Friday, January 29, 2010

Opposites Attract: Steve Young vs. Kurt Warner

Kurt Warner may go down in history as the most improbable superstar quarterback ever to play in the NFL and his retirement has pundits across the country weighing in on his place in the history of the game. Most, if not all, agree that Warner crafted a Hall of Fame worthy career and I certainly agree with that sentiment.

But while I watched the 38-year-old Warner step down with the same kind of cool, composed demeanor in which he stepped into the spotlight, I couldn't help but think of another quarterback who retired at the age of 38, Steve Young.

Now you must be thinking, Steve Young and Kurt Warner? They're nothing alike. And you'd be right.

The left-handed Young was a scrambler, a daredevil and one of the most athletic players to ever play the position. Warner meanwhile was a stationary target, a right-handed pocket passer of the highest order who succeeded by getting the ball into the hands of his playmakers.

But the differences don't end with their playing styles.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Live By The Sword, Die By The Sword

I've got some news for all the Tennessee fans and students who have acted out in anger over the news that head football coach Lane Kiffin is trading in Rocky Top for SoCal.

You asked for this and now you have to live with the consequences.

By "this" of course, I'm talking about the winning-above-all-else attitude that is so prevalent in the world of major collegiate athletics, to which Tennessee has been a willing follower. So it should really come as no surprise to anyone with half a brain that the ego-maniacal Kiffin would skip town after less than a year and a half on the job.

As universities and their athletic directors look to satisfy rabid fan bases and deep-pocketed boosters, it is inevitable that this kind of thing is going to happen. The pressure to win is getting coaches fired before they can even see their first recruiting class graduate, can you really blame coaches for always having an eye on the next best gig?

When Tennessee fired long-time head coach Phil Fullmer it traded in any chance of the Paterno-like loyalty their fans would all like to think their head coach would and should bring with him. Fullmer, as much as I didn't care for him as a coach on the field, was (and is) a loyal and steady presence. But in the end, with rival schools like Florida and Alabama asserting themselves thanks in large part to new head coaches, that stability just wasn't good enough any more.

Some Vols fans are mad at athletic director Mike Hamilton who bowed to the pressure and fired Fullmer, making way for Kiffin and his traveling circus? But even Hamilton was just doing what he thought was in the best interest of the program. Surely even he couldn't have predicted the wonderful mess his school now finds themselves in.

Like so many schools before them (ahem, Notre Dame), unrealistic expectations from nearly everyone involved led them to this point. Head coach gone, recruits jumping ship and a fan base on the verge of revolt. But in the end Tennessee, their fans and their boosters, have no one to blame but themselves.

Guilty Pleasure

We all know that earlier this week that Pete Carroll bolted from USC to become Head Coach and President of the Seattle Seahawks. My question is why?

USC, college football's team of the decade, is arguably the top job in the world of college football. Year after year the Trojans land top recruits from all across the nation, and are amongst the favorites to win the national title.

What's wrong Pete? Was the 97-19 record you compiled at USC not good enough? Was your 2003 AP National Championship, and your 2004 National Championship not good enough? How about your 7 consecutive Pac-10 titles and BCS appearances? How about your back-to-back Heisman trophy winners (Matt Leinart and Reggie Bush) is that not good enough? Ah, I got it. It must have been the $4.4 million you made last year.

Enjoy your stay in Seattle. Enjoy your team that has won a combined 9 games the past two seasons. Enjoy your aging quarterback, wide receiver, and left tackle. The move from So-Cal to Seattle will most certainly be rainy. This team has very little to get excited about, and turning it around will truly be magical.

Yes, you got a raise but my sense doesn't think you made the move for the money. So again, why? Wait a minute. I figured you out. There's a meeting between NCAA officials being held next month to discuss possible sanctions against your former university regarding illegal benefits distributed to some of your premier players. That wouldn't have anything to do with your departure now would it Pete?

When USC gets penalized for illegal connections with former stud running back Reggie Bush, and recent NFL declaree Joe McKnight, you better be penalized as well. Shame on you for bailing out on kids to head north just so your image would not be tarnished. Shame on you for entering the homes of these kids and promising national championship opportunitites, only to leave right after you had a sub par season for the Trojan's football program (9-4).

Nice call Pete, or should we call you Calipari?

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

After These Messages...

Hello all. To the people who do frequent this blog, I would first like to say thanks for checking it out. Hopefully you enjoy what we have to say and we appreciate you stopping by from time to time.

As you may have noticed, things have gone a bit quiet here over the last couple of weeks. It's obviously a busy time of year and we've slacked off, no question about it.

That said, come 2010 we are really looking to double our efforts here at EBH and get things rolling again. So thanks again to all those who follow the blog and we'll be back at it soon.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Eldrick Woods: Human Being

Let's go ahead and get a few things out of the way right now.

Yes, Tiger Woods is my favorite golfer and favorite athlete period.

No, I don't think what he has all but admitted to doing is ok or should be looked at as anything other than wrong.

Now that we have those two points out of the way, I do have a few thoughts on this issue.

First, I don't believe we should all be that shocked that something like this happened. I know he's Tiger Woods and to this point the worst thing anyone could say about him is that he swears a lot on the golf course and occasionally throws a club in anger. However, given the extra-marital exploits of power players like Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Kobe Bryant, Bill Clinton, et al., can it really be a surprise any more when this sort of thing happens? I think not.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

5 Things... I Would Change About The NFL

Just in time for Thanksgiving I'm unveiling a new feature here at EBH called simply, "5 Things...". Simple really, every week I will pick a topic and ramble on about 5 things I love, hate, can't stand, would change, etc. about said topic.

This week we take a closer look at the NFL and how I would change things if I had my way.

5. Sex Sells But Apparently Doesn't Pay

The NFL is built on the two things that most wildly popular entertainment-based entities in this country are built on, sex and violence. There are no two ways about it, people love big hits and big... well you know. And every Sunday, Monday and sometimes Thursday from September through January the NFL delivers both.

Yet while the players on the field are earning millions, albeit for putting their health and safety on the line every week, the pretty girls on the sidelines in their barely-there outfits are lucky if they see hundreds, plural.

As spelled out in great detail by ESPN's Gregg Easterbrook, NFL cheerleaders are overworked and underpaid to the point of exploitation. I'm not saying that the act of being a cheerleader, which entails bikini and lingerie photo shoots in addition to normal cheerleading, is exploitative. But for a league which brings in billions (with a 'B') of dollars each year to pay their performers as little as $100 a week is flat ridiculous.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Sheer Randomness: Week 2

Several things to get to, so lets get started...


Giants ace and consensus best pitcher on the planet, Tim Lincecum, picked up his second straight NL Cy Young Award today after leading the league in strikeouts with 261 and finishing second in ERA at 2.48.

The win marks the first time since 1981 that a National League starting pitcher has won the Cy Young with fewer than 16 wins, and only the third time overall that feat has been accomplished. It's also a sign that baseball writers are finally starting to see the fallacy in using wins as the main statistic used to judge starters.

As a Giants fan this is also a very sweet victory after Pablo Sandoval was passed over for the Silver Slugger Award at third base.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Sheer Randomness

With Mike on a short hiatus this week and no NFL picks article, I thought I'd take a few minutes to chime in on a few of the things going on in the world of sports in a new feature I like to call "Sheer Randomness".

Cutler Can't Cut It

Watching Jay Cutler hand the game to the 49ers Thusday night was brutal. I agree that at least two of those five interceptions were not his fault and that passing for 300 yards in an NFL game is nothing to sneeze at, but surely 2006 draft-mates Matt Leinart and Vince Young couldn't be any worse than Cutler has been this season.

Already one interception away from a career-high, Cutler is perilously close to going from strong-armed future star to overrated bone-head. I used to think Cutler had what it took to be the man, even with a sub-par supporting cast like he has in Chicago. But his petulant child act is starting to wear even thinner than his penchant for red zone turnovers, neither of which can be all that endearing to his new teammates.

It's true that quarterbacks get equal parts too much credit and too much blame for the successes and failures of their team, but the best quarterbacks learn to eliminate their mistakes and point the finger at themselves when they make them. Two things Cutler has yet to figure out.