

Earl Campbell, Houston Oilers-1979 AFC title game. Campbell ran often and ran hard. But he couldn't run past the Steelers defense. A game in which Dan Pastorini actually showed up. If you remember this was the game that eventually led to instant replay on the Mike Renfro non-catch. Back to Campbell, I will pin this loss on him as he ran 17 times for 15 yards. Hardly the performance of a legend. The Oilers kept knocking on the door.

San Diego Chargers defense- 1980 AFC title game. The Chargers had home field and the stars aligned for them to make it to the Super Bowl. One problem, the defense couldn't stop anyone. Therefore they couldn't get over the dreaded Raider hex. They were the reason Dan Fouts remains one of the top three quarterbacks never to win a Super Bowl.

Jay Schroeder, Los Angeles Raiders- 1991 AFC title game- Schroeder was a Redskins castoff whose big arm and untapped potential kept him in the league. What I'm saying is that he shouldnt've been in the league. Going against the Buffalo Bills juggernaut, losing Bo Jackson the week before didn't help. Schroeder went 13-31, 150 yards, and five interceptions. What's with the five pick games at this time of year.

Miami Dolphins as a collective. 1993 AFC championship. Like the Chargers above, this was a year where everything aligned right. All of a sudden they decided they didn't want to show up for the biggest game of the year. This was Dan Marino's best shot at a Super Bowl in 8 years and they pulled a collective choke job.

LaDainian Tomlinson, San Diego Chargers- 2008 AFC championship. I know Tomlinson pulled up a little lame against New England. He hurt his knee early in the game, but to stand there  in a parka with your helmet on, complete with visor and not support your teammates gets you on this list.     

This Is Dedication

Kansas fan Kat Steward shows her dedication to the basketball program.

Islanders Block Red Wings For Nabokov

The New York Islanders placed a claim on free agent goalie Evgeni Nabokov which blocked the Detroit Red Wings' one year deal with the 35 year old goalie.

Nabokov hasn't reported to the Islanders which leaves them with the option of suspending him without pay or putting him back on waivers. If I'm the Islanders, I put him on waivers because you know he doesn't want to go to play for that crap squad in Long Island.

I'm no hockey honk or anything like that, but why did the Islanders sign him? They aren't going anywhere and haven't since the 1980's. I know you guys have goalie problems with injuries and all right now, but you're nowhere close to winning anything and having Nabokov aboard makes no sense. If you were close it's a good pickup. The Isles haven't contended for anything in over 20 years.

Chris Osgood echoes my sentiment. "The Islanders are terrible so I'm not sure why they did that," Osgood said.

The Tigers To Retire Sparky Anderson's Jersey

It's about time. The Detroit Tigers are finally going to retire Sparky Anderson's number 11 jersey. The date of the retirement is yet to be determined.  The Tigers will have a patch on their jersey to honor Anderson and raise a flag with his name on it at the home opener. Anderson led the Tigers to their last World Series title in 1984.

Anderson was one of the greatest managers of all time, and that is validated by his three World Series championships and Hall of Fame induction. He also led the Cincinnati Reds to world championships in 1975 and 1976. He acheived a rare feat by winning championships in both the American and National League.

Anderson managed the Tigers from 1979-1995. I remember when he started he said he would bring a championship here in five years. He brought them that title in 1984. He was became disappointed with the game before he left the Tigers and believed he was forced out because he didn't want to manage replacement players during the strike. There were rumors that there were feelings of ill will between himself and owner Mike Illitch.

Although Anderson had a habit of pumping up young players (Kirk Gibson was the next Mickey Mantle) he knew his baseball. It's great to see him get some long overdue recognition from the franchise. Hopefully they'll put a statue of him in Comerica Park someday.

Cromartie Throws Down The Gauntlet To Hines Ward

New York Jets corner Antonio Cromartie is at it again. In relatively tame week for by Jets standards, Cromartie lashed out Pittsburgh Steelers wideout Hines Ward. It wasn't explicit or mean spirited like the words he had for Tom Brady, but nonetheless he just couldn't keep quiet. He wasn't giving any credit to the other Steelers receivers Emmanuel Sanders and Antonio Brown.

"I don't think he's a dirty player, but I know for a fact that he will hit you while you're not looking, "I don't think he's man enough to hit you when you're looking at him."

His thoughts on Sanders and Brown.
“They’re young guys, they’re still learning how to play at this level,” Cromartie said. “A guy like Mike Wallace, he’s maybe the best vertical guy that can get up the field. But I mean, the young guys, they do their job, and that’s all you can ask for them to do. You’ve got rookies coming in still learning how to play in the NFL.”

I expect the Steeler receivers to play with a chip on their shoulder tomorrow.


Quickie Playoff Predictions

Last week, I went 3-1, despite whiffing on the scores. This week is the final four of football and here are my predictions for the AFC and NFC title games.

Green Bay at Chicago- Based on both games this season, this will be a tightly contested game. Green Bay, specifically Aaron Rodgers has been hot for the last month. Chicago has been steady for most of the season. They split both games they played and both were close. I look for Green Bay to pull out a close win in hostile territory. Green Bay 23-17

New York at Pittsburgh- The Jets surprised a lot of people last week, including myself, by going into New England and laying the smack down on the Patriots. In the last two years the Jets have played and won all their playoff games on the road. This should be another tight game, just like I said about the Steelers last week, they have home field so therefore they should win. Steelers 21-17

My Favorite Moments From Super Bowls Past

I'll be posting my personal favorite moments from past Super Bowls over the next few days. For some reason I watch these highlights year after year. If there are any you have leave a comment. I'm sure everyone won't agree with mine.

Super Bowl VII- Miami vs. Washington- Garo Yepremian's classic blooper still lives around this time of year. When Yepremian had a field goal blocked he decided it was a good idea to pick the ball up and play quarterback. The ball flew up in the air and landed in the hands of the Redskins' Mike Bass, who returned it for a touchdown.


Super Bowl X- Pittsburgh vs. Dallas- Lynn Swann made one of the greatest catches in Super Bowl history. I feel this is top 5 at the least. I know the footage is grainy like European basketball footage, but bear with me. I don't own the footage.