Posted on: January 11, 2012 10:10 am
Edited on: January 11, 2012 2:19 pm

Cowardly Jets rear their cowardly heads

As if the Jets could be even more dislikeable, we have this: Multiple players ripping starting quarterback Mark Sanchez in the most gutless way possible. No, not on Twitter. See, using Twitter would have required attaching their name to it.

The Jets? They ripped Sanchez anonymously through the New York Daily News.

And this is not me defending Sanchez. It's not. He could well be "lazy," as one gutless wonder told the newspaper. He could be a "baby," as another gutless Jet said. It's entirely possible that "he goes in a hole when someone tells him the truth," as someone sniveled.

But there's a right way to do things, and a wrong way, and damn if the Jets don't take the wrong way every ... single ... time.

No need to list the transgressions here --'s server holds just 14.74 kajillion megabytes -- but idiots are aplenty. Rex Ryan, Santonio Holmes, Bart Scott and all these gutless wimps ripping Sanchez anonymously ...

The only person in the organization with any gumption is the backup quarterback, Greg McElroy, who attached his name to some fierce criticism last week. Everyone else? Gutless. No wonder the team choked all season.

Posted on: January 8, 2012 8:11 pm

Broncos 29, Steelers 23 in OT

DENVER -- He's no longer a novelty, no longer a mystery, no longer a fluke. Tim Tebow is now a playoff-winning quarterback, and not because he managed this game.

He won it.

With Tebow tying two franchise records set by John Elway and throwing the winning touchdown pass in overtime, the Broncos defeated the Steelers 29-23 Sunday to advance to the next round of playoffs, next weekend at New England.

Tebow threw for 316 yards and ran for 50, and produced touchdowns each way. He joined Elway as the only Denver quarterbacks in the postseason to (1) complete two 50-yard passes and (2) throw and run for a touchdown, both in the same game.

Tebow needed just 10 completions to surpass the 300-yard mark, throwing rarely but gouging the Steelers for huge chunks of yardage when he did. That included his 80-yarder to Demaryius Thomas on the first play of overtime for the winning points.

Thomas finished with 204 yards on four catches.

Posted on: January 6, 2012 10:16 am
Edited on: January 6, 2012 10:42 am

What's with the misguided anger, Penn State?

Penn State people are mad, no furious, with the reported hire of Patriots offensive coordinator Bill O'Brien as the man who would replace The Man. Which means Penn State fans just don't get it.

And look, PSU people, I'm not mocking you. Not taunting you. Not enjoying your anger or frustration. You're going to see plenty of those people in the next few days, media people and otherwise, people who were so shaken by the Sandusky scandal that they take it out on anything and everything representing Penn State. And I understand their rage, I really do. But I'm not one of them, so don't miss what I'm writing here.

I'm trying to help. Honest. And what occurs to me, from my point on the periphery, is that there are people at Penn State -- even a truly intelligent insider like ex-PSU linebacker LaVar Arrington -- who are so close to the situation that they can't see it for what it is.

And what it is, for Penn State, is impossible.

The administration had no chance to win the press conference, as it's called when the new coach is introduced to acclaim. Whoever that guy is, he wasn't coming to Penn State. Not so soon after ... Sandusky.

It just wasn't going to happen.

The initial hint came way back in November when Joe Paterno was forced out, and the first name to surface was Mike London of Virginia. That's a humble name, Mike London of Virginia. Career record at UVa: 12-13. Four years total as a head coach, the first two at Richmond. And when London was connected to Penn State by media reports, he backtracked as if Penn State was something he almost stepped in.

That was our sign. That was your sign, Penn State fans: This job wasn't going to be filled easily, and as the following two months showed, it wasn't filled easily. Penn State alums didn't want it. Outsiders didn't want it.

Meanwhile, the Penn State administration was trying to conduct its coaching search in privacy, even secrecy, because there was no way the school was going to hire someone with a great resume if that hiring was leaked before it became official. So Penn State did what it could on the down low, and for that Penn State people are mad. I've been getting tweets all morning like this one from a Penn State fan lamenting the "secrecy and arrogance" of the search.

As if there's any other kind, these days.

There are Penn State supporters, LaVar Arrington among them, who insist the job should have gone to interim coach Tom Bradley. And that underscores my earlier point, about some people being too close to the situation to see it clearly.

Tom Bradley was never going to get this job. It would have been outrageous if he had gotten it. And that's not a shot at Tom Bradley, who gets high marks from every media person I've ever talked to about him. But he spent years on staff with Sandusky, and was on staff when this story exploded, and was even the face of the program for the month after the explosion.

That guy can't be given the job on a permanent basis. Not if this school is sincere in its desire -- and the administration sure seems to be sincere -- to put behind it one of the ugliest stories in college football history.

It couldn't be Bradley. It wouldn't be Mike Munchak. Even the sub-.500 coach at a basketball school in the ACC wouldn't touch it.

Other than Bill O'Brien, who was Penn State going to get?

Nobody, that's who. The complaining today from Penn State people is as misguided a reaction as the riot by students the night of Paterno's firing. It's anger for the sake of anger, but it's aimed in the wrong place. Sandusky should be the target. Sandusky, and those who didn't do nearly enough to stop his alleged reign of terror.

This is not Penn State President Rodney Erickson's fault.

This is not Bill O'Brien's fault.

Want to be mad, Penn State? Get mad at Sandusky. Get mad at former president Graham Spanier and former athletics director Tim Curley. Hell, get mad at Joe Paterno.

But if Bill O'Brien truly is your next coach, get behind him, and do it now. You are ... Penn State. Remember?

Time to act like it.

Posted on: January 5, 2012 11:20 am

Marlins: 24 men and a baby

And the Marlins were doing so well.

They hired manager Ozzie Guillen. They signed shortstop Jose Reyes. They signed closer Heath Bell. They signed starting pitcher Mark Buehrle. They talked Hanley Ramirez into moving to third base.

The Marlins were all set to move into their Miami stadium with those shiny pieces, but then they went and did the unthinkable. They invited a cockroach into their new home.

You know his name. Carlos Zambrano. He might not be a bad guy 363 days out of the year, but he'll have two or three (2012 is a leap year!) where he just baffles the brain, alienates the fans, abandons his teammates, disrupts his clubhouse.

Zambrano could win a lot of games, but at what cost? What lessons might he teach, say, Ramirez?

The Cubs are paying Zambrano more money this season than the Marlins -- a lot more -- and the Cubs are paying that price just to be rid of him.

There's a reason. Apparently some lessons must be learned in person.

Posted on: January 1, 2012 7:21 pm
Edited on: January 1, 2012 7:25 pm

Ravens get bye, Bengals get wild card

CINCINNATI -- Well, the game wasn't entirely meaningless.

The Ravens won 24-16, and they needed to win given the Steelers victory at Cleveland. Because the Ravens won, they won the division, the first-round bye and the right to host their playoff opener in two weeks.

The Bengals lost, but still they're going to the playoffs because the Jets and Broncos lost. So Cincinnati will play next week at Houston in the first round.

What happened Sunday in this game? Like it matters. But I'll write about it in a few minutes.

Category: NFL
Posted on: December 27, 2011 10:51 am

Grow up, Atlanta Falcons

The Atlanta Falcons embarrassed themselves Monday night, and I'm not talking about the final score, which was 45-16 in favor of the New Orleans Saints.

I'm not talking about being victimized by Saints quarterback Drew Brees for the 304 passing yards he needed to break Dan Marino's single-season record of 5,084 yards (Brees finished with 307 yards, for a season total of 5,087).

I'm talking about the Falcons' reaction, late in the game and then afterward, to the sight -- shocking! -- of Brees still in the game, still throwing passes, in the final minutes.

The Falcons gestured and stared. They pouted and sulked. They gave our Pete Prisco passive-aggressive comments of the most gutless variety -- anonymously, because none of them had the stones to attach his name to it -- about the nerve (the nerve!) of Saints coach Sean Payton, who let Brees play the game for 60 full minutes.

See, the Falcons wanted pity. They wanted Payton to feel sorry for them by letting off the gas, stop playing the game, stop trying. That would have made the Falcons feel better, I guess: The sight of the Saints feeling sorry for their woebegone little defense.

So at this point, I have a question for the Falcons and their coaches: Are you guys professionals, or are you babies?

This isn't high school, and that wasn't one Class 5A monster running up the score on a tiny Class 1A opponent. This was one NFL playoff team playing another NFL playoff team, in a league with a salary cap and reverse draft order and other rules designed to promote parity.

Sure, Brees could have stopped playing in the fourth quarter, could have come up a few yards short of the record, could have subjected himself and his team to a week's worth of distraction entering the regular-season finale Sunday against Carolina -- a game the Saints need to win to have any shot of a first-round playoff bye.

But never mind that!

The Saints should have worried about the feelings of the poor Atlanta Falcons!

Hey, Atlanta, when you're done with that baby's bib ... please send it my way. I think I'm going to be sick.

Category: NFL
Posted on: December 23, 2011 1:20 pm

A college graduate is an adult. Right?

The staredown between Saint Joseph's coach Phil Martelli and former Hawks center Todd O'Brien -- an SJU graduate who transferred to UAB but hasn't been allowed to play -- is being lost by both people. That's fairly clear. O'Brien is losing his final season. Martelli is losing the public relations fight. Why Martelli is doing what he's doing, we don't know.

But here's something that seems indisputable:

Going forward, the NCAA can -- and should -- make sure this doesn't happen again. And it would be so easy, too. So easy, and so fair. It would take the decision out of a coach's hands, even a coach who (clearly) feels he is justified in playing such hardball with a former player.

I'm not here to backtrack on what I wrote a few days ago about this. I'm not here to rehash it and defend that position all over again, either. I wrote it, I stand by it, and if you want to know why I still stand by it, read that story again.

But the NCAA's rule should be altered, dramatically, to reflect the real world. The real world being this:

Anybody who does what Todd O'Brien has done -- graduates from college with eligibility remaining -- shouldn't need anyone's permission to play somewhere else.

Again, make no mistake: I'm not saying Martelli is wrong here. NCAA rules allow him to decide whether to release a graduated player to transfer and play somewhere else, and he made the decision not to release O'Brien. Why? I have no idea, but he has his reasons for playing hardball with O'Brien, and without knowing those reasons, I'm not going to do the easy thing and scream that Martelli is wrong.

Is he wrong? Again -- I have no idea.

But I know the NCAA rule is wrong.

A college graduate is an achiever, a winner. More importantly, a college graduate is an adult who has fulfilled the obligations asked of him -- that being, to honor his scholarship by graduating.

The next Todd O'Brien who graduates with eligibility remaining shouldn't have to ask for Daddy Coach's permission to transfer. He should be able to tell the coach, the school and the NCAA that he has fulfilled his obligation, he has graduated, and since he has eligibility remaining, he's going to spend that eligibility somewhere else.

I mean, isn't that sensible and fair? I'm trying to find a hole in my proposed rule change, and the only one I can come up with is this: It could, in some folks' eyes, open the door to younger players who want to transfer. If the NCAA says that a college graduate should be free to transfer with no penalty incurred and no release needed, what's to stop a sophomore who is on track to graduate from making the same demand?

I could be snarky here and say, "Nothing should stop a college sophomore in good academic standing from being able to transfer wherever he wants and play right away." And honestly, there are days I believe that to be true.

But this isn't the day for that argument, and I'm not concerned about the slippery slope that might be created for underclassmen by allowing the next Todd O'Brien to do as he damn well pleases after he graduates.

The NCAA could make this very simple by making the rule very clear: If you've graduated college, and you have eligibility remaining, you're a free agent. You've done everything asked of you, so here's your reward: Free agency. Go play wherever you want, assuming you're wanted there in return. You've earned the freedom to choose. Go.

Underclassmen? This rule isn't about you, but it's for you as well. Because if the day comes that you've graduated -- with eligibility remaining -- you too would be free to transfer.

Obvious, right? Fair, too.

Of course it'll never happen. It just makes too damn much sense.

Posted on: December 22, 2011 11:32 pm

Colts 19, Texans 16: Bad result for both teams

The Colts picked a bad time to start winning. The Texans picked a bad time to start losing.

But there we are. The Colts rallied for a 19-16 victory Thursday night, scoring on a 1-yard pass from Dan Orlovsky to Reggie Wayne with 18 seconds left to stun the Texans and jeopardize not only the Texans' playoff seed ... but also the Colts' shot at Andrew Luck with the No. 1 overall draft pick.

Houston has lost two in a row. Indianapolis has won two in a row.

I have no ideas what either side is thinking.
Category: NFL
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or