Saturday, January 19, 2008

Saturday 01/19 A.M. Quickie:
Walker, Favre, Seanor, Harbaugh, More

Today's Names to Know: Herschel Walker, Brett Favre, Dave Seanor, Dana Stubblefield, "Therapeutic Use Exemption," Baron Davis, Matt Holliday, John Harbaugh, Georgia Frontiere, Bill Callahan, Mike Carey, Patrick Patterson, Todd Wright and More.

I'm sorry, but this is my favorite story of the last 24 hours...

Herschel Walker has multiple personalities?! Not to make light of a serious condition, but I heard each personality ran for 1,000 yards in his sophomore season at Georgia.

Slurper Bowl XLII: Give the New York Times' "Fifth Down" blog a nice bit of credit for this Mad Libs-style satire of the typical slobbering coverage of Brett Favre. I love this thing.

Golfweek controversy update: Editor fired. The instantly infamous "noose" cover has cost editor Dave Seanor his job, just days after the story went national – and nuclear. It was a huge error in judgment.

PED Scandal: Dana Stubblefield pled guilty to making false statements to the Feds in their BALCO investigation. Again: It's almost always the cover-up and not the crime itself.

Meanwhile, apparently, even before Selig's testimony before Congress last week when the "Therapeutic Use Exemption" came up in regards to players abusing Adderall and Ritalin in lieu of now-illegal stimulants like amphetamines, MLB claims it was already working on closing T.U.E. loopholes – I wonder why they wouldn't publicize that they were taking active steps? Maybe because they didn't want to draw attention to the staggering increase between 2006 and 2007 in TUE's.

NBA Last Night: Baron Davis had 40 in a Warriors win over the Bulls. In the last 12 months, Davis has turned himself into one of the Top 10 most dynamic players in the NBA. (Meanwhile, the Heat lost their 12th game in a row.)

Rockies sign Matt Holliday to 2Y/$23M extension: What a critical deal for Colorado, particularly coming off last season's miracle finish, which is unlikely to be repeated – but worth rewarding its superstar... and the fans.

Twins give Justin Morneau a 1Y/$7.4M deal: Remember when he was going to be a break-the-bank player for them?

Ravens hire John Harbaugh: He has never been a head coach. He has never been an offensive or defensive coordinator. But, hey, he's likeable.

RIP, Georgia Frontiere: The Rams owner brought a team back to St. Louis -- and a Super Bowl championship to the city after bringing Dick Vermeil out of retirement.

NFL Coaching Carousel: Bill Callahan is back in the NFL, as an assistant with the Jets, after his ill-fitting (and ill-fated) attempt to be a college head coach at Nebraska.

Know the Name: Mike Carey. Carey will become the first African-American referee to work a Super Bowl in NFL history. I'm not quite sure whether to cheer or shake my head: In 2008, how could a league like the NFL be at a point where they are still saying "first African-American ANYTHING." Shouldn't those barriers have been long-broken? Guess not.

College Hoops Today: GameDay is in Gainesville today for tonight's Florida-Kentucky game. Even though Florida isn't the Florida of the last two years -- and Kentucky isn't the Kentucky of the last two decades -- it's still a huge rivalry game.

Florida fans can watch Patrick Patterson and think about how awesome the team would have been if he had gone to UF instead of UK.

(Wonder if he's regretting that decision now? Given that he is a one-and-done college player, he was probably better off at a place where he could be the No. 1 star. Patterson is just below Kevin Love and Michael Beasley as the best freshman big man in college hoops.)

Sporting News Radio debut last night: One of the benefits of being part of the Sporting News network is that I am going to get the chance to go on their radio shows.

Last night, I had a terrific segment with Todd Wright, who is a fantastic host – phenomenal set-up questions and tremendously informed.

I will keep you updated as I do more of that, so you can listen in to hear me make a fool out of myself, trying to translate my shallow online ramblings into on-air commentary.

-- D.S.

Friday, January 18, 2008

"God Save The Fan": Review on Monday

I accept the Ladies... challenge! I will have a review of Will Leitch's new book "God Save The Fan" on on Monday, in advance of the book's official release on Tuesday.

Will I be the first blogger to have a review up?
We'll see. 15-to-1 odds seem pretty out-of-whack for a guy who writes posts like this.

Yes, I've read the book. Yes, it's extremely well done. (No, that isn't the entirety of my review, despite my penchant for Quickie-style brevity.)

Great Joakim Noah Read via TrueHoop

No one digs up as many fascinating NBA stories as Henry Abbott. This one is about Joakim Noah -- phenomenal must-read perspective on this week's controversy, from Noah's pre-draft trainer.

Yes, Chess Is a Sport

Let me arbitrate the debate going on at DSCommenters: Yes, chess is a sport. (Presumably, it came up in the context of the death of Bobby Fischer.) -- D.S.

Take Today's Poll About the Pats

If you aren't a natural Pats fan, are you rooting for the Pats to go 19-0 or to choke and lose in the Biggest Loss Ever?*

I'm totally intrigued by the idea that there is one segment of the country that wants to see the Pats go 19-0 and there is another segment that desperately wants to see them lose. (Pats fans, of course, are ineligible from consideration for obvious reasons.)

I myself am torn over witnessing the superlative novelty of 19-0... it might just be the greatest feat in team-sports history... and wanting to see them lose, in what would be an all-time epic collapse*. (It's not a choke, per se, but I struggle for the right word to describe the superlative.)

Would I rather see the Pats lose this weekend in the conference title game or in the Super Bowl?

Losing in the Super Bowl would be more dramatic, but I think that the Chargers (even without Rivers) have a better shot of beating the Pats than the Packers or Giants (even on the Super Bowl's neutral field). The bottom line: I don't really care. Seeing them lose at all would be plenty interesting.

But I am curious as to what YOU think, both whether you are rooting for 19-0 or the Biggest Loss Ever* and -- if you are rooting for them to lose -- WHEN you would like to see it happen.

Take the poll in the upper-right-hand corner.

-- D.S.

* - The closest thing I can think of to compete with the Pats losing in either of the next two games would be the unstoppable 1991 UNLV team losing in the Final Four to Duke... but that UNLV team had an excuse -- there's a long-standing urban legend that they were on the take to tank the game. That's right, Duke fans: I discount any credit assigned for what was arguably the greatest win in Duke program history.

Friday 01/18 A.M. Quickie:
Pats, Pack, Kwame, Butler, Garrett, More!

Today's column is live (be sure to take today's poll in the upper-right!), and I coin what will surely be the catch-phrase of the next two weeks:

"The Slurper Bowl."

That's what we're going to experience if (no: when) Tom Brady and Brett Favre lead their respective teams to their conference titles on Sunday. (If you're going to use "Slurper Bowl," be sure to credit the source!)

Those are my picks: Pats and Pack. Not particularly bold, but I do contend that Randy Moss will catch at least 3 TDs, because Bill Belichick will want to offer a great big F.U. over the hating on Moss this week because of his alleged "incident."

Anyway: The column is loaded today -- Conference title-game previews, Lakers fans booing Kwame Brown, Linas Kleiza Mania, Butler upset by Cleveland State, Jason Garrett dissing the Falcons and Ravens for the Cowboys, more on the Golfweek controversy, Bud Selig, Rich Rodriguez and More!

Check it out here.

(Two more original posts coming at 10:30 and 12:30, so be sure to wander back around later today.)

-- D.S.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Shoals Joins Shanoff at

This is turning into a hell of a columnist line-up: Shanoff, Swindle, Florio, McErlain, Pinto, Brian from Awful Announcing, Mottram... and now Bethlehem Shoals of Free Darko.

(I'm thrilled to note that I traded "Shanoff" for shidduch to help make this happen, 'cause I love me some Shoals and I love me some I'm a yenta among sports bloggers.)

Mathew Kowald: Worst. Dad. Ever.

Mathew Kowald: Worst. Dad. Ever.

You are going to be hearing a lot today about Mathew Kowald, a 36-year-old Portage, Wisconsin nut-job who strapped his 7-year-old son down and forced the kid to wear a Packers jersey during the Packers' playoff game last weekend.

We've all been there: We buy our infants or toddlers or kids the team gear, hoping they will be little reflections of ourselves -- what better way to bond than over a mutual love of a sports team? (Hell, most of you are probably fans of your favorite team because a parent was a fan and "passed it on" to you.)

But this is a cautionary tale: Taking it so far over the line as to constitute child abuse, rather than "super-fan" fun. Something to keep in mind as you pose your young child in the gear of your favorite team -- YOUR favorite team -- like some kind of Fandom Mini-Me.

Interested in your comments on this, either on this post or the simul-post at

-- D.S.

This post was re-published from an earlier post at Varsity Dad, my blog about the intersection of sports and parenting.

Thursday 01/17 A.M. Quickie:
Sparano, Golfweek, Oprah, Pack Dad, More!

In today's column at The Sporting Blog...

Bill Parcells vs. Bill Walsh!
Golfweek vs. the PGA!
Marion Jones vs. Oprah!
Randy Moss vs. Pac-Man Jones!
Joakim Noah vs. Ben Wallace!
Gerald Wallace vs. Chris Bosh!
Bobby Knight vs. History!
Tyler Hansbrough vs. The World!
Dayton and Xavier vs. UMass and Temple!
Tony Dungy vs. Jason Garrett!
The Tigers vs. Payroll Sanity!
Mathew Kowald vs. Sports Parents Who Aren't Insane...
And More!

Here's the direct link. Or, keep your eye on this link.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Anna Grant, Google Superstar

Anna Grant, the Pats fan and PPK winner who was booed by Colts fans last Sunday, is the No. 1 most-searched term on Google.

I don't think Grant became a story (the jeering happened Sunday) until the Pats announced she would be honored -- in Foxboro on Sunday -- in front of a more sympathetic crowd.

Grant is a great example of the "sports story" that catches fire in a "Good Morning, America" way:

Accessible to non-sports fans, because it involves a kid -- a teen girl -- and schadenfreude and redemption... and maybe because the Pats are a national sensation, even with non-sports fans.

Amazing: Another top ranking for the Patriots (and Boston sports). Even when they get booed, they turn up winners.

-- D.S.

Tony Sparano Hired By Dolphins

Today's column. Meanwhile...

Tony Sparano to Dolphins: Yes, I know that yesterday, I posted that Garrett was hired in Bal'mer. (Turned out to be just an offer.) But Glazer reports Sparano's been hired by the Fins, and I believe it:

Parcells is creating a management team with his guys -- GM, coach, more -- and that's an ideal way to construct an organization, particularly if you are as big of a control freak as Parcells is.

(No, really: Read today's column -- the A.M. post directly below has the short-hand teaser.)

Wednesday 01/16 A.M. Quickie:
Adderall, Garrett, LeBron, Rod, More!

Today's column is LIVE at and The Sporting Blog:

Adderall vs. HGH, Selig/Fehr vs. Congress, Miguel Tejada vs. the D.O.J., Rich Rodriguez vs. West Virginia, Jason Garrett vs. Jerry Jones, LeBron vs. Joakim, Jarvis Varnado vs. Kentucky, Darrell Green vs. Cris Carter, Anna Grant vs. Colts fans and more!

Keep your eye on this link for today's column (which I just filed).

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Jason Garrett to Coach the Ravens Who?!?

UPDATE: Garrett hasn't taken the Ravens offer and is in Atlanta talking to the Falcons. Man, is that guy in a good position. I reiterate: Does Jerry Jones love Wade Phillips SO much that he's willing to lose out on hiring Garrett as his head coach?

Enough Apple fanboy talk: Let's get back to sports fanboy talk...

Jason Garrett is reportedly going to coach the Ravens, a team that just came off a term with a highly regarded offensive coordinator.

Garrett has more buzz than any other assistant in the NFL. Job No. 1: He is going to have to find his Tony Romo, because the Ravens don't have one.

Now: Will Garrett push to draft a QB high... or learn from the Romo Experience that top NFL QBs don't have to come in the first round.

Meanwhile, for the Cowboys: I always had the sense that Jerry Jones wanted Garrett to be HIS head coach. Jones should have hired Garrett as the head coach last season, instead of Wade Phillips. Better to be a year too early than a year too late.

(Maybe Jones should have fired Phillips yesterday and immediately made an offer to Garrett, suspecting that Garrett was about to be poached by the Ravens. I guess he didn't want to keep him that badly.)

-- D.S.

Think Apple wants to sponsor my blog?

Mmm: I could sure go for one of those new MacBook Airs.

Tom Brady Contemplating Retirement?

I will be curious to see how many mainstream sports media outlets pick this up.

(Please read the above line again before pinging me. I chose my words carefully.)

Update: Please tell me you didn't buy this. Lesson: You've got to read the Tags!

Tuesday 01/15 A.M. Quickie:
Romo, Celtics, Pitt, MLB, WTA, CFB, More!

Today's SportingBlog column is up.

In today's column (posted shortly, refer to this link for now):

Introduces "Pulling a Romo"...
Engages in some rare Celtics-bashing...
Praises Pitt...
Mocks Bud Selig...
Winces at the WTA...
Surveys the NFL Draft early-entry landscape...
Hat-tips Kissing Suzy Kolber...
Explains why a college football playoff push is D.O.A....
And the obligatory and all-encompassing "More."

Just filed (7:30-ish), so up soon. (Update: OK, the column is up.)

Keep your eye on The Sporting Blog or this rudimentary archive page. And check back at later for all-new original posts. (Yesterday, I managed to do two.)

-- D.S.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Mary J. Blige vs. Roger Clemens

Both are involved in steroid scandals. Both have denied it. Who do you believe more? (Let me just say that I believe the protests of innocence from neither.)

But, really: "Say it ain't so, Mary J!" has a much better ring than "Say it ain't so, Rocket."

New Reason to Break Up With Someone

"You ruined my playoff run."

Monday 01/14 A.M. Quickie:
Sneak Peek at the NEW Column!

Today's Sporting News column. (Why is the usual morning post on and not on Here's the exciting explanation.)

Today's Names to Know: Peyton Manning, Tony Romo, Eli Manning, LaDainian Tomlinson, Norv Turner, Tony Dungy, Tony Sparano, Chris Bosh, Mark Kotsay, Roger Clemens, Gus Malzahn, Roger Federer, Serena Williams and More.

Today's Storylines: Is Peyton back to being a choker? Is Eli the better Manning today? Should Cowboys fans blame Jessica or Tony? Has Norv Turner lost the "choker" label for good? Can the world survive the let-down from not getting Pats-Colts in the AFC Title Game? Is Chris Bosh an All-Star? Did you hear the latest on Roger Clemens? Is there a pick for the Australian Open BESIDES Roger Federer?

All that and more in today's first-ever edition of my new column at and The Sporting Blog, the Wake-Up Call! Column just filed and should be published shortly. (You know, with the whole pesky "editors" thing!) I'll update here with links when it's live.

UPDATE: The Sporting News column is published. Here it is.

More coming later today on, so be sure to check back!

-- D.S.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Sunday 01/13 (Sorta) Quickie:
Pats, Pack Advance in NFL Playoffs

Today's Names to Know: Pats, Ryan Grant, Kevin Love, Michigan State, Vanderbilt, Patrick Patterson, Wizards, Clemens, McFadden, Tom Dimitroff and More!

Pats dismiss Jaguars, doubters to advance to AFC title game: It was close for a half-plus, then not so much. I had been saying that the Jaguars had a "puncher's chance," and going toe-to-toe for a half or so is about right in that construction.

But they couldn't stop the MVP, who saved his best performance of a truly spectacular season for the biggest game yet -- the Pats' playoff debut.

Tom Brady was simply incredible: 26-for-28 for 262 yards, 3 TDs and 0 INTs... a staggering 141.4 QB rating. He broke Phil Simms' record for highest completion percentage in a playoff game (92.9 to 88.0).

As soon as the Pats complete the Perfect Season and presuming Brady continues to have games even close to that sick, he will pass Montana, Elway or any other QB as the greatest QB in NFL history. Performing in the regular season, performing in the playoffs, performing year-after-year... amazingly, given the season (and career) he has had, he's even better now than before.

As you all know, I had held hopes of a Jags upset; now I'll join the rest of the country looking ahead to a Pats-Colts AFC title game that will be as monumental as any conference championships in recent memory (last season's is the gold standard, and is threatened to be eclipsed... at least by the hype.)

Packers shut down Seahawks in the snow: Undrafted, unheralded RB Ryan Grant takes his place in mythology among Packers fans, after rushing for 201 yards and 3 TDs in the blizzard-ish conditions.

As for the losers: Was this Mike Holmgren's final game coaching the Seahawks? Can the Jaguars build on this breakthrough season behind David Garrard, or will they have to petition to move to the NFC?

CBB: UCLA holds off Washington State, 81-74. Wazzu made 7 3s in the final two minutes of the game to make it interesting. Otherwise, Kevin Love continued to establish himself as arguably the best freshman (perhaps even the best player) in college hoops: Love had a career-high 27 to go with 14 rebounds (his 8th double-double in 17 games this season), in the biggest game of the season so far for UCLA – and the biggest intra-conference game you'll see this year. (Yes, even more than UNC-Duke, which gets more pub, but is less meaningful this year.)

College Hoops Futility Watch: Michigan State, a Top 10 team and the best team in the Big Ten, was held to a record-low 36 points in a loss to unheralded Iowa. When Saint Louis was held to 20 earlier this week, it was amusing; when a top-ranked has a similar fate, it's a little more insane.

Vanderbilt loses for the first time this season: The good news is that it was in double-OT (VU is putting up a fight); the bad news is that they lost to Kentucky, a team that has name cachet but isn't very good.

(Patrick Patterson, who is battling Kevin Love and Michael Beasley for the title of Freshman of the Year, had 23 and 12. Isn't it interesting that all three are power forwards? Derrick Rose and Eric Gordon are in the mix, too. Put those five in a starting lineup and you could beat any college team in the country; might be your NBA Draft Top 5, too.)

NBA: Celtics lose on the road to the Wizards. It was the C's 2nd loss in 3 games. More troubling for Boston fans, they gave up a late lead under a 15-4 game-closing run to the normally unreliable Wiz.

More: Do you think Isiah Thomas would actually tell the media the truth -- one way or the other -- about the rumors that he's going to resign as coach?

Roger Clemens meets the Texas High School Baseball Coaches: Needless to say, "training methods" weren't on the table as the boot-licking coaches made sure to kiss the needle-marked ass of the Rocket. "But what about the children?" indeed.

NFL Draft: Darren McFadden's dad ("McDadden?") says his son hasn't filed paperwork with the NFL to turn pro, which is curious. What is he waiting for?

NFL Front Office Moves: The Falcons might not be close to hiring Pete Carroll, but they ARE close to poaching from the Pats – Tom Dimitroff, director of college scouting, as their new GM. The Falcons can expect to receive tons of kudos, because anyone who works for the Pats MUST be a genius.

Recruiting: Text-message ban upheld. 241 of 306 schools voted to uphold the ban, which showcases the association's Luddite backwardness. Now, does that include email viewed through cell phones or Blackberries and Sidekicks? I'm sure the NCAA hasn't thought about it that much, given that they barely seem to understand what texting is all about. (Memo to Urban Meyer and the others who love to text: Sure, they've banned texting, but have they banned posting to Facebook pages? Not yet!)

-- D.S.