Wednesday, February 22

This was no Miracle

The dream is over.

Not that there ever was one, really, but it's still over. We couldn't score when we held the other team to less than 5 goals, and when we scored more than 3, we couldn't hold them to less than 3. All in all, an abysmal performance. No one expected anything great, or even good, but I think we all expected passable. Passable is not what happened.

So what does need to happen? We need more Canadians to move to the USA. It's as simple as that. Brett Hull is Canadian, but he became a citizen of our fair country, probably because he felt bad for us. Peter Forsberg, Ilya Kovalchuk, Evgeni Nabokov, we will welcome you with open arms. We don't care if you can't really speak English, and we all know you love it in our country. I'll even mail you the requisite forms. Move to the American suburbs, put your kids in good schools, pay your taxes. Cheeseburgers and french fries will be included.

Just look how we've accepted other foreigners, athletes and otherwise. All Cuban baseball players love it here. The Shah of Iran felt at home. You'll love it, I swear.

Tuesday, February 21

Oh, and we need you to piss in this cup on your way out

Before looking at any trade possibilities with your team, it's important that you first identify which players you will stubbornly refer to as untradeable, that is, until a deal comes along so tempting that you can't help but swap your franchise player for Luol Deng and two first-round picks. For our purposes, the only players I considered untouchable (until I ran out of other ideas) were Allen Iverson and Shavlik Randoph. If you read this site with at least bi-weekly frequency, this should be approximately as surprising as finding out that the Chinese eat a lot of rice and there's a small faction in the Middle East who don't think that Americans are where it's at. All of the following trades work under ESPN's "Trade Machine," which I encourage everyone to visit and propose your own nonsense.

The Monster Mash
Trade #1: Kevin Garnett and Rashad McCants for Andre Iguodala, Samuel Dalembert, and Jamal Mashburn. One thing this trade has going for it is that it makes sense for both things. As you will soon see, this is not a prerequisite for most trades, and in fact cannot be the case if you expect to make a trade with Isiah Thomas. Minnesota gets to dump Garnett's contract and start over, and we get a monster talent and another monster contract. Rashad's not making many friends up north, and you can't trade 3 for 1, so he gets a nice new jersey as well. A recurring theme you'll see in a few of these trades is Jamal Mashburn, who you previously thought was on a beach sipping fruity umbrella drinks and trying not to make babies. Well, he probably is, but he's also on our payroll, and his $10 million dollar expiring contract is a hot commodity in the land of the lost GM.

Trade #2: Paul Pierce for Johnny Salmons and Jamal Mashburn. Similar to the previous trade, Boston dumps talent and a contract for two expiring contracts. Bonus for them in that they don't have to knit a new jersey for Mash, although he may drop by for a few pairs of sweats. Another solid move for the Sixers. May be tough considering that last year the Celtics turned down Pierce for Dalembert and Iguodala. But in the words of Ed Wade, "What do I know?"

Trade #3: Jesus Shuttlesworth and Robert Swift for Lee Nailon, Jamal Mashburn, John Salmons, and Michael Bradley (aka. all of our expiring contracts except Shavlik). In case I didn't present enough talent for contract swaps, here's another going our way. This one's even more fun because we get a superstar and a box-office draw in one deal, and he comes with his own personal butler.

Fun with Isiah
Steven Hunter and Michael Bradley for Channing frye, Trevor Ariza, and David Lee. It was only a matter of time and space before I got to a trade with the Knicks, and here it is. New York gets a couple of expiring contracts and rids themselves of dreaded talented players that Larry Brown would ultimately squander before leaving skidmarks out of town. The only problem with this deal is...

When Isiah signed on as the Knicks GM, there was a provision in his contract that he couldn't make any trades that didn't take on an awful contract and handcuff the team for at least the next two years. So we'll throw in Chris Webber and take back Penny Hardaway's expiring contract and you've got a blockbuster deal. The Sixers get young talent, the Knicks get another power forward with bad knees and a worse contract, and everyone's happy. If the Knicks hadn't traded away their draft picks I would have thrown those in here too.

The Truth
Trade #1: Kevin Ollie and John Salmons for Marko Jaric. Billy King thinks that he's getting a big point to play aside Allen, but he's actually trading two minute eaters for one turnover machine.

Trade #2: Billy King trades his bear claw and decaf coffee to Elgin Baylor for two packs of sugar (refined) and the rights to a cheese danish (lottery protected) in 2009.

Just for kicks, let's bust some blocks
Trade #1: The entire Sixers roster except Dalembert and Louis Williams (don't ask) for the entire Detroit Pistons roster except Kelvin Cato and Tayshaun Prince (more on this next week).

Trade #2: Allen Iverson and Shavlik Randolph for The Mamba, Luke Walton, and 23,000 barf bags.

Monday, February 20

Next year, Shavlik Randolph

So the All-Star game was actually decent.

Well, let's rephrase that. It didn't suck.

Ok let's rephrase that again. The game between the Detroit Pistons (with a sweet bench) and the Western Conference All-Stars didn't suck. Lebron played like Kobe last year and refused to pass. No one would give the ball to Gasol or Yao for who knows what reason. That actually really pissed me off. Instead of watching T-mac jack up 20 3's, why not pass the ball underneath, to his TEAMMATE. But whatever. When Kobe blocked Shaq and rubbed it in the big man's face, I thought Shaq might pop his head off, but he's a classy guy, and just went to the line and threw some awful shots at the general area of the rim.

Good stuff? There were some good dunks. The East, I mean Pistons, actually played real defense. The game came down to the final seconds of play. Tony Parker didn't play much. I had visions of Iguodala's behind the backboard (what do you even call that?) dunk still flashing through my head.

So, it wasn't bad. It wasn't good either, but it wasn't bad.

Friday, February 17

It's Faaaantastic!

Remember when you were a kid and you would take apart your radio and then try to put it together again, maybe with a few rad decals? Well it just goes to show you that all those "if it ain't broke don't fix it" people are completely afuera de sus cabezas. Fixing stuff that isn't broken is always great, and it saves you the time and energy of arguing about whether something is broken in the first place. Here are eight changes for this weekend's NBA All Star game, as recommended by the green bleeder staff and friends. As always, consider yourself encouraged to toss in any ideas of your own.

Bring Back the Mascot Dunk Contest
Start off with a total no brainer. You can't beat the Phoenix Gorilla soaring eighteen feet for a triple front flip twice through the legs power slam. If nothing else, it's a great event to add to your list of things you've gambled on, right next to computer simulations of Madden.

Then Leave the Trampolines on the Court

For the first five minutes of the second half. Ladies and Gentlemen, start your insurance premiums. Anyone want to take bets on whether or not Vince could clear the backboard off a trampoline? Three-point dunk? Sky's the limit here, literally.

$5 Million to the Dunk Contest Winner
This idea didn't start with me, but I'm more than happy to give it fresh legs. While extra cash might not bring in some of the big big names, it'll certainly get top effort out of a few rookies "scraping by" on $600,000 a year. Drag in Nike and Reebok, hike the price up to $20 mil, and see if LeBron doesn't lace em up. It would also be nice to see a few guys try to come out of retirement to compete.

Half-court shootout to settle any controversies
Jump Ball? Half court shootout. Flagrant Foul? Half court shootout. Who has to pay alimony to that groupie someone on Seattle got pregnant last month? Half court shootout.

Captains
Take the top two vote getters, put them at half court, and have them pick their teams schoolyard-style. I figure they'll start with the premiers, grab a couple bigs, then make sure you get the mega close-up when Pau Gasol gets picked last. Although you could make a strong case for Kobe as the caboose.

Mamba Said There'd be Days Like This
This one's up to the players, but nothing would be better than giving Kobe 48 minutes of "fat kid with the rec-specs" freeze-out time. Keep him on the court, keep letting him yell and hold up his hands, and keep feeding it to McGrady and Duncan. Could he make it through the first half without punching Tony Parker in the kidney, stealing the ball, and climbing all over Yao for the slam?

Bring in Some Rock n Jock Provisions
But not Dan Cortese, unless he's wearing a tux and playing 'Jolly Green Giant' on a grand piano. But definitely add in the 10 point shot and the twenty-five foot high basket. But again, no Justin Timberlake, and absolutely no Dean Cain. I'd listen to arguments for Dr. Dre and Ed Lover, but they'd have to be strong and well-articulated.

All-Star Zebras
How about a ref trio of Bill Laimbeer, Ron Artest, and Charles Oakley. I might be amenable to giving Kobe the ball if we had these guys in stripes.

Thursday, February 16

USA USA USA USA

I love the Winter Olympics. I like the summer games, but I really prefer winter, for a few reasons. A) Hockey, B) Hockey, C) Hockey, D) luge/curling/skiing/all the other business.

So I'm enjoying this week and next, watching the USA do it's best to make everyone hate us for even more reasons. So far it's all been pretty exciting. Luge is crazy, curling is hilarious, women's hockey was entertaining. Downhill skiing remains totally insane and awe-inspiring. Freestyle skiing has literally become twice as good as last olympics.

But really what I want to see is hockey. This is the world cup of hockey. I want to watch Flyers players on international teams, and I want to watch Team USA try to put something together (disregard that tie game yesterday, and chalk it up to jet lag). Ken Hitchcock coaching the Canadian women was truly hilarious to me for some reason, as I can picture him somehow offending everyone in the locker room. In fact, it's just hilarious picturing him in a women's locker room in general. Then again, he's an assistant for the Canadian men's team, so maybe he saved it for the guys.

In all seriousness though, this might be some of the worst sports coverage I've ever witnessed. Granted, many of the sports in the winter olympics are slightly....well, let's say "eccentric," having a color guy who doesn't know the rules or parameters or participants in an event really makes for bad commentary. I'd rather watch and listen to the sounds of the game than listen to some jackass expound on what little he knows about it.

Turn Back the Clock

"He'd be perfect for us. Perfect. The thing I like about kids like this is they only have one agenda, and that's to play.”
-Jon Barry

And that's how it began. A scrappy, eighteen year old Serbian seven-footer with a dream. A dream to play 553 minutes over three and one half seasons. A dream to practice with the best team in the league and keep the bench warm for a roster of consisting of six all-stars and a Finals MVP. A dream to be a champion.

"That kid can play. Too bad he can't suit up tonight."
-Richard Hamilton on Darko

That's right Rip, it is too bad. It's too bad that Larry Brown, the master of nonsense lineup shuffles, couldn't find court time for a player with so much upside, length, and dynamacy.

"He is quick, with a great understanding of the game (he is smart as a fox)"
-NBA Draftnet

Well, perhaps we have underestimated his sneakiness. One of the things that remains about Darko is that he is still a relative unknown in the league. We know a bit about what he can contribute to garbage time, take for example his line from the January 14th game vs. Chicago: 6 minutes, 0-0 shooting, 1 board, 3 assists (nice), and 2 fouls. He may be smart, but he's no Shavlik Randolph. Frankly, I doubt Darko has ever considered robbing a Miller truck. Fortunately, the Pistons did a solid job of showcasing young Darko over the past two months, where he put together 6-7 from the floor in a stratospheric 25 minutes.

"That's a freak of nature right there”
-Joe Dumars on Darko

And Joe stands by that to this day. Good thing, because it's tough to squeeze a first round pick out of Orlando without tremendous PR. Have fun with Stevie, you could be the next Cuttino Mobley. Or the next Christian Laettner, if you play your cards right.

It's too early to pass judgment on the trade, but whether you love Darko or you love to laugh at him, this is a boon for his minutes. So the fans win big, which is a first in Orlando. As for the Pistons, I think it's tough to sleight them given they won a championship and made it to another. Give them a player with known talent (Wade, Carmelo, Bosh- your pick), could they have done much better? It's difficult to imagine Larry giving any of these guys run, and in the end maybe the fans and the league would have been worse off for missing out on player who's position the league tailors to. Maybe Dave Stern and Paul Tagliabue got together and said "things are going okay, but what we'd really like is if we could skew the rules completely in favor of shooting guards and wide receivers." You know, take the most athletic players on the field, then make things a little easier for them. Interesting that the rule in both sports is approximately "a penalty should be assessed if the defender considers thinking about impeding the progress of the stronger, faster offensive player.

How does it end for Darko? As Joe Dumars says: "Darko is a young player and I think he's going to get an opportunity to play," which is more than he ever had in Detroit. However the dice fall for Milicic, here's to hoping that he doesn't do much to spoil one of the best nicknames of the modern era, "The human victory cigar." Smoke em if you got em, Detroit.

Tuesday, February 14

Dude, Where's Your Defense?

Fact #1: Kyle fills it
The fact that Kyle is our greatest three point threat since Dana Barros made a deal with the devil during the 94-95 season is indisputable. It's also a ton of fun. Great teams have players with well-defined roles. Mediocre teams have players with well-defined roles like "has long hair and wet jumper."

Fact #2: Whoever Kyle is guarding fills it; hard

This is also tough to argue, but it has more gravity that the obvious first point. Kyle's defensive shortcomings are numerous and well documented. He has trouble with quicker two-guards and can't muscle up with powerful threes. He can be taken off the dribble, but with Violet Palmer around, who can't?

Fact #3: He fits the team
If your team identity is based around winning scoring battles, there's nothing wrong with having a wingman who can't do anything but shoot. In fact, he's exactly what we need. If he was lighting it up in Denver, and we had Salmons and Webber bricking 25 footers all game, fans would be lined up at Billy King's door begging for a shooter. He's instant offense and that might be enough.

Fact #4: Iverson trusts him
He still wants the ball in his hands with the clock winding down, but he might be the only player on the club that Allen doesn't mind dishing to when he picks up a triple-team. The fact that Allen believes in him cannot be understated.

Fact #5: Stats
According to ESPN's John Hollinger, Kyle's numbers are below the league average, which is not surprising, and he is most similar at his age to Jumaine Jones, which makes no sense at all. His individual stats on 82games.com cast him as a slight contributor, with a net of .4 points per 100 possessions. But the real explanation of Kyle's worth comes through the team statistics. Of the Sixers top ten 5 man units, Kyle and Allen are the only players who appear in all six of the units with a winning record. (No surprise that the top unit is Iverson-Iguodala-Korver-Randolph-Webber, a unit which has only received 44 total minutes this year).

Which of these is important? Taking into account his ability to smash open threes, probably his most valuable asset is the faith that Allen has in him. Accepting the fact that this team isn't going to play much defense with or without Kyle, you've gotta be happy to have him aboard in any capacity. Misuse of talent is Mo's problem and while he's not going to win many (ok, any) one-on-one tournaments, Kyle is an invaluable contributor to this team.

Friday, February 10

Gotta Have It: The First Block King of Africa

Not twenty, not fifty, but one hundred and forty-three Manute Bol basketball cards can be yours if you get your act together quick. That's 41+ feet of Manute action! You could line them up on the wall and make five and a half Manute towers! Imagine the possibilites. If you're worried that shipping to France might be too expensive, relax, it's covered in the Q&A session following the description. Whew.

Thursday, February 9

Hypothetical: Ice Fight!

In the near corner, wearing black and gold trunks, standing six feet, two inches and weighing in at 230 pounds, from Bedford, Indiana...Donald Brashear! And in the far corner, wearing black trunks with dried bloodstains, standing five feet eleven and one-half inches, weighing in at 239 pounds, from Brooklyn, New York..."Iron" Mike Tyson.

We'll fight at the Spectrum, center ice, with both fighters wearing skates. Initally this seems like another Tyson blowout, but greasing the sheet really throws a wrench into things. I think Mike struggles mightily in the early rounds, but finds his footing and prevails with a TKO in the 7th.

If the cold weather's getting you down, feel free to raise the temperature 40 or 50 degrees and take this one on: Mike Tyson versus Michael Phelps in the deep end of the pool, with no side touching allowed. (I've got Tyson with a first-round disembowlment)

Q&A:

Q: Gloves? Hockey or Boxing?
A: Hockey gloves, which will be thrown off at the onset of the fight

Q: Who's doing the promotion? This will decide how long into the fight Tyson takes a dive.
A: My set up wasn't a true Pay-per-view event, more of an organized streetfight. On ice.

Q: As far as the Phelps battle, how big is the deep end?
A: For this one, I conceptualized an endless pool. I'm starting to see that this could lead to a "fight flight" issue, so let's now assume that it's a square pool, 15 yards on each side.

The Time has Come

Monday Night Football as we know it is over forever. Long gone are the days of Al Michaels quietly commenting on the game with Madden romancing on and on about Turduckens. So it's going to be on ESPN now, and ESPN's Sunday night game will be on network TV. Granted, for most of the population, this switch over is fairly meaningless, as we all get both ESPN and network television. This event, however, is more momentous than it seems. Sure, Madden and Michaels are gone, but in to replace them are Tony Kornheiser, Mike Tirico, and Joe Theismann. Everyone knows these guys. We've heard Tirico doing college football, golf, and commentating, and he will be doing the play-by-play. Theismann and Kornheiser will be the color guys.

I'm sure we can all agree that Madden's banter was becoming a little stale, if not played out. He's a funny guy, a Hall of Famer, and he cuts Turduckens in half with his bare hands. But I'm fairly certain we've heard all that Madden has to say. I wish him a fond farewell, but seriously, Tony Kornheiser on TV for more hours???? What else could we possibly wish for? If you've ever been to DC you might have heard him on the WIP of that area. Obviously you've seen him on PTI, and maybe you've read his column that's published in the Washington Post. There's been a TV sitcom based on his life, he's an accomplished journalist and author, and he's a short bald Jewish guy. Really, could you think of anyone better to talk about football.

Now this all seems great, but I have a serious fear here. Kornheiser, to my knowledge, is quite unexperienced with live game commentary. Now, I think he'll do fine, and will be quite entertaining. But there's the doomsday scenario, and that scares me. What if this new MNF cast bombs, Kornheiser and Theismann hate each other, Tirico gets a broken nose trying to break them up, and they find a rotting Turducken tucked under their chairs. Here's the point. Kornheiser is a valuable part of our sports-loving community. So the problem is if they fail, and the public doesn't like them, will Kornheiser's brilliant role in my life be diminished? Will PTI be taken off the air? Will his column no longer be syndicated?

I am honestly scared of this. On the surface, this new cast seems so great, and I honestly believe they will be. But if that one in a million happens, don't come crying to me saying you miss Tony.

Tuesday, February 7

Uh...Thanks for the Memories, Fellas

The "On the Waterfront Award"
To Mike McMahon, who "coulda been a contender" and parlayed himself into a second round pick from the Dolphins if only he had a little class and less interest in completions to guys wearing numbers 50-59.

The Out of the Frying Pan and Into the Other Frying Pan Award
To Todd Herremans, who performed admirably in his rookie season while being put into more offensive positions than an East St. Louis hooker.

The Michael Corleone "Just When I Thought I was out" Award

To the Chargers game, where we put together a ton of defense, not much O, and all the luck in the world to think we still had some destiny on our side. I think everyone's feeling were pretty much along the lines of "if Matt Ware can get his, why not me?"

The "Start Shitting Me Tiffany Cufflinks" Award
To Reggie Brown, who was a 24 carat diamond in the pile of horseshit that was our 2005 Eagles season. It'll be fun next year to see how many people keep their #81 jersey, work a little needlepoint magic and jump right on the Reggie bandwagon. Just remember kid, with high hopes come even higher expectations.

The Cyberdine Systems Model 101 Award

To Five, who will have nearly nine months to report back to SkyNET for system rehabilitation. Dr. Miles Bennet Dyson reports that this year's quartback model should have worked out the "worm-burner" and "Roy Williams auto-target" quirks. For backstory, take a trip down memory lane.

The Elephant in the Corner of the Room Award

To Timmy Chang, the NCAA all-time leader in passing yards, attempts, and interceptions. Somehow I failed to notice that we signed this monster and allocated him to NFL Europe back in January. I am, however, aware that he fell short of breaking the great Ty Detmer's NCAA touchdown record, again displaying that the NFL gods have a sense of humor if not a sense of justice.

The Sammy Dalembert Hands Transplant Award

To Greg Lewis, who played this year like he spent all offseason grabbing Medusa's tits.

The Nacho Libre "Put Your Shirt Back On" Award
To Brian Dawkins, Jeremiah Trotter, and Mike Bartrum, the Eagles' Three Amigos in this year's Pro Bowl. Finally three of my favorite Birds have a chance to go to Hawaii and be part of NFL history as Peyton Manning tries to join the great Richard Gannon as the only players to win back to back Pro Bowl MVPs.

The Rocky Balboa Local Legend Award
To Todd France, who was fortunately able to parlay his three-game run with the Birds into a starting gig with the Philadelphia Soul. Say hi to Bill Gramatica for me.

The Alvin Mack Playbook Genius Award
To Koy Detmer, who "understands the offense" with the best of them and couldn't lead his team to a W if he had Joe Montana's arm and John Holmes'...PGA tour card.

The Tim Hauck Memorial Hit of the Year Award
To Lito Sheppard, who came off his man to knock Keyshawn back to his SC glory days. Sheldon Brown picked up the loose change on his way to another pro-bowl snub.

The Dennis Coles Award
To Jon Runyan, who completed his sixth consecutive season with the Birds without missing a game, including a full year's worth of playoff contests. Unfortunately, his neck/back hair will be unable to join Koy Detmer's neckbeard, Jake Plummer's mustache, and my U-beard in Hawaii this Sunday.

The Derrick Burgess Award
To Rod Hood, who played well enough to get snatched up in free agency and post 10 picks, 75 tackles, and 3 sacks next season for Arizona.

The Chief of Police "I Don't Like Your Jerk-off Behavior and I Don't Like you, Jerk-off" Award
To Dhani "shut the f%#k up" Jones, who became a top-notch on-field scapegoat during the 2005 campaign. To quote Homer Simpson: "Effigy eh? Yep, nothing burns quite like an effigy."

The Hal Morra Memorial "Great Idea That Went Nowhere" Award
When WIP was deciding what to do with all everyone's T.O. jersey, a buddy of mine came up with a plan to have everyone drive to his house and throw their jerseys on the lawn, which would serve the dual purpose of house cleaning and making his lawn green for once.

The Andy Reid Understatement of the Season
"It's tough to win football games like that."
-Insert wherever you see fit. It happened to be in response to the Zona game, but wow, imagine the possibilities.

The Sandals and Socks Street Clothes Player of the Year

To Jerome McDougle, who couldn't get a fair shot all season. Just imagine if he had a chance to get on the field and blow it like the rest of the team. Anything to put some pressure on the winner of the...

The Milk Carton Player of the Year Award
Which could go to no one but Jevon Kearse, who picked up a third of his 7.5 sacks during one half against one Elisha Nelson Manning. Thanks Freak!

The Pour Some Sugar on Me Strip of the Year
To Sheldon Brown, for his Samson-like strip of Reche Caldwell that set up Quentin Mikell's blocked field goal. Toss in Sheldon's league leading 25 passes defensed and you've got a man who's short two tickets to Hawaii. Enjoy your Mai-Tais, DeAngelo, Nathan, and Ronde.

The Jack of all Trades, Master of None Award
To Reno Mahe, who does everything just well enough to hog up a roster spot. To his credit he couldn't be a nicer guy and he did lead the league in punt return average. If he ran the ball as well as he answers phones and seats diners he could have a real place in the league.

The Preparation H Pain in the Ass Award
To Shawn Andrews, who could have half the city eating out of the palm of his hand (which would be a nice role-reversal) if not for his league leading holding and false-start numbers. Talent has a way of blinding fans to your screw-ups, but when you're pushing 4 bills it's tough to hide from anyone.

The Billy Batts Award
To Matt Ware, whose week seven heroics were just enough to take our attention away from how awful he is for any other game. But I'll admit that I've never felt a stadium go from graveyard quiet to Spinal Tap 11 like that before.

The "Free Mahi Mahi" Award
From Bud and Doyle right to you, L.J. Keep flippin' and floppin' and we'll work the ball your way because lord knows there's no one other than you and Reggie catching balls for this club.

The Black Knight "It's Just a Flesh Wound" Award
To Mike Lewis, who battled through some well-hushed injuries throughout an understandably tough year. My only complaint with his 107 tackles is that a third of those plays never should have gotten to the third level.

The Porky Pig Award
To "King Koybra" Detmer and his neckbeard (which is now a 7-year All-Pro and will be heading to Hawaii for the Pro-Bowl), who finished the season the way it had to end, with an interception to Redskins safety Ryan Clark, cementing his status as one of the best placekick/clipboard holders in the history of the Philadelphia Eagles.

Monday, February 6

One more thing

Is Samuel Dalembert currently sporting braids, or am I just seeing things? (not to mention two different colored socks for our Hatian-Canadian friend)

Also, hola to our new friends making their way over from Philly Future, Sports by Brooks and SI on Campus. Enjoy the show, and feel free to leave a comment or drop us a line.

I just have to say one thing..

If it wasn't for TiVo or DVR, I don't think I'd have been able to watch that game last night. Thank God for the pause function, followed by the fast forward function. There were moments when I thought a game might brake out, but they were fleeting at best, and equally boring at worst.

But when it comes right down to it, the good guys won. Would anyone have been happy if the NFC, and the entire NFL, had been represented by the Seahawks as champions for a year? I, for one, would have been sick to my stomach. The Steelers did have an impressive end of season, but the Seahawks managed to beat a large group of truly horrendous teams en route to beating some mediocre ones in the playoffs.

Let it be known that while my age, and that of my colleague and co-writer, matches that of Roethlisberger, the man is still too young to grow a beard, and maybe the Bus could've taken that extra step and shown some leadership in letting him know as much.

Introducing: Your Super Bowl Quarterback

Fun fact about me and Big Ben:
1. He's three months older than me.
2. He has two additional years of NFL experience.
3. I threw as many touchdowns, and in fact, two less interceptions than he did last night.
4. At the beginning of the year, I had this to say about Ben and Co.: "The Steelers are done. There's just too much film on Rothelsomething, and their corners can't hold water much longer."
5. Revised as of Feb 5, 2006: "The Steelers can thank whoever they want that they had fate, the zebras, Jerramy Stevens, and 40,000 fans on their side, because Ben's 9-21 with no touchdowns and two picks looks a lot better with a "W" in front of it."
6. I've never been this drunk in my life.

Friday, February 3

It's the Last Game of the Year

And thank god it's over. Since I've been on such a streak through these playoffs and the season as a whole, it's high time I grace yall with my Super thoughts. I've got Pittsburgh 21-17.

Here's why Pittsburgh win:

1. They're a better team, with better playmakers.
2. They don't have true weaknesses, especially ones that Seattle can exploit.
3. Joey Porter is starting to make Charles Oakley look like Ben Chapleski.
4. Seattle stormed the NFC and the worst division in pro sports before walking over one team with a quarterback whose last name rhymes with tanning (always a bad sign) and another who had to hand the ball off to their fourth-string running back (thanks Jake). You'd think Pittsburgh would have played a tough season in a heavier loaded AFC, but they actually only played six tough regular season games. Then they went on the road and beat the top three teams in the league. Granted they also beat a quarterback who had trouble throwing because both his hands were wrapped around his neck, but they had to beat a gang of blind zebras in that game as well. Point is, Seattle hasn't really been tested, so it's hard to say how much they've got. They've been able to coast on vanilla all season, and I think it's gonna be too hard for them to break out of it.

Here's why Seattle will cover:

1. Seattle's not bad, they're just boring. But after watching a few games, they're boring in a "fourth hour of the Victoria's Secret runway show" way as opposed to "Saturday afternoon at the DMV" boring. This is important.
2. They have playmakers at every level on defense and an all-world left side of the o-line, which means they can keep any game close.
3. Shaun Alexander is a fraud MVP, but he's still a top-five back. He'll get his.

Enjoy the show, It's all we've got.

Thursday, February 2

Hypothetical: Gladiators

This is a three-parter, so pace yourselves, but please do come up with an answer.

Part 1: What American Gladiators event do you think you'd have the best chance in? Think you could outfox Sabre in the Atlasphere? Maybe you'd try to get slick in Assault, dodge a couple tennis balls, and deliver a strike with the Nerf bow-and-arrow? Perhaps you want to lay it on the line and take on Tower and Nitro in the Gauntlet. I know for a fact that I could dominate The Wall, and get absolutely shredded in anything else.

Part 2: Could you finish The Eliminator in under 10 minutes? Questions to ask yourself include: Can I run up a hill? Operate a stair master? Complete the hand-bike section in under five tries? How about the spinning cylinder thing? I'm going with yes here, please let me know if you disagree.

Part 3: What if you could go against the "female" Gladiators rather than the men. Think you could do any better? Checking the stats, they're not quite as big as I remembered, averaging out around 5'7, 165, maxing out with Sky at 6'3, 185. I'd say you would again have no shot, especially in any events requiring skills such as quickness, endurance, or athletic ability.

Superbowl!!!

Let's get right to the point. Post-Football Depression, or PFD as I like to call it has already set in. There are of course many factors leading to this. Our season has been over for months, and this year's superbowl is downright sickening. The standard bye week has given us green bleeders even more time to remember last year. Wasn't it great? Remember that feeling when we lost? YEAH!

The Seahawks have always irked me. They have been copying our uniforms for years, and their mascot is a product of complete fabrication (although I'd take a Seahawk a million times before I took Hip-Hop). Their coach is a mirror image of ours as well. Holmgren has in fact taught Andy everything he knows: The west coast offense, the intimidating mustache, and the portly stature (alright maybe Andy got that last one on his own). Let's move onto Matty Hasslebeck. The Favre comparisons are starting to pile up (YAY!). Favre won the big one in his fifth year with Holmgren, and this is Matty's 5th year with Holmgren. Seattle also couldn't be farther away from here. I don't know anyone there, and I don't know any Seahawk fan's, I can't name half their starters. They are the ultimate "blah" team. Who cares about the Seahawks? Not me.

From my perspective, the Steelers are the foil to the Seahawks, the Chris Farley to the Seahawk's David Spade. EVERYONE (including secretary of state Condoleeza Rice) likes them to win and also to cover the 4. Well I don't. Screw Rice, screw Cowher, screw Bettis, screw those green high school jerseys, screw Polamalu and his hair, screw Big Ben (you think he knows it's just a drill?), and most of all screw the thousands of Steelers fans I went to college with. Honestly, I always liked the Steelers. Anyone who has played me in Madden knows how I feel about running the ball. I badly wish the Eagles would adopt a power running philosophy. And six years ago I might have rooted for them in the superbowl. But after spending the better part of a decade in central Pennsylvania, in close quarters with a multitude of Steelers fans I can't do it. I wished we could have played them last year, it would have been fun. But year after year I would walk down the street on Sunday in various Eagles jerseys, getting obscenities hurled at me drive-by style. Classy.

The bottom line is, I am bitter. Very very bitter. The Steelers are so damn happy to be there it makes me sick. And we all know that if misery loves one thing, it's company. I want to see Bettis answer this question, "Jerome, we all know you wanted to go out on top, that didn't happen. Are you still prepared to hang them up?" I don't want to see Steelers fans celebrating in State College. I want to call up my buddies from the steel city after the game with a smile on my face saying "Sorry buddy, I know how it feels." And then this atrocity of a season will be over, and PFD can continue on as scheduled.

Seahawks in an upset, 34 - 24.

Wednesday, February 1

Could it really be so?

I've really been avoiding this like the plague. It's a rough subject, one that most men would almost certainly shy away from. I'm not talking about Ben Roethlisberger's god-awful beard. I'm not talking about Darrell Jackson's snaggle-toothed grin. I'm not even talking about the small village that could possibly reside inside the Bus's belly.

Seriously I'm even avoiding it in this column. Let's talk about something else for a while. Like Shavlik. Can the man get some respect please? Has no one read us touting his abilities, offensively, defensively, Miller truck robbing? LET THE MAN PLAY BALL. He was born to do it, and if he gets on the court more, Mrs. Randolph might even start cutting Cheeks' steaks for him.

Ok. I think I've delayed it enough. I'm here to talk about important issues, and important issues are, well, important. So here it is. After watching the Flyers play the month of January with the gas tanks below the E line, I've finally come to the conclusion that my pre-season sentiments of invincibility are unfounded. The Flyers could very well not win it all this season, even though I really was convinced otherwise. That said, they could still do it. Easily one of the top 5 teams in the league. But this past month of mediocrity, and periods of outright destruction, I'm just not sure anymore. I know one thing, if we continue down the injury road, we will not find a 4 foot tall silver bowl at the end.

My point is, our team is not infallible. They must win games against bad teams. And they must play motivated in games against the good ones. They're not gonna have a pig-greased slip'n'slide to the Stanley Cup in front of them. So get ready for the Olympics, get ready for an action-packed Bobby Clarke-style trade deadline, and get ready for Hitchcock to turn up the intensity.

Admit it, You Have No Idea Who I Am

The Sixers are completely mired in mediocrity. Sitting a game above five-hundred and still drawing a half-full arena nightly (although they nearly sold-out Saturday, which led to a fantastic conversation between a weary box-office cashier and a completely bewildered Hal Morra), they have now gone three straight without Allen and may be losing what little luster they already had. They don't play much defense and I still haven't figured out their O, but they're all we've got and all we're gonna have. So for those of you struggling to find reasons to tune in, I've put together a few ways to make the Sixers experience a little more palatable.

1. Get a couple friends and wager on which nobody will put up career numbers against our sieve defense. This season has been dominated by wildly random 7th and 8th men going for 28 in 30 minutes. Highlights have included:

Gordan Giricek's 23 on 9-17 shooting
Greg Ostertag's five offensive rebounds in a quarter
Mehmet Okur's 25-8-8 on 8-12
Boris Diaw's 14-13-11
Pat Garrity's 24 on 9-11 (including 2 three's to start O.T.)

Before you scoff at what you might consider a big name, think quickly about just how much basketball you watch, and try to understand that just because you know that Greg Ostertag is the greatest shot blocker in Kansas history does not mean that the average person could pick him off the street. Tag is a nobody, Pat Garrity is a nobody, and Boris Diaw is a nobody whose stock is rising.

2. Go on full Shavlik patrol. He's not getting much run lately, which means you as a fan need to pay even more attention to him. He's always the first man off the bench after a made basket or a timeout. If you don't know what he looks like- he's the big white guy that doesn't play, as opposed to the big white guy that shouldn't play (see Michael Bradley).

3. Drink.

4. Appreciate Iverson and don't take him for granted (you might have to hold off for a couple more nights, although I predict he'll be back for the Detroit game)

5. Wish there was a Super Bowl game worth getting excited about. Or at least one that didn't have the Seahawks in it.

6. Write haikus about a player that played 42 minutes combined in the month of January.

"And tell the cook this is low-grade horsemeat"

In a turn of events which would be absolutely hilarious if it wasn't another reminder that the world is nothing but a place to stick advertisements, Churchill Downs has agreed to partner with parent company of Taco Bell, KFC, and Pizza Hut so that they can bring us the "Kentucky Derby, presented by Yum! Brands." Picture these guys stampeding around the boardroom trying to think of ways to boost taco sales when one genius comes up with the idea of a horse race. "We need something that says quality. Something that says speed and grace. These are the qualities we want reflected in our tacos. I know! The Kentucky Derby! Perfect."

I don't know about you, but nothing gets me more excited to eat low-grade taco meat than watching little men ride around a circle on horses while rich southerners drink mint juleps.