Monday, December 28, 2009

Your Josh Freeman Update

The Tampa Bay Bucs pulled off an improbable upset of the New Orleans Saints yesterday with a 20-17 overtime win. They did it on the strength of their defense, with ball control and special teams, which were indeed quite special. Conner Barth made all his FG attempts, including the critical OT winner. Michael Spurlock ran a punt 77 yards for a TD. Tampa Bay used their ground game, with Cadillac Williams running for 129 yards to keep the football away from the Saints' potent offense. It probably felt like a long day for Josh, with two more interceptions thrown and suffering three sacks during the game. In the second half, Josh again was a game manager, handing the ball off, and making fewer mistakes. Josh picked up a critical first down with a run in the Bucs' OT possession. Another growing game for Josh and the Bucs.

One good TD kick return deserves another...



As a post script, the Saints need to fix their defense. All of a sudden it looks very mortal.

Colts Pull Starters, Jets Win

The New York Jets traveled to Indianapolis to play the undefeated Colts. The Jets, due to the results of the early games, now had their playoff destiny in their own hands. A win would put the Jets in a good position. The Colts, undefeated, would be a tough foe. Or not. The game was a close one, with the Colts looking good for the win, leading 9-3 at the end of the first half. Brad Smith, who played QB for Mizzou, ran back the second half kick for a touchdown to make the score 10-9 Jets leading. Payton Manning leads the Colts down the field in a 9 play 4:35 minute long drive culminating in a tough run by rookie Donald Brown. Colts lead 15-10 after their two point conversion attempt fails. The Jets have the ball for several plays, but stall and punt the ball back to Indy. The Colts prepare to start a new offensive series at their 10 yard line...wait, who is that at QB? Painter? What? Curtis Painter, rookie QB out of Purdue is in the game! Not to mention all these other subs. The Colts score no more points. On Painter's first play, he fumbles and the Jets recover the ball and run it for a TD. Painter guides the Colts to three consecutive 3-and-outs. He is intercepted. Meantime the Jets score another TD and a field goal. Game to Jets: final score 29-15.



Now, I do understand the Colts' logic in taking out their star players to prevent injuries and that going undefeated is really not that important to them. Blah blah blah. However, I am perturbed in two ways: one, their decision affected the outcome of this game, and thus, not only the playoff chances of the Jets, but of other teams too. Secondly, I really think this decision can be second guessed come playoff time. The Colts have been defeated in the playoffs every year except one year: the year their regulars played up to the end of the season. We'll see what happens, but this sort of thing I think turns out more bad then good, especially for the Colts. As for me, I'm happy the Jets were the happy beneficiaries of this move; with the Giants bombing, they are the only NFL team from New York with play off chances.

Giants Imitate Redskins in Humiliating Loss

Giants fans should feel like they got hit by a truck. What happened here? The defense was just awful--Chiefs like--in a 41-9 defeat at the hands of the Carolina Panthers. Panthers running back Jonathan Stewart ran for 206 yards and QB Matt Moore, a third year man out of Oregon State subbing for the injured Jake Deholmme, threw for three TDs. Carolina had no turnovers while the Giants had two lost fumbles and two interceptions. The team looked dead and lifeless. The Giants are done, since Dallas won the nightcap last night against Washington. And to think it all looked so promising at the beginning...
The Giants just had an awful day tackling. The most cursory review of the video highlights showed that they were constantly slipping off, bouncing off and wiffing on Carolina ball carriers like Jonathan Stewart, here. (www.nfl.com)
The crowd, at first feeling festive because of play off possibilities and this being the last game at Giants Stadium before it is torn down to make way for a new one, first boo'ed lustily as the game went on, then left for home. This photo was taken in the fourth quarter. (www.nfl.com)

Chiefs Show Grit in Defeat

Here was another Chiefs defeat where you can see both the potential of the team and the lack of talent on the team. The Bengals started this game like they were wrung out and distracted (which they probably were) from the events surrounding the death of Chris Henry. The Chiefs were unable to take full advantage of this: Although the defense played over its head for the first half, Matt Cassel had a poor game, and a special teams error resulted in great field position for the Bengals. In the fourth quarter, when the game was on the line, Cincinnati's multiple weapon offense took off on Kansas City's mediocre defense and drove 98 yards for the winning score.

The game was both a step up and a step back for KC. A step up because a defense that had looked hopeless against the Browns showed more ability to stop the other team. Also a step up because the Chiefs did not get blown away by a Bengal team that had everything to play for. A step down because the offense regressed, and special teams weren't very special, and in the end, the Chiefs did not win. Many commentators noted, and I agree, that if the Chiefs can follow this effort by keeping things competitive with Denver next week, they will have something to build on for the next year. If they go to Denver and lay down and get blown out, then this game is just one more blip for an inconsistent team during this inconsistent season.
Brandon Flowers played Chad (Johnson) Ochocinco well most all of the game, but could not keep him from catching the winning TD. To Ochocinco's credit, he made a great move on Flowers to get open. (Kansas City Star)
Jamaal Charles had another outstanding game with 102 yards gained, and would have had even more if he hadn't had a long run called back due to penalty early in the game. (Kansas City Star)

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Giants Take Care of Business, Crush Redskins

Jason Campbell goes "OW!" after a late first half sack. The Giants sacked Redskin QBs 5 times during the game. (www.nfl.com)

The Giants came out with fire, passion and defense on Monday night and thoroughly thrashed the Washington Redskins 45-12. The Redskins offense looked completely overmatched against the Giants defense, which clearly came to play. In the first quarter, the Giants had 25 offensive plays to Washington's three (3!) and had 139 yards gained compared to -3 yards. That was about how the game went. The only time the Redskins' offense showed any sign of life was when Todd Collins played for the last 00:45 of the first half. To tell the truth, I was afraid the Redskins would leave Collins in and he would hurt the Giants. Washington looked lifeless. Their situation is brutal; their coach, Jim Zorn, is a "Dead Man Coaching" and QB Jason Campbell seems to have regressed. The New York Giants must win their last two games and either Green Bay or Dallas lose one game for the Giants to make the playoffs.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Wretched Football

Doug Kotar (44), who played for the Giants from 1974-1981 was one of the team's few bright spots. He finished his career with 3,380 yards rushing and 1,022 yards receiving.

As noted over in the profile section, The Observer is a life long New York Giants fan. I became curious as to exactly how bad the Giants were and for how long they were bad. Particularly memorable for me were my high school years. So here is the Giants record from the 1970s and early 1980s.
1970: 9-5 (Surprisingly, this did not get them into the playoffs that year but then again, there were fewer slots back then.)
1971: 4-10
1972: 8-6
1973: 2-11-1
1974: 2-12
1975: 5-9
1976: 3-11
1977: 5-9
1978: 6-10
1979: 6-10
1980: 4-12
1981: 9-7
1982: 4-5 (The strike year)
1983: 3-12-1 (First year for Bill Parcells coaching)
1984: 9-7 (They made the playoffs.)
Since this extended run of crappiness, the Giants have had their down years, but have avoided steady streaks of losing football:
1985: 10-6
1986: 14-2 (went to the Super Bowl and beat Denver)
1987: 6-9
1988: 10-6
1989: 12-4
1990: 13-3 (went to the Super Bowl and beat Buffalo)
1991: 8-8
1992: 6-10
1993: 11-5
1994: 9-7
1995: 5-11
1996: 6-10
1997: 10-5
1998: 8-8
1999: 7-9
2000: 12-4 (Went to the Super Bowl and lost to the Baltimore Ravens)
2001: 7-9
2002: 10-6
2003: 4-12
2004: 6-10
2005: 11-5
2006: 8-8
2007: 10-6 (went to the Super Bowl and beat New England)
2008: 12-4
So, yes, The Observer knows bad football. And yes, The Observer knows the pain of the fan of the losing team. But hang in there; really, better days are ahead. But you can see from this record why Giants fans get nervous when the team is not doing well. We really really don't want to go back to "the old days."

A Few Notes on the NFL

The playoffs are coming! The playoffs are coming! As contending teams strive to reach the playoffs and raise their level of play, we are getting to see who the true contenders are and who are just pretenders. A few bits of opinion:

The New York Jets are probably dead. Atlanta beat them at the Meadowlands outside in the cold. How do you lose to a southern dome team at home up north with the playoffs on the line? The Jets, who started off so promising, deserve to stay home in the post season.

Indy still undefeated, New Orleans not so much. It may not be a bad thing to lose that one game, but it still hurts, especially losing to those nasty Cowboys. The Saints need work on the pass defense. It looked for a minute at the end that the Saints might pull it out, but the defense's inability to keep Dallas down on its end of the field cost the Saints yardage and time they couldn't make up losing on that final offensive series.

Minnesota will be in the playoffs, but in what state? They've fallen off, especially on offense. Favre and Peterson have both had a number of subpar games. Also, apparently Vike's coach Brad Childress wanted to pull Favre but Brett didn't want to come out--and he did not come out. Not good.

The Titans have a pulse...and so, barely, do the Steelers. There are six AFC teams at 7-7 looking for one Wildcard Playoff Spot. With their beginning of the season, who would have thought the Tennessee Titans would even be able to sniff the play offs? Kudos to Vince Young, who is my comeback player of the year.

The New York Giants must beat the stuffing out of the Washington Redskins tonight in Monday Night Football. 'Nuff said.

Bengals put up a hellava fight against the red hot San Diego Chargers in an emotion-filled game; the first played after Chris Henry's death. Chargers' win in the last seconds of the game was not unexpected. How the Bengals do emotionally after going the funeral and everything this week will be a point to watch. However, they are playing the Kansas City Chiefs at home. Bengals: Just give the ball to your running backs Benson and Johnson and watch them run.

The Cincinnati Bengals paid tribute to Chris Henry with #15 on their helmets, and Chad Ochocinco carried Henry's jersey with him onto the field. (www.nfl.com)

By all accounts, Henry was maturing as a player on the field and as a person off the field at the time of his death. If only he could have resisted getting in that "last word" when his fiance tried to drive off... (www.nfl.com)


Your Josh Freeman Update


Josh, ready to throw against Seattle on Sunday (www.nfl.com)
Josh Freeman had a better game against the Seattle Seahawks yesterday then he has had in several weeks. He threw for two touchdowns, and had only one interception. He also ran several really nice looking screen pass plays. However, the true headline of the game was the Tampa Bay defense which harassed Seattle QB Matt Hasselback into a 4 interception performance and no scores by Seattle from the Red Zone. This game was a good example of how steady quarterback play leads to wins, and erratic turnover prone QB play leads to losses.

Chiefs: Has the Defense Appeared on a Milk Carton Yet?

I was thinking about stealing the headline from Yahoo Sports...


In an unexpected offense fest, the Kansas City Chiefs lost to the Cleveland Browns 41-34. Matt Cassel had his first 300+ yard passing game, and Jamal Charles ran for 154 yards. However, the Kansas City defense could not stop the Browns rushing game, and gave up two kick off returns for touchdowns to the Browns. The Chiefs tied the game up with 2:26 left in the game and the defense could not stop the Browns from scoring again. The offense just fell short of the tie and possible OT, when Cassel's last pass bounced off the goal posts.

I don't expect Ryan Succop to be a great tackler but he was one of six Chiefs to have a chance to bring down Cribbs during his first TD run back. (Kansas City Star)
Jerome Harrison bust through the line for a 28 yard TD run with :52 left in the game. Harrison had 286 yards rushing, breaking Jim Brown's Browns team record. (Kansas City Star)
This game was a game the Chiefs could win. The Browns were one dimensional: Brady Quinn, the Browns QB, is looking more and more like a bust. He had two interceptions, was 10/17 for a mere 66 yards. He gained 39 yards running the ball! While the Chiefs gave up those two long returns for TD to Joshua Cribbs, they did get one TD back when the long snapper for the Browns surprised his punter with an early and terrible snap and the Chiefs recovered the ball in the end zone for the score. But they could not stop the run! For the third week in a row, the Chiefs gave up over 300 yards rushing, and the Browns averaged a ridiculous 7.2 yards per carry. Defense is clearly a problem; the coaching does not seem to be working, and sticking players geared to a 4-3 defense into the 3-4 set is definitely not working. A long year is winding to a close...

It wasn't classic football, but it was entertaining, and played in nice weather for the few fans who showed up at Arrowhead yesterday. (Kansas City Star)

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Area College Hoops: Preparing for Conference Play

A good time was had by all! (Kansas City Star)

Kansas, Missouri and Kansas State were all in hoops actions today. Kansas beat Michigan at Allen Field House 75-64. That 11 point margin was about as close as the Wolverines got after a big KU run in the first half. Missouri took care of Arkansas-Pine Bluff 88-70 in Columbia. The score was as bad as 33-7 after 15 minutes of play. Hopefully, that's the end of the cupcakes for a little while. Currently Kansas State has a 13 point lead over Alabama, with about 8:00 left in the game. This game is being played in Alabama.

When these teams start playing each other, and teams like Texas, who beat North Carolina 103-90 earlier today, it is gonna be a lot of fun!

Saints Could Lose Tonight

Miles Austin, out of tiny Monmouth College (It's in New Jersey) runs to a touchdown after catching a pass from Tony Romo. He badly faked out the rookie corner trying to cover him (nfl.com)

Ugh, of all the teams for New Orleans to lose to, the Dallas Cowboys! Yuck. It's half time and the score is 17-3--actually they're in the third quarter and Dallas is marching down the field again! Drew Brees has thrown an interception and fumbled the ball to Dallas. He's been sacked twice. Tony Romo has 212 yards passing, and one touchdown, which tells me that despite three sacks, Romo is still able to pick on the Saints secondary which has had lots of injuries. Also of note, Reggie Bush pulled up lame after catching a pass and has not returned.

One more look before I publish--oh, yikes, another touchdown for Dallas! 24-3 is the score with 8:00 left in the third quarter. Can the Saints come back?

Thursday, December 17, 2009

No Chiefs on TV this Sunday!

We'll miss seeing the Chiefs secondary burned by opposing receivers. (www.nfl.com)

Well, it happened--for the first time in almost 20 years Kansas City residents will not be able to see the local football team live on the television. This was confirmed at 5:00 pm today.

I think this is a good thing.

Go finish your Christmas shopping.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Blackout Watch

BLACKOUT! (Getty Images)
We're on blackout watch again for this Sunday's Chiefs game against the Cleveland Browns. Last I heard, 5,500 seats needed to be sold by noon on Thursday to avoid a blackout within a 75 mile radius of Kansas City. This blackout includes satellite providers. Considering the way the stadium looked last Sunday, a blackout is more likely than not.

I am so glad the last two games are on the road.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Your Josh Freeman Update

Uh-oh. This is not looking good.

A few comments from Bucs fans:
Posted by ( jvillar ) on 12/13/2009 at 02:41 pm.

I am telling you guys...I will post this every week. Freeman is DUMB. He is an athletic dummy. Pathetic to excuse him as a rookie. Watch him...no touch, no passion, no heart, throws way too hard, erratic, inaccurate and just plain DUMB. He will never catch on...we will be able to see that in the next 4 games. Then what? Embarrassing until we the fans and the media do something about it. Boo them into changing

Posted by ( pigskin ) on 12/13/2009 at 03:56 pm.

Another pick: Freeman showing us his true colors today. He's not fit to start in the NFL. Mr. Morris, please submit your resignation right after this miserable game!!!

Posted by ( topper90904 ) on 12/13/2009 at 09:54 pm.

Got to agree ... WHY DOES FREEMAN SMILE AND/OR LAUGH AFTER AN INTERCEPTION? At the press conference he got the wrath of the press. Ya think he's realizing that, um, he IS the QB this team was stacking everything on? A QB, normally, doesn't laugh after an interception. Not unless you're throwing it to them intentionally.

I think the Bucs fans are as fed up with their lack of progress, and even regression at the quarterback spot as us Chiefs fans. In fact, reading the comments on www.tbo.com, is very reminiscent of reading comments on www.kansascity.com. The same railings against incompetent coaching, poor quarterback play, and anger at the owners for putting this product on the field. I have to say, I was afraid of this when Josh was taken by a poor team in rebuilding mode. In fact, I thought he was not ready to leave K State. A year under Bill Snyder would have done Josh good in that Snyder would not let him get away with inaccurate and stupid throws, and poor reading of defenses.

Welcome to the hard knocks side of the NFL Josh.


3 interceptions, no first downs in the first half, six (6!) first downs for the whole game and 0/14 on third down conversions for the Tampa Bay offense. Here, Josh Freeman (left, #5) chases Darrelle Revis of the Jets after his interception. (www.nfl.com)

Poor Decisions by Todd Haley, Turnovers Doom Chiefs

I really have a bone to pick with Todd Haley today about game management. The Chiefs really had several chances to win Sunday's game with the Buffalo Bills. Instead they lost 16-10. The defense still gave up a lot of yards. However, it got stiffer many times when it counted, such as after one of the numerous turnovers that the Chiefs committed. Matt Cassel, if not exhibiting his true ability level, is at least in a horrible slump. Receivers dropped critical passes, especially Chambers' drop in the forth quarter. But still, the Chiefs had chances. Right down to the nubs of the forth quarter, the Chiefs had a chance to put this game into OT. But Haley's decision making snuffed out the chance.

First bad choice: All those passes, especially the wide receiver screen, against a defense last in the NFL in defending the rush. Jamal Charles' terrific 76 yard TD dash with 3:00 left in the third quarter was only the 15th running play called against the Bills D by the Chiefs yesterday.

Second bad choice: Going wide with a slow guy on that forth and goal at the one at 4:00 in the first quarter. I agree with ESPN commentator Easterbrook (TMQ) that if you are going short yardage in the fourth down situation, you must use misdirection. But I see a play like the Redskins old "counter-trey" with line and back motion designed to deceive. Either that, or send a fast guy to the corner. The one thing you don't do: run Matt Cassel wide, have him tackled for a 7 yard loss and the Buffalo Bills get the ball on the 8 yard line, not the 1 yard line.

Third epic bad choice: Going for it on fourth down and 10 with around 2:24 left to play. Cassel had just thrown incomplete on third down. Chiefs call a stupid timeout and stop the clock, then go for a 10 yard fourth down conversion. They fail, and Buffalo gets the ball back. Chiefs D is able to stop the conservative Bills and give a final offensive chance for the Chiefs but they have no time outs left and approximately 60 seconds to score a TD. Perhaps if you have Payton Manning this is a good option but there's Matt Cassel dropping back. To the Chiefs offense's credit, they put together a reasonable drive, that falls short. Well, here's another scenario: Incomplete pass, send field goal team on field, get 3 points. Kick off, followed by the defensive stop. Likely, the defense uses the two remaining time outs to conserve the clock. Also there is the two minute warning in there to stop the clock. This gives the offense much more time than 60 seconds, and they only need 3 points to put the game into OT.

Yes, the Chiefs players are not very good, but I do not think the coaching staff as it is now put together is getting the maxium out of the players. Haley is not mature as a head coach decision maker, and he has no one on the offensive side of the ball to contest his ideas and hold him accountable. The Chiefs need an offensive coordinator stat! Oh, Mr. Weis, are you busy next fall?


Looking a little sparse out there at the stadium. (Kansas City Star)
Bills defensive players celebrate after dumping Matt Cassel on fourth and one in the first quarter. (Kansas City Star)
Some hazardous duty pay, please. Lance Long gets hammered once again on an ill fated wide receiver screen pass. Chiefs tried this play at least four times, with little yardage gained. (www.nfl.com)

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Breaking News: Alabama's Mark Ingram Wins Heisman

Ingram accepts the Heisman award in New York. (AP photo)

It is truly amazing to me that with all the good teams and great players that have gone through the University of Alabama over the years that not a one had won the Heisman Trophy, emblematic of the best college football player of a given year. This year, in one of the tightest votes ever, Mark Ingram won by just 28 points over (in order from second to fifth) Toby Gerhard, RB, Stanford University; Colt McCoy, QB, Texas; Ndamukong Suh, DT/E, Nebraska; and Tim Tebow, QB, Florida. He rushed for 1,542 yards, a school record, and averaged 6.2 yards per carry. What may have tipped the scales for the voters is that Ingram showed up in 'Bama's important games, including the SEC Championship against Tebow's Gators. Ingram was the only underclassman in New York; all the other candidates were seniors.

If Ingram's name rings a bell with New York Giants fans, it is because he is the son of former Giants wide receiver Mark Ingram. Ingram the elder is now famous for landing in jail due to fraud and drug charges. However the two have a warm long distance relationship at this time. Still, for young Mark to put aside such things and perform so well on the football field is a tribute not just to his athletic gifts but to his mental focus and toughness. Not bad for a sophomore in college. Congrats to him; I only wish that Nebraska defensive terror Suh had finished a little higher up in the votes/points.

Kansas State: Quietly Doing Well

Curtis Kelly goes up for the shot against UNLV. (AP photo)

Very quietly, without a lot of fanfare, Frank Martin has put together a tight defensive team with some scoring punch and today K State beat 18th ranked UNLV 95-80. They were lead by Jacob Pullen with 28 points including 7 three point hoops. K State was an uncommon 17-23 from behind the arc. They won't always be this hot, but with potent defense and competent offense, this will not be a team that a Big 12 contender really wants to play, especially in Manhattan.

Chiefs Will Be On Local TV

Matt Cassel hits the ground in the Denver game. (The Kansas City Star)

The Bills-Chiefs game will be televised locally. It required an extension of 24 hours but Kansas City fans will be treated to this battle of titans. One recommendation if you plan to watch: bag the network announcers and listen to Lenny Dawson and Mitch Houthus instead. Lenny often tells the harsh unvarnished truth about this bad football team.

Also, lay in that all important supply of "eye bleach" to help remove some of the images you might see during tomorrow's game.

New Coach for KU Football

The University of Kansas has hired Turner Gill as its next football coach. Gill has been at Buffalo University where he has a record of 20-30 in four seasons. Probably the pinnacle of his career at Buffalo is when his team beat a highly regarded Ball State team in a conference championship in 2008. He is best known for playing QB at Nebraska.

This is either a great hire of an up and coming coach or a compromise/make do pick by KU. The big questions have been; can he recruit? and what kind of offense will KU have. We'll just have to wait and see.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Overheard at the Library...

Scene: The public library.

Two men are seated together at a table. It does not take long to realize that one is tutoring the other in the fine art of reading and writing. They are reading something together. The student comes across a word he is not familiar with. The teacher points to the word, says:

"Well, how did the Chiefs play on Sunday?"

Student looks confused, looks at teacher, looks at word on the paper. Teacher prompts:
"They were bad, weren't they?"

Student, thinks, brightens, seems relieved: "Oh, yes, yes, they were bad. Oh, I get it now."

It is not good when your football team is bad enough to serve as an example for a vocabulary lesson.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Tiger Woods In Spite of Myself

No, no, don't let me...no, no, stop me before it's too late. It's too late.

So Tiger Woods was impaired by alcohol and narcotic drugs when he was behind the wheel at 0230 Friday, November 27 if we are to believe the HIPAA law violating source that reports that he was intubated due to inadequate breathing and in ICU during part of his hospital stay. So his mother-in-law was taken by ambulance today to the same hospital and released after twelve hours. Who is staying at that house anyway? According to reports, his mom, and his mother-in-law, as well as his wife were at the scene of the accident early Friday morning. Were they all in the house as Tiger and his wife discussed the infidelity reports? And the number of ladies who report sexual relations with that man, Tiger Woods, is now up to eight. Rush Limbaugh, who is way into golf and the PGA Tour, was saying this morning in his program's first hour that it was common knowledge on the tour that Tiger had trouble keeping it in his pants. Can there be any more drama in Tiger's life?

Tiger was seen as mostly dull, a child prodigy, and a great golfer before he got married. He got married and then his dullness turned into being a family man, with wife and kids. He was not seen to have any obvious imperfections by the general population, except maybe for being dull and one dimensional. And of course, he was--still--an awesome golfer.

Now, the dullness and seeming perfection has fallen away, starting with the strange motor vehicle crash and the drama, really, is still not at an end. We humans like to put people up to being perfect; then, when they fall, we are ready to pounce. It's funny, I think people at this point would have a warmer regard for the very imperfect John Daly then for the fallen-from-perfection Tiger Woods. We know what John Daly was and is and is trying to be. We still don't know what Tiger really is or will try to be.

I have not come right out and said it to this point in my commentary on Tiger. If you are a Christian, it almost goes without saying. There is only One Thing that satisfies the lack a person feels within them and that is Jesus Christ. I'd love to see Tiger Woods accept Christ, and do all the things that that would entail. Tiger would be a hard target for the Holy Spirit; the Bible warns that it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle then for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of God (see Mark 10:25), but it is not beyond God to do this. Tiger, humble yourself before God. It would be one of the best things you could do for yourself.

I have some practical advice for Tiger Woods now; three things he should do. One, lay low, turn off the drama machine--anything happens and the press is on it like a rat on a Cheeto. Two, keep his pants firmly zipped up except for relations with his lawfully wedded wife. Three, hurry up and go play some golf. He is a golfer--he needs to go do his golfing job now.

Some of this commentary is in debt to this excellent piece on "American Thinker" by Lisa Schiffren. You can agree or disagree with the political part of the piece comparing Tiger to Barack Obama, but the analysis of Tiger's situation is the best I've read. The comments are pretty good too. If you're feeling noisy, check out some of the links in the article. Hat tip to Rush Limbaugh for finding this piece.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Your Josh Freeman Update

Harassment and inexperience did in Josh Freeman this week. (www.nfl.com)
Defenders celebrating an interception--not what a quarterback wants to see. (www.nfl.com)

A tough game for Josh Freeman this week. An nfl.com commentator put it as well as anyone. We'll look for improvement next week.

Freeman has much to learn
The Buccaneers have hitched their future to Josh Freeman, but his inexperience as a game manager cost them a road win. Freeman’s dismal five-interception performance included three picks in the red zone, and the other two occurred deep in Carolina territory. Although rookie quarterbacks are expected to experience their fair share of struggles, Freeman’s turnover woes appeared to be avoidable with better decisions. He will eventually learn that getting points is critical when inside the opponent’s 20-yard line. In a game that was ultimately decided by 10 points, the Buccaneers can’t help but wonder if the outcome would’ve been different with improved game management from Freeman.

-- Bucky Brooks

Another Rough Sunday for the Chiefs

Lone bright spot: Tamba Hali had a Derrick Thomas-like game with a couple sacks and a strip. (Kansas City Star)

The Chiefs had another poor game on Sunday with a final score of 44-13 Denver. It was still reasonably close at halftime, but the Chiefs had 1)a failed fake punt thing 2) two interceptions and 3)one fumble in the third quarter to continually gift Denver with great field position and Denver scored 20 points in that quarter, putting the game away. Already, the Broncos had shown the Chiefs could not stop their offense with any regularity, racking up over 200 yards rushing for the game.

Witnesses who called into post game programs testified to 20,000 empty seats and thousands of Bronco fans at Arrowhead. Those who were here in the late 70s and early 80s are reporting that it's starting to look like those bad old times.

This team just does not have good talent all around. Oh, there are bright spots: Hali, Succop, Chambers, Studebaker, Flowers, Colquitt to name a few. Matt Cassel is still a question at quarterback, Jamal Charles needs to talk to Tiki Barber STAT, and both offensive and defensive lines need lots of help.

Derrick Thomas was honored at half time, and folks calling in on the radio programs said it was tough to look at all those defensive goods and greats who came to be a part of it.

Another tough Chiefs Sunday. On the other hand (always good to have a second favorite team), the New York Giants helped start the Cowboys latest December funk by beating them 31-24 at the Meadowlands.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Why Is KU Playing Alcorn State?

This is the worse feeling in the world...having your shot swatted away so decisively. (Kansas City Star)

I went to a small high school. Despite segregation into what was then called the "S" class, ("S" for small, get it? The PC crowd made the Vermont high schools switch to the more PC number system--now my former high school is "Class 4". Anyhow...) we routinely found ourselves playing schools with quite a few more students, and consequently, much better sports teams. So, I have been on the losing end of a few blow outs.

The KU-Alcorn State final of 98-31 brought back bad memories, as did reports of KU going on a 36-0 run. When the run was broken by Alcorn State, the score was 36-6. That makes me shiver! It also brought up a big question. What in the world is the University of Kansas doing playing Alcorn State University in basketball? I understand giving some midmajors a taste of play in the big time. I don't have a problem with Kansas playing the University of Missouri-Kansas City or even the University of Vermont. But Alcorn State? According to their website, Alcorn State has a full time undergrad enrollment of approximately 2,400 students. By contrast, the University of Vermont enrolls approximately 9,800 undergrads. KU is the size of a small city, at 30,000 enrolled.

I understand there is a big fat check for Alcorn State at the end of this beating, a check that probably helps pay for their entire athletic program. But, if I am the KU coach, I am not sure that I would put this small a school on my schedule. The inevitable thrashing looks and smells like bad sportsmanship and I really don't think my kids learn anything from a game like this.

Also, would it hurt the big schools all that much to occasionally play these beat-downs at the small school's gym?

Meanwhile, Missouri Plays an SEC Team on the Road!

Not swatting his shot away...Jeffrey Taylor one of Vandy's studs goes to the basket. (Kansas City Star photo)

Meanwhile, Missouri takes it on the road, against Vanderbilt, a Southeastern Conference team with some good players and tradition. Alas, Missouri plays sluggishly until the last 10 minutes, and it's furious rally falls short. MU loses to Vandy 89-83. However, I would bet that Mizzou's young players found the tough road game a terrific learning experience and the team is closer now.

Lessons and work that will pay off in March.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Tiger Woods: The Conclusion


I don't want to turn my comments on the Tiger Woods saga into a sermon, but there are undeniable spiritual truths being illuminated by this situation that beg to be examined. First, though, I have to say I was not the least bit surprised when an undeniable bit of evidence of dillydallying came out. The voice mail message of Tiger pleading with a fine young fling to remove her name from her phone because his wife was checking on him was a total blow up. I just had this feeling that Tiger had indeed, had relations with women outside his marriage. He had to address this as he did on his web site, confessing to "transgressions". I think he did not have to go into details about his transgressions, just using such a word (a close synonym is "sin") indicated the seriousness of the matter. It also shows that Tiger acknowledges the seriousness of his deeds. I also respect his privacy in terms of wanting no details of the counseling and other steps the Woods family are taking to restore the marital relationship. Of course, if they split up, the chances of that happening privately are nil.

So this saga is over. Law enforcement has tagged Tiger with a fine, four points on his driving license and a civil violation of careless and imprudent driving. His indiscretion has become known to all, including his wife, and now he must work that out. His sponsors are all hanging in right now, but Tiger probably ought to make sure he stays off the National Enquirer front page for a while.

Finally, the folly of believing that you are invincible and can have it all is revealed again. Temptations for athletes are unreal. Male athletes find that women want to get close to the physical and social power they represent and the money and power that they own. Women with no real life of their own throw themselves at athletes all the time. And that feels good to a man. It feels better than at home, where their wife doesn't look so good all the time, and is busy caring for kids and the household. (This is not just confined to athletes; it happens to doctors, lawyers and politicians too.) It takes a certain amount of spiritual strength and stamina to stand up to this kind of pressure and say no. The environment is not going to help; (do not tell me that Tiger is the only golfer to get some on the side while out on the PGA Tour circuit) in fact, there may be peer pressure. It takes internal steel. It takes values that say that the vows made before God and witnesses during the marriage ceremony mean more than a momentary flash of pleasure and power. It also takes real support, from family, friends, and yes, faith. I pray that from now on, Tiger acknowledges his weaknesses, takes practical steps to stay out of tempting situations, and seeks wisdom from others.

He is still a great golfer, and I expect he'll continue to do well in his career. I just hope he can find peace in his personal life.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Tiger Woods Needs to Quit Covering Up

You absolutely would have to have been totally out of touch not to know that early Friday morning (like 0230), Tiger Woods crashed his Cadillac Escalade into a fire hydrant and a tree just outside his posh Florida home. Since that time, he has said just about nothing about the crash and speculation has run wild about the circumstances surrounding the crash. On Wednesday, The National Enquirer reported that Tiger had been having an affair with another woman. The website and TV show TMZ have reported that Tiger and his wife had a big fight before the crash. Reportedly, his wife smashed the back windows of the SUV and pulled Tiger out of the car.

Questions--just a few. For example, Tiger's wife is a trophy, 105 lbs dripping wet. How did she pull Tiger out the back window? If I had been on the scene, first I would have called 911. Then I would go about getting the driver's side door open. From the crash pics I've seen, the driver's side was undamaged and that door would probably open. If the doors were all locked (likely in these days of automatic locking when the car is in gear.) I would have broken the passenger side window and unlocked the door that way. Also I would have left Tiger in his driver's seat, unless he was completely awake, and let EMS package him up for transport.

Yes, Tiger should have some privacy. But in this matter his quest for privacy is a hindrance. Talk to the cops. Give a real statement to the media, not some manufactured PR bullshit. That would stop the speculation in its tracks. It would also take the legs out from the story right now. As it is the story continues to fester. And it will come up again and again as the police department does evidence gathering. For example, they will examine the Caddy. Is there blood in the car as you would expect with injuries from the crash? Is it in the right places? There has to be surveillance cameras in this private gated community; what do they show? You can bet that if they show anything, it will come out. Will they want blood or hair from Tiger to see if he was under the influence of narcotics or alcohol?

Just come out with the truth, Tiger:
I had a fight with my wife.
She whacked me one.
She chased me out of the house with a golf club.
I ran away, got in the car, and drove like a wobble head.
I am so embarrassed, it was completely stupid.
We are going to work on our marriage and that's all I'll say about that.
Or whatever the real, truthful story is--the good, the bad and the ugly. (The above is one possibility making the rounds.)

Story: Done.

Your Josh Freeman Update

I think he really knows what he is doing out there. (www.nfl.com)

Tampa Bay should have won this game. Their defense played better than it had been with 6 sacks and holding Atlanta to 75 yards rushing. They had a blocked punt. Turnovers were a wash at one a piece. Josh Freeman was 20 for 29 for 250 yards, two TDs and no INTs. Josh did again fumble the ball, but he recovered it himself---need to work on that. Where the game was lost was at the very end. Atlanta had 8 tries to get it in from the 10 yard line for the TD that would win the game. Tampa Bay called two very questionable time outs during this time, giving the Falcons,who were out of time outs, a chance to catch their breath and plan the next play. The first time out was called with Atlanta at 4th and goal on the TB 10 yard line. On the next play, TB committed defensive holding, penalized 5 yards and an automatic first down for the Falcons. That's just a killer. When it was forth and goal on the TB 5 yard line, the Bucs called another time out. The next play was the game winning TD. So, why call those time outs?

If I'd been in Josh Freeman's shoes, part of me would have been cheering my head off for the defense to stop Atlanta.

And part of me would have been sitting with a towel over my head, not wanting to watch.

Chiefs: A Downer in San Diego

We're going to have to send Jamal Charles to the Tiki Barber School of Fumble Prevention. (Kansas City Star)

Well, I'll tell you what. I had a commitment and could not listen or watch this game past about the midway point of the second quarter. The last thing I heard was the TD scored by the Chargers. It was after that that the shit hit the fan. Jamal Charles fumbled, stopping a drive. Matt Cassel fumbled, creating a very short field, and before you knew it the rout was on. The Chiefs gave up three turnovers leading to 21 points for the Chargers. You just can't do that. It puts your defense on the field too much and in tough field position. A very poor day for the offense in every way.

And a bit of a set back for the Kansas City Chiefs in their rebuilding program.

Post Border War: What a Game!

Wow, what a game! Back and forth, back and forth with changes in momentum, great plays, bad plays. This game had everything, except very good defense. The scoring summary helps sum up the day:

FIRST QUARTER
KU TD @ 06:40
Dezmon Briscoe 7 Yd Pass From Todd Reesing (Jacob Branstetter Kick)
0
7
MU FG @ 03:52
Grant Ressel 43 Yd
3
7
KU TD @01:04
Todd Reesing 1 Yd Run (Jacob Branstetter Kick)
3
14
SECOND QUARTER
MU TD @ 05:49
Derrick Washington 1 Yd Run (Grant Ressel Kick)
10
14
KU TD @ 03:03
Kerry Meier 8 Yd Pass From Todd Reesing (Jacob Branstetter Kick)
10
21
MU FG@01:01
Grant Ressel 28 Yd
13
21
THIRD QUARTER
MU TD @ 13:16
Derrick Washington 14 Yd Run (Two-Point Run Conversion Failed)
19
21
KU TD @ 07:30
Kerry Meier 2 Yd Pass From Todd Reesing (Jacob Branstetter Kick)
19
28
MU TD @ 05:45
Jerrell Jackson 37 Yd Run (Grant Ressel Kick)
26
28
MU TD @ 04:03
Danario Alexander 68 Yd Pass From Blaine Gabbert (Grant Ressel Kick)
33
28
FOURTH QUARTER
MU FG @ 13:29
Grant Ressel 37 Yd
36
28
KU TD @ 12:01
Dezmon Briscoe 74 Yd Pass From Todd Reesing (Todd Reesing Pass To Kerry Meier For Two-Point Conversion)
36
36
KU FG @ 05:10
Jacob Branstetter 39 Yd
36
39
MU causes a Safety @ 02:45
38
39
MU FG @ 00:00
Grant Ressel 27 Yd
41
39

Caught your breath yet?

Blaine Gabbert was 23/41 for 303 yards and one TD. Todd Reesing was 37/55 (55!?!) for 498 yards, four TDs and one INT. Mizzou had the rushing star, Derrick Washington who ran for 111 yards and two TDs. The star receivers were, for KU, Kerry Meier 10 catches for 54 yards and two TDs, and Dezmon Briscoe, 14 catches for 242 yards and two TDs. Danario Alexander had 15 catches for 233 yards and one TD for MU.

Kansas could have easily won this game. They had two more turnovers than Missouri, including two fumbles by the otherwise all world Briscoe, and for the life of me, I can't figure out why they did all that passing when they were pressed back against their own goal line. I was listening to post game on the KU Radio network, and the commentators were hard pressed to come up with a reasonable explanation for the play calling in that situation. The best anyone could do was to say that that's what KU is, pass, pass, go, go. Seeing now that they threw the ball 55 times, I could go with that explanation.

Now, these programs are going to have very different futures. Mizzou with 8 wins is headed to a pretty decent bowl game, and all the young players, including Blaine Gabbert are a year older and wiser. Kansas is not going bowling, and has persistent questions about the future of its coach. There will be significant rebuilding needed as KU will lose seniors in critical positions including QB and receiver.

Uh-oh, there he goes. Danario Alexander runs from the KU secondary. (Kansas City Star)


Dez Briscoe eludes capture. (Kansas City Star)

Kerry Meier makes a TD catch. Check out the crowd reaction. (Kansas City Star)

I love this shot. Not only does it show an important play, but note all the black and gold referees in the stands. (Kansas City Star)

Friday, November 27, 2009

Pre Border War Thoughts

Fans at the 2007 Missouri-Kansas football game at Arrowhead Stadium. (Kansas City Star)

I did not go to MU or KU. I live in Missouri, where I have lived for 20 years. My tax dollars go to Mizzou. I like to root for the underdog. Therefore, I am not quite sure what to do about tomorrow's MU-KU game. MU is favored by 3.5 (last I looked) and could put itself with a win in a position to go to a pretty good bowl game. Kansas is that underdog. Also, I have some sympathy for Mark Mangino and what has gone on with him, and a win would be nice for him and also make KU bowl eligible. I do not think that a win will save Mangino's job, but weirder things have happened.

OK, here we go. Go Missouri! Win in a couple of OTs!

Digesting the Holiday Meals, er Games

Remember Miles Austin from the Chiefs game with Dallas? Here he is, scoring against the Raiders. (www.nfl.com)

Well, I was hopeful we would have some holiday goodies on Thanksgiving from the NFL. Unfortunately, the games were about as exciting as the white meat on an overcooked turkey. Detroit could not do anything offensively against Green Bay after their first initial drive. I thought it significant, though none of the commentators noted it, that the Lions had lost their fine rookie tight end Brandon Pettigrew to injury in that first drive. He is a favorite target of Matt Stafford, and it seemed the Lions were pretty stagnant after that. They also had all those turnovers.

The Raiders made something of a game of it against Dallas, but again, the inability of the offense to move the ball and the defense to stop Dallas' passing game caused this to be pretty one sided. The Raiders tried to make it interesting, but couldn't get it done late. Boy, this was a hard game to follow: for a Giants and Chiefs fan, these are two teams you just learn to love to hate.

Finally, the Giants. Do we have to talk about the Giants game with Denver? Giants couldn't run, could barely pass, couldn't carry momentum,couldn't rush the passer and turned the ball over twice to the Broncos. What is wrong with this team? Maybe, they are just not that good...

Monday, November 23, 2009

Chiefs Win in an Upset

Sorry to rain on your parade, Steelers fans. I hope you had a good time anyway. (KC Star photo)
Well, here was the upset I thought the Chiefs had in them this year, then decided they were not good enough to pull this kind of upset. Despite being outgained offensively 515 yards to 282 yards, the Chiefs took advantage of Pittsburgh mistakes, were actually more effective on offensive third down plays, in general avoided bad penalties and negative plays and the defense bowed up when it had to and they won this game in OT 27-24. The game looked like it might be a blow out at half with the Steelers up by 10 and the KC offense not doing a thing, but the team showed guts and resourcefulness and was opportunistic. Chris Chambers was the offensive star with 4 catches for 119 yards. Ryan Succop and Jamal Charles were special team stars with Succop two for two in FGs including the OT winner. Charles ran back Pittsburgh's opening kickoff for a TD as well as contributing 58 yards rushing and 2 receptions including one for a TD. And defensively, Andy Studebaker was the star, with 4 tackles, 1 assist, half a QB sack and 2 interceptions. The defense was especially impressive in the fourth quarter and OT, getting to Ben Roethlisberger repeatedly.

This was a nice win. We're not ready for the playoffs, but I think this shows progress.


Who is this guy? Andy Studebaker returns his first interception deep into Steelers territory. (KC Star photo)