Sports talk, and articles for the thinker. Reach me at with your thoughts

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Manning, Rodgers, Brady & Montana

Getty Images

Aaron Rodgers: There is an expression that goes something
like this: "he's getting too big for his britches", and
you can probably apply that to Aaron Rodgers who's gotta
still be feeling the effects of looking like Brett Favre
against the Giants in a home playoff loss at Lambeau.
I am all for making the Pro Bowl a better game, but when
you hear Rodgers say: "I was a little bit disappointed.
I felt like some of the guys on the NFC side embarrassed
themselves....", it makes you wonder if maybe his helmet
is on a little too tight. Loosen up Aaron.

Peyton Manning: Bart Hubbuch of the NY Post tweeted this
earlier: "Peyton Manning made no guarantees last week
about his health, then says this week that he expects to
be cleared. What changed in six days?"
, and I have to
agree, that is an excellent question, what changed?
You can find Burt at @NYPost_Hubbuch. I'm sure that this
off season will be a little more atomic than just Andrew
Luck, and RG III

Tom Brady & Joe Montana:
Monte Poole of the Oakland Tribune
wrote a column and makes a case for Tom Brady being better
than Joe Montana. You buy it? He bring up great points,
but it seems almost sacrilege. Even though he makes a great
point at times I still feel like I would want Joe over Tom
if the chips were on the line. How about you?

Don't Believe In Plays, Believe In Players - Al Davis

Monday, January 30, 2012

Ranting With Rizzo Podcast For 1-28-12

In case you missed last weeks show, here it is.
The topics were multiple Championship winners in
towns in the same year or two window, Tin Thomas,
and a sneak peak at the upcoming matchup between
the Giants and Patriots. Enjoy the show !

Don't Believe In Plays, Believe In Players - Al Davis

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Pro Bowl Weekend & NFL's Rooney Rule Takes A Hit

George Rose/Getty Images

With probably less that 10% of all real NFL fans
watching the Pro Bowl this weekend, the league
and it's players get a chance to enjoy themselves,
and not worry about about impressing anyone with
an event that means little to nothing the week
before an event that means everything to many.
Though I am not going to give you any sort of
plan to make the Pro Bowl a better than it is,
it's something that is certainly worth looking
in to.

What is flying under the radar even more than how
boring and uninteresting the Pro Bowl is, is the
fact that the "Rooney Rule" took a little bit of
a hit this past off season. Though I don't think
that it's in any jeopardy of being ignored or
pushed aside in the future, the numbers now that
all the coaches to replace fired coaches have been
hired, have produced a negative step back as opposed
to a status quo or minimal gain. Going into to
the 2011 season there were 8 minority head coaches
in the NFL, seven African American, and one Latino
American(Ron Rivera). Once the season ended, of
the seven coaches relieved of the duties, 3 were
minorities, all African American, and all seven
were replaced by non minority coaches. So where
there was once a 25% presence of minority head
coaches in the league that number is now just a
shade over 15%. The drop of 10% may not seem like
much, but it can't be ignored either, just think
how great a 10% pay raise for you would be, or how
much it would suck if your rent went from $1500 a
month to $1650 a month in just a couple of weeks.

I have never been a fan of the "Rooney Rule" and
neither have some minority groups. You shouldn't
need to force someone to do the right thing, and
by right thing I don't mean force someone to hire
a minority, but rather look at all the candidates
as equally as possible. The Oakland/LA Raiders
hired a Latino American Head Coach long before
this rule, Tom Flores, and he won 2 Super Bowls
for them. They Hired an African American Head
Coach before the rule too, Art Shell, and he had
a winning record throughout in his first stint as
Head Coach. And though the "Rooney Rule" covers
minorities, and not women the Raiders also hired
a female Executive VP who is still on the job today
before this rule was adopted, Amy Trask. A perfect
example of how all you need to do is just hire the
right people, rule or not. We are divided in way
too many ways, so maybe this is a good place to
start ignoring the divisions, and embrace the one
thing that brought us here, Football.

It is also worth noting that this year the Raiders
were one of the three teams that fired their African
American Head Coach, Hue Jackson, but it was done by
their newly hired African American GM Reggie Mckenzie
and that is one place where minorities did make a
gain the the NFL this year, the front office.

Don't Believe In Plays, Believe In Players - Al Davis

Saturday, January 28, 2012

NY Mets Embrace Mediocrity And Induct John Franco

AP Photo

This certainly is not meant to demean anyone or even
offend John Franco, but he is the latest former Met
to be inducted into the NY Mets Hall Of Fame. Wait,
What? Really? Is this the example the Mets want to
set? Inducting a guy who was 54-56 in his time with
you, had 276 saves over 14 years or 19.8 per season,
and managed to blow 64 save opportunities or 4.8 per
season(4 to 1 ratio), and say he is worthy of being
a member of your "Hall Of Fame"? What did I miss?

I have been a Mets fan my entire life, and a loyal
one at that. I like John Franco, and wish he was
better than he was, but please don't ask me to admit
that he is worthy of being a member of a group that
is fairly noteworthy. I looked at that list, and
though it isn't in numerical order of importance, I
can say this: If it were numbered first to last, you
would have to put Tom Seaver at #1, and John Franco
dead last, and there is NO question about those two
spots what so ever. And by the way, if you're going
to write in and tell me that he is the all time saves
leader among lefties, I don't want to hear it, it a
fluff stat that means little to nothing in the grand
scheme of things.

The NY Mets organization has now not only failed their
fans on the field, and in the office, but they have now
made us the laughing stock of intelligent baseball fans
everywhere. Yes even more than we already were.
I wish I had more words or facts for this piece, but it's
blatantly obvious that this is a bad move, I won't bother.

Don't Believe In Plays, Believe In Players - Al Davis

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Mad Stork Sports Podcast 1-26-12

In case you missed the show Wednesday night, we
have all the festivities right here. Listen to
the Giants 49ers talk, my ripping into Tim Thomas
as well as my take on the Prince Fielder signing,
and of course other details that slip into the
conversation. Make sure to join us next week, so
you can participate for yourself.

Don't Believe In Plays, Believe In Players - Al Davis

Joe Paterno Good Deeds Shouldn't Be Overshadowed

Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

The World lost an icon on Sunday, and no it wasn't
just the sports world that lost that icon, even though
in the end it was that taking away of sports that may
have finally done in Joe Paterno. You hear it all too
often, a person retires and soon there after they die.
It's all they know, and all they were, and with Joe
Paterno it seems as though nothing could be closer to
the truth.

I'm not here today to defend Joe Paterno, he doesn't
need that, and though I may be guilty of defending him
in the past, I don't think I did. What I was merely
saying is that he deserved to be heard. Then lawyers
get involved, and no one is allowed to talk, and sh*t
hits the fan. Though he did finally speak, and I am
sure it was against the advise of counsel, it still
didn't satisfy most, and that is fair. Too much was
left unanswered, too much evil was done,

There is NO BUT. What there is though, is the fact
that there was good done as well, not in that incident,
and not for Sandusky's victims, but for others.
In today's world of Twitter, and rapid fire reactions
it's hard to see or even understand it, and the fact
is that this incident will forever tarnish a legacy
that also had alot of good in it. These words however
will not help the victims of the most recent events,
not by a longshot. His good deeds did help some, and
when good is done it shouldn't be ignored, just like
when bad is done, that shouldn't be ignored either.

Let me leave you with this thought. We as a people
for the most part tend to be forgiving, I can list
a multitude of athletes that have wronged, drugs,
infidelity, etc., and though these crimes are not
for the most part not nearly as bad as Sandusky's,
they are given a second chance. When they do the
right thing and succeed with that second chance, we
are all happy that we gave them another opportunity.
Why shouldn't this be a sort of reverse situation?
By that I mean, if Paterno had been guilty of such
silence early in his career, and then given a second
chance, and made good with it the way he did prior
to this, isn't it fair that though we would always
remember his bad, we would also point to what he did
since then and say: see, he tried to make up for it?

Let's not forget his good deeds or good deeds in general
when they are genuine and real. Just a thought anyway.
R.I.P Joe

Don't Believe In Plays, Believe In Players - Al Davis

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Tim Thomas Falls On His Hockey Stick

Courtesy: Outlaw Hockey

I couldn't find nicer words to describe such foolish
actions by this Boston Bruins Goaltender, and yet I
will try and keep this clean and civilized.

Yesterday Tim Thomas showed not just what a bad sport
he is, but also what bad judgement he decided to use
on such a grand stage. Having months to consider and
reconsider his actions he still decided to take the
world of politics and muddy the world of sports.

Keep in mind that I have no objections to his political
views, he is without question entitled to them, and
please spare me the freedom of speech rhetoric, no one,
myself included is trying to suppress his freedom to
speak. If that were the case then I would be among the
first to defend him, and it. As far as freedom of
speech, here's mine: He's an idiot for not being able
to draw a line between athletics and politics, and as
far as my congratulations to him earlier last year for
winning the Stanley Cup Finals MVP, and Stanley Cup is
concerned, I take it back, he doesn't deserve it.
Thomas is nothing short of a child and should not be

Whatever your political views are, embrace them, just
leave them at home when it comes to athletics, a time
when we should leave them at home and enjoy our freedom,
not find another arena to fight about them. Don't make
this another Soviet Olympic boycott, a mistake that
should have never happened, but can't be taken back.

Don't Believe In Plays, Believe In Players - Al Davis

Monday, January 23, 2012

Ranting With Rizzo Podcast For 1-21-12

In case you missed the Pre-Championship weekend
talk, and why I picked who I picked here's the
podcast for that and more. Enjoy !

Don't Believe In Plays, Believe In Players - Al Davis

49ers Fall To Giants & Their Fans Need To Get Grip


Just like the headline says: 49ers falls to Giants,
not Kyle Williams, "THE 49ers!". All the hate that
has come from a select few of their fans is petty,
and disgusting to put it mildly. The team was 6-10
last season, they were NOT supposed to be here.
The offense was 1-13 on 3rd down and yet they were
still in the game. You want to blame Kyle Williams?
Get a grip, PLEASE, get a grip, or get out! IDIOTS

Good to see that up to this point Ravens fans have
behaved with a little more style and class.
Nice Job Baltimore, Stay Classy

Don't Believe In Plays, Believe In Players - Al Davis

Sunday, January 22, 2012

NFL Stone Cold Locks Championship Edition 2012

Photographed by: Damian Strohmeyer/SI

The record improved to 48-9 after a perfect 3-0 weekend
which could have been filled with different results, but
thankfully wasn't. We are down to the last three games
and there is NO wiggle room, pick these or go home is
all I got. So here goes, as I try to make these count.

1. New England Patriots - An upset wouldn't surprise me
here, but Joe Flacco just isn't the guy to do it.

2. New York Giants - If there was one pick out of these
two I would have to change it would be this one, but
I love me a rematch of SuperBowl XLII.

Both these games should be very enjoyable, so unless you
are a fan of one of these four teams and are biting your
fingernails to the bone, you should be able to casually
enjoy them, so take advantage, we're near the end.

Don't Believe In Plays, Believe In Players - Al Davis

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Ranting With Rizzo - Live

"Ranting with Rizzo" is on at 12 Noon and we
go over the list of playoff games that will
go on this weekend as well as the many moves
that have taken place this week.
Tune in to 1170AM WDIS and WDISAM.Com
Join the discussion. Rizzo@WDISAM.Com

Don't Believe In Plays, Believe In Players - Al Davis

Friday, January 20, 2012

Mad Stork Sports Podcast 1-20-12

In case you missed the podcast here it is.
We talk about the Giants & Packers, the
Saints & 49ers, and the upcoming games ahead.
We talk a little the legend of Tim Tebow, and
what he really means. Join me !

Don't Believe In Plays, Believe In Players - Al Davis

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Perez, Pelfrey, & Darvish Complete Overpaid Trifecta

It's clear to see with this Trifecta of names how
the system is broken for everyone but the players,
and yet though we as fans are larger in numbers,
still allow it to continue.

I last wrote that the New York Mets were basically
throwing money out the window by signing pitcher
Mike Pelfrey to a $5.6Mil contract for the 2012
season, and this was coming off of the heels of
paying Oliver Perez $12Mil to do nothing in 2011.
Perez was cut by the Mets in Spring training and
paid to stay home rather than have him around and
ruin games. Since no other team picked him up for
even the veteran minimum, the Mets were on the
hook for the final year of his contract ridiculous

Now yesterday the Texas Ranger beat a 5PM deadline,
and agreed to a 6 year $60Mil deal with Japanese
phenom du jour Yu Darvish This is of course after
they paid $52mil to his team in Japan for exclusive
rights to negotiate with him. So this will cost the
Rangers $112Mil over 6 years, or roughly $18.7Mil a
year. Almost $19Mil a year to someone who has not
thrown ONE pitch on the Major League level, not ONE.

Am I the only one who is having a hard time wrapping
his mind around this, or should we all continue to
act like sheep and keep paying the high salaries of
these overbloated athletes(with our ticket purchases)?
I know this is a very weak example but there was once
a very popular league, albeit short lived, in the US
called the NASL (North American Soccer League), and
though I know it was a combination of factors, one
trait they shared with MLB, and other leagues, is that
on a very consistent basis spent like drunken sailors.
They no longer exist, and ticket purchases were at
least one factor. Maybe fans need to shy away for a
while and bring some of the owners and athletes back
down to earth. You can watch on TV! Though you may
say that they can make this revenue up on the TV
revenue, I suggest this: When Nielsen calls you up
to ask you if you watched the game last night, LIE.
Though I don't advocate lying, it may be time to
play dirty. It's your money they're overspending,
can't you see that?

Don't Believe In Plays, Believe In Players - Al Davis

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Mets Sign Pelfrey For $5.6Mil & The Fans Pay

Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Though I had made the point many times before that the
reason many sports owners have no problem overpaying
over rated athletes before, is because it's your money
there spending and not theirs, that's not what I mean
in this particular instance. Though it is true that
in the end you, the Mets fans are going to foot the
bill, the other tab you happen to pay for time and
time again, is the emotional one.

I would love to say that this is a problem with just
the Mets, but unfortunately, as painful as it is Mets
fans, it's not just your team that rakes your feelings
through the mud like this, it's a feeling sports fans
around the globe are all too used to. Like our friend
Jerry Seinfeld once said: "we root for the laundry".
It doesn't matter who's name is on the back of that
team jersey, as long as he's playing for your team,
you still root for that team.

Today the Mets, and the baseball union helped you find
another reason to be disgusted with them. I bring the
union into this because in a way of sorts the Mets had
little choice, but they did have some. They could have
chosen not to sign Pelfrey, but because they did, it
wasn't very likely that he was going to get much less
than the $5.6Mil they gave him. Personally as a Mets
fan I would have been happy to give him $10 per year
if he was actually worth it, or even make the contract
TRIPLE that with a base of about $750,000, which is
just about all he's worth, and a boatload of incentives.
Instead the Mets chose to give a guy who has been
nothing short of a supreme disappointment a contract
that in reality should only be given to someone who has
actually accomplished something. Pelfrey was 7-13 in
2011 on a team that actually showed some spunk for the
majority of the year. A team that more than likely got
him those seven wins, as opposed him giving it those 13
extra loses in the loss column. His ERA was a woeful
4.74 in the NATIONAL LEAGUE, where the pitcher gets to
bat 2-3 times per game. His career numbers don't support
this type of a contract either, so it's not like it was
an off year or something bizarre like that.

His numbers clearly show that the League and Union reward
mediocrity. His career numbers are 50-54 with a 4.40 ERA,
a losing record, with losing numbers to go along with it,
and a $5.6Mil payday to go along with it, and that's just
for this year. Next year the Mets may move on, but someone
else will pay him, maybe not as much, maybe more. There
are examples of this all over the league, and today Mets
fans got theirs, and then some.

Don't Believe In Plays, Believe In Players - Al Davis

Monday, January 16, 2012

Time To Give Eli Manning His Due

AP Photo

I couldn't help but notice how many NFL analysts
and announcers were almost going out of there way
to proclaim Eli Manning as an Elite quarterback
yesterday. By that I don't mean that they were
saying he was a "GREAT" quarterback, I mean they were
all making it a point to use the word "ELITE".

To me this was a clear indication that the fact that
many of you, and even some of them didn't believe he
deserved that title, was a thought that was out there.
The ESPN Twitter feed even Tweeted this after the game:
Eli Manning’s Career Playoff Victims: Aaron Rodgers,
Matt Ryan, Tom Brady, Brett Favre, Tony Romo, Jeff Garcia

You can't help but notice that, that is quite the list,
and that "if" he wins the Super Bowl again this season
this he will either add Joe Flacco to that list or double
up on Tom Brady, and the latter is even more impressive.
For those of you who for years have been of the school
that Peyton is so much better than Eli, and I was one of
you, I will go on record as saying that is has reached the
point that Peyton is still better, but by very, little.
Thing is "if" he does go on to win that Super Bowl, he
will have two titles, and be two for two, whereas Peyton
will have just one, and be one for two.

I've said this before, and it's always worth repeating:
perception is reality, and since Eli does not come off
as one of the more cerebral players in the league, the
initial impression is that he's dumb, and he has clearly
shown that, that is the furthest thing form the truth.
No matter how much you try and avoid that sort of thinking
we are all guilty of it at some point. I guess that works
the other why too. It's probably why I think that Heisman
Trophy winner RG III is going to be a great pro. he is so
polished and well versed ion front of the camera, that he
leads you to believe that he is bright, in command, and
destined for success.

Anyway you want to slice this, he's earned it. I mentioned
in an earlier piece that I wasn't very impressed with the
breaking of Dan Marino's record by Drew Brees, as much as
I think he's a great Quarterback, because of how much both
Wide receivers and Quarterbacks receive these days as opposed
to when Marino broke the record, and yet in the same breath
I will tell you that he finished 67 yards shy of 5000 yards,
and 543 behind Brees, even though Brees had 68 more passing
attempts than Eli, about two games worth really of you figure
the typical QB throws about 34 passes per game. Just for fun
though, if you take that many attempts and multiply it by his
completion percentage, then Eli would have only finished a
mere 223 yards behind Brees, but that's all just speculation,
and theory. What isn't speculation and theory is that Eli is
still in this thing and Drew and that guy named Tebow are home
getting all healed up for next season. Time to step up, Eli
has more than arrived and Giants fans as well as fans around
the league need to now understand what they have.

Ranting With Rizzo Podcast For 1-14-12

If you missed the show, here's the Podcast.
We went over the list of playoff games this
past weekend as well as the many moves that
took place over the past week. You also hear
what I thought of Tim Tebow's chances in
Foxboro and for the rest of his career.
Tune in to 1170AM WDIS and WDISAM.Com
Join the discussion. Rizzo@WDISAM.Com

Sunday, January 15, 2012

NFL Divisonal Saturday Observations & Tim Tebow

AP Photo/Jack Dempsey

In case you missed it, or even tried to ignore it
there were definitely other things going on, on
and off the field that get missed or overlooked,
their always are. Now some of these may seem
very obvious, but it occurs to me that they are
still worth mentioning.

Invisibles - That is not plural, it's actually one
to say invisible in Spanish, and one other way to
describe OchoCinco or EightFive or Chad Johnson
or whatever he wishes to called, but what the heck
are the Patriots doing holding on to this guy?
He was in for ONE snap in a blowout last night
and has barely seen the field at all this season.
We know they're not afraid to cut guys, so are they
just doing him a favor and trying to get him a ring?

Best Team Lost? - Don't get the wrong idea, BUT did
it seem that even though the 49ers came out on top,
that the Saints were still the better team? I mean
I picked the 49ers to win, but the Saints just look
better to me, they just need to learn to play away
from home. I assure you, the best thing the Niners
did to win that game is get the #2 seed, because if
that game was played in New Orleans, it would have
looked alot more like the Pats Broncos game, than
the miracle in Candlestick it was.

Busted From Within - I am a John Fox fan, but last
night it seemed that he was as responsible for the
blowout loss to the Pats as Tim Tebow or anyone else
on that team was. It just didn't seem he was on the
ball at all, and basically conceded defeat before the
end of the first quarter. His time management skills
at the end of the half were similar to a first time
head coach. It's really unfortunate, because even
though their was little belief if any that the Broncos
could actually pull out a win, they never got any help
from their coach on this one.

A Man Among Men - Win or Lose their is no doubt that
we need more athletes and people like Tim Tebow around.
I have gotten alot of criticism for saying how I don't
think he's a good quarterback, and I stand by that, but
I haven't said I don't like him, not once. He plays
hard, is a good sportsman, and honestly seems to care,
and I'd be happy have 53 Tim Tebow's on my team than
some of these so called overblown Superstars that take
center stage every night. he may have lost on the
scoreboard, but I will say it again and again until he
proves me wrong, he is a winner in LIFE.

Defense Wins Championships - That may typically be the
case, but the favorites right now, have lousy defenses,
by the numbers anyway. Defense won yesterday in the
Saints 49ers game, but in the Broncos Pats game it was
the team with the better offense that won, and I just
don't see the 49ers going to Lambeau and winning if it
comes to that. We'll see.

Establish The Run - Apparently the Saints don't adhere
to that school of thought, and thy didn't get Darren
Sproles for that either. Drew Brees threw the ball 63
times, and Sproles caught it a record 15 times, but he
THREE times. The Saints as a team only rushed it 14,
but one was Brees, which was probably a scramble, so
realistically 13 times. Handcuff the defensive backs,
and it becomes a passing league. Drew Brees is a great
QB, but I'm still not as impressed as many by his Marino
record breaker this year.

I'm sure today will hold alot more stories, it's inevitable.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

NFL Stone Cold Locks Divisional Round Edition

Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Last week Stone Cold Locks got Tebowed, but I assure
you that the Steelers feel much more annoyed about
it than I do. Oh well. Though I'm sure that my
45-9 record is solid at 83.4%, it's not good enough
for me and at this point with nothing but tough games
left I have to try to go undefeated the rest of the
way. Easier said than done, but I'm up to the task,
so here goes:

1. Patriots - Putting my money where my mouth is

2. Ravens - Not GREAT, but better than the Texans

3. 49er's - They will take the air out of N.O. tires

Who you got?

Friday, January 13, 2012

Mad Stork Sports Podcast 1-13-12

Happy Friday the 13th ! If you happened to miss the
show on ScatterRadio the Wednesday night, you missed
Tim Tebow/John Elway Bashing and defending, Jets &
Giants talk, NFL Playoff talk and stories from around
the world of sports, so be sure and have a listen and
voice your very own view this these very subjects.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Can The NHL Survive Life Without Sidney Crosby

(AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

I will write on the record immediately and state right
here that I am not one of the more knowledgeable hockey
fans, and yet I like and follow the sport. Here however
my opinion is more league based than X's and O's based,
so bear with me if you will as I try to look at this.

Sidney Crosby, without a doubt one of the most recognizable
names in sports, at least on the North American level, and
the NHL as far as major sports are concerned needs all the
attention it can get. I recently did a piece here on how
they were getting it right and that the Winter Classic event
was a perfect example of that. The thing is, Sidney Crosby
is one of two huge names in their league, Alex Ovechkin is
the other, and though I can hear die hard fans disagreeing
with me right now, and spitting out names I've either never
heard of before, or don't agree with, that's why I say two.
I am more of a casual fan than a die hard, if I know you then
you're famous, if I don't you're not. That's what separates
a Star from a SUPER Star. The Alex Ovechkin, Sidney Crosby
rivalry was growing into the NBA version of Larry Bird vs
Magic Johnson rivalry for the NHL, but now that has taken a
hit, no pun intended. Sidney Crosby has not played since
December the 5th 2011, and there doesn't seem to be any sign
that he is coming back in the near future. I am no doctor
of course, but my point is that he was out for 11 months
before that, and as careful as they were with him then, if
that wasn't enough time, what is? Is this the end of the
line for a bright start than may have burned out to quickly.

The Penguins are not a terrible team without him, as a matter
a fact they are over five hundred at 21-17-4, and tied for the
final playoff spot in the Eastern conference. That is however
a problem for a team who in the past has had financial problems
and has been on the verge of folding and bankruptcy. Yes they
are not a terrible team without him, but the reason they wound
up with him is because they were, and then drafted 1st to get
him in the 2005 NHL Draft. Drafts are meant to help teams in
these types of ways, not always to save them from bankruptcy,
but to help make them good again, and in this case he may have
helped with both. He also helped the league regain some of its
popularity in the lower North American, where the $Money$ is.
make no mistake about it. Ovechkin has helped with that cause
as well, but how much fun would Bird vs _________ have been?
And Ovechkin is Russian, so having a North American vs the
"evil" Russian counterpart didn't hurt either.

All that being said, can the league survive if Crosby doesn't
return? I think so, but just imagine the NHL with no Gretzky
in it's recent history or the NBA without that Bird v Johnson
rivalry, or the Michael Jordan years. Would they still be here?
Yes Would they have had that same type of success? Probably not.
NHL fans would like to believe it isn't as big a deal as I am
making it out to be, but keep in mind that in the US baseball
was once KING, and now it's football. You need every edge you
can get, and Sidney Crosby is an edge the NHL and the Penguins
hope they won't have to live without too much longer

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Break Up The New York Jets

AP Photo

No, seriously, break up the Jets. I know that it's
an expression used for when a team is doing really
well, but in this case the Jets who are not doing
well, are not just being broken up, but are falling
apart and trying to reassemble.

If the expression is "defense wins championships",
then I have a new one for you, "offense gets the
blame". The Jets scored the 5th most points in the
AFC this season, 1 point less than the 12-4 Baltimore
Ravens, 11th most in the NFL, that's in the top half
of all teams. Their defense allowed the 6th most
in AFC, 13th most in the NFL, that's the bottom half
in the league. The defense even allowed more points
than the woefully bad New England Patriots defense,
and though I'm sure you can make the case some some of
the points allowed came from the offense, and some of
the points scored came from the defense, those numbers
are usually a wash.

This is all relevant because since the season ended
just 10 short days ago, the Jets have lost a very good
O-Line coach in Bill Callahan (to Dallas), their WR
Coach Henry Ellard, their Offensive Coordinator Brian
Schottenheimer ("resigned"), and Quarterbacks Coach
Matt Cavanaugh. The defense kinda stunk this season
and the offense is getting revamped, huh. I'll be the
first to tell you that their offense kinda looked inept
this season, but it has the previous 2 seasons as well
and as the Jets are quick to point out, they went to
the AFC Championship two years in a row, so why such a
fuss now?

Is it fan uproar? Is it a panic move?, or is it because
their coach is all about the defense, and they can't
blame him if they are keeping him around this season or
beyond? I think it's clear that the last option is much
more viable, but I will remove the "beyond" part.
If the Jets look like this again this time next year,
they will be breaking up the Jets alright, and it may
start with Rex, though I'm not sure that their GM is
really safe from what might be a total gutting, in a
heads will roll type of atmosphere, and this off season
is just a preview of what may come.

Don't Believe In Plays, Believe In Players - Al Davis

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

LSU - Alabama The Day After

Now that most of the college football world outside of
the LSU Alabama folks are annoyed at the snooze fest
that was the BCS Championship game, is it time to turn
the page on this 13 year old experiment?

You can't say that we didn't give it a shot. I have
been a big proponent of an eight team playoff system,
but at the very least don't you think we should at
least do a four team playoff? BCS School or not, it's
time to level the playing field. Don't tell me it's
about money either. A playoff system would be a huge
windfall for college football and its teams.

While they're at it, it's also time for those policemen
known as the NCAA to make the schedules so that all the
whining, griping, complaining, and moaning can stop about
strength of schedule. Strength of schedule is an issue
in every league, sometimes the teams in your division are
stronger than the teams in other divisions, and you have
to play them at least twice as much, those are the breaks.
The Yankees are dealing with it right now, so did the
Philadelphia Eagles this year, and so on and so on.

Who won last night? I don't know and I don't care. Why?
Because unlike most people who did watch, I didn't have
enough faith in THIS system that the rematch was gonna be
anymore exciting than the original snooze fest.

Don't Believe In Plays, Believe In Players - Al Davis

Monday, January 9, 2012

Monday Evening Quarterback

The NFL's Wildcard weekend had other news and tidbits as
well, so I thought some might be worth mentioning.

The Schottenheimer effect: No this isn't me ragging on
the Schottenheimer family again, and talking about the
curse. It is interesting to note that Brain has a shot
at the Jacksonville job, while Marty is in the running
for the Tampa job with the Bucs, and with Jeff Fisher
close to turning down the Dolphins to take the Rams job,
there's a good chance the only way Florida sees a
Super Bowl is if they host it. Just sayin'

Giants at Green Bay Part II: No Brett Favre, but the
Giants come in as dogs again, and just for the record,
I picked the Giants to represent the NFC in the BIG
game a few weeks ago, so this is big.

The Tebow Effect: No one has a thing to say when he throws
for 60 yards, a pick and his team puts three points up on
board in the regular season at home when they need the game
to get into the playoffs, but the Raiders lose, the Broncos
get in, and it was ALL TEBOW, and his pal upstairs of course.
I'm sure he got help from upstairs too, to make sure Ryan
Clark had Sickle Cell, so he wouldn't be able to play as well.

Coaching Carousel Hires 3 years later: If Todd Haley doesn't
get the OC gig with the Jets, he may return to Arizona for
the same job, he left behind in 08' to be HC of the Chiefs.
That would mean that two of the hot, more overblown Head Coach
prospects of 2008 would be back with their old team doing their
old job. Josh McDaniels is the other. Today Arizona fired
their QB coach, who probably got blamed for the ALMIGHTY Kevin
Kolb laying an overpriced egg.

Dirty Dirty Birds: Falcons D coordinator Brian VanGorder left the
Falcons to accept the same position at Auburn. Guess he realized
that the Falcons were over rated and weren't to get anywhere with
Matt Ryan as their QB. Who's next Chuck Pagano?

I could go on all day, but that's all for now.

Don't Believe In Plays, Believe In Players - Al Davis

Ranting With Rizzo Podcast For 1-7-12

Just before wildcard weekend we took a look at football
news in general, the upcoming match ups and a little
hockey and basketball was sprinkled in as well, so have
listen and give us your thoughts.

Don't Believe In Plays, Believe In Players - Al Davis

Saturday, January 7, 2012

NFL Stone Cold Locks Playoff Edition

Al Bello - Getty Images

The regular season record left me at 43-8, not bad
but certainly not good enough for me. As per my
tradition, I will allow the playoffs to count as
well, and try and improve on that 85% winning
percentage. Problem is, there are no easy games
in the playoffs, or at least there aren't supposed
to be, so here goes.

1. Pittsburgh - The Tebow legend starts to take a hit

2. New Orleans - Sorry, Detroit just not that good.

3. Giants - My pick to represent the NFC in the BIG game

Don't Believe In Plays, Believe In Players - Al Davis

Friday, January 6, 2012

Post Al Davis Era, Raiders Get It Right

AP File

Today was a tremendous day in Raider history, certainly
not bigger than the day Al Davis took over the Raider
franchise, but BIG. It makes the acquisition of Carson
Palmer earlier this season look like a 55th round pick
in the NFL draft, and yet much much smaller than Oct 8th
2011, when all that was Raider Nation changed for ever.

If you are reading this far down, there is a decent chance
you are a Raiders fan, and if you've been a Raiders fan
for more than 20 years then you understand that you cannot
be a Raider fan without being an Al Davis fan. It's like
being a Christian and not liking Christ, or claiming to be
a Scientologist and not believing in L. Ron Hubbard, it's
just not possible. These examples are extreme I know, but
they are as close to the truth as you can get. That being
said, if you hate the Raiders then you hate Al Davis, he is
the total embodiment of what they have become, make no
mistake about it.

Today his name was honored, today Reggie McKenzie was named
the first GM of the Raiders since Al Davis was GM of the
Raiders, but that's not the story, at least not in my eyes.
I have bled Silver and Black longer than most folks I know
have been football fans. You often hear terms like:
"The Cowboy way" or is has to be done "the Patriot way",
well this was done "THE RAIDER WAY", and I couldn't be more
happier with the process than if Al Davis himself came back
to life and approved it. That would be kinda scary though.

So many things happened that made this right. Ron Wolfe, a
long time Raider executive, and friend recommended McKenzie.
Ken Herrock, a former Raider player, and executive also went
on to recommended McKenzie. Mark Davis, Al's son was also
part of the interview process, and yet for me two big factors
were that McKenzie was a Raider, and John Madden assisted in
the interview. For me this was huge. Al Davis inducted John
Madden into the Hall of Fame, and John Madden inducted Davis
into the Hall of Fame, there is and was no one aside than
maybe Ron Wolfe that knew Al, and what he would have wanted
or that would have made me and scores of Raider fans happier
going forward.

McKenzie is a Raider, he has an impeccable reputation in the
league, and I trust that he knows exactly what the RAIDER
way is. When Davis passed I feared that my fandom would fade,
it has, but not enough to not care. I needed to see where the
family went with this, and thus far good steps have been taken.
It will NEVER be the same, change is inevitable, death is part
of life, and football is just a game, and yet we care.

The move today was good. The Raiders still have a chance, not
to be good, but to be "The Raiders", and that's a good thing,
and yet I can't help but think: THINGS WILL NEVER BE THE SAME


Don't Believe In Plays, Believe In Players - Al Davis

Mad Stork Sports Podcast 1-6-12

If you happened to miss the show on ScatterRadio the
other night, you missed the discussion on the College
Football Bowl season, and the ongoing coaching search
going on in the NFL as well as a smattering of other
topics, so be sure and have a listen and voice your
very own view this these very subjects. Enjoy !

Don't Believe In Plays, Believe In Players - Al Davis

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Brian Schottenheimer & Jeff Fisher: Pays To Have A Good Reputation

AP Photo

Just like many other things in life, having a good
reputation is a very key. Build a good one and you're
bound to succeed, build a bad one and but a few will
take a second look at you.

The NFL coaching carousel spinning right now is really
not too much different. If we take a look at these two
hot names right now, they are perfect examples of a good
reputation. Look at Brian Schottenheimer, Jets fans for
the better part of his stay in NY have been dying to run
Brian out of town, and yet due to his reputation around
the league he remains a very hot coaching commodity.
As offensive coordinator for the NY Jets this year, his
offense scored the 5th most points in the AFC, but yet
they seemed so very in inept at times. Was it the QB or
was it Brian? As hot as his name as remains, it would
lead you to believe it was the weapons not the offensive
coordinator. A good reputation will do that for you.

Now let's look at another name that remains smoking hot
throughout the coaching circles in yet to be filled spots
so far this year. Jeff Fisher about to start a bidding
war between the St Louis Rams and the Miami Dolphins.
Both teams have owners with deep pockets and are desperate
to win NOW. Fisher's reputation as a good coach is about
to make one of those teams party very dearly. Now, I don't
dispute that Fisher is not just a good coach but a very good
coach, it's just that it's his reputation that is really
what's leading the way here.

Fisher has never won a Super Bowl as a head coach, he has
never appeared in more than one Super Bowl as a head coach,
and his 142 wins over 16 full seasons average out to about a
9 and 7 season, every season. As has been said many times,
before numbers don't lie. And though I am quite sure he's
going to make either the Dolphins or Rams a better team I
just wonder whether he's going to be worth the money that
they are going to be throwing at him.

The moral here without a doubt is: Maintain a good reputation
and you can get just about anything you want, at least if you
are an NFL head coach.

Don't Believe In Plays, Believe In Players - Al Davis

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Is Breaking The Marino Record Impressive? Illustration

There is no question that the record broken by Drew
Brees for the single season passing yards established
by Dan Marino in 1984 is more than impressive.
However, the one thing that comes to mind when you
look at the fact that it was a broken not once but
twice this year and by 2 different quarterbacks and a
third was with in 40 yards of it is the question that
gets asked quite a bit about Quarterbacks these days:
Are they starting to put skirts on these quarterbacks?

In this particular instance when I say skirts I don't
mean just the fact that you can't hit a quarterback
below the knees, above the shoulders, at a certain time
of a day, but also the fact that cornerbacks can barely
even look at a wide receiver let alone defend them.
Make no mistake about it, What Brees, and Brady did this
year as well what Matthew Stafford almost did is still
very impressive. These are all very good quarterbacks,
but although I will wait before I say that Stafford is
ready to them in the elite status company, and yet it
is still impressive nonetheless.

The old saying goes "records are meant to be broken" and
usually when they are most of us are impressed, that being
said when three, or four guys are in line to break the same
record, you have to ask yourself is there something wrong
here? Has the playing field changed? I for one think it
has, and add another old saying goes on to say "defense wins
championships", and though points are sexy I myself would not
mind seeing a little defense once in awhile. I myself grew
up in an era were bump and run play was very prevalent, so
maybe it's not just time to take the skirts off of some of
these quarterbacks but to take them off of some of these wide
receivers as well. though you don't want see anybody get
seriously hurt or hospitalized, keep in mind that a hard hit
every once in a while is part of the game. I mean it is still
American football, right?

Don't Believe In Plays, Believe In Players - Al Davis

Monday, January 2, 2012

BCS & The College Bowl Games: What Happened?

(Cartoon by Nick Anderson)

It's January the 2nd and if we scroll back the
calender about twenty years or so, all of the bowl
games would be done by now. For some people this
is day is a good day, for others, well, it's a
different. The BCS has made things very different
indeed. No more voting for the National Champ, or
isn't there? I mean they still vote, only thing is
the computer smooths out more votes from more voters
and adds a formula now, makes it kind of fancy and
all scientific and stuff.

Though it's always been about money, it is much more
so now. Seventy teams, play in thirty five bowls,
and most of them are just giant infomercials with a
game thrown in to keep you watching in the interim.
The Beef 'O' Brady's Bowl?, San Diego County Credit
Union Poinsettia Bowl?, The Meineke Car Care Bowl?,
The BBVA Compass Bowl, Really? So when do we get
The "Jimmy learns to tie his shoelaces Bowl"?, or
more realistically the "Eat at Tony's Pizza Bowl"?
What is this Pee Wee, where there are no losers, so
everyone has to play in a Bowl game so no one gets
there feelings hurt? I wish it were that easy.

My father in law still gripes about when Penn State
had to share a National Title with BYU because of
the split with the Coaches Poll and the AP Poll or
something like that. He wasn't entirely wrong, even
if I do disagree with him on some level, but I get
his point, but that is just another example of how
the NCAA has never, and still doesn't get it right
when it comes to the Football part of the equation.
Business wise it seems to be earning just fine, but
if the players try and make a nickel the schools all
of sudden start to hear the words "Death Penalty"
The season grows longer and longer, more "Bowl" games
are added, more sponsorships are obtained, but no
playoffs are added. Why? Because these are "Student
Athletes" that's why. But it's ok to make them play
deep into January, make the schools money with no
"real" compensation for them and banish them from
playing if the make a dime from the celebrity?

Time for me to sound like I'm 90 again, and tell you
about how I used to walk to school barefoot in the
snow uphill both ways when I was a kid, but the truth
of the matter is that I would rather go back to the
pre BCS days when all the Big games were played on
Dec 31st, January 1st, and you might, might have a
game on Jan 2nd due to scheduling, than the crap I
see today. Knowing that the Championship game is on
January 9th now only to find out that in another ten
years it will probably be scheduled around the last
week of January is just getting annoying. If the
NCAA wants football 11 months a year then they should
just say so, make EVERY game a bowl game, and don't
use a wins and loss column in the standings so no one
gets their feelings hurt. They should also makings
sure that all games a distinct sponsor attached to
them so that we know what we should buy beforehand.

As some unknown author once put it: "If you don't stand
up for something, you'll fall for anything."

Don't Believe In Plays, Believe In Players - Al Davis

Sunday, January 1, 2012

NFL Stone Cold Locks Week 17

Getty Images

Just like the guy in this photo, I sometimes feel that
even though I had a 3-0 week, the season total of 40-8
is not worthy of Stone Cold Lock status, but I have one
more week left in the regular season, and I will carry
this throughout the playoffs, and all the way to the
"BIG" game in February. Here are this weeks picks:

1. Philadelphia - Last chance to save face for the Birds

2. Pittsburgh - No let up, and possible #1 seed at stake

3. 49er's - Most dependable pick all season long for me

This is the most difficult week of all to pick.
You never know who's going to mail it in or not.

Don't Believe In Plays, Believe In Players - Al Davis