Friday, July 31, 2009

Let Your Pride Go, Mike

Since NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell re-instated ex-Falcons QB Mike Vick earlier this week, NFL teams have been stumbling over themselves to say that they want no parts of him. Personally, I think it's a huge mistake on the part of any team that has any question marks at the QB position. Because despite what's going on right now off the field, once the game starts, it's all about the game and this off the field stuff is quickly forgotten. As one commenter said in this space the other day, if he performs well, the fans will drown out the protesters. But to my point, once the lights come on, everything else is secondary:
  1. Ray Lewis was accused of killing a man. He got off. And proceeded to go and win a SuperBowl.
  2. Brett Favre's father passed away and he went about shredding the Oakland Raiders on national television the same night.

Just a couple of examples, because I want to get to the point of this entry. News has leaked that the UFL is willing to pay Mike Vick 7 figures. I know his pride will make the UFL his absolute last resort, but look at it this way. MV7 is currently in bankruptcy. Even if some NFL team does decide to sign him, NOBODY is going to give him a cent over the league's veteran minimum, which is somewhere in the mid 6 figures range. And on top of that, he'll have to play (or sit) for 17 games. The UFL, being an upstart league, has only 6 games. The rumored dollar amount is $1.5 million, which comes out to $250,000 per game. I've never claimed to be the smartest guy on earth, but that math works out for me. If by some stretch, MV7, if you're reading this...take that $1.5 million and RUN with it!!! If he goes there and is successful, he's far too talented NOT to entice some NFL GM whose franchise QB just went down with a season ending injury. I say, take the $1.5 million and capitalize on it later this NFL season or next season.

36 Days Until Kickoff!!

Chris Spielman (#36), LB, Ohio State
And we're 36...36 Chris Spielman days away from the kickoff of college football. And in our efforts to get your mind right for the season, we present to you today's video. This clip is from the 1998 Iron Bowl. The Magic City (Birmingham/Legion Field) saw its final Iron Bowl in 1998. Auburn exploded for an early 17-0 lead but the Tide, lead by Shaun Alexander, cut the lead to 17-14 at halftime. Bama dominated the second half on offense, defense, and special teams and rolled to a 31-17 victory. Enjoy!!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

37 Days Until Kickoff!!

Shaun Alexander (#37), RB, Alabama
And we're 37....37 Shaun Alexander days away from the kickoff of college football. And in our effort to get your mind right for the season, today's video is (fittingly) a highlight reel of Shaun Alexander's time at Alabama. Hopefully a RB on Bama's roster this year (Upchurch, Ingram, Richardson, or Lacy) can give us as much as Shaun did.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

38 Days Until Kickoff!!

Chucky Mullins (#38), DB, Ole Miss

Aaaaaaand we are 38....38 Chucky Mullins days away from the kickoff of college football for most of the country (seeing as how there's a Thursday night game, it's actually 36 days). But anyway, sticking to the script, I'm posting a video to help get your mind right for the season. Today's video is a highlight reel of last year's freshman extraordinaire Julio Jones. Enjoy.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

39 Days Until Kickoff!!

Sam Cunningham (#39), FB, USC
And we are 39....39 Sam Cunningham days away from the kickoff of college football. Today's video to get your mind right is from the 1985 Iron Bowl where Alabama makes a last minute drive for the game winning kick against Auburn.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Vick OFFICIALLY Reinstated to the NFL (Conditionally)

Okay. So the home Mike Vick has officially and conditionally been reinstated to the NFL. (Now is your chance 49ers!!). According to, the conditions are as follows:

Vick will
  • participate "without delay" in training camp
  • play in the final two preseason games played by the team with which he signs
  • participate in all team activities other than games to start the season up until Week 6
  • be eligible for FULL reinstatement in Week 6

So basically, it's a 5 game suspension depending on when the team he signs with has its Bye Week. I'm looking forward to seeing the man on the field again. Hopefully, it'll be with the 49ers. And for all the fans who are reading this that plan on heckling Vick, I'm going to hire a group to come and heckle you outside your job for cheating on your wife, for beating your wife, for abusing your children, for neglecting your children for work, for experimenting with marijuana, for that speeding ticket you got back in 89, for not tithing, for not tipping your waitress, etc. Get a life already. Let this man LIVE!!

40 Days Until Kickoff!!

Eric Norwood (#40), LB, South Carolina
And we are 40....40 Eric Norwood days away from the kickoff of college football season. And today's video is from last season's Alabama vs. Georgia game. The Tide avenged it's overtime loss to Georgia in 2007 with a convincing victory in Athens, GA. Georgia built up the game in the previous weeks as a "blackout", and the Bulldogs wore black jerseys for the game in a futile attempt at intimidation. Bama completely dominated the first half on both sides of the ball and lead 31-0 at halftime. Nick Saban's offensive line made mince meat of the dawg D-line as Bama halfbacks Roy Upchurch, Glen Coffee, and freshman Mark Ingram chewed up yardage and clock. Georgia played valiantly in the 2nd half but it was not enough as Nick Saban's 2nd year crew defeated the #3 ranked Dawgs 41-30. ENJOY!!

Friday, July 24, 2009

43 Days Until Kickoff!!

Antonio Langham (#43), CB, Alabama

And we are 43...43 Antonio Langham days away from the kickoff of college football. And today's video to help to get your mind right for kick off is (what else?), Antonio Langham's game winning interception TD return against Auburn in 1992. After that is his blocked punt TD return against Miss. St. in 1992. Enjoy..

Thursday, July 23, 2009

44 Days Until Kickoff!!

The Great Jim Brown (#44), RB, Syracuse
And we are 44....44 Jim Brown days away from the kickoff of college football. Today's video to help to get your mind right is the top 50 (51 actually) plays in Alabama football in the last 30 years as voted by the Crimson Country Club. Enjoy!!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

45 Days Away from Kickoff!!

The Great Archie Griffin (#45), RB, Ohio St.

Aaaaaaand, we are 45......45 Archie Griffiin days away from the kickoff of college football. Sticking with the theme, below is a video to help get your minds and hearts ready for the season. Today's video is of the 1989 Alabama vs. Tennessee game where Siran Stacy delivered one of the most memorable performances in the series's history. Enjoy.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

What is Sprite thinking?!? (Viewer Discretion Advised)

Okay, so this ad was banned from German TV, but I wonder what was on the mind of Sprite execs when they even thought this one up. My guess is that they were drinking something a little stronger than Sprite. WOW!! Again, viewer discretion is advised!!!!

Video didn't work? Try this link.

46 Days Until Kickoff!!

Craig Stevens (#46), LB, Auburn Univ.
And we are 46...46 Craig Stevens days away from the kickoff of college football in America. And in my ongoing effort to get your hearts and minds ready for the season, here's a video. Today's video is a packaged highlight from the 1995 Citrus Bowl. Bama vs. Ohio St. Enjoy

Monday, July 20, 2009


I think it's pretty obvioius how I feel about this. But just in case you're wondering, click here to see.

HAMPTON, Va. (AP)—Suspended NFL star Michael
federal dogfighting sentence ended Monday, freeing him to lobby for a return to
the field.
Vick’s attorney Lawrence Woodward told The Associated Press
outside Vick’s suburban Virginia home that the former Atlanta
quarterback had been released from federal custody as scheduled.
That means Vick no longer has to wear the electronic monitor he’s had on while
under home confinement for the last two months of his 23-month
Shortly before Woodward came out of the house, two men in a
government car with a federal Bureau of Prisons folder on the dashboard paid a
brief visit to the home. They carried a large case similar to the one that
Vick’s ankle monitor was delivered in when he started home confinement. The men
declined to identify themselves or speak to waiting reporters.
Freedom will
allow Vick to step up his efforts to resume his pro football career. Vick hopes
to soon meet with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, who has said he would review
Vick’s status after Vick completed his sentence.
Goodell has said he wants to
sit down with Vick, but it’s unclear when that face-to-face meeting will take

“The review of his status is ongoing,” league spokesman Greg Aiello said Monday.
“There are no further details and no timetable.”
If Vick is able to return to the NFL, it won’t be with Atlanta. The Falcons released Vick in June.
“Michael did an egregious thing,” Goodell told The Associated Press in
April. “He has paid a very significant price for that.”
He said people are forgiving when someone who has done wrong shows remorse and is prepared to live a different life.
“That’s something he has to prove to myself and the general
public,” Goodell said.
Vick, 29, did not initially show enough remorse to
satisfy U.S. District Judge Henry Hudson. Vick apologized in court in 2007, but
Hudson denied him an “acceptance of responsibility” credit that could have
reduced his sentence. He sentenced Vick to 23 months in prison—more than any of
Vick’s three co-defendants.
Under the federal truth-in-sentencing law, Vick
had to serve at least 85 percent of his sentence. He served the first 18 months
in the federal penitentiary in Leavenworth, Kan., before being transferred to
home confinement in May.
While on home confinement, Vick—once the NFL’s
highest-paid player— worked a $10-an-hour construction job for a few weeks. He
switched jobs last month, assisting in children’s health and fitness programs at
the Boys and Girls Clubs.
Vick will remain on probation for three years. He
also is under a three-year suspended sentence for a state dogfighting

And as if it hasn't already been said enough, the man has paid his debt (despite how unfair it was) to society. LET HIM LIVE.

47 Days Until Kickoff!!

David Pollack (#47), DE, Univ. of Georgia
And we are 47...47 David Pollack days away from the kickoff of college football. And as we've done in this space for the past week, here's a video to help get your mind ready for it. Today's video is of Alabama's regular season win over Florida in The Swamp in 1999. I can't watch this video enough.

Friday, July 17, 2009

50 Days From Kickoff!!

Darryl Gamble (#50), LB, Univ. of Georgia
And we are exactly 50...50 Darry Gamble days away from the kickoff of yet another college football season. And keeping with the week's theme, here is a video highlight to get your mind right for the season. Today's video is from Alabama's 2007 comeback drive against Arkansas. Enjoy

Thursday, July 16, 2009

51 Days From Kickoff!!

Brandon Spikes, LB, Florida

We're 51...51 Brandon Spikes days away from kickoff!! Today's video is from the 1979 Sugar Bowl (and National Championshp game) Alabama vs. Penn St. The (infamous around these parts) goal line stand. ROLL TIDE.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

The Player vs. the System

So, with Matt Cassell, the new QB of the Kansas City Chiefs, sigining his collosal deal on yesterday, which will pay him upwards of $60 million with $28 million guaranteed, it got me to thinking. This guy hasn't started a full season since high school. But he looked sharp last season in the absence of this generation's 1b best QB, Tom Brady (1a being #18 for the Colts). But did he look sharp because he's a fine player, or because New England has a great system in place. I mean, they were contenders with Drew Bledsoe at the helm..Even went to the Super Bowl (albeit with Bill Parcells, but the system was pretty much the same). And take Brady out of the equation, they're still an 11 win team with Cassell. But was it the system, or was it because he still had a good offensive line, Randy Moss, Wes Welker, and a stout defense? Or is it really the system? That defense has gone through a number of changes personnel wise (Lawyer Milloy, Ty Law, Tebucky Jones, Asante Samuel, Roman Phifer, etc..all gone) and hasn't missed a beat.

And this just isn't exclusive to New England. I've often wondered the same things about my team, the SF 49ers. We had great success under Coach Walsh in the 80s with Joe Montana, Jerry Rice, John Taylor, Brent Jones, Roger Craig, and Tom Rathman. Okay. So Joe's injuries catch up with him, and he moves on to KC and ultimately retirement. Roger and Rathman both eventually retire. Coach Walsh retires. He's replaced with George Seifert. Roger is replaced with Rickey Watters. Rathman is replaced with William Floyd. And Joe is, of course, replaced with Steve Young. But the system stays in place. Same result. Super Bowl win. Was it the system or was it the players? After all, Steve Young was no slouch. Jerry's often referred to as Jesus in Cleats. And the other guys are all all-pro type players. Which was it? The system or the player?

The same can be said with the Pittsburgh Steeler's defense. Death, Taxes, and the Steelers having at least 3 linebackers each year worthy of all-pro recognition. Lambert, Ham, Russell, Gildon, Greene, Lloyd, Bell, Porter, Farrior, Foote, Harrison, and the list goes on! Is it that these guys are the mobile, agile,and hostile players that they need to be or is it Dick Labeau's system? And that question becomes even more relevant when you see that very few of those guys (especially Lloyd, Gildon, and Bell) have much success once they leave the Steelers' system.

And not only is this question exclusive to the NFL, it also applies to other sports. Basketball for instance. There's no doubt in my mind that Michael Jordan is the best basketball player that I've seen in my lifetime thus far. However, before Phil Jackon/Tex Winters's triangle offense, Michael struggled to get over the hump. Once that system was put into place, Jordan's Bulls proceeded to reel off 6 championships in 8 years. Was it the triangle offense or was it Jordan maturing as a player and as a leader along with the emergence of Scottie Pippen and Horace Grant? Maybe it was the player, because the general consensus is that had Michael not played baseball for a year and a half, he would've had 8 straight championships! But then again, the 2nd set of 3 straight wins came with new players like Ron Harper, Dennis Rodman, and Steve Kerr. So the parts were interchangeable in that system, and they were still successful. However, during the time that Michael was off playing baseball, the Bulls were NOT that successful with players like Randy Brown, Pete Myers, and Jud Bucheler being relied on heavily. So is the system really that good without the player?

So Phil takes the system to LA and has the same success. 3 titles plus 1. The first 3 he had the most dominant center in the history of basketball in Shaquille O'neal, the most clutch player of this generation in Robert Horry, and the closest thing yet to being heir to Jordan's throne in Kobe. So was it the players or the system? Because along the way during those first three, several NBA superstars well past their primes made LA their final pitstop just to collect hardware, like Mitch Richmond, Glen Rice, Horace Grant, and Ron Harper. So the question is asked it the players or the system? Right after Shaq left, the player, Kobe, was maturing into the premiere perimeter player in the game but playing alongside the Smush Parkers and the Kwame Browns of the world was no threat to win the NBA Title. So clearly the system wasn't that helpful. Plug in Pau Gasol, a player who epitomizes that sort of system, and everything runs smoother and the 2 finals appearances and a title later, the system (and the players) comes out smelling like roses. But what's responsible for it; the players or the system?

52 Days From Kickoff!!

Miami Hurricane MLB, Ray Lewis

And we're 52...52 Ray Lewis days away from the kickoff of college football season!! And the video spots keep coming to get your mind right for football season. This video is a clip from the 1995 Iron Bowl (Alabama vs. Auburn) and it highlights a couple of great cracback blocks on a kickoff return. Enjoy!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

53 Days from Kickoff!!

We are 53...53...Randy Gradishar days away from the kickoff of college football season. WOOO HOOO!! Here's a clip (as I'll try to post one or more per day) to get your mind ready for it.

This first clip is of the Bama vs. Penn St. game in Tuscaloosa in 1982. Joe Paterno brought his Nittany Lion squad into Alabama for the first time ever. Both teams were undefeated in 1982 but Bama coach Bear Bryant had Penn State's number. 1982 would see Joe Paterno win his first National Championship by defeating #1 Georgia 27-23 in the Sugar Bowl, but not before taking the worst beating a #1 team has ever taken during a national championship season: 42-21 at the hands of Bear Bryant who went undefeated against Joe Paterno; defeating him in the 1975 Sugar Bowl, the 1978 Sugar Bowl, and the '81 and '82 regular seasons.

Friday, July 10, 2009

NBA's All-What If team (1990s version)

The term "What If" is a very interesting term. You often say that to reflect back on certain situations that have taken place and wonder (aimlessly as it may be) how things may have turned out if one think would've happened differently. Well, when talking sports, we tend to do that more often than not. The fate of franchises and entire cities are turned around by singular instances (see Bill Buckner's fielding error, or the Tennessee Titans coming up 1 yard short in their quest for a SuperBowl victory, or Portland drafting Sam Bowie over Michael Jordan). Well, here today, I'll give you that opportunity to wonder what if about 6 guys that played (and in some cases, are still playing) in the NBA. I want to relive what they were at the top of their games and compare it to how they were post-injury or post-incident.

Point Guard - Anfernee "Penny" Hardaway
Before those ridiculous Nike puppets of LeBron & Kobe, there was Lil' Penny. This guy was an absolute phenom with the basketball in his hands. He and Shaq made magic in Orlando (no pun). And even after Shaq's departure, he played All-Star caliber ball. Let's remember Penny.

Shooting Guard - Grant Hill
The craziest thing about all of this is that last season was his first time in several years that he played in (or at least was healthy for) the full docket of 82 games. Had this guy stayed healthy, he was well on his way to being exactly what Kobe Bryant is today.

Small Forward - Larry Johnson
He was supposed to be the next Karl Malone (while Malone was playing). A bum back didn't allow it. But before his back went out, he, Alonzo Mourning, and Mugsy Bogues took Charlotte by storm!! But even after his back went out, he went to NYC and transformed into a combo small forward/power forward and was very formidable in the Big Apple. Then he retired quietly and disappeared into oblivion.

Power Forward - Antonio McDyess
Growing up in Alabama (where McDyess played his college ball), I can assure you that the same player that Blake Griffin is today, McDyess was that and then some!! As agile as a deer and as powerful as a bear. And he had the sweetest midrange jumper (much of which you still see today). And then the knees went out.

Center - Alonzo Mourning
Before his kidney gave out, he was the only center in the league that actually posed any sort of challenge to Shaq during his prime! (Hakeem doesn't count. Shaq was a pup at the time). But before that he was a master shot blocker and defender with a limited, but improving, offensive package. That time off with the surgery hurt his timing and other stuff. And that guy that you saw flailing awkwardly all over the floor during Miami's title run against Dallas was NOT the same guy he was before the kidney transplant.

6th man - Derrick Coleman
If he saw this, he'd probably be upset about it. Just the fact that he's 6th on the list. His biggest downfall was that someone told him he was good and he believed it. The truth is that this guy had ALL the tools. But his attitude and subsequent injuries kept him from becoming the superstar that he was no doubt destined to be.

Thoughts? Agreements? Disagreements? Let me hear them all.