Posted on: January 23, 2011 6:10 pm
Edited on: January 23, 2011 6:53 pm

Call Carson's bluff, Bengals. Let him quit

Carson Palmer was part of the problem, and now he wants out. Terrific. So in addition to his reconstructed knee, obvious arm issues and passive form of leadership, we can add quitter to his list of issues.

Contrary to what many think, Palmer was never an innocent victim of Bengal-dom. He was part of the problem, the one player with enough clout -- right position, right salary, right reputation -- to reign in the malcontents in his own huddle. Me-first receivers like T.J. Houshmandzadeh and Chad Johnson, and then Chad Ochocinco and Terrell Owens, ran roughshod in that locker room because, in part, Palmer let them.

Yes, sure, coach Marvin Lewis let them, too. Lewis is a weak, weak head coach. Maybe he would be a good coach, with the right chemistry, but with Mike Brown turning the Bengals into the Island of Misfit Toys, Lewis was the wrong coach. Cincinnati needed a bad cop. Instead it got that chuckling softy, Marvin Lewis.

But it also got Carson Palmer, exerting none of his influence, diminishing his own power to the point that he was the team's most expensive player, most important player, maybe even its most talented player -- but he was just another guy in that locker room. No more influential than anyone else.

Palmer was so mentally weak that, as his injuries mounted and his numbers started to decline, the Bengals brought in the most harmless backup quarterback in the history of the NFL -- the starter's little brother. With Jordan Palmer as the No. 2, there was never a question who would be No. 1. Carson never had to worry. Never had to compete.

His production kept sliding. His impact in the locker room kept receding. He never said a harsh word about the idiots around him, his silence setting free Ochocinco and Houshmandzadeh and Owens.

Now he wants out? Really? Palmer doesn't deserve a fresh start. He helped steer this team into the iceberg, so he can go down with the ship. Or he can do the most Carson Palmer-like maneuver imaginable and quit.

Category: NFL
Tags: Bengals
Posted on: January 21, 2011 10:09 am

Bonds' stooge, Anderson, weirds me out

At first, Greg Anderson's loyalty to his childhood friend was impressive. Rather than testify against Barry Bonds in the federal steroids probe, he went to jail for him. Whatever you think of the facts of the case -- and it's fairly apparent that Bonds is the bad guy in all of this, which means Anderson is being loyal to a bad guy -- that loyalty was impressive.

Was, I say, because now it has become creepy.

Anderson is in prison now, and will stay in prison for weeks or months, as Bonds' trial unfolds. It begins today as Bonds' lawyers seek to have key evidence against Bonds thrown out because, without Anderson's testimony, the evidence is -- legally speaking -- garbage.

Meantime, Anderson sits in prison. Again. He has been in jail off and on since July 2006. He has a wife. Not sure if he has kids, but definitely he has a wife on the outside, waiting for him, while Anderson shows that the No. 1 person in his life, his top priority, is Barry Bonds. Not Mrs. Greg Anderson.


On top of that, the federal government is using its frustration with Anderson, and its legal muscle, to go after Anderson's wife and his mother-in-law in a tax probe. Say what you want about the government's strongarm tactics, but my point is this: Anderson isn't just leaving his wife alone -- he's putting her, and her mother, in legal jeopardy.

All because of Barry Bonds.


Category: MLB
Tags: Barry Bonds
Posted on: January 19, 2011 1:01 pm

Peyton gonna get paid ... my mixed thoughts

Colts owner Jim Irsay says he's about to make Peyton Manning the highest-paid player in the NFL, which makes all the sense in the world ... and no sense at all.

On the one hand Manning has been one of the best quarterbacks, if not the very best, in recent years and possibly all-time. Yeah, that's a mouthful, but the guy has four MVP trophies and a Super Bowl ring, and he's in position to break every important career record for the position.

On the other hand, he'll be 35 in March. Old quarterbacks don't get better, they get worse. And Manning has, statistically, gotten worse since 2004. In the all-important passer rating category, Manning's number has dropped every year since 2004 (with the exception of 2009.) See his numbers here.

On the other hand, the Colts haven't surrounded him with prime talent at all times, usually because of injury. And still he puts up Pro Bowl production.

That's a lot of hands. Before I go all Rex Ryan on you and start using feet, let me conclude with this: The Colts are clearly paying Manning as much for what he has done as what he will do. I'd say that's not the smartest way to run your business.

But it sure is classy.

Category: NFL
Posted on: January 13, 2011 8:09 am

LeBron is stupid, gutless

The title pretty much says it all, doesn't it? LeBron James is a moron, and LeBron James is a coward. This stuff is obvious, but James hasn't gotten to the point -- doesn't deserve to ever get to the point -- where his crimes against common sense and courtesy should be ignored or written off as old news.

Although it is getting rather old. In a delightful, how-low-can-he-go sort of way.

The latest was James' declaration that "karma is a b----" after Cleveland was routed by 55 points by the Lakers on Tuesday night. Shortly after the game went final, James sent out his Tweet heard 'round the world, commenting on karma and concluding that "'God sees everything!"

James never mentioned Cleveland specifically, but he didn't have to. The timing was obvious. The implication was clear. Cleveland had been mean to him when he left for the Heat, the townsfolk burning his jersey and the owner firing off a red-hot letter to the fans vowing to win a title before "the self-proclaimed King."

After that 55-point loss to the Lakers, Cleveland had the worst record in the NBA. Miami was No. 1 in the East. Karma, James told us, is a b----.

After the world recoiled in disgust at James' cruelty, James backed off: That Tweet wasn't directed at Cleveland. He didn't say who it was directed to, didn't say specifically or even give a hint generically, meaning that was a lie right up there with "the dog ate my homework" or "I had no idea what the word contraction meant."

And in case anyone saw through the transparency of his lie that he hadn't been talking about Cleveland, James said something else: That wasn't even him who wrote that Tweet. Here's a hint to James, and to future liars everywhere: When you're giving two different excuses, telling two completely unrelated stories to cover your tracks, you're busted. You know it. We know it.

So finally, after the contraction fiasco followed by this Tweet nonsense, what we know is this: James isn't smart enough to know when he's about to say something stupid. And he isn't brave enough to stand behind his words when the world calls him on his stupidity.

At this point, maybe he should just shut up.

Category: NBA
Tags: LeBron James
Posted on: January 12, 2011 3:02 pm

I'm tired of awful BCS title games

The right team won the BCS title game. Make no mistake about that. Auburn was, in my opinion anyway, the better team and the title game ended with Auburn ahead of Oregon. So the right team won.

And the game was close. The fourth quarter was exciting. The Oregon touchdown and two-point conversion, Michael Dyer's rolling run, the replay review of the touchdown that wasn't, then the field goal on the last play? Beautiful. Thrilling.

So the right team won a game that was close. And still I'm complaining about the 2011 BCS title game?

You damn right. Because that wasn't Auburn. And that wasn't Oregon. Likewise, that wasn't Cam Newton, and it wasn't even Darron Thomas. Not the Newton and Thomas we saw all year, leading their teams to perfect seasons with near-perfect play at quarterback.

Cam Newton and Darron Thomas were decent Monday night. That's all. Decent. They were hit-or-miss. And so were their teams. They were decent. Hit-or-miss.

They were rusty, is what they were. Rusty, not sharp, whatever euphemism you prefer to describe a couple of teams that basically played every week for three months ... and then took off five weeks before playing the biggest game of the season.

And this happens almost every year.

Sometimes, both teams are rusty and out of whack. That was the case Monday, and also two years ago when loaded Florida and loaded Oklahoma played an utterly forgettable game, stylistically. Sometimes, even worse, only one of the teams is rusty and out of whack. That has produced scores like USC 55, Oklahoma 19 in 2005; and Florida 41, Ohio State 14 in 2007.

It keeps happening, dream games being turned into stylistic nightmares, and it's fixable. That's the most frustrating part about this. It's fixable, and not with something as drastic as a playoff (which is the ultimate goal, of course).

It's fixable with a tweak to the schedule.

Start the college football season a month later, in late September -- which is when some schools actually begin fall classes, if you didn't know -- instead of late August.

Or, since we all want our football in late August, here's a better idea: Give teams more off weeks. Instead of one Saturday off all season, give them one off week a month. That would stretch the season to mid-December, and better yet it would keep teams healthier, which would improve the product. Let the teams play until about Dec. 20, and then schedule the bowls two weeks later.

Television would hate it, but screw that. The tail has wagged the dog long enough. Pipe down, TV. You're not the dog, you're the tail. Sit there and shut up.

A two-week window between the regular season and the bowls would allow fans to purchase airfare with a week or even 14-day window, which is required to save money.

You: But final exams are mid-December! The players can't play football then!

Me: Don't be naïve. You sound silly. Anyway, look over there! There's some pie in the sky! Go eat some!

As for the BCS title game, something has to be done. When that game suffers, college football suffers. And we, the fans, suffer. This could be fixed, and if ESPN and the other networks kick and scream, the heck with 'em. Drag them kicking and screaming into the future. College football doesn't serve them. It should be the other way around.

Category: NCAAF
Tags: BCS
Posted on: January 10, 2011 3:50 pm

We need some new experts has five experts picking the BCS national title game between Auburn and Oregon, and none of those experts is named "Gregg Doyel."

Strike one.

Four of those five experts are picking Oregon.

Strike two.

What's strike three? There is no strike three, other than that 80-percent prediction rate for Oregon over Auburn. That's strike two and three. We're out. The only one of us who picked Auburn to win was Dennis Dodd, but he's our college football columnist. He's our most expert expert, at least since I'm not on that panel, and he picked Auburn to win 41-31. Because he's smart like that.

Picking Auburn is a no-brainer. The Tigers played a brutal schedule, navigated most of it with ease, and they'll have the best player on the field. Think back to the 2006 Rose Bowl, Texas vs. Southern Cal. While it's true that USC had two players in that game who did or would win the Heisman Trophy -- Reggie Bush and Matt Leinart -- Texas quarterback Vince Young was the best player on the field. And that's why his team won in an offensive shootout.

Five years later, the same thing will happen. Cam Newton is the best player on the field. His team will win the offensive shootout.

I'm as sure of this as I was of the last BCS title game I picked, between Florida and Oklahoma in 2009. Don't click that link.

Category: NCAAF
Tags: BCS
Posted on: January 6, 2011 4:37 pm

Disappointed in Jim Harbaugh

When you're a cynic like me, and someone worth believing in finally comes along, it stings more than it should when that someone proves to be full of crap.

Jim Harbaugh is full of crap. And it stings. More than it should.

Here was a guy I believed in. Had he left Stanford for Florida, I'd have given the Gators a shot. Had he left for Michigan, I'd have rooted him on. Had he stayed at Stanford, I'd have applauded his loyalty and gumption.

But he's going to the NFL. To the Dolphins, according to a radio report in South Florida. He's grabbing the biggest buck he can find, which means he's nobody to believe in. He's just another greedy SOB. The world has lots of those. Now we get one more. Jim Harbaugh.

Depressing. I'm a college guy, so Harbaugh -- in college -- mattered to me. Now that he's become the latest college guy to bolt for the pro money, he doesn't matter to me. Not any more than any of those greedy SOB's matter to me.

As a college coach, he was a breath of fresh air. Cocky, smart, charismatic. A winner.

In the NFL, he'll be another suit on the sideline. That's his right. But it's my right to feel stung. And to wonder why I bother believing in any of these greedy sons of ...

Category: NFL
Tags: Jim Harbaugh
Posted on: January 5, 2011 11:19 am
Edited on: January 5, 2011 12:47 pm

Mike Brown confirms village idiocy

Most people knew Mike Brown was incompetent as the man running the Bengals. This is not breaking news. But what happened yesterday in Cincinnati plumbed the depths of Brown's incompetency.

It was this quote, spoken to the Cincinnati Enquirer, where Brown defended his team's personnel department -- overseen by Mr. Mike Brown -- by saying, "I think it works all right." Brown then went on to give a statistical reason: The Bengals, Brown said, rank 10th in the NFL over the last 10 years in terms of games played by draft picks.

In a vacuum, much like the one inside Mike Brown's head, that stat sounds good. On the surface, much like Mike Brown's knowledge of football, that looks good.

In reality?

It's awful.

Over the last 10 years, the Bengals have had four picks in the top 10. Their draft slot has averaged out to the No. 13 pick in each round, which means that by ranking 10th in games played by draft picks, they have just barely overachieved. But there is one enormous mitigating circumstance:

The Bengals don't trade away draft picks. They are cheap and are always willing to give up established players for picks, which is why in the last 10 years the Bengals have averaged 8.5 picks per draft in a seven-round draft. Couple that with their historic refusal to sign starter-quality free agents, and Cincinnati has a roster that will have more draft picks than most other teams.

It's hard not to start draft picks, when that's all you have on roster.

Keep in mind, I needed exactly four minutes on the website -- I needed this page, right here -- to hypothesize, research and prove how stupid Brown's comment was. Four minutes.

Mike Brown is the most dangerous kind of dummy: He's the dummy who has no idea he's a dummy.

Category: NFL
Tags: Bengals
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