Friday, January 05, 2007

Friday 01/05 A.M. Quickie:
Playoffs, Coaching Moves, MVPs and More!

NFL Wild Card Weekend: I'm going to do a stand-alone post so we can talk specifically about the four Wild Card games, but it's nice to get back to the NFL Playoffs, because it felt like the last few weeks of the regular season dragged a little bit. But it's here. Settle in.

NFL Coaching Mania!
The Good Tale: Cowher resigns from Steelers
. He was defined by his longevity first, then his Super Bowl title last season that vaulted him from merely "stable" to "champ."

Cowher's career trajectory is easy to project: A year off, working on TV, making bank and enhancing his mystique. Then, before the 2008 season, he'll get a huge offer from Dan Snyder to replace the retiring Joe Gibbs.

(Question: Why does Cowher's exodus from Pittsburgh get spun as "retirement" and not the more accurate "resignation?" Does anyone actually think he's really retiring from coaching for good? Compare that to Art Shell below -- "resigning" or Nick Saban below -- "quitting." Both could have generously been described as "retiring" from NFL coaching. Of course, the media wasn't in the mood to be generous with either, but apparently, Cowher gets that treatment.)

And what about the Steelers? This is coaching upheaval they haven't experienced in two decades. Team Rooney seems stodgy and cootish enough to simply elevate longtime assistant Ken Wisenhunt (who will apply not-so-subtle pressure by expressing interest in a few of the other coaching jobs, including the newly open Dolphins job).

The Bad Tale: Shell resigns from Raiders. You have to figure his coaching career is over. More pressing for Oakland fans: Who the hell would take this job? Expect to hear the same names: Rivera, Chow, Sherman, Singletary.

And then there's the Horrifying Tale, at least if you listen to the media's ongoing campaign to destroy Nick Saban. Ooh: Haven't you heard? He's EVIL! He's a LIAR! He's a QUITTER! Dan LeBatard said so! Don Shula said so! As I said yesterday: I just can't dredge up the outrage on this one. You'd think these esteemed critics had never dealt with coaches before. I'd always classify him more accurately as a college coach who had skills to coach in the NFL, rather than an NFL coach who had the skills to coaching in college. It's not like he left for another NFL job.

LaDainian Tomlinson is NFL MVP: This was a no-brainer. The only question is whether it will go down as the greatest season of all time. He'll need a Super Bowl title – with a gaudy performance – to seal it.

Jason Taylor is NFL Defensive P.O.Y.: Everyone knows that Shawne Merriman is the best defensive player in the NFL. The only reason he didn't win is that stodgy and cootish AP voters discounted his play because of the pesky 4-game suspension for steroids.

(These are undoubtedly some of the same fools who regularly picked someone other than Michael Jordan as NBA MVP. And, yes, that's two references to "stodgy and cootish.")

BCS Title Game: Have you (a) admired, (b) appreciated or (c) regretted my restraint in not maniacally analyzing the upcoming BCS Title Game? I'm sort of freaking out about it, because I'm convinced you're going to see the upset of the year, but I don't actually want to say that out loud (or write it down).

I'm going to create a separate post so we can break the game down. But aside from that, if anything, the wait between Jan. 1's bowl mania and this Jan. 8 title game seems WAAAAAAY too long – even endless. And not because I'm a fan of one of the teams, but because it just doesn't fit the rhythm of the CFB season.

Meanwhile, where do you stand in our College Bowl Mania pick 'em group? (I'm tied for 93rd. Why didn't I put all my "confidence" points on LSU whupping ND?! D'oh!)

NBA: Mavs win 12th straight. But I'm far more concerned about Gilbert Arenas' 25th birthday party, happening tomorrow night. NBA social event of the season! (Well, aside from the parties at the Vegas ASG.)

College Hoops Parity Watch: The non-conference season's parity trend should be magnified during conference season. Examples: Providence beat No. 15 Marquette. And USC racked up another quality win, giving No. 16 Oregon its first loss of the season.

MLB Hot Stove: Randy Johnson to Arizona is a done deal, which should make Roger Clemens to the Yankees a done-deal, too. Meanwhile, the Yankees signed Doug Mientkiewicz, which begs the question of which player will get booed most when the Yankees visit Boston: A-Rod? Doug M? Clemens? My money's on Dougie. Meanwhile, Jake Peavy joins the list of Athletes Gone Wrong.

LeBron needs a theme song: At least, for his Sprite TV commercials. But I think it's much more fun to hear your suggestions of what real-life songs might best define LeBron. (Extra points for cleverness and/or Top 40 references. Now, open up that iTunes Top 100 songs list.)

The Bloggie Awards, Cont'd. Only a few days left. Have you joined the grassroots campaign of the year to nominate this blog for "Best Sports Blog?" (You have? Great! Nominate early and often.) Here's the link to the Bloggie Awards page, and here's a link to the original post about it.

-- D.S.

77 comments:

CMFost said...

To start the answer to your question on who will get booed the most on there return to Fenway. If Roger goes back to the Yankees, which personally I do not think is as done as a deal as you do, then he will out do anything you have heard before in terms of negative fan reaction.

CMFost said...

Also I heard this morning that if the Raiders players get there way the Rob Ryan will be the Next Head Coach of the Raiders.

Plus I would not be surprised if Cowher is coaching Miami next season but only if they make him an offer that is out of this world, say 8-10 Million a season for 5 years.

Mikepcfl said...

Lebatard is an idiot. He makes PTI almost unwatchable when he's on. The only worse fill-in would be Stephen A. Smith!

CMFost said...

As for Merriman he was suspened for Cheating and yes he is good a player but I think his suspension should make him ineligible for any award. Since there will always be that cloud of doubt as to if he is cheating again.

Isnt this close to the same arguement on if McGwire should be in the Hall of Fame the only difference being McGwire was never caught.

rafael said...

Bah, Dan. #2 beating #1 would only be the biggest upset of the year because...well..no, it wouldn't be.
I would think the Rooneys have done a good job with their coaching hires. Why are they stodgy and 'cootish' if they hire one of the current assistants? What should they do...be more daring? Pffft. I want a coach that fits the team's personality. Go for Grimm!

Merriman is a 'roider. No, he should not get a DPOY award as this year, it wasn't sure if he was doing it on his own. It's not just stats...there are 16 games in a season. Merriman could only do 12, and his reason for missing 4 is not exactly noble.

Win said...

Stat to keep in mind for College Championship Game: Ohio State is 0-7 against the SEC in bowl games. Food for thought...

chipp said...

The Chargers won AT Cincinnati and AT Denver back-to-back without Merriman; in fact their only two losses were with Merriman. How valuable is a player if you keep on winning during your hardest stretch of games without him?

(Obviously in les games:) Taylor had one less tackle (at DE vs LB), 3.5 less sacks, 1 more interception, 2 more TDs, 5 more forced fumbles, and 3 more passes defended. Shouldn't the DMVP excel at his position? He did lead the league in sacks, but only 63 tackles in 12 games? 5 per game is REALLY low for a LB. Zach T. had 165 - 10/game.

Daddy Rosee said...

I don't think Florida over Ohio State would be that shocking, the big ten hasn't been great this year in bowl games.

Geoff-Detroit said...

It's not that the wait from Jan. 1st to Jan. 8th is too long, it's that the wait from the end of November to Jan. 1st is too long. A month break between the end of the regular season and the post season in college football is quite possibly the most retarded thing in all of sports.

Option Right said...

Dan predicting an upset? Rather, for that matter, that an SEC team wins in any particular contest? Surely, you jest!

Anonymous said...

Dan's just buying into the NFL smokescreen that there's no steroid problem in the league.

Still waiting for the NFL to have their "Andro in the lockerroom moment."

Hisjazziness said...

Does "stodgy" and "cootish" reference the fact that Dan Rooney is responsible for the rule that requires a minority candidate interview? Also known as the "Rooney rule".

They will interview a minority candidate and make every effort to hire one. The Rooneys think outside of the box better than any other NFL team when it comes to coaching hires.

rafael said...

So....OSU will be 1-7 vs the SEC in bowls after the 8th?

Rivera is being contacted by the Steelers. I do think he fits that mold for a Pittsburgh coach too.

Big D said...

The reason Nick Saban & Art Shell didn't get the "retirement" treatment is simple - Saban clearly "quit his job" in order to take a better offer.

Shell "resigned" from the Raiders (let's be honest - he was fired, but was allowed to save face), but will probably get picked up as an O-Line coach or some craptastic consultant.

Cowher truly "Retired" from coaching, at least for this season. He probably won't coach anywhere in '07, unless it's as an assistant for his kids' school or something.


As far as Merriman goes... I stand by my original thought - if you get a PED suspension, you should forfeit the rights to any individual awards for that season. Maybe Merriman will read the label next time before he buys his "supplements".


And yes - Roger would get booed the loudest, followed closely by Damon & Dougie M. At this point, A-Rod might get cheered - he's done more to help the Red Sox while wearing pinstripes than any other player in the past three seasons.

mkud said...

How can the Rooney's outside the box thinking possibly be measured...they've hired two coaches in the last 30 years?

CMFost said...

Ok, I know we never talk NHL on this site but did anyone else see the ending of the Dallas/Edmonton game. That has to be one of the wildest things I have ever seen.

Mike The Elder said...

both you and the AP voters got it wrong. If you got to see him every week you would know that Brian Urlacher deserved to be D-POY again this year.

Anonymous said...

Where's the love for Champ Bailey for defensive player of the year?

10 INTs tied for the league lead which is insane considering how few teams throw on him.

Tack on 84 tackles which was a career high.

It'd be nice to see someone other than a LB or d-lineman get some love

Big D said...

By the way - anybody else see that Mariotti had angioplasty yesterday?

Mariotti OK after angioplasty

We can only hope...

Geo B said...

As a Steelers fan, this "retirement" - let's call it what it is, a resignation - has been a year in coming. When the Rooney's would not pay $8 M/year on a new contract after Cowher got his ring, this was set in place. When Cowher says today "it's not about the money" you can be 100% sure it IS about the money.

If the Rooney's showed up today with a 3 year, $25M contract, Bill would suddenly un-retire. At the same time, they won't do that because they don't feel any coach is worth that, even if that coach has led the Steelers to more wins than any other team in his tenure. They seem to feel that they replaced Chuck Noll, they can replace Bill Cowher. A mistake on both parties - a real lose/lose situation.

FutureLegendVinceYoung said...

I don't think Florida over Ohio State would be that shocking, the big ten hasn't been great this year in bowl games.

Except when the Big 10 plays the SEC in bowl games were they are 2-0.

The comparisons between '06 UF and '02 OSU may be valid but people need to remember that Tressel was the coach of that '02 Buckeyes team and knows what it is like to be a heavy underdog and he will not allow his team to take UF lightly. If it is a close game Troy Smith will find a way to win the game

Dan Mega said...

big d said: "By the way - anybody else see that Mariotti had angioplasty yesterday?"

I hope this shuts Moronotti up.

Oh and Merriman as the best defensive player in the NFL? Sure, with a steroid boost to help him.

Anonymous said...

With the coaching openings, which would be the worst gig, Atlanta or Oakland?

Both teams problems start and end with the owners.

Atlanta has the parts in place (D, RBs, WRs, and a backup QB), they just happen to have the elephant in the room of the untouchable Vick. If a coach can come in and be given the freedom to move him to a Flanker position or trade him they could be a very competitive team. But I think the owner will let Vick run the team right into the ground and destroy whoever takes the head coaching job.

Oakland isnt that far removed from going to the Super Bowl, but too many dumb front office moves in a short time span have sent them to the rear of the class. I am not sure how long it would take to dig them out of the 'black hole' they have found themselves in.

CMFost said...

Here is how I would rate the current NFl Coaching openings.

1. Arizona - Lots of young talent posied to break out
2. Pittsburgh - biggest problems would the expectations from following Cowher
3. Oakland - #1 Pick and a talented defense
4. Atlanta - Vick is the biggest draw back to this team as he will hold the offense back
5. Miami - No qb and aging Defense

FutureLegendVinceYoung said...

OSU being 0-7 against the SEC in bowl games has no bearing on this game.

The last time they played an SEC team in a bowl game was the '02 Outback Bowl against South Carolina. The coach for OSU in that game, John Cooper who many tOSU fans know could not win a big game if his life depended on it.

Now they have Tressel who may be the best coach in college football right now. I don't think he is to concerned that tOSU has never beaten an SEC team in a bowl game.

The heroin sheik said...

I have to agree with dan that the wait between the other bcs games and this championship game just doesn't feel right. I hate how they drag out every game so that the bcs takes up four or five nights of tv. DOn't get me wrong I love football more than anything but it is a bit tedious when you have to be glued to the tv almost every night for a week. Id rather them play all the games on the first and maybe on the 2nd do the championship game.

Im sure all the gator fans can appreciate the bet i made on the game with my boss who is a FSU alum. When the gators win all the cooks get unlimited liquor for a month for our shift drinks whereas if the unthinkable happens I have to wear a fsu tshirt to work on friday nights for a month and then at midnight have to climb on the bar with the other guy taking part in the bet and do the tomahawk chop.

It also is in no means the upset of the year when the gators win. The talent is equal the coaches are about equal and really these are the two best teams in the country. An upset is george mason beating uconn in bball or if the cards had pulled out the win over the bears. Those are upsets. The gators winning is basically a flip flop of the top two teams.

A final note. I have a friend who put a grand down on the gators winning on a chris hetland fg. He says that if they win this way he will win 10 grand. You got to love the proposition bets but I think my friend was smoking rocks. Unless it is his bday hetland couldn't hit the broad side of a barn. the anxiety is killing me I need some xanax or something.

Daddy Rosee said...

Not really sure how A-Rod helped the Sox?

Brian in Oxford said...

Dan, you obviously didn't watch Taylor this year, to discount him that far behind Merriman. Plus, isn't his sister divorcing his teammate and best friend? (I forget the complete story with him and Zach.)

Minkie won't get booed much at Fenway....he'll be seen as a hired gun who helped win in '04, then moved on...somewhere ELSE. unlike Damon, who spent 4 years ingraining himself into the New England fabric, and then bolted directly to NY. As for Clemens, booing him would be old hat. I do think it would be hysterical if A-Rod got a sick cheering ovation at Fenway. Maybe sorta like what Rivera got in '05 (the 2 blown saves in the ALCS plus 2 more the first week in NY before the home opener).

Why does every retiring coach automatically get a spot on TV, anyways? Who thinks Cowher would actually be good? Haven't we gone through this with Parcells (remember when he was paired with Marv on NBC?), Walsh, Seifert, Jimmy Johnson, who else should I name....Plus, wouldn't Cowher will have to shave clean for a TV gig

I think the reason you need the week layoff between the games is simply for the logistics....you have to move all the Boise State and Oklahoma fans out a few days after the game, and then the early-arriving Ohio St. and Florida people are checking in. If the games were three days apart, the hotels would be overbooked.

Has LdT gone 2 straight games without a touchdown now? Boy, if he goes oh-fer against NE, the Jets, or the Chiefs....and SD loses....yikes.

Good point on the resignation, though...that IS an interesting choice of words reserved specifically for Cowher.

Mikepcfl said...

I have to agree with Matt T, that Champ Bailey should have been Defensive POY. I dont think a corner has shut down half the field like Bailey since Deion was in his prime. To have that many INTs when teams never throw at him is amazing.

I dont have much of a problem with Taylor. I'm just glad Urlacher didnt win again. He's the most overrated defensive player since Jason Sehorn.

Anonymous said...

Lebron's song should be Bombs Over Bahgdad off of Outkast's 2000 album, Stankonia.

There should be no debate concerning this statement.

Carry on.

Brian in Oxford said...

Ooh wait, I could go on....Jerry Glanville! Well actually, I liked him, but he didn't exactly retire, either.

Anonymous said...

Re: Bailey as DPOY / Rant vs Writers

Remember folks, this is the same bunch of people who didn't put the Career INT leader Paul Krause into the HOF until 1998, 19 years after his retirement, due to the thought that all he did was cherry-pick balls.

(And they won't put Roger Wehrli in either, even though he was another CB that teams specifically gameplanned around.)

CMFost said...

My DPOY Ballot

1. Bailey
2. Taylor
3. Ty Warren
4. Urlacher

rafael said...

lol
I loved BoB. Great song to get you jacked up before a game. I used it before intramural broomball games.

I, for one, believe Cowher when he says that its more about family than anything else. I don't think he'll take any coaching gig regardless of money.
I do disagree that it's a 'lose/lose' situation for Pitt and Cowher. I think it is win/win. Cowher gets to spend time being a dad, something he obviously cares about (more parents should). Pittsburgh knows that they need a coach who wants to be in Pittsburgh. And now they have time to talk to all their candidates.

The thing about coaching in Pittsburgh: You sacrifice some salary but you have ownership that will always back you up. Do ANY other teams in the league have ownership like that? I'd take the lower salary for ownership support.

Anonymous said...

Merriman Cheated! thats the bottom line, he doesnt deserve to win any awards or make the pro-bowl!

I'd even goes as far as saying if San Diego were to win the Super Bowl it should include an * indicating that numerous inseason games that set up there playoff seededing were determined with a cheater on the field!

jvaldon said...

I have an idea as far as steroid punishment in the NFL should work.

If you get caught using steriods, in addition to the 4 game regular season ban, you are not eligable to play if you team make the post season. In addition you are not allowed to recieve any individual awards.

No only does this keep anyone caught cheeting from making it to the super bowl, It prevents that player from recieving and Playoff game checks and team bonuses for making the playoffs.

I think this would be a more fitting punishment and it would be one hell of a deterent from using steroids.

roboninja said...

Man, exclaiming Merriman should win D MVP, even thoug hhe was caught cheating, and then saying naysayers are stodgy?? I have no idea how someone could think that, it baffles me. Not trying to flame, but I think this blog has gone slowly downhill the longer it has run. Maybe you needed the editors at ESPN to keep you on track, not sure, but it has become a little too much "instant history", home-team plugging for my tastes. Time to move on.

Anonymous said...

I think * are reserved for baseball. I will never understand the discrepancy in public outcry over 'cheating' in baseball as compared to the other sports.

NFL, NBA, NHL have adobted the Armed Forces moto of 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell'. But its obvious the blinders are on.

CMFost said...

hey robo, I have a word of advice for you, if you do not like the blog you do not have to read. You can go and read the crapfest ESPN is putting out called the AM Jump.

chipp said...

Arizona is NOT the best available coaching gig: their O-Line is A-W-E-F-U-L!

I realize the focus of CFB conference talk is on B10 vs. SEC because of the championship talk, but should either of them be considered the best conference, top-to-bottom? USC beat Ark, Neb, ND, and Mich. The only teams that were able to beat them were in the Pac-10 (and never, EVER bet on a rivalry game!). The top 3 teams in the Pac-10 won their bowl game (OSU over Mizz was kind of lame, but the point is still valid). Neither the Big-10 nor the SEC will be able to say that when alls done; in fact one of those conferences will have 2 of the top 3 lose.

Anonymous said...

Looks like Champ finished 2nd. I was surprised considering all the talking heads said it was between Merriman and Taylor.

Anonymous said...

chipp,

I didnt know top-to-bottom meant the top 3.

chipp said...

Ken:
I was trying to use whatever stats I could to prove my point. However, do you disagree?

CMFost said...

If you are going to talk about which conference is having the Best Bowl Season what about the 4-0 Big East with a game saturday and chance to be the only major Conference to go unbeaten.

Anonymous said...

Alright, I am a newb and dont know how to edit my posts yet.

But the argument over the best conference comes down to your criteria. A case can be made for Big East, SEC, Big-10, and Pac 10 this year depending on what criteria you are looking at. I don't think I could make a very good case for either the Big 12 or the ACC.

CMFost said...

here is the DPOY Voting totals

Player, Team Votes
Jason Taylor, Miami 22
Champ Bailey, Denver 16
Shawne Merriman, San Diego 6
Brian Urlacher, Chicago 4
Ray Lewis, Baltimore 1
Trevor Price, Baltimore 1

Gary said...

All you have to do to stop Steriod use is to say that games in which a caught steroid user is involved is taken off the record...for instance, San Diego's wins before Merriman's suspension wouldn't count toward that teams record. IF he played 5 games, the Chargers are now 9-2 on the season...nine wins doesn't get you into the playoffs...(I think the teams that they played would have to keep whatever outcome happened.) It would only take one year and the steroid problem would be gone.

I bet the owners/coaches would start cracking down from the inside. It's about self regulation. If the teams tested their own players and didn't force the league to random test, there would be no steroid problem in any sport.

My suggestion would never happen and probably wouldn't be do-able, but I think if some how it got implemented, it would work flawlessly

Ma4tt (the 4 is silent) said...

Cowher gets special treatment because he's a winner. Green and Saban failed miserably; another 7-9 season, and Saban would have been fired. After winning the Super Bowl, if he had wanted to stay, Cowher could have had three straight losing seasons and STILL received a contract extension.

Essentially, Green and Saban would have to produce in order to keep their jobs. Cowher would have had a 5 year grace period - i.e. 5 playoff-less years - before the Rooneys would even contemplate a switch. Walking away from that kind of job security (and tenure) is, in its own little way, "retiring" from the Steelers.

(Who cares? He'll be back in 2008. *nod me*)

FutureLegendVinceYoung said...

Chipp the Pac-10 is tough but when people argue about the Big 10 or SEC being the best football conferences they usually mean top to bottom. The Pac-10 has SC clearly at the top and then some quality teams like Cal, Oregon and on occasion Arizona St and Oregon St.

The Big 10 has OSU, Michigan, Penn St and Wisconsin and if Ferentz stays Iowa and Michigan St should be good without a moron like Smith. It is the depth of the Big-10 that makes them tough. The Big 10's best schools also played in better bowl games then the Pac-10, USC was the only one in a BCS bowl the rest of them played in games that were played before New Year's.

The SEC is the same as the Big 10 each year there is always, UF, Auburn, LSU, UGA. This year Arkansas was tough and UT and Alabama are going to be good again and don't forget about the Ol' Ball Coach at the other USC. Like the Big 10 the SEC played in better bowl games against better competition so while the SEC lost some of these games they were playing against better opponents than Missouri and Texas A&M.

Anonymous said...

Who wouldn't take a lower salary from the Rooneys? It's like a lifetime employment contract! There will be MUCH more interest in Pittsburgh than Miami.

Anonymous said...

Pitt vs. Miami will be all about the money. Pitt will low ball and Miami is probably going to wind up with the highest paid NFL coach.

You could make (not necessarily earn) more money at Miami in a short amount of time then you could in 10 years at Pitt.

With the high stress / high turnover profession you have to go with the big bucks quick.

I think Pitt will wind up with a coordinator (I think they would do well with Grimm) that is making the move up and will take the less money for the opportunity.

Jo Fer said...

I'm just glad Urlacher didnt win again. He's the most overrated defensive player since Jason Sehorn.

That's the most retarded overused expression.

why don't you take the time to actually watch some games that he plays in, and then say that.

I'll agree he's overrated if the argument is that the media treats him like a 100 player rating and he's really a 98. Therefore, yes, he's overrated. But he's still a 98.

Wait, PAC 10 is now being thrown out there as a good conference?

Sure the top three won but the next three all got smoked by FSU, BYU and Hawaii.

Troy (Gainesville, FL) said...

I'm convinced you're going to see the upset of the year, but I don't actually want to say that out loud

Ack! No, Dan. Don't do it, please.

WuzUpG said...

LeBron's theme song should be "We Fly High" by Jim Jones

We fly high, No Lie, You know this (BALLIN!)

Foreign rides, outside, its like showbiz (We in the building)

We stay fly, No Lie, You know this (BALLIN!)

Hips and Thighs, Oh my, Stay focus

Ma4tt (the 4 is silent) said...

Whiz will be the next HC of the Steelers. Russ Grimm? Not so much. He'll end up in Arizona (my guess) because of their woeful O-Line... but guess what? The Steelers' O-Line wasn't exactly great this year, either.

And the Cardinals will be 5-11 next year, with a porous O-Line and multiple QB concussions because of it.

CMFost said...

Ok, time for the playoffs and there are some interesting match ups for this First Round of the NFL Playoffs. Let's start with the Saturday Games.

Game #1:
Kansas City at Indianapolis - If Kansas City and Larry Johnson can do a solid job of controlling the clock and running the ball on the Indy defense like just about every team has done on them, Then Peyton Manning is going to have to have the game of his life to win this game. And I just do not see that happening.

Prediction - Kansas City 27 Indianapolis 17

Game #2
Dallas at Seattle - Why this is the Saturday Night Game I have no idea. This game has the potential to be the worst of the 4 macthups. Dallas comes off a humbling defeat to the Detroit Lions when they needed a win for a shot at the division title. Seattle is continuing to get better as Alexander and Hasselbeck continue to get healthy. Seattle with it recent playoff success and home field should make sort work of the overrated Tony Romo, Terrell "Mr Drops" Owens and the Dallas Comboys.

Predictions - Seattle 28 Dallas 10

On to the Sunday Games that have some interesting Division Match ups.

Game #1
New York Jets at New England - The Mentor versus the Pupil. And this time the battle tested Patriots will get the best of Eric and the Jets. Mangini may have one the last time in Foxboro but this is the Playoffs and the Patriots just do not lose at home during the playoffs and the also have a history of not losing to teams twice in a Season.

Predictions - New England 24 New York 13

Game #2
New York Giants at Philadelphia - This game should be a slugfest. The red hot Eagles taking on the lucky to be there Giants. Manning versus the resurgant Jeff Garcia. And in this game I think the Veteran Leadership that Garcia provides as well as Andy Reids playoff experience leads the way.

Prediction - Philadelphia 17 New York 14

Anonymous said...

I don't think Shawn Merriman should be voted out because of steroids, but the fact that he missed 4 games in a crucial part of his teams season.

He did his punishment and is now due to stand for more harsh punishment if he is caught again. We may not agree with the punishment, but that's what it is and writer's should follow those guidlines when voting for an offseason award.

However he did miss 4 games. If it were due to injury people would hold that against him, and they should here. There were 4 games where he did absolutly nothing while Taylor and Bailey were out helping their team win football games. That should count against him as well.

Hisjazziness said...

Saying that the Arizona job is better than the Steelers gig makes me think whoever said that knows nothing about sports.

Mikepcfl said...

I've watched plenty of Bears' games where Urlacher goes flying around, but never hits anyone.

And it isnt just me, does anyone remember the SI poll of NFL players where Urlacher was voted the 2d most overrated player in the NFL behind TO?

And to show I am not a homer, Ray Lewis is now overrated. He is at best the Ravens 4th or 5th best defensive player (behind Reed, Scott, Thomas, Suggs, Pryce, McAllister).

CMFost said...

@hisjazziness

I think in terms of having a chance to build a winning team with some young talent especially at the skill positions make Arizona a prime job for any coach to take.

The biggest problem with the Pitt job is who you are following and what the expectations will be.

Ma4tt (the 4 is silent) said...

Yeah, cmfost, but... still... IT'S ARIZONA. That club is cursed. Unless they can spend their first 4 draft picks on guys who will be starting on the O-Line in 2007, Leinart will keep getting pummeled, Edge will keep gaining 2.8 yards a carry, and the team will continue to find ways to lose.

As an aside.... 9 minutes until Cowher's PC. I'm still hoping for a miracle - like his family convinced him to sign an extension, or that he'll take a year off and then return to the Steelers in 2008.... but... I'm not counting on it.

Anonymous said...

I think every competitive coach would rather coach Pittsburgh. Who would you rather face off against? The Browns, Bengals and Ravens... or ... The Jets, Buffalo and Belicheck?

And who would you rather coach? Rothlisberger or the ghost of Culpepper and Joey? The aging Miami D or the slightly younger Pittsburgh D?

I think anyone can take Pittsburgh and win their division next year. I don't think anyone can win in Miami for at least 2 years. And that's being charitable, if NE actually falls apart in some way, which isn't likely. You're not going to make more money if you don't win, so you go with Pittsburgh. I'm not sure Rooney will take any big name guys, but I think the potential is there.

jkadis said...

For a little context on the LeBron songs:

YOU SPIN ME RIGHT ROUND: FANS CAN CREATE SONG FOR SPRITE ADS
Cavaliers F LeBron James and Sprite are running a national contest “inviting consumers to create theme songs” for new Sprite TV ads that will air during NBA All-Star weekend next month, according to USA TODAY’s Michael McCarthy. Fans can enter the contest at LeBron23-23.com. James and hip-hop artists Paul Wall and Al Fatz will select three songs. James: “I wanted to do something new and different. Sprite came to me with the idea. I thought it was cool” (SPORTS BUSINESS DAILY, 1/5).

LEBRON TUNING IN TO FANS FOR THEME SONG
NBA superstar LeBron James is the next Michael Jordan in more ways than one. Like MJ, James is an endorsement superstar on Madison Avenue. Now James is tapping into one of the hotter marketing trends: Inviting consumers to participate in the commercial process. James and Coca-Cola's Sprite plan to announce a national contest Friday inviting consumers to create theme songs for new Sprite TV commercials airing during NBA All-Star Weekend next month. "I wanted to do something new and different. Sprite came to me with the idea. I thought it was cool," James said. "Without the fans, there's no players." Consumers may enter the contest at LeBron23-23.com. James and hip-hop artists Paul Wall and Al Fatz will personally pick three tracks. "Your mission is to create a theme song for me," says a virtual James at the website. "If your mix gets the votes, and my crew and I like the sound, you'll win the chance to collaborate on my theme song in the studio" (USA TODAY, 1/5).

chipp said...

I only saw a couple parts of a few Bears games, but I recall Urlacher landing on a lot of piles after the play was over and the announcers saying, "And look who got in on that tackle!" He's definitely a solid player, but not head-and-shoulders above other linebackers.

Mikepcfl: I agree. How in the world did Ray Lewis get a vote for DPOY?!?! Did a voter just come out of a 5-year coma?

chipp said...

As a follow-up to Urlacher: CHI finished 9th in sacks with 40 and Brian had a whopping zero! They ask him to tackle on runs and drop back into middle zone coverage on passes.

Jo Fer said...

I've watched plenty of Bears' games where Urlacher goes flying around, but never hits anyone.

Doesn't hit anyone, as in 5th most tackles in the NFL this year?

Remember, I'm not arguing that he's the best NFL D player out there. But he does deserve his status for the numbers he he puts up year in and year out over his career and the clutch plays. We'd have been up Shit creek twice this year if not for him (Forced fumble on James in the AZ game that he stripped, and the acrobatic pick he had against NYJ in the end zone that save a NY score. We only won that game 10-0 on a poor grossy performance. If your MLB gave you two wins, and had the stats he has, you'd tout him too.

Hisjazziness said...

@cmfost

I didn't mean to disrespect, it was said in the heat of the moment, or typed as it were.

All I'm saying here is, while I agree with the offensive talent being in place at the skill positions, the Cards have one HUGE factor against them: the Bidwells.

See profootballtalk.com for their story today on how the Cards new coach will have to keep 7 assistants from Green's staff. Why would that be the case on a team that won 16 games over the past 3 years? Certainly these guys didn't get the job done.

This would never be mandated in Pittsburgh. The new coach will have total freedom to bring in whatever coaches he wants. The other difference is that any coach he keeps (LeBeau, Whipple, etc) will be worth it and deserving.

Being from Pittsburgh and a lifelong Pirate fan, I know bad ownership. The Bidwells are one of the worst.

Ma4tt (the 4 is silent) said...

Cowher spoke for little over a half-hour, refused to come out and strongly endorse either Whiz or Grimm to replace him, and then made nice with the media at the end.

Two immediate thoughts:

One, he LOVES Whiz and Grimm. So, why wouldn't he want them to replace him? I'm hoping it's because he wants to give the Rooneys a shot at paying him $8 mill a year to coach in 2008 - and that whoever coaches in 2007 is NOT Whiz or Grimm, so he won't feel like he's stealing their "job."

Two, if you could see the smile on his face when he talked about spending time with his family... well.. I wouldn't be surprised at all if he stayed out of coaching for 2 years. Once his youngest daughter graduates from High School and (presumbly) goes off to Princeton, he can start looking at full-time coaching again in 2009. *cough* In Pittsburgh, of course. *cough*

Ma4tt (the 4 is silent) said...

Also - and this should make Dan nod at himself - Cowher took offense to the word "retirement" at his PC. He called it a "resignation," but not for the same reasons - he just thought that "retirement" sounded like what an old person does, and as he's only 49... well, you know. Hubris and all.

Cowher Power in 2009!

Jo Fer said...

I'm an Arizona resident, and I can't tell how bad it is for coaches out here. Guys with proven track records, Ryan, Green, have come out here and been utterly useless. The only way the Cardinals will ever get better is for Bidwell family to sell them. This is a 3RD! generation owner. (Oldest continually owned franchise in all of sport)

They run the team to make as much money as possible with absolutely no intention of creating a winner. It seems like they care by signing Leinart, James, etc. but in reality their first thought was how much $$$$$ will these guys bring in. Trust me. Also they HAD to because we just paid for their new stadium.

They fought furiously to stay in Dallas' conference because it's an automatic sellout for all the Cowboy fans here. Bidwell would be happy just fielding a team to play visiting Green Bay, Oakland, Dallas, Chicago, Denver, San Diego, New York Giants, and Pittsburgh, because all those fan bases are huge out here.

Most owners buy teams as a hobby with their riches and try to create a winner. You have to understand, this is that family's livliehood and has been for generations. It's about money first and foremost, with absolutely NO consideration for the fans.

Anonymous said...

"I'm just glad Urlacher didnt win again. He's the most overrated defensive player since Jason Sehorn."


- Who's rating him so high? He was 4th in the DPOY voting. Do you really think he's not one of the top 5 defensive players in the game?? please.


"And it isnt just me, does anyone remember the SI poll of NFL players where Urlacher was voted the 2d most overrated player in the NFL behind TO?"

- Don't seriously bring up some stupid poll as an argument!!! You know who was 3rd on that list: Peyton (so that tells you how serious to take that poll)

Anonymous said...

Did Bidwell sell the Cardinals?

Until that day, Arizona is the worst HC gig in the NFL.

Which is saying alot with Oakland (Al "Emperor Palpatine" Davis) and Detroit (Matt "Rasputin" Millen) in the same league.

Kevin said...

4th place!!! Woo-hoo! And I have the best record (25-4). I'll jump to first if I win out. Two of my teams are touchdown underdogs, however...well, picking favorites wasn't how I got here...

Wait a minute - how exactly does Shawn Merriman deserve the Defensive POY despite playing just 12 games? Discount the reason why he was suspended...would you really rather have 12 games of Merriman over 16 games of Bailey or Taylor? Or are you voting purely on talent...in which case, couldn't you give the award to someone who was out the whole year with an injury?

Brigadier Pudding said...

It must be based on talent because it's certainly not based on anything like merit or on field accomplishments, where Merriman is not even in the stratosphere as what Tayor and Bailey accomplished on the field this year.

He's a pass rushing LB. And a roid head.

Get a grip and clue, Shanoff.

Brigadier Pudding said...

Taylor: 62 tackles, 13.5 sacks, 2 INT, 9 forced fumbles, 11 PD, 2 TD, 16 GP.

Merriman: 63 tackles, 17 sacks, 1 INT, 4 forced fumbles, 8 PD, 0 TD, 12 GP.

Yeah. Right.

And applying the Jordan analogy to Merriman may just be the single dumbest thing you've ever wrote on this site, which is sayin' a lot.

Anonymous said...

You honestly compared Shawn Merriman getting "slighted" to Michael Jordan?

Last time I checked, Jordan never cheated.

Taking steroids is cheating. If you bye his tainted supplement explanation than you're an idiot. Every expert will tell you it's a bogus excuse.

So if he took steroids, he knew he was cheating and he was cheating to improve his performance on the field. And if you cheat to improve your performance and get caught, you certainly shouldn't be rewarded for that cheating-enhanced performance.

Anonymous said...

How can the same guy your rips every baseball player who either has been caught using performance enhancing drugs or may have used performance enhancing drugs, think it is ridiculous that a guy who was caught using performance enhancing drugs be the Defensive MVP in the NFL. This is a big surprise to me, as one who bashes David Ortiz as an MVP candidate, but think that Travis Hafner should always win the MVP. If someone cheat, Shawne Merriman, he cannot win awards. Bottom line.