Archive for December, 2009

Best games of the 2000s

Posted: December 31, 2009 in lists, sports opinion

We stand a mere hours away from 2010, let’s examine the best games of the 2000s.  In no particular order, this will probably be light on analysis because these lists are all over the internet. 

Texas vs. USC, 2006 Rose Bowl:  Star power on both sides, but Young shown the brightest on that night. 

Giants vs. Patriots, XLII (52):  Was there a better played Super Bowl?  Can’t think of one. 

Nadal vs. Federer 2008 Wimbledon:  This is the gold standard for tennis games.

Lakers vs. Kings, 2002 WCF:  A badly officiated Game 6 notwithstanding, this was the preeminent matchup for the NBA. 

Blazers vs. Lakers, 2000 WCF:  Except for the Game 7 drought, this was a very well played game.  Depth vs. two deep. 

Diamondbacks vs. Yankees, 2001 World Series:  Another consecutive Yankees win would have cemented their status as a lasting dynasty.  The D-backs stood in their way and prevailed.

Syracuse vs. Kansas, 2003 NCAA National Championship game.  This was never truly out of reach until the very end when Kirk Hinrich badly missed a desperation trey.

Flyers vs. Penguins, 2000 Stanley Cup playoffs:  This is the 3rd longest NHL overtime game (5th overtime period) and it’s in the playoffs to boot.  A young Stank-0 remembers being in a friend’s dorm room and watching the last period and all of the overtime.  Luckily, Stank-0 lived in Arizona at the time so it wasn’t that late when it was over. 

Stank-0 truly believes sports will not bless us with the quality of performances we saw in the 2000s ever again.  The NBA and NFL have changed the rules to allow for more scoring and upset the balance between defense and offense. 

Agree?  Disagree?  Other additions?

One more thing.  This blog will most likely be off the grid bringing in the New Year.  It’ll all spark back up on Sunday. 

HAVE A SAFE AND HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Want to get away?

Posted: December 31, 2009 in NBA, sports opinion

The Wizards are in need of a change. Who do they move? I think the Butler is untouchable, why not move the bigs? They ain’t playin anyway, at least get some value out of them. Agent 0 needs to go but his contract is too big for him to move.

The Wizards are in horrible straits, but they do have a foundation to build upon.  JaVale McGee is going to be a quality big unfortunately we don’t have a time machine to accelerate his development so he can play now. 

Haywood got drafted on the strength of going to North Carolina and then promptly got his Casper on.  Haven’t seen him since.  He hits teammates harder than he hits the boards. 

Enough jokes though, if the Wizards do re-set, who do they build around?  I think Butler becomes the man in DC, and Mike Miller his sidekick.  How do they move Agent Zero?  His deal is enormous so finding the right contracts to make that work is well nigh impossible.  The bigs they utilize aren’t very good, and the bench isn’t very good. 

Let’s play this out.  The Wizards build around Butler, and attempt to move Agent Zero.  With his deal the only players that are comparable are other superstars and that doesn’t leave many.  Ideally, they sit on him until the trading deadline and see if CP3 wants out of N.O.  The contracts should be comparable but the trade value isn’t so the Wizards have to throw in Haywood and a future pick. 

Now you have a point guard and a forward to build around.  The management tell CP3 they will draft to utilize his talents.  If you were a Wizards’ player, wouldn’t you want to play with CP3?  You would run the break harder because the ball could come from any angle.  Suddenly the game isn’t so difficult anymore.  Hell, I’m smiling just thinking about it and I’m not in the NBA.  The players would LOVE to play with CP3.

If that doesn’t work, then deal straight up for McGrady.  There deals are comparable so some throwaway pieces and contracts have to be added but the numbers should be about right.  Then deal McGrady to the only team with an abundance of talent, the Memphis Grizzlies.  Obviously, Mayo and Gay are untouchable but everyone would be in play.  Maybe get Gasol?  Conley Jr.?  The pieces are there. 

This is basically telling the Wizards and their fans that the season is a wash though.  Doubt the GM and/or coach would survive until the next season. 

If they can’t move Zero, then they move him to shooting guard.  Zero is not a point guard, say it with me now.  He is a tweener at best and an undersized 2 at worst.  Did you see him in college, nothing about his game said point guard.  It’s not his handles it’s his mentality.  His mentality is put the ball in the basket, not facilitate the offense. 

I understand writing about the DC area is usually the domain of Stank-0 but I’ve seen enough of Zero to know that he is not what the Wizards should have spent so much money on.  He’s good but not franchise-player-money good. 

Am I overreacting? 

The emperor has no clothes

Posted: December 29, 2009 in NFL, sports opinion

I may be in the minority within this blog and the wider NFL viewing audience, but I was never under the illusion that the Vikings were Super Bowl contenders.  Sure their offense is nice and shiny, but they are being led by a 40 year old man.  Regardless of who it is, a 40 year old man is bound to slow down through the course of a normal NFL season.  

    AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast

Unfortunately, this isn’t a normal season.  The Vikings had to keep pace with the then smoldering Saints who were marching towards perfection.  With the Saints slowing down, the Vikings thought they could coast into the playoffs as well. 

That’s the conventional wisdom, which is usually marked by being…well…conventional thinking. 

I contend we were led to believe the Vikings were greater than what they were because of their schedule.  Their opponents:  Browns, Lions, 49ers, Packers, Rams, Ravens, Steelers, Packers, Lions, Seahawks, Bears, Cardinals, Bengals, Panthers, Bears, Giants.  I took the liberty of highlighting the playoff caliber or playoff teams.  That is only 6 teams in their schedule, the Packers are highlighted twice. 

The Vikings should thank God they aren’t in the AFC because they are 1-2 this season against AFC playoff caliber teams. 

Look the Vikings are still a good team, but not Super Bowl ready.  I wish there was a nicer way to say that but it’s the undeniable truth.  It’s not purely Favre’s fault either.  He is the best QB on their roster.  Honestly, Rosenfels nor Jackson would have led the Vikings to where they are right now.

I also doubt it’s the play calling of Childress.  Maybe the league caught up to what the Vikings were doing?   Earlier in the season, it was AD to set up Favre.  Teams are putting 8 or 9 at the line and forcing Favre to beat them and this formula has been successful to beat the Vikings of late. 

Here’s the problem, do you have Favre throw 30-40 times a game to set up AD or keep running AD against 8 or 9 in the box to set up the pass?  Neither of those options is a good solution.  How about the Philly solution, screen passing?  Unfortunately, Chester Taylor is a better receiver from the backfield than AD but AD is the superior athlete. 

AP Photo/Mel Evans

Defensively, someone needs to make plays on the front four.  Teams are learning that if you double Allen, it kills the pass rush.  Williams Wall is mostly for run stopping. 

The Vikings have some things to work on as the playoffs approach.  Otherwise, it won’t matter who the QB is because they will be watching the Super Bowl at home.

Pressure

Posted: December 28, 2009 in NFL

Let’s get this outta the way.  Coach Caldwell pulled Peyton from a meaningless game?!  Add the exclamation point to denote that Caldwell is insane.  They could have gone undefeated. 

Ask the Patriots how much an undefeated season matters.  The pop of “going undefeated” isn’t as impressive anymore.  The Patriots marched to the Super Bowl unbeated, and this year the Saints and Colts went to 13-0.  It’s not as unachieveable as it used to, but that’s not what’s important here. 

By pulling the starters, the goal is now very clear.  Ring or bust.  That has even more pressure than an undefeated season.  It also doesn’t help that the Chargers are tailor made to beat the Colts.  See he could have gone all Sun Tzu and never shown his hand.  “Analysts,” “experts,” and studio talking heads would have been going back and forth and the Colts never would have had to show their hand.  Now we all know.  This season where Peyton will likely collect his record 4th MVP award is all for nothing if they don’t win the Super Bowl. 

Let’s be honest.  If Peyton stays in…that game is over.  They don’t have the defense to stop Peyton.  Period. End of discussion.

The Jets just may skate into the playoffs because their next game is against a team already in and needing to rest.  Stank-0 would much prefer Baltimore or Tennessee to get in. 

There’s really not much else to talk about.  The NFC playoff picture is mostly settled just seeding.  The AFC picture didn’t clear up because the wild cards are still very much in play.  Two teams at 8-7 and a gang of teams just behind them hoping and praying they stumble next week.  The Broncos have a division game so who knows, however, it is against the woeful Chiefs.  And it’s in the Mile High city. 

Next week the Eagles visit the Cowboys and that will be a game to watch. 

The Eagles puzzle me.  They turn it on and then seem to think they can coast to a W.  Their offense is impressive, but they don’t kick you when you’re down.  They’ll learn.  DeSean Jackson can’t weigh more than a wet noodle, yet you saw the great Champ Bailey locked on him.  That is quite a statement. 

The Cowboys got a gimme.  The Redskins’ D is clearly tired and ready for the season to be over.  They should be.  It’s been a long strange year.     

One more week, gentlemen and then it gets real. 

Double Feature

Posted: December 22, 2009 in NFL
(courtesy of NFL.com)

Week 15

The Colts hung on to win again.  These nailbiters are going to be helpful come playoff time.  This many pressure situations will have a calming effect when it’s win or watch at home next week.  The Jags have lost 9 of 10 to the Colts, but it looked like they were gonna pull this one out.  Then it all fell apart and the Colts stole another one. 

How is this the only home sellout the Jags have had?  Well, when your hometown team is more up and down than a Six Flags roller coaster, people tend not to come and watch.

As you already know the Cowboys beat the Saints leaving the Colts as the last undefeated team in the NFL.  The Saints were playing with luck and it eventually ran out.  The Boys left a blueprint no one else can really follow.  They created front four pressure and were able to use the rest of the defenders how they saw fit.  Very few teams have the front four the Cowboys do. 

The Bengals seem to be in wait-and-see mode about the playoffs.  Understandably, football becomes significantly less important when you lose anyone this early.  Seeing Ocho in tears brought tears to Stank-0’s eyes as well.  It was moving because it was so un-Ocho like.  If you have been following him on Twitter it shouldn’t come as a surprise though.  He had been posting pics of Henry aka Slim most of the last week.  The Bengals certainly made a game of it.  The Chargahs have been too hot in December to slow down now.  Everyone was contributing, and Stank-0 means everyone.  Every skill player got a carry or a reception.  The AFC playoff picture favors the Chargahs because they are tailor made to beat the Colts…in their own house.  The Bengals need to win in the near term to lock up the AFC North let alone playoff positioning. 

The Vikings offense has suddenly looked pedestrian of late.  AD has been bottled up, and Favre is looking a bit unsure of himself.  The PANTHERS humbled the Vikings on Sunday Night.  Stank-0 will say it one more time for emphasis, the damn Panthers.

The Titans are red hot right now.  Times are so good in Nashville that Fisher is huggin up on Vince like they were homecoming king and queen. The thoughts on Young’s demise as a NFL starting QB were premature.  They are now logjammed at 7-7 with about 4 other teams, including the Dolphins, whom they bested in OT.

The Packers and Steelers played the second best game on Sunday behind Miami @ Nashville.  It was back and forth for much of the day.  Then with time expiring Roethlisberger tossed a strike to win the game.  He passed for 503 yards, 3TDs and 0 INTs.  That is five hundred and three yards.  Not a typo.

My Chiefs allowed Josh Cribbs to run wind sprints up and down Arrowhead Stadium.  After the first runback, how about we try NOT kicking to him again?  Hell, kick it out of bounds and let them have it at the 40.  Brady Quinn is not going to singlehandedly beat anyone.  Lucky for him he didn’t have to.  Their running back, Jerome Harrison, hit us on the ground for 268 yards.  Not a good day for the Chieftains, against a very beatable team.    

Holmgren to Cleveland

We mentioned that Holmgren was interested in the Cleveland job, inexplicably.  Well he is now Mike Holmgren, president of the Cleveland Browns.  The next question is Mangini’s status.  That will have to be answered or the speculation will hit a fever pitch.  After that which QB is the man and what to do with the other one. 

P.S. How touching was Ocho’s tribute to Henry?

I thought he was dead

Posted: December 18, 2009 in NFL, sports opinion
https://i0.wp.com/sports.espn.go.com/i/magazine/new/lawrence_phillips.jpg

Color Stank-0 surprised, but former Nebraska Cornhusker running back Lawrence Phillips is going to do a 31 year bid. Phillips came into the NFL with alot of promise and then subsequently flopped.  HARD. Phillips was in the same draft as Eddie George. Lawrence claims that he didn’t get a fair trial.  Maybe he can file an appeal and get a retrial.

Thirty one years is a long time.

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[Disclaimer: This is a Stank N Werds joint.  Enjoy.]

The extraordinary play of the sensational freshman John Wall brings one-and-doners back into the spotlight.  So let’s examine it from a few vantage points.

NCAA:  This is cheapening their product.  These indentured servants student-athletes leaving after only a single season is making a mockery of an athletic scholarship.  It is also depriving them of any type of educational base if their professional aspirations do not pan out.  It is also eroding that bond that fans and boosters have by getting to know a player for a few years.

[Stank-0’s note:  Look the NCAA is using these players’ numbers and sometimes names to make money and lots of it.  So what if they can only exploit said player for one year versus 2,3, or 4 years.  Without these players, no one would be watching the NCAA tournament every March. The NCAA is forgetting that if someone else came along and did what the NCAA is doing then the NCAA would be useless.  They aren’t exactly irreplaceable.  The integral piece to this equation is the “student-athlete.”]

School: It can create a feedback loop.  Once a school starts taking a one-and-doner, others will come to that school.  It also helps get that schools name out there if their respective player(s) is very very good.

[Stank-0’s note:  Again boo MFing hoo!  If this kid is that good they can fill up arenas, sell jerseys, print his face of media guides and programs, put posters in Times Square, get coaches a bigger deal at a better school (Let’s keep it all the way hunnid, UK>Memphis) etc making lots of cake.  Most schools will take this arrangement because there’s money to be made.

Coach:  There is never an foundation to build upon.  They are in constant recruitment mode, always looking for a player to replace the one that left.  It’s difficult to build a successful long term program on the backs of one-and-doners.  They are starting from square one over and over again.

[Stank-0’s note:  If they don’t want the headache and stress of constantly reloading then leave the one-and-doners alone.  Again what coach wouldn’t take a chance that a freshman can lead them to a title, think Syracuse and Carmelo Anthony.  Not sure what Melo’s motivation was but after he won the title as a frosh, there wasn’t much more he needed to accomplish and he had NBA ready game.  Now every coach is trying to find that Melo to lead them to the title.  One other frosh got close.]

Player:  The player(s) with obvious NBA ready skills get to go immediately and stop wasting their time and everyone else’s pretending to get a college education.  That one year also allows them some free marketing.  In a way this is good because it allows the other players to get some shine after the one-and-doner leaves the scene.

[Stank’s note:  On the flipside, since many expect to leave soon they never really get a chance to develop or refine their skill set.  They don’t get a chance to hit the weight room enough.  Or even just be a normal stupid 18-19 year old kid.

Underbelly: This is where the AAU coaches can start to thrive and land “assistant coach” gigs because they can bring a one-and-doner to a respective school.  Or they simply take cash under the table, etc. This also has implications, ie. OJ Mayo and USC. ]

After looking a the facts, the vilification of one-and-doners isn’t that bad. If we are to use Adam Smith here, they are behaving according to the invisible hand of economics.  People do what’s in their best economic self-interest.  Now it may or may not be affecting the NBA product but that’s a blog for another time. 

Co-sign, these players are being forced to spend a year doing something so they decide to go to school.  Maybe more will go the Jennings route.  Who knows.

Are one-and-doners just a reaction to the age rule?  Any other thoughts? 
 

In memoriam

Posted: December 17, 2009 in memoriam, NFL

Stank-0 heard about this story yesterday evening and was hoping for the best.  Unfortunately, it is not so. 

Bengals wideout Chris Henry has passed away from injuries sustained from falling out of the back of a pickup truck.  He was involved in a domestic dispute with his fiancee.  He was 26.

The Benglas have had their season of grief in 2009.  Their defensive coordinator lost his wife to cancer in October and now they have lost their promising wideout. 

R.I.P. Chris Henry.  May your soul be in eternal peace.

Hope springs eternal

Posted: December 17, 2009 in NFL, Washington Redskins

Redskin Nation will think that Christmas came early.  Cerrato has stepped down!  If Snyder can stop trying to do his best Jerry Jones impersonation, maybe he can lure Mike Holmgren to Washington.

Now Stank-0 knows he went in on Holmgren yesterday, however, he will not need to “save” the Redskins.  They have the pieces in place they just need to start drafting responsibly and being financially conservative.  Hell Stank-0 himself could do that. 

Holmgren can help Zorn or whomever help Campbell and that O line.  The defense is just fine, no need to start fixing anything that isn’t broken. 

Or maybe Bill Cowher will get a phone call?

UPDATE!  The Redskins have made former Tampa Bay GM Bruce Allen the new Redskins’ GM.  My, that was fast.

Living off hype

Posted: December 16, 2009 in coaches, NFL, sports opinion

[Disclaimer: Stank-0 was planning something to celebrate our 400th post, but didn’t want to mess with M0yo’s post.  We’ll try to milestone #500 

UPDATE!: Obviously, Stank-0 didn’t learn to count properly.  This is the 400th.  Thanks those of you who have been with us for a minute.  We won’t stop, we can’t stop.]

Stank-0 is perplexed about Mike Holmgren potentially going to “save” the Browns franchise.  Make no mistake, the Browns need saving, like a stripper needs dollar bills.  Unfortunately, Mr. Holmgren is not the man to do it. 

What can Holmgren hang his hat on to qualify for this job?  He won a Super Bowl back in 1996 with Brett Favre.  Since?  He took the Pack back the next year and lost.  Then he took the Seahawks in 2005 and they lost to the Steelers.  What exactly is he supposed to bring to the table?

He has a gift for “molding quarterbacks?” Really?  Let’s see.  Joe Montana, Steve Young, Brett Favre, and Matt Hasselbeck have all been under his tutelage.  Out of that bunch, Hasselbeck is the only one he can really claim credit for.  The others are HOFers and we are to believe that Holmgren is the reason?

Let’s break this down with help from Wikipedia.

In SF, he was QB coach under Bill Walsh, then offensive coordinator. 

In GB, he was coach with a 71-23-1 (74.1% winning %) record, capped with two Super Bowl appearances and one win.  Not bad until you remember this was right at the end of the NFC’s Super Bowl dominance.  For about 15 years, the NFC could send anyone and be assured of a W.  So with that qualifier, this Super Bowl smack down of the Patriots doesn’t look so great anymore.  Then he snapped the NFC win streak the very next year by losing to the Denver Broncos. 

In Seattle, he was coach with a 72-56( 56.3% winning %) record, capped with a lone Super Bowl appearance which resulted in a loss.  This was a poorly officiated Super Bowl, and that’s putting it kindly. 

One constant with his teams has been good QB play, which Cleveland is lacking.  To have a good quarterback, you need a complementary run game and serviceable offensive line.  He had both of those in GB and Seattle. 

Stank-0 feels like this is Joe Gibbs’ second return all over again.  Some coaches are good and some are lucky.  Holmgren seems to have fallen squarely in the latter.  Holmgren isn’t a bad coach or he would have been summarily dismissed, but Stank-0 doesn’t seen the infatuation. 

If there was one or two coaches to pull out of retirement, it would be Tony Dungy and possibly Bill Cowher.  In the time it took Stank-0 to type “Cowher” he talked himself out of it.  So that leaves Dungy, however, Stank-0 likes hearing him dispense football knowledge on Sunday Night Football.

Is Stank-0 off base?  Is Holmgren better than presented here?  Whom else should be given a crack at helping the Browns?