White Hat Sports Headlines

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

The Most Exciting Two Minutes In Sports

I have been brought up in a household that worships horse racing. I don't even know if this is a professional sport but I'm going to count it as one for this post. My father is a big fan of gambling in general and my mother enjoys big hats, so the it would only make since that they would fall in love with the Kentucky Derby.
I don't know how I feel about the sport myself, but I know that it has a very good history. It was first run in 1780, and has been held in Louisville every year since. It is the first race of the Triple Crown, along with the Preakness Stakes and the Belmont Stakes. The Kentucky Derby or the "Run for the Roses" is the most famous and the one horse race that most Americans have at least heard of.
My parents were lucky enough last year to witness the Derby first hand. They were able to go to Louisville and drink Mint Juleps and my mother wore her big hat. They came back with a little bit of money and a lot of crazy stuff to talk about.
The Derby is held on the first Sunday in May every year. This year's heavy contender is Anak Nakal. I have no idea how to say that. But thats the horse to beat. So I'm going to put an end to this non-sense and finish this post.


Where's Marino?

It's unfortunate that I have to come out in the open with this, but I have very little to write about and very little time to work with. I am a Miami Dolphins fan. Yes, I said it. The worst team in the NFL is my team of choice.
My "Fish" were as they say, "Squished" this past season in just about every game. To be honest I only got to see them play on TV one time this year and that was enough for me. The old saying "Better luck next year" couldn't do this team enough justice.
My only hope is that the new acquisition of Bill Parcells will bring a little life to the program and get it back to the days of Dan Marino and Don Shula. The Dolphins have a great history in Miami, not to mention that they hold the record of being the only team to ever go undefeated and win a Super Bowl. That record will soon be handed over to the football powerhouse that is the New England Patriots.
I have to say however, that I feel like my hopes are in vain for any kind of success next season. Parcells may bring a little life to the program and they may win more than one game, but I will still cringe every time they announce the name Cleo Lemon. Which in case you didn't know is the queerest name in football.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

"Bits O' Info"

There is too much going on in the sports world right now to simply bore people with one topic, so I decided to cover a few topics in my first ever "Bits O' Info" post. Yes, I partially stole the name from the little piece of candy Bit O' Honey, but does anyone really like that thing anyway? Come on, you know the first thing you did as a kid on Halloween after trick or treating is sort out your candy and get rid of those things. Don't deny it. Here we go:

Johan Santana to the Mets is absolutely huge for them. They needed him more than any other team in the running for him. That being said, the Twins are dumb for taking that package. It has been shown time and time again in baseball that quality over quantity is the way to go. Both the Yankees and Red Sox packages offered better quality. As a Red Sox fan I am disappointed Theo didn't do a little bit more to get it done for multiple reasons. I agree with most of what Sterling said in his post, no need to state those points again.

Erik Bedard to the Mariners, while still not being finalized, is a great deal for the Mariners. They have a team built to win now, and adding him allows them to finally get over the hump that is the Angels in my opinion. They need a big bat in that lineup, but there really isn't one out there to get, they might as well upgrade where they can. On the Orioles side, Peter Angelos continues to show exactly why the Orioles organization will never compete with the elite teams in the AL. They need to get rid of him as part of the rebuilding process.

Chris Webber signed today with the Golden State Warriors. I think this is a horrible deal for them. They acquire a player who is the opposite of their team philosophy. He is a set offense guy who needs the ball to contribute, and they are a fast break team that is controlled by Baron Davis. Sure, they can say they needed the size, but in their system they need guys that can run the floor, and he can't. They should have just played Brandan Wright more, he is perfect for their system if he can get out of Don Nelson's dog house.

The best team in the NBA as far as I'm concerned? Look no further than the New Orleans Hornets. They are playing amazingly well right now, and have the right mix of talent to go deep into the playoffs. The Celtics may have the best record, but their age and lack of depth is starting to show. The Hornets have legit stars in Chris Paul and David West, a true center who is great defensively in Tyson Chandler, a great shooter in Peja Stojakovic, and a great mix of veterans and young guys as a supporting cast. But don't take my word for it. You can listen live to every Hornets game for free right off NBA.com. Just click that link, go to listen live on the left side of the page, and click on the Hornets. It does require an NBA.com account, but it's free.

Some interesting things going on before the Superbowl. The Giant's seem a little over confident, but I like it. There is no reason to think they can't win this game the way they have played recently, and I am fine with them wanting to say that. That being said, the Patriots will still beat them. They have the better team, and the better team wins most of the time in the end. They have put a jinx on themselves however by allowing people to pre-order the book "19-0: The Historic Championship Season of New England's Unbeatable Patriots". They had it on Amazon.com for a short while, and although it is taken down now that can not be good karma.

And finally, how about the "Cameron Crazies" at Cameron Indoor Stadium last night? With ten seconds to go on the shot clock the entire crowd yelled a countdown from 3 to 0, confusing Tennessee women's basketball player Angie Bjorklund, a freshman, into taking a ill advised three. The result? She nails it, and the Duke Blue Devils end up losing by that same margin, 67-64. I looked for the video but couldn't find it, if someone does add the link in the comments. As a North Carolina fan nothing makes me prouder than seeing Duke lose because of their ridiculously obnoxious home crowd and home court advantage.

~Aaron Jackson

Santana to New York.......Mets

Johan Santana is a New York Met! Is this reason for celebration in Red Sox Nation? I mean the majority of fans have said that they were adamantly opposed to dealing the young and supremely talented Jacoby Ellsbury for the 2-time CY Young award winner. As an added bonus to keeping Ellsbury and Jon Lester the Yankees didn’t get him either. So they keep their prospects and their division rival didn’t land one of the best pitchers in baseball either. So why am I not more excited about this?
I feel that I am in the greedy minority, I not only wanted the Yankees to not get Santana, I wanted the Red Sox to get him. Santana is the pitcher who when you look at the schedule try to figure out whether or not your team is going to have to face him or not. He’s the guy who when you have tickets to the game, you are excited to see him in person, but dreading the fact that he is probably going to beat your team. In fewer words Johan Santana is a game changer. Attaining him while keeping Josh Beckett who seems to have jumped into his role of being the man after a dominant 2007 playoffs, is a teams dream and an opponent’s night mare. Last year’s Cleveland Indians team seemed dangerous in the playoffs because they had two top pitchers (Carmona and Sabathia) and enough offense to win. Compare that with what the Red Sox could have had, if they had pulled the trigger and landed Santana. Beckett in Game One, Santana in Game Two, and here’s where the debate could begin and the lunacy begins because you can either throw Schilling in at three, Buchholz, Wakefield, or the great Daisuke Matsuzaka to fill out the rest of the rotation. That is quality pitching and lots of it.
The Red Sox could have lived without Jacoby Ellsbury; they did it for most of last season. He’s a little bit of a luxury at this point. Coco Crisp hasn’t been great in his time with the Red Sox but he would easily fill the gap in center field. He made great strides towards becoming one of the best defensive center fielders in the American League last season. The distance between Ellsbury and Crisp in center field isn’t nearly as great as the difference between a Tim Wakefield and a Johan Santana in the starting rotation.
All of that being said and taken into account, Santana going to the Mets is the next best thing. He won’t even pitch against the Red Sox this season in interleague play; the Yankees on the other hand have to face the Mets 6 times. One would imagine that Santana would pitch against the Yankees in at least one of those games. The Yankees by not making this trade did two things. They don’t greatly improve their pitching staff, which is a major weakness going into this season. And Hank Steinbrenner was exposed as being a raving lunatic. “Lil’ Stein” changed his mind every afternoon on where the Yankees stood on adding Santana to their team and even called out members of his front office for being against the trade. He already appears as a caricature of his father portrayed by Oliver Platt in “The Bronx is Burning” trying to constantly be the center of media attention. We’ll know all of this for sure when he threatens to fire Joe Girardi for no apparent reason during the Home Run Derby. I think that’ll be a fun moment for the Yankees.
In the end, we’ll see how it plays out. The Red Sox will now likely still deal Coco Crisp, even though the one day sale on Huston Street seems to have come and gone without anyone really knowing. They are still in the market for a left handed bat off the bench to replace Eric Hinske, who apparently is huge in Arizona. Wait, Hinske is huge everywhere! The candidates are Sean Casey, Tony Clark and Brad Wilkerson. Wilkerson seems destined for Seattle now that Adam Jones might be ticketed for Baltimore in the Erik Bedard deal. Regardless, I think Casey is the guy the Sox should covet in this role. Casey has been adored by fans, media and front offices in all of his Major League stints. Many have called him the nicest guy that they have ever met in Baseball, which is as glowing a recommendation as one could receive. Clark had his time here, and it was good for the opener, after that it was terrible. We should just remember him for the good times, actually good time. I’ll only fondly remember him for striking out to end Game 6 of the 2004 ALCS that was a good time. OH, that Keith Foulke.
The dark horse for this role is a former Dirt Dog, Trot Nixon. Word is that his agent has him working out some at first base and could platoon there with Kevin Youkilis and right field with his replacement J.D Drew. (Not sure this would do anything good for J.D. Drew’s bounce back season. AT ALL.)
Pitchers and catchers report in 15 days from now, the truck leaves two days before that. I head down to Fort Myers on March 3rd; soon all will be right with the world, until the Red Sox drop two spring training games in a row to the Pirates, then all hell will break loose again.
Oh, those Red Sox.

~Sterling Pingree

Wrestling Gimmicks

Pro Wrestlers characters have a special name, and that name is a Gimmick. Gimmicks are what makes the character special and entertaining. I'm not going to talk about good gimmicks though, I'm going to be talking about the art of bad gimmicks. Does anyone remember the Repo-Man? Now I really feel bad for that guy considering his gimmick before that was being a part of the team known as Demolition. I would have loved to have been in the room when the creative writing team was there deciding to make the Repo-Man character. That gimmick was so annoying because his attire consisted of a cheap Zorro like mask, a shaggy old trench coat and one overweight out of shape guy that couldn't fit into it. The most irritating thing about this was his dumb saying that he had that went like this.... "Whats yours is mine and whats mine is yours!" A gimmick that's even worse than that was from 2006 that was known as The Spirit Squad. Yes the Spirit Squad was a group of guys who were Cheerleaders. They all would come out with big megaphones yelling their names like girls along with doing a dumb cheer. In their defense only one of them managed to survive and still has a career in the WWE but still, whoever thought that having GUY cheerleaders was cool should of been fired.

In Pro Wrestling these days it seems that the creative writing teams are just getting lazy and making up complete b.s. As a wrestling fan I am disappointed in how bad the gimmick creating has gotten, especially in the WWE. TNA isn't any better, considering last week on their telecast they had someone ripping off Stone Cold Steve Austin's gimmick. That's the way of it now, its either they re-create something or they have someone rip it off or copy another gimmick completely. The fans have been letting promoters know since the outcry of booing throughout arenas is getting louder by the show. Do the companies do anything to change things up? No of course they don't and they probably never will since they don't care about the fans like they claim, they just care about the Benjamin's.


The Old NHL...

Today's NHL is high scoring, fast paced and NO DEFENSE. Hockey is my favorite sport and I loved how the old NHL used to be. Defensive battles and low scoring games are what I like to see in hockey and that's gone now. Low scoring games with great defense made the games so much more meaningful and exciting to watch, especially during playoff time. Yes since the NHL came back from its strike a couple of years ago, they have had some good changes. For example the fact that they got rid of two-line passing was just genius! And whats more important is the fact that they got rid of ties and brought in shootouts. For some fans that was great because it meant more scoring, but for me it meant goodbye old time hockey :-(

I love the 1-0 games or the 3-2 games that lasted into 5 overtimes but you barely see it in today's NHL. It's gotten to the point where i can only watch games when I am here at school because ESPN dropped hockey coverage after the strike. This is going to sound ridiculous but the biggest thing that i have a problem with in the "new" NHL is the uniforms. I am so happy that my team The Detroit Red Wings, have stuck to their original uniforms. Most of the teams in the NHL today have thrown away tradition and have these hideous modernized jerseys. Another reason is since 2004 teams have worn dark jerseys at home and white on the road, they never used to do that. Do they think they are the NFL or something? It almost ruins it for me because its confusing at times and its something i have never gotten use to. I hope that the NHL commissioner realizes that fans like me out there want some of the old tradition brought back to the NHL.


Bedard Deal Off.

Just because I'm getting tired of all the posts in this blog pertaining to the Patriots and the Superbowl and everything New England, I'm gonna try and stay away from it. I don't feel like I need to stay with this apparent trend of posting blogs that are about nothing but New England sports and anything to do with them.

Pitchers and catchers still don't report to spring training camp for just over two weeks now, but there is still a lot happening in the world of baseball. For instance, there has been much talk of Baltimore Orioles lefty Erik Bedard and a possible trade to the Seattle Mariners.

I know nobody here probably cares much about teams and sports news outside of New England, but I find it funny how the Orioles' front office has done everything in their power to kill this organization. Peter Angelos, the owner of the Orioles, has been involved in quite a bit in these past few seasons. In what should have been rebuilding years, have turned into more disaster for the team. He gets overly involved in front office deals, such as the trade to get rid of shortstop Miguel Tejada or the non-trade of Brian Roberts.

Efforts such as these have come too late for this franchise, as these past few seasons have turned into years where Angelos hopes to squeeze everything he can out of a relatively aging crew, mixed in with some horrible pitching staffs. Bedard is a solid pitcher, and has entered the prime of his career as evidenced by his breakout 2007 season, but what good is that gonna be when he's passed his peak and these young players already on the team pass him by? The team has been right in wanting to build around young talent like Nick Markakis, in the hopes of giving Markakis something to work with acquisitions through deals for Tejada and Roberts, but they've failed to pull the trigger on some of these deals.

However, whether because of lack of effort or not getting what they thought they'd get with some of their offseason free agent signings, Baltimore just hasn't reached the level of the Red Sox and Yankees. And they won't get there, either, if they continue down the path they're on right now.

And, just because somebody here will want me to put something in about a New England team or how it pertains to New England sports fans and teams, if the Orioles were to deal Erik Bedard for some younger talent, it would take away any concerns about Boston having to struggle against a solid left-handed pitcher during the regular season.

Aaron Larsen

"You talk, we produce!"

I can not understand for the life of me why teams continue you disrespect the New England Patriots. People love being in the spot light and teams love “guarantying” victories. Individual players love being able to shine in the spotlight and get caught up by predicting that they will out play other players. Some have gone as far as predicting the score or saying, “get your popcorn ready.” The New England Patriots have been had opponents guarantee victory over them all year, however as a team they stand on the brink of history. What is practiced and believed in the Patriots organization is to “shut up and play.” The Patriots do not talk during the week of preparation. They do not guarantee victories and they do not promise great individual performances. They keep quiet, they work hard and they produce on Sunday’s. It is a sport that involves entertainment, so I can understand why people want to entertain, but why cant they wait until Sunday and perform on the field, this is also suppose to be there business so why not keep your mouth shut and let your play do the talking? Eighteen times before this year teams have thought they could play with the Patriots and beat them and failed, so why would this time be any different. I guess we will have to just wait and see.


Monday, January 28, 2008

Too Much Superbowl Hype?

I say it every year around this time, and I'm gonna say it again: man, this week is going to suck.

There isn't any football this week, and all we're going to see is Superbowl hype here and Superbowl hype there. Quite honestly, I don't care about Tom Brady's ankle and I care even less about the allegations leveled at Randy Moss in recent weeks.

On the other side, I don't care about the Giants and their sudden hot streak or Eli Manning's uncanny ability for better performances on the road. I don't care about Manning maturing as a quarterback as the second half of the season was winding down, or that, since the Giants are the road team, they're the ones to beat.

As far as I'm concerned, all I care about it is wanting to see a hell of a game next weekend.

Aaron Larsen

Sunday, January 27, 2008

This boot IS made for walking.

“This is what it’s all about. Psych outs being used, tactics being used. Cat and mouse, this is what the championship is all about”
~Jesse “The Body” Ventura

This opening quote came from the Governor while he was color commentator for Wrestle Mania V along side Gorilla Monsoon. He used it to describe the Main Event between Hulk Hogan and Champion Macho Man Randy Savage. This keeps coming to my mind as the first week of Super Bowl hype has now come to and end and teams are starting to fly to Glendale and actually play the game, in another week. Not to pound this into the ground, Tom Brady wore a boot and then he didn’t. As a Patriots fan I should have been jumping off the Tobin Bridge at the sight of this, but after the initial shock I saw the genius of it. The Belichick in it, if you will.
This is a tactic, a psych out as Jesse “The Body” said. Bill Belichick is like no coach we have ever seen before. We have seen coaches use the injury report to mess the other team’s mind and make them prepare for the possibility of facing the back up quarterback or make the opposition think that they will be facing a depleted pass rush. But this, this take the cake in terms of messing with your opponent’s mind. Bill Belichick, not only had Tom Brady wear the now infamous walking boom in New York on Monday( in New York of all places too) he then had him reappear outside of his super model girlfriend Giselle Bundchen’s Manhattan home hours later, NOT wearing the boot. Within 24 hours, Belichick made his stud quarterback look potentially injured and then made him look like Superman emerging from the phone booth. Here’s where the genius comes in. Thursday’s practice is open to the media for the first 15 minutes only and then they have to leave. Brady was presumed to be ready to go and had been widely judge by the court of public opinion to have only a mild high ankle sprain that wouldn’t limit him in practice. BRADY WASN’T THERE WHEN THE MEDIA WAS!
How brilliant is that? Suddenly the media is up in arms again about his condition. Just when it couldn’t get hotter, he sat out the same stretch of Friday’s practice as well. Now you may be thinking to yourself that these are a series of events that probably weren’t planned by Belichick or done intentionally by the Patriots. Here’s what sealed it for me, here’s what told me that everything was fine in Patriot Place.
At his Thursday press conference Belichick seemed to be very pleased with himself and what he had done during the week, especially when asked about Brady’s ankle. Of course he didn’t answer the question at all, he never does. This time however, he took particular humor out of giving the media the run around his starting quarterback.
Only once have I ever witnessed a coach using mind games as much as Belichick has this first week heading into Super Bowl XLII and that came in the Pioneer Bowl. Never heard of it? Well it’s complicated but here’s the brief history, as researched on Wikipedia.org. The Pioneer Bowl was played between West Texas University and the Minnesota Screaming Eagles in 1993, that’s right it happened on an episode of Coach, starring Craig T. Nelson as Coach Hayden Fox. Coach Fox gave his playbook to his former coach who he ended up having to face in the fictional National Championship game of 1993. To try and equal the playing field again, he has his star quarterback Bo Whitley, fake a back injury during a limbo competition during their pre-game Luau. Whitley sits out the entire game, until the final series and then leads the Screaming Eagles to a very “Brady-like” comeback victory.
That’s the standard for coaching head games. Hayden Fox is the master at this moment. So while this coming week seems to be more predictable in that Brady will practice and will have his mandatory talk to the media on Wednesday. Or will he aggravate his “bad ankle” during a mysterious late night walk through at the team hotel?
“This is what the term Main Event was made for.”
~ Jesse “The Body” Ventura

~Sterling Pingree

Saturday, January 26, 2008

The Virtual Waiting Room of Hell.

Death Valley, Chernobyl and Hell itself. All considered places you probably do not want to be, for obvious reasons. However, I would suggest that none of those places are quite as bad as the one place I just spent the last 10 hours of my life. Let me explain.

Picture yourself in a room. This room is square, approximately 8' by 8', and is completely bare besides a chair, a digital clock and a sign above said digital clock. The sign reads this:

Welcome to the Boston Red Sox Virtual Waiting Room!


We are experiencing very high demand. As a result, all requests for seats cannot be served simultaneously. Please be patient, and your browser will be refreshed in:

The digital clock under the sign does not tell you the time in any time zone. Instead it counts down from 30 seconds to 0 seconds. Each time it hits 0 there is a pause, the entire room goes dark, and for a split second you think that when the light turns on everything will be different. There will be no sign, no clock, no chair, but a ticket window. At this ticket window there is a person with a list of ticket prices and a photo of Fenway Park showing you the different sections you can purchase from. But then the light turns back on, the sign is still there and the clock is at 30 seconds once again.

The worst part of it all is the fact that eventually you may get to that golden moment you have been waiting so long for. It may take 6,7,8,9,10+ hours to get there, but it can be done. The problem is when you get that shining moment it isn't shiny at all. The walls are covered in filth. There is no ticket window, only another clock giving you 2 minutes and 30 seconds. Next to this clock is the Seinfeld soup Nazi. He will inform you the game you wanted is sold out, and the only option left is standing room tickets to the Tampa Bay Rays. If you don't follow the steps he wants he will simply say he is experiencing extremely high purchase rates, and cannot supply your order at this time, please try again. This will potentially even send you back to the waiting room you started in if you cannot convince him to give you your tickets and then give him every detail of your life to purchase them.

Sound like your pot of tea? Well, my friends, welcome to the Virtual Waiting Room of Hell.

We are experiencing very high demand. As a result, all requests for seats cannot be served simultaneously. Please be patient, and your browser will be refreshed in:

~Aaron Jackson


Major League Baseball (MLB) has there all star game decide who gets home field for the World Series. With the announcement of the NBA all star game this past week, it got me to wonder… should the National Basketball Association (NBA) do the same thing. Let’s take a look at the positive and negatives of an All star game in the NBA with incentives:


1.) All the athletes would play competitively.

2.) No athletes would say they did not want to play or “rest up” for the second half of the season.

3.) With the “egos” of some of the players it would mean a lot more to win the All star game MVP, since you knew everyone gave it there best.


1.) The players that were hurt may try to “push” themselves because of the importance of the game

2.) The head coach of the all star game could try to “over work” players on teams that are competitive in the conference

3.) There is a much greater of risk of injury and not all the All stars may get in that way

If you look at the overall body of work and how the MLB plays the game, it seems like it would indeed be a good idea to have the NBA consider having the All star game decide who would get home court in the NBA finals.


Thursday, January 24, 2008

Illustration courtesy of soxnation.net

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Super bowl...... a Holiday?

In the spirit of super Sunday I thought I would talk about how the Super Bowl might as well be a holiday in this country.The Super Bowl is the biggest game of the year in the sport of football, as well as the granddaddy of all major sports championships. For me the Super Bowl has always felt like a holiday because of all the preparation that my father and I have put into it over the years. The first thing my father and I use to take care of was the biggest essential of them all...... HOT WINGS! What is the Super Bowl meal with out hot wings? The next thing was taking care of all the various chips and dips along with the drinks. But the biggest thing that has always been tradition was watching all of the Super Bowl highlights leading up to the game courtesy of NFL Films.

Basically, my point is that Super Bowl Sunday has become so huge in this country with everyone who has traditions that it should be a holiday. Yes i know some people will argue that its only a sport but I was one of those kids who usually took that Monday after the big game off from school. Hell even some of my teachers excused students from coming because they were aware that kids stayed up and partied during the Super Bowl. I think I have a valid case/point when it comes to the Super Bowl being an official holiday. I think some day that maybe congress or somebody in power will consider making the greatest game ever a national holiday.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Best NFL Franchise ever?

Sitting at the Patriots AFC championship game and watching the game, it had me wondering--, is this the best team EVER in the NFL? The Patriots as you know are 18-0, and have not looked back once this year. There have been several “dynasty’s” the Steelers in the 1970s, the 49ers in the 1980s, and the Cowboys in the 1990s. The Patriots have been the team of the new millennium without argument. These are reasons why I feel the Patriots are the best “dynasty” out of all of the ones prior.

* This is going to be their fourth trip to the Super Bowl in seven years.

* The Patriots have 3 Super Bowl championships.

* Tom Brady is a 2-time Super Bowl MVP and 1 time regular season MVP

* In my opinion, Bill Belichick is the best head coach that has been seen in at least 20 years

* The Patriots always have players knocking on the door to join New England, just by the fact year after year players take pay cuts to join the team or stay with this team.

* This is in the salary cap era, which makes it more impressive because of the money limit you can spend, and that makes it more difficult to win on a consistent basis.

* The Patriots have lost 3 assistant coaches, despite all of that the franchise keeps rolling.

Those reasons along with the fact they have lost key players to other teams that wanted more money (Ty Law, Will McGinest, Daniel Graham, Deion Branch and Lawyer Milloy) just to name a few and the Patriots just plug in the hole and replace them with someone new. Everything this franchise does is a class act; they donate more money to charities than any other organization in the league. The Patriots owner Robert Kraft (who was to be a season ticket owner) spent most of his own money out of pocket to get the Patriots a new stadium (which opened in 2002). This organization has been so successful in the past they have there franchise set up for the future as well. That makes you wonder with no signs of bad times ahead how long can this team stay on the top and keep the ball rolling. I believe this organization is only at the half way point and still have a solid 6 to 7 more years left in them on top the NFL.


Monday, January 21, 2008

Will There Be a "Big One?"

I don't think I'm the only NASCAR fan who's a bit concerned about the potential for a very boring running of the 50th Daytona 500, come February 17th. The upcoming season will be run with the new Car of Tomorrow - or whatever you want to call it, since the car is the only car being used now - and some of the typically exciting races haven't lived up to their billing.

We all saw the race at Bristol this past August, which was run with the new car. Bristol is supposed to be a race where the most beating and banging takes place. It's supposed to a race run under the lights in late summer, where cautions run rampant and cars are being hauled to the garage by tow trucks throughout the race. It's a race filled with excitement and close racing.

This didn't really pan out last season. 97% of the race was led by just two drivers, and only 20 drivers finished on the lead lap. Only five drivers weren't able to finish the race.

I use that example because normally at Daytona, the same sort of scenarios occur, when the cars are bunched up and running three-wide for a lot of the race. Wrecks are common and close finishes have become a staple for these superspeedway races.

I know we all saw the COT race at Talladega last season - another superspeedway race similar to that at Daytona - and it was a good race. However, there were many periods of long, green flag racing without cautions and only one major wreck of excitement. Granted, that "Big One" contained 11 cars in a pileup started by Bobby Labonte, and it had an excellent last lap win by Jeff Gordon, but besides that the race was relatively uneventful.

Personally, I'm fine with the COT and I believe as time goes on, drivers will grow accustomed to it and it will provide for fine racing. However, this is the 50th running of the Daytona 500; it's not just any race. Teams and their drivers have had a year to prepare for this race, and have known the COT would be used at this track since then.

Will this race provide for excitement? Are we going to see a classic Daytona 500? Will we see the "Big One?" With its very high center of gravity, will this new car be capable of a flip or barrel roll? I'm not so sure.

Aaron Larsen

Sunday, January 20, 2008

The Inaugural Jogging Diary NFC Edition

Much thanks to Bill Simmons for the idea of a running diary. We have our version, the jogging diary. It’s a new fad, has a silent J. Let's get right into it

6:03 PM Getting ready for kickoff with the pre-game show. The analysis of the game went as follows.
Terry Bradshaw "It's cold."
Howie Long "If you left your dog outside in this cold you would get charged with animal cruelty."
Curt Menefee "It is awfully cold."
Jimmy Johnson "I am going to put this water in a cup, let’s see if it freezes."
Curt Menefee "Lets go now to Joe Buck upstairs where it is warmer."
Joe Buck (blows cold air like it is a cigar, looks up)”It's cold."
What would we do without this pre-game analysis?

6:09 PM I still want to know who's idea it was to combine robots and football. It just doesn't make sense. Also, Howie Long is a spokesperson for Chevy, but is sitting in front of a Ford sign. No conflict of interest there.

6:11 PM Fox is now showing a special on Ryan Grant. This is one of those stories that shows you why you watch sports. He came from nowhere to becoming arguably the second most important player on a team closing in on the Superbowl.

6:14 PM In case you were wondering, this pregame is sponsored by Ford. Drive tough.

6:18 PM The webmd.com injury report just showed us that Aaron Ross is probable with a right shoulder. Thank god we have a 3d body to show us where the right shoulder is.

6:19 PM Has Michael Strahans gap between his teeth gotten smaller? Someone needs to compare pictures between now and when he started playing. Actually, scratch that, it’s probably somewhere in the Mitchell Report.

6:22 PM Strahan, Eli, Pam Oliver and Tom Coughlin just confirmed that it is actually cold today. Good thing they investigated this.

6:24 PM Terry Bradshaw is explaining how to throw a football in cold weather. Too bad he forgot he had to talk into the microphone.

6:25 PM. My friend Kalle just sent this along to me online.

"By the way, Green Bay looks like its cold as hell."

I had no idea.

6:29 PM I guess now is as good a time as any to congratulate the Patriots on their victory. Half of the game of destiny is now complete.

6:32 PM Frank Caliendo doing an impersonation of Andy Rooney. If you haven't seen his recent one hour comedy special you're missing out. Very funny.

6:33 PM Jimmy's water is frozen already. Why, you ask? Because it's cold.

6:36 PM Actual temperature is -1 degrees.

6:37 PM Here's a couple quick close-ups of both Eli and Favre. If you laid money down on Eli winning this game and saw that you probably just broke down in tears. He did not look ready for this game.

6:41 PM Tim Donaghey just tackled the player in the Bud Light commercial. He get's a beer and the team covers the spread. Good to see he's back to work after the whole NBA thing.

6:42 PM Al Harris "It's cold." Thanks Al.

6:43 PM Joe Buck just informed us that Harris's tattoos are brought to you by Rick's Tattoos. I was wondering.

6:44 PM First play of the game ends in a near fist fight because the Giants are celebrating a special team’s tackle. Whatever happened to the ballin' move? This celebration just seemed uncoordinated.

6:46 PM My friend Kalle again.

"Mike McCarthy is a bit too bundled up, whenever a coach is dressed for Antarctica it’s a bad sign."

6:48 PM Favre makes a couple good plays then misses two open receivers in a row to bring up the first punt of the game. If he isn't playing well today it could be a long day for the Pack.

6:51 PM the entire Giant's sideline has black ski masks on. I can't tell if they are playing football or getting ready to rob a bank.

6:59 PM Eli is putting together a good drive without any help from Brandon Jacobs. It might have something to do with the single coverage on Plaxico Burress. If there is one guy on this team that can hurt you it is him.

7:01 PM Lawrence Tynes puts it through to make the score 3-0 Giants in the first. The drive ended on a classic Eli play where he threw it off his back foot right to a defender. On another Manning note, what are the chances that Peyton lost the game against the Chargers last week just so he could get more run for his football season ending MasterCard commercial?

7:05 PM The pregame was brought to you by Ford, but the actual game is brought to you by Toyota. No conflict of interest there either.

7:11 PM Fox showed a preview for the Superbowl halftime show starring Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. Someday we will have a good halftime show again. Someday.

7:17 PM Favre right now has his hands more in his warmer pouch than he does not. The cold seems to be bothering him more than Eli at this point.

7:20 PM Apparently we are now back to Ford commercials now. Will the halftime show be by Toyota or by Ford? My money’s on Toyota.

7:25 PM Al Harris and Plaxico are constantly trash talking back and forth. Probably not a good thing for Harris. Plaxico has always been known as a guy that has plenty of talent but needs motivation.

7:31 PM Tynes knocks in the second field goal of the game, making the score 6-0 Giants. Pretty dull game so far. Definitely needs some snow.

7:34 PM Brett Favre to Donald Driver for a 89 yard touchdown connection. Amazing that not a single Giants player didn’t manage to push him out of bounds on the play. 7-6 Packers.

7:37 PM First preview for Prison Break. I have to agree with Tony Kornheiser on this one. How can their be more than one season of this show? They broke out of the prison, yet the show continues. Makes no sense.

7:39 PM My friends girlfriend on Brett Favre. Isn’t he getting kind of old?” Yes, yes he is.

7:44 PM Troy Aikman and Joe Buck just did a stand up in the booth to tell us this important and urgent message. It is cold in the booth, but not as cold as it is outside.

7:49 PM Favre throws a perfect pass between two defenders only to have the ball dropped at the 9. That is what happens when you throw the ball to someone named Ruvell Martin.

7:52 PM Eli is finally starting to look like, well, Eli. It’s about time.

7:59 PM Can we finally just get rid of American Idol? I cannot stand that show. My friend Geoff informs me it is now -2 degrees in Green Bay. Joe Buck follows this by explaining that Iceland is actually green and Greenland is actually icy. Fantastic.

8:02 PM Mason Crosby knocks in a field goal making it 10-6. This leaves a minute and half before the half for Eli to work his magic, meaning throw an interception off his back foot.

8:09 PM Eli ends the half by throwing an in completion, taking a sack, throwing another incompletion, then taking a sack on fourth and 8. Just a fabulous series there. Be back for the second half.

8:19 PM Some notes on the half time show. Terry Bradshaw has still not figured out that in order for us to hear him he has to talk into the mic. You’d think he would know this by now. This is followed by Howie Long attempting to say bump and run coverage, screw it up three times, then have an awkward silence of about 15 seconds. Curt then asks if anyone else has something they would like to say. Terry Bradshaw believes he has something he want’s to say, only the mic is now swinging up in the air as he talks. Jimmy Johnson then gives us the highlights of the Pats game where he refers to Wes Welker as Wes Wiker. Nice work boys.

8:20 PM The halftime show isn’t by Toyota or Ford, but by VISA.

8:24 PM Curt Menefee thinks Terry is cute with his winter hat on. This is important for everyone to know.

8:25 PM Joe Buck proclaims “Look at that Troy, it isn’t as wind chilly now.” The actual temp has gone down to -3 now. Still no snow.

8:29 PM Eli has to call a time out before the play clock runs out. This after he misses a wide open Steve Smith for a sure touchdown. I blame all of this on the Green Bay channels not having any Seinfeld. Clearly this has Eli distraught. What were you thiiiiinkiiing Elllliiiiii? You should have bought the dvvvddsss!!!

8:41 PM Green Bay called for two straight offsides penalties on the one. Seems like they think they see something in the snap count, but can’t quite pick up on it. Meanwhile, Brandon Jacobs just put it in for a touchdown, then thinks about the Lambeau leap. Good choice Brandon. 13-10 Giants now on top.

8:43 PM First Peyton Manning commercial of the day. It’s amazing that we are mid third quarter and that was the first one. Of course, it’s the one where he is talking about being bummed about football season being over. I have decided that I am 35% sure he tanked the Chargers game just to get more air time for that commercial.

8:52 PM Tom Coughlin’s face looks like he just stuck it in a pot of boiling water as Sam Madison gets a personal foul penalty against him. Next play is Brett Favre to a wide open Donald Lee for a touchdown Packers. 17-13 Pack.

9:04 PM Computer froze up twice. Between that and the drive Eli is currently having I think the end of the world may be near. Touchdown Giants, Ahmad Bradshaw runs it in. 20-17 Giants.

9:10 PM Ryan Grant finally showing up to play with a minute to go in the third. No truth to the rumor that he was out looking to book a better Superbowl halftime show.

9:14 PM Classic Favre play. He scrambles left, has nothing open, forces the play and gets it intercepted only to have the Giant’s defender fumble it right into the waiting arms of a Packers offensive lineman. These things only seem to happen to guys like Favre.

9:17 PM Mason Crosby knocks in a field goal. Score is now 20-20 in the fourth. We’ve got ourselves a ball game, and I’ve got carpal tunnel syndrome.

9:21 PM Geoff and I are discussing how hot the girl in the Cadillac ad's are. Kalle's message to me at the same time, without knowing what we are talking about;

"I love these Cadillac ads by the way, that Latin chick is fine as hell."

9:24 PM In case you were wondering her name is Sophia Vergara.

9:28 PM Let’s get Roger Clemens to do the Moment of Truth reality show on Fox.

9:30 PM Troy Aikman just decided that the game right now is a “tie-tie.”

9:37 PM Tynes misses the field goal wide left. This keeps the score 20-20.

9:50 PM Packers punting from their own 10, the Giants receiver fumbles the ball, and about 3 Packers players can’t pick up the fumble so the Giants manage to recover. That could be the game.

9:57 PM The refs just decided to take 3 minutes, discuss the spot of the ball, then allow the Giants to get into formation just to have them blow the whistles on the play so they can review the previous catch. They couldn’t have just originally killed two birds with one stone here? Sometimes you wonder what goes on in their heads.

10:00 PM Giants now in field goal range. Remember Tynes just missed one not to long ago. Should be interesting.

10:02 PM Exchange between Geoff and I directly before the kick.

Me. “He’s going to miss this.”

Geoff. “Yep.”

10:03 PM Tynes kicks it wide left. I’ve got overtime for my first jogging Diary.

10:05 PM My esteemed colleague Sterling Pingree, who did the first jogging diary, tells me I have just the second overtime game in division title game history.

10:07 PM Remember, earlier this year the Packers went to overtime against the Broncos and scored on one of the first plays. Wouldn’t surprise me to see the same thing happen here.

10:10 PM Favre throws the pick right to the Giants defender. I wonder what happens if Tynes needs to kick a field goal here. His confidence has to be completely shot at this point. Personally I have more confidence in Isiah Thomas making a good trade for the Knicks.

10:12 PM Tynes nails it. No one will remember the two misses anymore; it’s all about the one made one.

10:14 PM Great game for the Giants, who would’ve thought we would see a rematch of the week 17 match up for the Superbowl. Everyone that second-guessed Tom Coughlin about that game is looking pretty dumb now. I'm looking at you Skip Bayless.

-Aaron Jackson

Professional Wrestling is a real sport

I was originally going to talk about the San Diego Chargers Quarterback Phillip Rivers and the reasons why i don't like him. Instead i decided to make my first post about my number one passion, Professional Wrestling.

Now when most people hear the term Pro Wresting they automatically assume or utter the words "Pro Wrestling is fake." I would like to say to all those nay sayers that you don't know what you are talking about. Yes there are certain aspects and factors that are fake in Pro Wrestling for example, the story lines and the outcomes of matches are pre- determined. It really irritates me that the public is ignorant to the fact of how physical it actually is. You want to sit there and call it fake? try landing on a mat that's solid wood covered with a THIN layer on top of it every night for 365 days straight with no breaks and living out of a suitcase going from town to town. Yes its sports entertainment but society doesn't realize that these men and women go out every night and put their bodies on the line for the sake of the fans. The biggest thing that screams how real the sport is is the disclaimer that the WWE has that says please don't try this at home. Another reason that makes it a legit sport is the fact that wrestling is involved, last time i checked wrestling is a sport at the professional level. People think you can just show up and become a pro wrestler overnight.... WRONG it takes years to develop a style and learn how to take falls and learn all the basic holds and maneuvers.These type of work is not for everybody in my opinion Professional Wrestlers are the best athletes in the world considering the fact that they don't get an off season to recover and that they go out and perform no matter how bad they are hurt.

basically if you have any assumptions about Professional wrestling being fake, you should take another look and actually sit down and take a closer look at the sport before judging its realness.

~Derek Gause~

The Inaugural Jogging Diary AFC Edition

Starting out in this venture you rely on what you know and what you have seen from the greats that have come before you. In the spirit of that once again I am going to attempt to take a page out of the playbook of “The Great Bill Simmons”, I’m going to attempt a running diary, check that I’m not fast enough yet. I’ll keep this to more of a leisurely jog during the game. With that, I present to you a White Hat Sports Blog first,


2:52pm. Live from Kingfield, Maine. Home of my dad’s 52 inch HDTV it’s time for the AFC Championship game!
2:58pm Howie Long starring in a Chevy commercial reminds me the Patriots have to the rights to the 7th pick overall in this year’s draft, perhaps Howie’s son Chris falls to New England? Maybe I’m looking way too far forward? Maybe it’s a sign?
2:59pm CBS’s dramatic open includes an orchestra playing while showing highlights from the Patriots and Chargers season. The music seems to fit the New England Highlights better than the ones of Shawn Merriman and Tomlinson. This is supposed to get people charged up? Really? Are you trying to tell me that Donte Stallworth is listening to Beethoven on his ipod before the game?
3:04pm. Pizza Hut’s new Pizza Mia pizza. $5 apiece, pretty much their version of the Domino’s 5-5-5 deal. Domino’s threw it all away and it’s now the 7-7-7 deal. That’s like trading Randy Moss when he’s 30 because you don’t have a qb. I think we can start saying that Mr. Domino is at the Al Davis stage of his career. I can’t wait till we start seeing Domino’s commercials featuring Raquel Welch as a sex symbol in 2008. I think that will be fun.
3:05pm Phillip Rivers is coming onto the field and Jim Nantz is holding his breath and still talking. Is there any wonder why he’s the best in the business?

3:07pm Penalty after a three and out for San Diego, whew a re-punt still 4th down after Richard Seymour “touches” the punter. (I’m holding the lonely punter joke inside right now). Gonna get a look at how windy the stadium is…… Decent punt. I’m declaring the wind will not be a factor…..For New England.
3:11pm Antonio Gates is already heading to the locker room. 2 minutes and three plays. I think I took the over. Come back Antonio!
3:12pm New England goes three and out themselves. Brady throws as many incompletions on this drive (2) as he threw all last week against Jacksonville.
3:14pm Tomlinson not out for the second series, the Chargers are dropping like flies. On a side note Rivers completes back to back passes and Phil Simms is already going into his “Nobody says they can do it” speech.
3:18pm Rodney Harrison comes off the corner and lays a little hit on Rivers. Incompletion, San Diego to punt. Harrison taps LDT lovingly on the head as they leave the field. I think it was lovingly? No flag, I call it lovingly.
3:19pm I’m now wondering to myself two things during the commercial break. 1. When did Rodney Harrison become loving? 2. How many times can I use loving or lovingly in this Diary? Too many already? I agree.

3:23pm We have the first declaration by my Dad to have Kevin Faulk used as the starting running back after Maroney goes for zero yards on a carry. This is always a fun moment.
3:27 Just watched an odd McDonald’s commercial with a kid dancing while eating McDonald’s food. The odd part was that they were eating it on plates that weren’t paper. While the kid is dancing the dad is starting to feel it, while the mom looks like she wants to divorce the dad and disown the son. In the words of Bill Cowher: “That’s a special moment”
3:30pm Seau sacks Rivers to force yet another punt (5 this quarter) reminds me, we have an aging veteran! There’s usually one on every team that wins a championship. You know the guy who you find yourself saying things about like: “I’m glad (Player X) is getting his chance to play in the Super Bowl”. Seau is the Patriots “Player X”.
3:33pm Brady throws a pick to Jammer. His first in the first quarter of a playoff game in his career. San Diego is now in the Red Zone.
3:36pm “San Diego has scored on its last 32 trips to the Red Zone” Nantz is on his game today. 3rd and goal, this game has an odd feel to it right now. Hoping it passes.
3:38pm Nick Kaeding slips through an ugly field goal, 3-0 San Diego. (Had to throw ugly in there, I have to get vengeance somewhere right now). Still stunned by the Brady interception, this game is starting to feel like Dick McPherson is involved somehow.

3:41pm The new season of Survivor just advertised. It’s going to be Fans vs. Favorites. I feel like my dad should be on this show to get back at the Karate instructor that took himself out of the game with injury costing Dad money in his office pool. That’s must see TV, trust me.
3:43 REVERSE! Moss gains 14 yards and my spirits are lifted for the moment and held there by a screen to Kevin Faulk. I love screens to Kevin Faulk. It’s like getting older and having cookies and milk. Very innocent feeling. So innocent, they run it again. I love the Bill Belichick/Tom Brady Era.
End of the first quarter and San Diego leads 3-0.

3:48pm Pats are sitting 1st and Goal. A short pass to Kevin Faulk gets the Patriots down to the one yards line, this leads to Maroney cherry picking Kevin Faulk’s touch down. In retaliation, I am going to look on eBay for a Kevin Faulk jersey. TAKE THAT!
Extra point makes it 7-3 Patriots and I can now see colors again.
3:53pm LDT is staying on the bench right now; Jim Nantz is going to get a report. That means someone better start doing their job on the sidelines or he’ll bring in a Gumbel to do their job and nobody wants that. NOBODY!!! Tasker’s on it. LDT is being benched as a coach’s decision. Norv Turner, you never know what he’s going to do! I fully expect him to wrestle Shannon Sharpe in a cage after this game with the winner getting a title shot at Wrestle Mania 24.

3:58pm Checking the Pro-Bowl roster, looking for Vincent Jackson…….nope not seeing him on here. Chargers are inside the 10 again.
4:02pm The Patriots are officially in “Bend But Don’t Break” mode. Kaeding drills another field goal. New England still leads 7-6.
4:04pm CBS shows a montage of their new shows. “Jericho” and “Dexter” are among them. This just in, Sterling isn’t coming to Fox this fall. As far as you know.
4:09pm Kelly Washington taps down a punt at the goal line and is downed inside the San Diego 5. I could see this play becoming the NFL equivalent of the blocked shot or the home run saving catch in MLB. Mark my words; punt downing is about become big.
4:10 Dad predicts Ellis Hobbs will pick the ball off. I say Asante Samuel will because he’s looking for a new contract in the off season and apparently playoff interceptions are worth $250,000 in incentives.
4:13 Asante Samuel picks off Phillip Rivers. I can’t make this up inside the Jogging Diary, it’s against the rules. Though that does make me look really smart doesn’t it?
4:14pm After a Kevin Faulk screen Brady throws a touch down pass to Jabbar Gaffney, who performs the first “Lights Out” dance of the game. Two things are wrong about this. 1. That I have to put “Lights Out” in quotations and 2. I predicted that Vince Wilfork would be the first.
14-6 Patriots 3:46 left 2nd quarter
4:19pm Ellis Hobbs picks off Rivers. Dad and I are getting jobs applications right now to work at the State Fair guessing people’s weight right now.
4:21pm 8 yard run by Kevin Faulk. Phil Simms points out a block my Logan Mankins where he completely pins down a linebacker and appears to throw a punch at his ribs.
Me: “Look at him, that’s the beard of a guy that would punch a someone”.
Amanda, My sister. “That’s a good comment to make about someone”
I have a rule, when someone likes what I say; I put it in the Diary.

4:25pm Apparently "Dexter" is coming right up, in 4 WEEKS from now. I better hold all my plans for February.
4:29pm Antonio Gates makes his first catch of the game and Phillip Rivers is apparently taking night courses at the Donovan McNabb School of clock management. Good for you Phil, you just furthered your longevity of your career by taking two time outs on back to back plays inside the Red Zone and not hurrying to the line. #5 would be proud.
4:33pm Kaeding lining up a 40 yard fg with 12 second left. Kaeding has missed a field goal in all 4 of his career playoff games. Not this time. Nick Kaeding hits the field goal and Nick is fired up. Phil Simms then spends a full minute explaining why.
4:36pm Gates and Rivers leave the sideline with 8 seconds left in the half. I feel like I should call Commissioner Goddell and let him know. He might want to suspend them both for the second half for this. Just a thought.
4:36.44pm first half ends 14-9 New England at the half.
After 1,540 words I’m taking my first time out of the day.


5:05 Second half starts with an inexplicable Brady interception that looks rather fluke-ish. I’m just saying it has that type of feel going right now. A San Diego promising drive gets snuffed out inside the 5, yadda yadda yadda I had some good chicken at half time and it’s now 14-12 Patriots.
5:10pm Maroney runs for an 18-yard game. The largest pick up by the Patriots today, good we got it, not so sure the fact that follows that is or not…..
5:11 First text message of the night. My buddy Zach proclaims that bad things happen when they throw the ball do Donte Stallworth which leads me to Jim Nantz type stat. Tom Brady has thrown two interceptions on three attempts today when trying to throw to a wide receiver who believes he has an alien alter-ego with him. He’s not coming back next year, either of them.
5:15 Apparently Laurence Maroney is alive and rushing the ball right now. After getting one rush in the first half of the Philadelphia game and bringing all Patriots fans trust in a running game lower than Hillary Clinton’s testosterone count. Right now he’s putting this offense on his back. I didn’t see any of this coming, not even Hillary.
5:17 Disregard everything I just said. Brady throws an interception to Antonio Cromartie in the end zone on third and goal. 3 picks on the day and I can’t see colors.

5:21 Belichick is starting to unleash the dogs a little bit, he brings Harrison off the corner, needless to say Rivers throws two balls away. Patriots get the ball back with a couple minutes left in the third quarter.
5:23 To further explain how, off this game is right now. Heath Evans just caught a ball down field; the full back just caught a ball down field. Tell me this game isn’t bizarre.
Jim Nantz “We have one more quarter remaining to determine who will represent the AFC in Arizona at the Super Bowl.” Until this moment I had actually forgotten that. This game is taking its toll on me right now.
5:28pm Maroney just “Truck Sticked” a cornerback (unless the you’re the one person who hasn’t played Madden in their life, “Truck Sticked” makes perfect sense)
5:32pm Brady handles the pressure perfectly, great protection by Matt Light results in a touch down to Wes Welker. 21-12.

5:34pm I can finally see colors so I do a little research. In the 1990 NFC Championship game against San Francisco, New York Giants kicker Matt Bahr kicked 5 field goals to single handedly beat the 49ers 15-13. Thanks Wikipedia.org
I know one thing right now. 5 field goals might happen in this game for Nick Kaeding, but no longer will that alone with this game. Which is nice to have in the final quarter, to decide who will represent the AFC in Arizona at the Super Bowl?
5:40pm So how about Ladainian Tomlinson not playing this game? Norval might regret that? No? Then why is Rivers throwing every snap right now?
5:46 I swear I just saw Dusty Baker on the Patriot sideline. I cannot convey how terrified I am right now.
5:47pm Chargers call a timeout.

5:50pm I did some more research during the Chargers second time out. Our Dusty Baker look alike is actually Ivan Fears the running backs coach. Let’s keep him away from Tom Brady’s arm, you know just in case.
5:51 Dad: “3rd down and 3 to go. What do you run here?”
Me: “Run a screen pass to Faulk, it’s all that’s worked today”. The play went like this, courtesy of Gil Santos “Direct snap to Brady, has time throws over the middle. CAUGHT! Kevin Faulk! He gets the first down and more, out towards mid field. First down, Patriots!”
Thanks Gil.
5:58 Maroney picks up a first down with fewer than two minutes to go. This should do it. The Jogging Diary is going to Arizona to represent the White Hat Sports Blog in the Super Bowl. Oh Wait, the New England Patriots are going to Arizona to represent the AFC in the 42nd Super Bowl!
6:01pm Belichick looks like he is about to hit a camera man as he tries to shake hands with Norval at midfield. It’s a big night.
6:12pm As Andre Tippett and John Hannah present the Lamar Hunt Trophy to Robert Kraft I’d like to break this down a little bit.
-The Patriots are 18-0 in the 2007 season
- I’m 22 years old and the Patriots are about to play in their 6th Super Bowl in my life time. Which is incredible for a team who also finished a season 1-15 within my lifetime as well
“I’m glad we’re going someplace warm because I’m freezing my you know what off right now” Tom Brady to Jim Nantz during the post game trophy presentation.

We’re Jogging all the way to Arizona!


Friday, January 18, 2008

No Dale or Jeff?

A lot of NASCAR fans probably wonder how the sport would do if neither Jeff Gordon nor Dale Earnhardt Jr. were still around. Now, the two are the most popular drivers in the sport and sell more merchandise than any other driver in the sport. They bring fans, and with those fans come ratings.

However, the answer I have to this is: were there any fans when Richard Petty retired? What about David Pearson? What about Dale Earnhardt Sr., when he died? What about a year like 2005, when both Gordon and Jr. missed the Chase? Both drivers could just stand up and walk away, and if they did, I think the sport would go along just fine. Of course a big fan base wouldn't have their traditional drivers to cheer for, but they could find a new driver to cheer for.

You have guys like Tony Stewart, Jimmie Johnson, Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick, and a great bunch of young drivers like Martin Truex Jr. and Denny Hamlin.

Any of those drivers would be worth rooting for if you're a bandwagon fan or just want to pick a random guy and start cheering for him.

With or without Jr. and Gordon, the sport would lose a lot, but they'd have plenty to fill the holes with.

Aaron Larsen

Destination Glendale Arizona?

Everyone states that they like pressure and are clutch athletes. Growing up you wanted to be the next Michael Jordan, or maybe the next Joe Montana. When you look at pressure and the strain of a grueling 16 game regular season and post season, you have to admit that the New England Patriots are destined for a dynasty. When looking at this season thus far, how many teams can even handle the pressure of trying to stay perfect? The answer to that (after the 1972 season) is no one. Not one team was able to, even with 14 games in a row, there were NFL games added to the season since the ’72 season and with the NFL the goal is to have all teams equal and not a single team far superior. Well this year the Patriots were accused and found guilty of being cheaters (even though personally I believe that many teams have done this and Pats were just the ones to get caught). If it was a different team with fewer achievements over the past 8 seasons this would be a moot point if it was the Arizona Cardinals that had spygate, you really think anyone would talk about this? New England has been so successful they’ve been and are this season people won’t let it go.

What, in return, do the Patriots do? They work hard every day at the razor (a.k.a. Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Mass). They eat their “humble pie”…which is a t-shirt Adalius Thomas made and passed out to the entire team which reminds them to “be humble or get humbled.” There were a couple teams’ coaches (Wade Phillips and Tony Dungy) as well as players from the Pittsburgh Steelers, Jacksonville Jaguars, San Diego Chargers and other organizations that felt it necessary to have their moment in the spot light by attacking the New England organization, stupid move as we then contained or exploited that player embarrassing him and running through each of there respective teams. Simply put by Rodney Harrison, “you talk, we produce” and that is what the New England Patriots organization has been doing over the past 8 seasons. This isn’t knew to Patriot fans, every year there are players on other organizations who come out and attack the New England franchise and add fuel to the Patriots fire. As you know all automobiles need fuel to run, and the attacks on Harrison, Belichick and the franchise are what drive the New England Patriot automobile. It looks like this year the fuel is driving them straight to Glendale, Arizona and Super Bowl XLII.

The Pat’s are also destined for greatness in the future. New England has (via San Francisco) the 7th pick in the NFL draft this year. They may keep that or trade down for multiple picks and this is after being docked there own first round pick due to “spygate”. Their entire front three in their 3-4 defense are all under the age of 30 (Seymour, Wilfork and Warren). For now we just have to wait and see what happens this Sunday at the Razor vs. the Chargers game, but this franchise does not look like they are falling apart anytime soon, this franchise that is currently 17-0 and won 4 out of the last 6 Super Bowls, and the intricate parts of the team (Brady and Belichick) are both signed under contract to be with one another in New England for a minimum of five years,


Thursday, January 17, 2008

Norval, Billy and Brett

Norv Turner the Offensive mastermind
Norv Turner the Head Coach
I feel like someone should introduce these two guys to each other sometime, because at this point in his auspicious (and that's putting it nicely) career he's wilted under the pressure of wearing the nice polo on the sidelines because his success as a coordinator so far hasn't translated into head coaching greatness like Al Davis once thought (No Joke needed here). Let's look at the record.
Started as coordinator for the Dallas Cowboys of the early 90's and when Barry Switzer left, was adored so much by star quarterback Troy Aikman that he claimed Jerry Jones was screwing the team up when he hired Chan Gailey as the head coach. He went to Washington as the head coach and finished his time there 10 games under .500. He then left there for two successful stops in San Diego and Miami as offensive coordinator before taking the job as head coach of the Oakland Raiders. Bad idea and he was fired after two seasons winning a combined 9 games and some how got a reprieve to be brought back to San Diego this time as the head coach and here we are. He is ready to step toe to toe with the the greatest coach in the modern era of football, Bill Belichick. If you're wondering if this is enough to bet the farm on the Patriots, stop because it is.
The great Bill Simmons has described the discrepancy the best in his Gambling Manifesto Rule NO. 4 lines one and two saying "How would you feel if they did a split screen of the two coaches and realized that you backed the one who looks like an over matched doofus?" This rule was made for this weekends game, how would you feel, looking at a three time Super Bowl winning head coach (as well as two time Super Bowl winning defensive coordinator with the Bill Parcells Giants) or Norv Turner, resume need not apply? I'd feel like Steve Bartman if I'd picked Norv. By the way, what kind of name is this? Norv? I looked it up, it's short for Norval? It kinda sounds like the kid who's mother dressed him in high school and was usually the manager of every team who ended up somehow buried in sweaty towels.
The Patriots are favored right now by 13.5 over the Norval Chargers. The line opened at 14 and moved as high as 14.5, but has now dropped down a point. Will the pats cover two touchdowns in the playoffs? I would have to say yes. I fully expect the Patriots to win this game and I'm not sure if I'd lay the point so quickly. The numbers support that they will, New England is 4-1 against the spread in the AFC Championship game and 8-3-1 against the spread in 12 home playoffs games. By the way, last week in a home playoff game against Jacksonville, New England didn't cover the 13 point spread, so that accounts for one of their three non-covers at home in the playoffs.
With injuries to Phillip Rivers, Ladainian Tomlinson and Antonio Gates this San Diego team looks primed for a blow out. But many thought that was going to happen last week in Indianapolis and not only did they cover, they won the game. In the absence of Rivers Billy Volek came in and helped pull off the W. The combo of Darren Sproles and Michael Turner filled in aptly for LDT. Does this mean that they are better without their three biggest offensive starters? Of course not, the only argument can be made about Mr. Rivers. Billy Volek is famed for his short stints for the Tennessee Titans, where if you extrapolate his numbers for a full 2004 season would be one of only a handful of quarterbacks to throw for 5,000 yards in a season. The thing to remember is that in one of those games he went against the Oakland Raiders (2004 Oakland Raiders are widely considered to be one of the worst defenses of all time. By the way, their head coach? You guessed it, NORVAL.)
The final verdict, take the Patriots to cover at home.

As for the Packers, Brett Favre is a River Boat Gambler, and a favorite of John Madden and honestly I have no idea how to pick this game. I do know that as Favre goes, so do the Packers. He will decide the game either throwing 3 interception or 3 touch downs. I'm staying away from this game because the last time that a team had the point differential in the playoffs and the turn over ratio that the Giants had this regular season it was 2003 when the Carolina Panthers made the Super Bowl. (Thanks to Aaron Schatz at Footballoutsiders.com) The spread is sitting at 7 right now which is decent. Because of what I'm calling the Favre-Factor, meaning all or nothing.
If pressed I would go with the Packers win, the projected forecast for Lambeau field is 3 above zero. So the tundra will be frozen, Lambeau will be dark and Eli will be in trouble. Take the Packers, lay the points and be a River Boat gambler yourself. You hope!

Game of Destiny

Throughout the history of sports there have always been teams that were considered "teams of destiny". Whether it be the 1980 American men's hockey team or the 2004 Boston Red Sox there seems to be a team every few years that shows you exactly why you watch sports. How can you tell if you're team is a "team of destiny"? I think that one is pretty simple. If you can take what actually happened to a team and turn it into a movie script that would be green lighted by Hollywood you know you have a "team of destiny".

This brings us to the potential Superbowl we could be facing this season. The Green Bay Packers and the New England Patriots both had seasons that could easily be made into movie scripts. The Patriots were scorned by the league after the first game for cheating, then managed to put together what has become the best season in the history of the NFL. The Green Bay Packers were supposed to be rebuilding. Brett Favre was ridiculed by the sports media everywhere for coming back for another season. He was washed up, was only going to hurt his legacy by returning. That rebuilding team with a washed up QB finished the season 13-3 and is now the favorite to win the NFC championship game this Sunday.

So the question now is which team is more of a "team of destiny"? Let's look at each team individually.

Green Bay Packers: Obviously Brett Favre gives the Packers a huge boost in a discussion like this. Everyone knows what he has accomplished in his career, so there is no need to go into detail about it. But while the discussion for the Packers certainly starts with Favre, it by no means ends with Favre. Ryan Grant was considered a scrub, a player who wouldn't make it in the NFL. Even the Packers after trading for him from the Giants didn't see anything special in him, and didn't get him into the offense till multiple injuries and poor running back play forced their hand into playing him. He has been arguably the best running back since he began starting. Now he has a chance to knock the team that traded him to the Packers, that called him washed up and no good, out of the playoffs. You could also look at the rest of the team. Most of the players on this Packers team are by no means household names. Most are either young guys that were considered developing or old guys that are "past their prime", and absolutely no one had them even going to the playoffs, never mind potentially winning the Superbowl.

New England Patriots: It's been fairly obvious all season long that watching the Patriots was watching history happen. Sure, they had their challenges on the way, but they still have yet to suffer their first loss this season. In the process of putting together the first perfect season since the 1972 Miami Dolphins they managed to break multiple individual and team records. They have the current golden boy of the NFL in Tom Brady. They have a player who was said to be washed up and to have a horrible attitude only to prove all the haters wrong in Randy Moss. They have a player in Wes Welker who looks more like a European football player than a American football player. They have an offensive line that is made of nothings and nobodies, guys that mostly were not supposed to make it in the NFL.

All this makes one thing clear; it is impossible to choose which one of these teams is this years "team of destiny" at this point. It's clearly all going to come down to the final game. Both of these teams need to make it to the Superbowl. If one of these teams loses this weekend the Superbowl will not be nearly as intriguing as it could potentially be. If these two teams make it to the Superbowl it has the chance to go down as one of the best games in the history of the sport. With the recent negative marks on the sporting world in the form of steroids, gambling, even death, it's clear this is exactly what the sporting world needs. This Superbowl, my friends, could be the first time we see two teams that can both be considered "teams of destiny". I've already got the name picked out for the movie. I think it should be called the "game of destiny".

Aaron Jackson



We are just 5 guys on a mission. Nope not really, that was more over dramatic than T.O's post game interview after the Cowboy's loss to the Giants in the Divisional playoffs and Dick Vermeil combined. To quote "The Great Dennis Green" "We are who you thought we were"
Look we're 5 guys who are taking a class and 4 of which are trying to graduate on time (Derek might go back we're not really sure yet about him).
Jackson. What can I say, he is the unofficial master of the of the unbuttoned collared shirt, the same one all the time.
Derek. He is the inspiration of this website. (Sorta, the teacher made a comment about him in the back of the room, we 5 minutes later needed a title and BOOM! a blog is born. Gotta love the Internet).
Aaron. Pretty much the one holdover from the Nascar explosion of 1997. I feel at this point you need this token member of any sports group. Read him, so we don't have to hear about Jeff Gordon's "dominance" anymore. PLEEASEEEE
Olderman. Once upon a time this young man was lost. He was lost in a glass case of emotion and t-shirts with expletives written about some of the greatest baseball players of this generation. Now he has reformed his ways so that he is more of a bandwagon fan than that girl who went to your high school who pretended to love sports while really just picking the teams who won everything or the Lakers (because she likes purple an thinks Kobe was innocent.)
Sterling. Well, I'm just a limousine riding, lear jet flying kiss stealing, wheeling dealing son of a gun. I'm almost the oldest ride in the park, but I still have the longest line in the park. WOOO!

Check back soon for more, (it will actually be about sports........probably).
NFL playoffs, there's gotta be something right?