Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Week of November 16th, 2009

Sorry it is late. It has been a hectic couple of weeks at the Bahm household. Let me know how you feel about the new format.

The Good:

Let’s begin the week with the best team in the NFL, the Indianapolis Colts. Many would argue, myself included, that the Saints are better and have a better chance at running the table. However, the Colts get it done. This week against the New England Patriots, which I will have my way them later, they came from being down 17 points at halftime to win the game in the closing seconds with a touchdown to Reggie Wayne. Belicheck made a horrible decision; one that I feel was a bad on-field and off-field choice, in not punting the ball with 2:08 left on their own 28 yard line. Give the ball to your defense and trust they can get the job done. Brady is good, and I understand not wanting to give Manning the ball back since he is the best quarterback of the last 10 years, but have some faith in your defense that has been playing well all season. This mistake kept the Colts undefeated and instead of manning having to take the ball 80 yards in 2 minutes, he was able to take his time and take it 29 yards in 2 minutes and find Reggie Wayne on a one yard touchdown pass with very little time left on the clock. The Colts were without their entire secondary. Bob Sanders is done for the year, Marlin Jackson was out, and the other starting corner was out, so they turned to veteran safety Antoine Bathea, 2 rookie corners and nickelback Aaron Francisco. The secondary played very well with the rookies in the game, Mathis and Freeney kept pressure on Tom Brady, and the defense was able to keep Peyton Manning and the offense in the game late. This team is solid and will continue to get better as long as they do not have any further injuries

College basketball is now officially underway. In fact, for the first time ever, ESPN is going to have a 24-hour college basketball marathon. They are spanning 5 time zones with 18 games in 24 hours. There is a game in New Jersey scheduled for 6 AM (Eastern time). This year, however, will be similar to most when the big time college basketball programs get all of the publicity until tournament time when a “Cinderella” emerges. North Carolina, Duke, Michigan State, UCLA, Kansas, and, once again, Kentucky will carry the headlines whether they are deserving or not, but we will be watching teams like Gonzaga, Davidson, Bradley and other mid-majors as they move up and down the top 25 polls. The best part of college basketball is that it always reminds you of why it is so great. In early March we will be glued to obscure conference tournaments and take days off from work to watch the NCAA Tournament, I can hear the theme music playing in my head right now. My only criticism of the NCAA Tournament, and maybe I’m on my own on this, is that the underdog in the tournament who is the last one to exit is usually the last I pay attention to college basketball and get ready for baseball season.

The Bad:

Now, we all know Bill Belichick is a good coach. Since he has been the head coach for the New England Patriots they have won 72% of his games (116-45 coming into 2009) and 3 super bowls. However, he has got to be one of the poorest losers in NFL history, cheaters, and crybabies in NFL history. We all remember “Spygate,” the Mangini handshake, and now is the post game walk off of the field after a great football game with the Indianapolis Colts. “Spygate,” yeah, I get it. Spying on opposing teams has been around since the beginning of football. The Auburn Tigers used to send random community members to Tuscaloosa to watch the Crimson Tide practice from cars, treetops, or through the fence wearing Alabama shirts and hats. This is not a new idea. In fact, that is why teams share film, legally, to get a look at what the other team may do in order to prepare. The Mangini shake is a classic. This is a guy who loses a football game to one of his former assistants, and instead of showing some pride in what he has help develop, he big leagues him and gives him a limp-wristed, no eye contact, weak handshake because he is angry that he lost. Now, after he makes a horrible decision on 4th and 2 from his own 28 that costs his team a game he shoves a cameraman to the ground on his way to the locker room. By the way, the guy he shoved was from NFL Films, one of the major marketing partners for the NFL. I’m getting tired of Belichick acting like a dejected 10 year-old that just lost at checkers to his younger sister and throwing a fit. Come on. What kind of example is that for young players or young coaches? Is it not enough to have the league make rules specifically to protect the face of the NFL in Tom Brady? Do they need to make rules to protect Bill Belichick’s ego as well? What a baby. Win with class, lose with class. You can't pick and choose based on the outcome of the game.

Alright, Cincinnati, what the heck are you doing? I know you are the franchise that tries to “fix” troubled players, but Larry Johnson? If Joe Paterno couldn’t “fix” this guy, then you sure as hell won’t be able to. Larry Johnson is a trouble maker. I know the Bengals specialize in trouble makers (Chris Henry, Cedric Benson, Odell Thurman, Frostee Rucker, AJ Nicholson, Delta O’Neal, etc.), but come on. The Bengals are in the lead in the AFC North, having swept Pittsburgh and Baltimore for the first time in years, and they bring this cancer into the locker room. I hope it works out for you because, all in all, despite my hatred for the Bengals as a Steeler rival, I hope they are successful because I like Marvin Lewis and Carson Palmer. There is even a little bit of me that likes Chad Ochocinco for his over the top antics, but he is at least not a legal headache. LJ, not “grandmamma”, is going to disrupt that locker room and is going to send the Bengals into a tailspin. You have already signed Tank Johnson and the closet arsenal that comes with him, so why would you add Larry Johnson? Cedric Benson is not a bright guy, but at least he is not an outspoken idiot. Good luck, Cincinnati.

The Ugly:

Allen Iverson has decided to part ways with the Memphis Grizzlies as of early this week. It truly is unfortunate things work like this in the current era in sports. NBA superstars, and other sports for that matter, have a very difficult time letting go of their careers. I don’t blame them, if I could continue to play a game that has supported me and my family I would, but the last few years of a former NBA superstar’s career is becoming a sad trend. It has happened before, Iverson is definitely not the first, nor will he be the last. The end of Michael Jordan’s career was difficult to watch unfold as he wore a Washington Wizards jersey and became an average 6th man. Dominique Wilkins went from being the “human highlight film” slam dunk champ of the Atlanta Hawks to a basketball playing version of Herman Munster with the Clippers, Celtics, Spurs, and Magic over a 4 year period. This is common for some of these guys. If Iverson signs a contract this season it will be his 4th team since the 2005-2006 season. Iverson has always been a bit rough around the edges and carries that “thug” label, he doesn’t like to practice, and isn’t afraid to pop-off to the media, but I like him. He always plays hard, plays injured, and is fun to watch. The problem with Iverson is that he doesn’t win. His game is selfish and he is hard to play with, so teams are reluctant to bring him in or sign him long term. I honestly would not be surprised if Iverson played for another 5 years, for 5 different franchises. Iverson will carry the sad torch of a onetime illustrious NBA career through every NBA city that will let him call home for all those players who could not let go of their careers. Iverson, as he slows down, due to age (this season is number 14) will fall into obscurity when it comes to NBA elite and will not be remembered for his early years, but his older ones.

At the conclusion of the most poorly scheduled Monday Night Football game in history, the ugliest franchise of 2009 may have made their biggest mistake yet. Josh Cribbs, arguably the Cleveland Browns best player, is taken off the field on a stretcher at the conclusion of the Browns 16 point defeat by the Baltimore Ravens. As of this morning, it was still unclear as to what his injury was, but if you were watching the game last night it did not look good. First of all, what the hell are the Browns doing running a hook and lateral play with no time on the clock and down 16 points? Were they magically going to defy the rules of football and be awarded 16 pity points by the NFL and extend the game into overtime if they scored? No. So, why put your only possible Pro-Bowler in that situation at the end of a game in a meaningless play? Mangini needs to figure it out or get the hell out of football. If I was in an administrative position for the Cleveland Browns, Mangini would not have gotten out of the stadium last night without a pink slip. Then I would welcome Mike Holmgren, John Gruden, Marty Schottenheimer, Mike Shanahan, or Bill Cowher to the Cleveland Browns. I wouldn’t care how much control they want or how much money they want. Cleveland deserves better than a jackass who puts the face of the franchise in harm’s way at the end of meaningless game in a meaningless play. I know Cleveland doesn’t have a lot going for it right now, but Josh Cribbs is the reason people are still coming to watch that team. If he is hurt bad enough to miss some time, Mangini needs to go, because they will need to figure out some way to get people in the stadium.

Until next week.