Denver Broncos make ironclad institutional commitment to sucking for 3-5 more years at least

Let me begin by observing that I have been wrong before. I will be wrong again, no doubt. And I may be wrong here. Hopefully I’m wrong here, and I want everybody to hang onto this so that when I’m proven wrong you can mock me mercilessly as we watch the Denver Broncos win one Super Bowl after another. I’m man enough to take it.

That said, I don’t think I’m wrong here.

Today’s introduction of new VP – Football Operations John Elway, a guy with no real football management experience outside of the Arena League, produced all the things that I know smart Doncs fans were hoping for: Read More »

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Mt. NFL Coach Rushmore

Papa BearThe proposition: say we’re doing a Mt. Rushmore for pro football coaches. We need four faces. It seems to me that three of them are obvious: George Halas, Vince Lombardi, and Bill Walsh. So, who’s the fourth?

Some nominees (and you’re going to have to stretch to make a case for anybody not on this list):

(Coach; Record; Pct.; Titles)

  • John Madden; 112-39-7; .731; 1
  • Don Shula; 347-173-6; .665; 2 Read More »
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Bill Plaschke Gives 110%

Okay, this is the start of what I hope will be a regular feature here at DHST, where I follow in the hallowed tradition of Fire Joe Morgan and take on the worst of sports commentary.  The idea is to take a look at the horrible crap that passes for sports journalism these days and rip it to shreds.  I find a strong parallel between the flaws and weaknesses of modern sports journalism and the flaws and weaknesses of modern political journalism and I think that Dirty Hippies should do their best to fight bad journalism no matter where they find it.  Today we find it in the latest column from Bill Plaschke, titled “Character is tripping up coaches.”  Let’s jump right in:

Cheating has switched positions: it’s no longer a player following his worst instinct but a player following a direct order. And cheating bosses don’t get pink slips, they get mea culpas.

Pretty bold claims there in the subtitle, we’ll see if Plaschke backs them up with strong evidence. Read More »

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Please help: Brazil soccer team threatened by a tragic shortage of cool names

When it comes to football – some of you may know it by its American name, “soccer” – Brazil is a land of legend. Five World Cups. Two runners-up. Two thirds and a fourth. That’s more championships than any other nation and only Germany has more top four finishes. At the club level, Brazilian players dominate every league in the world.

Not only have the Brazilians been incredibly successful, they have truly put the beautiful in The Beautiful Game, playing with a verve, a joy, an elegance that sometimes makes even the best players from other nations seem oafish by comparison. Brazilians dance where others plod. Read More »

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Lawyers, guns and money and Shari’a Law and air conditioning the desert: how the hell did the US lose World Cup 2022 to Qatar?!

Qatar 2022Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), the governing body of world soccer, today awarded the 2022 World Cup to Qatar. The move is regarded by most as an upset – the odds-on favorite to land the event was the United States, which hosted the most successful Copa in history in 1994. Also in the running were Australia and a combined bid by South Korea and Japan.

“Upset,” I said. Actually, that’s a pretty mild term for this decision, which in many respects defies reason. Consider:

Posted in World Cup, soccer | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Iron Bowl Week

I still remember the moment. I was less than five years old. It was in Albertville, Alabama. My brother and I were playing in the living room when I decided to climb on the foot stool. This was Alabama, after all. We didn’t have ottomans. Just foot stools.

I climbed up on that foot stool. I looked over my cousins. Even my older brother. There, a few paces away from my throne sat the family patriarch. My great-grandaddy, Reuben Smith. Reuben gazed at me with a sly smile. The smile of a man who spent the best years of his life working hard in a Goodyear factory providing for his family. Who supplied the Second Great War with rubber. Who fought the depression. Who became a yellow dawg Democrat with Big Jim Foldom’s call of “y’all come”, and never cared much for George Wallace. Yes, Reuben Smith of Albertville, Alabama gazed at me with that sly smile. A young boy, barely a toddler, didn’t know what to do with that intimidating stare from such a formidable old man. I stood on my throne as Reuben let those immortal words slip through that smile.

“Boy… if you gon’ say somthin’, it best be ‘Roll Tide, Roll!’”

What to do. My father sat opposite Reuben in the living room. Daddy, Reubens decednent, was orange and blue, through and through. So had I been up to that point, much to Daddy’s approval. But Momma was for The Tide. So were Meemaw and most of the Aunts and Uncles. So was Grandaddy and Great-Grandaddy.

There I was, standing on the foot stool. Surveying all that existed to a boy less than four. My brother, momma, daddy, cousins, Nanna, and Great-Grandaddy. And Great-Grandaddy was for the Tide. And at that moment, and for every moment on, so was I. Roll Tide.

This is why this week matters so much. People talk about the great rivalries of college athletics. Kansas versus Nebraska. Ohio State versus Michigan, and others. But those rivalries are divided by political lines established by statutes, and the lineages of families that dare not cross a state line. The Tide and the Tigers hold no such borders as sacred. We spend the entire calendar in interaction. Call it crazy, but when you lose the Iron Bowl (and yes, if your team of choice fails, YOU have lost the Iron Bowl with them. It doesn’t matter if you have never set foot in one class on that school’s campus), you spend the entire calendar year answering for it. In the workplace. In the grocery store. At church, which is the epicenter of social interaction in the Heart of Dixie.

Even under the Christmas tree, amongst the most blessed and coveted of family lineage. You will still be subject to the ridicule of Iron Bowl failure.

Our entire nation is in the midst of a fiscal crisis. On the national landscape, we argue who’s responsible for our economic misfortune.

But it doesn’t matter in Alabama. For the most part, regardless of who controls office space on Capitol Hill, we’re poor. We don’t have much to put up for pride. Just our homes, Momma’s cookin’, and our values.

But none of that matters. Because whether your veins are filled by orange and blue or crimson and white, for one day a week, four months out of the year you can be proud. You can be proud of your team no matter what the bank note says. If your crop didn’t come in or your house is going to be repossessed, you can be proud. If there wasn’t money for new school clothes, or if you still haven’t moved up from that construction worker’s apprentice position, you can be proud. When your boys are between the hash marks, you are a king atop your own throne.

And for one of those weeks, the most important to anyone born in The Heart of Dixie, you can be prouder than any other. Because it doesn’t matter what’s happening on the farm, or in your house or in the family. If you win, you can climb in that tailgate with the bottle of liquid shoe polish. You can scrawl the score on the back of the cab of your pick-up, followed by “ROLL TIDE!” or “WAR EAGLE!”. No matter how poor you are, no matter what shame comes your way, no matter how sad you think your existence; there is one day more important than any other in the South. And that is Iron Bowl day. And on that day, you were triumphant. And no matter what your circumstance in life, you can pick your chin up, and hold your head up high.

Because you may not have anything to be proud of in life. But by God, you have the team. And that may be the only thing that gets you through the year.

And that’s why the rest of the country will never know what this week means to those of us born and bred in The Heart of Dixie. But by God we know. And for a lot of us, it’s what will get us through to next year’s game.

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Favre cries wolf. Wolf tells him to go F-himself.

Just shut the hell up already, you attention whore.

Let’s take a look back at just why Brett Favre’s “retirement announcement” is probably not even worthy of any posting by anyone anywhere anytime (this post notwithstanding):

March 2008: Favre tells Packers he is retiring.

February 2009: Favre tells Jets he is retiring.

August 2010: Favre tells Vikings he is retiring.

Personally, while I don’t wish injury on anyone, the only way this blathering “look at me look at me look at me!!!” crap will go away is a major injury that will make a return impossible. Because there is some sucker team out there that will keep taking a chance on an old way way past his prime can’t-perform-in-the-clutch QB.

Posted in football | 3 Comments

“I’ve been traded to……NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!”

One of the other Dirty Hippies posed the following question yesterday:

Here’s the scenario. You’re a pro athlete. One day the coach calls you in and says “son, you’ve been traded to ___________.”

What the worst team you can fill in the blank with? Four leagues, and feel free to elaborate on why if you feel so led.

In thinking about this, a few things jumped to mind right off the bat, but then I stepped back to think more about it. Is this just about a team that I hate (NY Rangers)? Is this about a team that has been mismanaged horrifically but I like them (Knicks)? Is this about a team that consistently has good young talent but trades it away (Pittsburgh Pirates)? Is it about a mediocre team that seems to be around .500 but never inspires the city/fans and has little shot at going deep in the playoffs in the foreseeable future?

In making my decision, I took a combination of the above – since there are a few factors at play here: state of franchise now/last 5-10 years and potential for winning in the next 5 or so, fan base, ownership/mgmt, city life and other sports teams (would be a plus in GB, not so much somewhere else with no other teams) and a few “intangibles” based on nothing other than my own (relatively) uninformed opinions.

With that being said, here is what I came up with and why:

Read More »

Posted in Baseball, Basketball, Hockey, football | 7 Comments

TCU/Boise St. Championship will end hopes for all mid-majors.

The chorus of hate directed at the BCS has often pointed to a particular scenario for leading to the systems downfall: a non-BCS school playing for or actually winning a BCS title. My contention has long been that this is an errant assumption. In reality, nothing would do more to strengthen the clout of the system than an undefeated TCU or Boise State making it to the big game. It would prove that the system works far more than it would jeopardize its very existence.

But ponder with me the bedlam that could ensue if an unlikely, yet not unfathomable scenario were to play out for this year’s BCS picture. If all the pieces fall into place, TCU and Boise State’s own success could ensure that a mid-major team if forever shut out of the title picture.

Both BCS supporters and detractors agree that the current system is held in place by one juggernaut of a factor: money. Big schools, big conferences, big bowls and big TV all don’t want to give up their slice of the pie. But suppose the Ws and Ls play out this year so that there is no choice. Suppose Oregon slips against either currently #18 Arizona and/or at Oregon State. Likewise, suppose Auburn drops a game to one or more of tough games against cross-division rival Georgia, at arch-nemesis Alabama, or in the SEC Championship game against a South Carolina team the Tigers barely beat at home earlier in the season.

The stage will then be set for a Horned Frogs vs. Broncos National Title game in Glendale, Arizona. Sound fabulous? To quote the clown of Saturday mornings, “not so fast.” What will be the viewership of a game that lacks national fan base teams? Without an Ohio State, an Oklahoma, a USC, who is going to watch this game? In a year where the Championship matches small schools, will the National Championship telecast even draw an audience equivalent to regular season match-ups between Michigan and Ohio State or USC and Notre Dame?

But suppose it doesn’t stop there. In a year in which many traditional powerhouse schools are not performing up to par, we could see an entire slate of BCS bowls without a marque game. Unranked Pitt is already on track to win the Big East and play in a BCS game. Likewise for #14 Michigan State in the Big Ten. What if Oregon drops both its games against Arizona and Oregon State? Suppose Maryland wins out its schedule (not unfathomable) and takes the ACC title. Suppose Oklahoma State drops games in Austin against a Texas team that dethroned Nebraska, and again in Norman against #16 Oklahoma. Suppose then-Big 12 South Champion Baylor manages to put away the Huskers in a close Big 12 title game.

Here’s your BCS picture:

Championship: TCU vs. Boise State
Rose Bowl: Michigan State vs. Stanford
Fiesta Bowl: Baylor vs. Pitt or At Large
Orange Bowl: Maryland vs. Pitt or At Large
Sugar Bowl: South Carolina vs. Pitt or At Large

Do any of those games sound exciting? Will you be clearing your schedule for Pitt vs. Baylor? Looking at the current top 25, the most exciting prospect for a game would be LSU vs. Maryland, which wouldn’t even merit an ESPN Gameday visit in the regular season.

Now of course, these games will still be watched by certain constituencies. The University faithful will make time to see the game, as will those of us with the college football addiction that makes us tune in for a Friday night BYU vs. Utah St. contest. But outside of that, who is going to really be watching? What will happen to advertising revenue? What happens to the school’s cuts of the profits? Really, in such a scenario, even if the only game that plays out like this is a TCU vs. Boise State title game, the BCS and other stake-holders aren’t going to be encouraged to degrade their payday in future years. No one is going to want to help these teams get back to the same position. In fact, I’d venture the guess that the BCS rules will be changed again to make it even harder for these teams to get a shot (although that likely won’t be necessary since human poll voters will be less likely to help them there as well).

But, of course, the flip side of the coin is that regardless of your position in the FBS pecking order, you play the game to win championships. BSU and TCU, despite the implications on their future title hopes, are going to try to get to the title game and do everything they can to win it, as well they should. But if they are set-up for a title contest, they had better make it count. It’s going to be a long time before they get another shot.

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New LeBron Ad: “I’m still an arrogant ass”

If you haven’t seen LeBron James’ new ad for the-sneaker-company-that-shall-not-be-named, it’s quite the treat.

In an attempt to either tell everyone who was pissed off at the selfish arrogant self serving way he handled his free agency that they should go scratch, or to rebuild his image, LeBron comes off looking more like the arrogant prick that very few thought existed. If this is an attempt at redemption or justifying his actions, it flops worse than Bill Laimbeer used to do back in the day on a touch foul under the basket.

If it is something else, then he deserves the scorn and ridicule and the millions of people rooting for him to lose/fail/fall on his face/blow out his knee/whatever else. Asking questions to the viewer like “should I stop listening to my friends? They’re my friends!!” gets right to the problem – sometimes friends don’t make the best people to ask for advice on huge decisions that they have no frame of reference or context for – and also was one of the reasons why his decisions and actions pissed off so many in the first place.

Asking whether he should “be what you want me to be” is insincere and crappy. Nobody was asking him to be something or someone else. Just not an asshole who crafted an image for years, only to shatter it himself in the most self serving way.

Asking whether he should care that he is called a “ring chaser” is telling – yes he should care. The fact that he so quickly and easily decided to become a sidekick to someone who already won a ring without him shows that he isn’t “the chosen one” that he calls himself, nor is he ever going to be “the king” that his nickname implied.

And so on….lather, rinse, repeat.

Fact remains that LeBron has done nothing to change anyone’s thoughts of him – at least not for the better. The ridiculous celebration on Miami with Wade and Bosh before any games were played further cemented why people were so pissed off in the first place.

This ad will only reinforce that. And no amount of rings will change that – at least not until he wins without being someone else’s sidekick.

Posted in Basketball | Tagged , , | 3 Comments