Tuesday, February 01, 2005

He's bored, folks 

It's Tuesday. At work, that means very little happens. Add that the season has just barely started and one finds a lot of time on their hands. So, naturally, I've had time this morning to goof off on the internet. Let's talk about... oh... I don't know - sports. I never do that. We lead with my beloved Lakers and some late-breaking news: Coach Rudy T. to step down? That's the word according to Ric Bucher. Two things:
1. Thank god it isn't Rudy's cancer making a return
2. If he quits, the season goes down the crapper.

My mind is racing to come up with a suitable replacement as coach for this team and no one pops to mind immediately besides Phil Jackson (and we all know that'll never happen as long as Kobe is in town). Lenny Wilkens? Nope, not the right fit. Hubie Brown? Burnt out. Look to the college ranks? And expect to reign in Kobe? Fat chance.

It's media day in Jacksonville, which I hate, but Sunday is getting closer and soon the Patriots will have their 3rd title in 4 years. These days, that's a dynasty and in football it is most certainly a dynasty. Why will the Pats win?
1. They don't make mistakes. Turnovers, penalties, nothing. They're the most fundamentally sound team out there.
2. This team knows how to make adjustments. The hallmark of any great coach is his ability to adjust and self-correct within the actual game. Bill Belichick just happens to be the best coach in the league. Case in point: their secondary has been dessimated all year, yet they completely shut down Indianapolis' lethal passing attack and put on a muzzle on Pittsburgh's, as well.
3. All around, there is more skill on the New England offensive unit than Philadelphia's. Not only that, but Corey Dillon is running like a man possessed. Additionally, if I could only choose one quarterback to send on to the field and win me a football game, I'd choose Tom Brady. Period. Some people don't think championship experience is a factor. Well, they're correct in as much as it isn't tangible, but that's a qualifier. Mentally, it's incredibly important.
4. The Eagles are happy just to be here. Did you see their celebrating after beating Atlanta? The monkey of the NFC championship game is finally off their back, I understand the relief there, but they have much bigger fish to fry. New England, by comparison, was all business after their win over the Steelers.
5. The question of Terrell Owens' health will still be a distraction. Even though reports are that he looked good in limited practice time.
6. Even if Owens does play (and I fully expect him to), I'll be very surprised if the Patriots' defense doesn't key in on Brian Westbrook. Hey, if you can eliminate both Peyton Manning and Edgerrin James in one game, surely you can take out Westbrook. The D will be playing their hearts out for Romeo Crennel who seems a lock to be the next head coach in Cleveland.
7. Adam Vinatieri: most dependable kicker in the game. If New England's two previous Superbowl wins are any indication, this game may very well come down to a field goal.

One of my favorites, Bill Simmons, is keeping a super blog for your reading enjoyment. If you can get past the Patriot bias, its a lot of fun.

Round up
- Staying in the NFL and on the topic of retirement, Emmitt Smith is finally going to hang 'em up. Consider me surprised that Smith had as good a season as he did this year. Sure is a change from the previous five where he appeared washed up. Just a bit of clarification. Emmitt Smith is not -- repeat, is not -- the greatest running back of all time. There's this guy, uh, Barry Sanders? Yeah. He never played with the best offensive line in pro football. He was better. I'll take Walter Payton and Jim Brown ahead of Smith, too. If you think Emmitt is the NFL's all time premier rusher, you probably also think Karl Malone was the best power forward in NBA history. That is to say: You're flat wrong about everything.

- The big news in baseball is that the Chicago Cubs appear to have rid themselves of locker room cancer, Sammy Sosa. What they got in return from Baltimore is modest, to say the least, but Sosa's absence will help team chemistry immensely. Sosa has never been known as a "team-oriented player" and it's well-documented that his goals have always been set on personal statistics rather than the good of the team. If his ego was elsewhere last season, the Cubs probably would've made the playoffs.

- Another proposal in the NHL labor talks -- this time from the owners. There is a proposed salary cap of $42 million. Unless the players take a cue from Jeremy Roenick and suddenly change their attitude towards the cap (an idea they flatly reject), this lockout will continue. I still can't imagine this season being salvaged.

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