Monday Mahalo: 31 January 2011

“Mahalo” means thank you in Hawaiian, if you’re wondering.  And speaking of Hawaii reminds me of the Pro Bowl.  I’ve ranted enough about it — it’s a pointless game stuck in an awful time slot (a week before the Super Bowl), etc.  And that doesn’t even get to the hideous jerseys this game produces.  Every year, the Pro Bowl committee (if there is such a thing) comes up with a new definition of “monstrosity” with the jerseys — and they’re equally ugly for both conferences.  Yeesh.

Just to prove it’s not just me, here’s a surprisingly good (AP)  write-up.  Sometimes the written commentary is better than TV, and this is a case in point.  Yesterday’s game was just … dumb. 42-0 in the first half? Please. 55-41 final score?  Just plain ridiculous.

My kids are going to yell at me for this, but when it comes to inane commentary, nothing, and I mean nothing, beats the X-Games.  Look, I get the games. It’s cool, it’s fun and it takes a certain amount of phenomenal athletic skill to do those tricks. But when one Monster-fueled 20-something after another rattles on about how sick the moves are and uses the “official” names (Triple cork, McTwisty, blah blah blah), you just want to roll your eyes and hope these people are never anywhere near classified information or positions involving the national security. And then there’s this.  Ok, we get sex jokes, too, junior.

On the other hand, I got no problem with Erin Andrews. Even when there’s a fat kid in the background stating the obvious. Ok, kid, we know, we know.  Erin is hot.  Now sit down.

 

 

 

Finally, this combines two of my favorite things: baseball and Billy Bob Thornton. From the annual St. Louis Baseball Writers dinner, at which Cardinals manager Tony LaRussa was roasted.  Not exactly Dean Martin-esque, but still pretty good.  Don’t worry, all the naughty words are bleeped.  But the fact that there is such an organization as the “St. Louis Baseball Writers” association tells you just how much St. Louis loves its Cardinals.

 

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Friday Flashback, Fisher Fired: 28 January 2011

Before I get to the Friday Flashback Super Bowl Edition, let me say thanks to you, dear readers. Yesterday was an all-time high for visits to SezYou. Thanks for your support, and tell your friends.

Ah, Friday. Pro (Yawn) Bowl weekend.  I don’t call it a game, because it’s really not. An all-star exhibition to be sure, but just that. I’m not real sure why the NFL continues to hold the Pro  Bowl (wait, yes I do: $), but this weekend, it’s all we got.  I don’t have any intention of watching it unless I happen to land on whatever channel it happens to be on this year.  There is, however,the Lingerie League conference championship games on MTV2.  Works for me.

Sorry to see that, as of late yesterday, Jeff Fisher is no longer employed by the Titans. Fisher was the longest tenured coach in the league.  Just for perspective, Fisher coached the Titans when they were the Houston Oilers.  As fine a coach as they come, a coach who was always able to get the most out of all of his players (being a former player himself).  And he came a lot closer than most coaches do to winning a Super Bowl.

Ever wonder what players and coaches really say on the sideline?  For a few years now, the league has taken to putting a microphone on players and coaches, sometimes with hilarious results and sometimes just mundane football play-calling mumbo jumbo.  But NFL Films (which should rate a space in the Smithsonian, as far as I’m concerned) has put together this very entertaining collection of “wired up” players and coaches.  It’s interesting how many plays are named after another team.  And how cool is Mike Tomlin? http://www.nfl.com/videos/nfl-films-presents/09000d5d81ded784/Wired-up

In News of the Weird, SF Giants closer Brian Wilson is, as we Southerners say, a few bricks shy of a load. Period.  And I’m beginning to wonder if the beard is fake.  I’ve always had suspicions about it.  But this “interview” by George“Still Not Funny” Lopez, is just … bizarre.

Finally, I post the penultimate (I really love that word) Friday Flashback with some hesitation.  True, this was the game-winner. Yes, Michaels & Madden are great.  But, really, haven’t we seen this catch a thousand times? Awesome drive by the Steelers, though.

What will be the final FFSBE clip? Hmmm…. Suggestions welcome.


You’re wearing THAT? 27 January 2011

As promised, today’s post is the last installment of my NFL uniforms rant. Today, the worst looks in the league.

There was a lot of competition, but some teams stood out amongst their peers. One thing is for sure: The NFL doesn’t know a whole lot about fashion. Then again, we are talking about football teams. In any event, some teams never looked good from the start, but managed to improve their uniform with a “do-over.” I’ve already discussed those teams, like Denver and New England, that did a great job with the makeover. Other teams tried it and botched it (some of whom you’ll see below).  Still others never looked good and still don’t. Put them all together and you get the Top 10 Worst Uniforms in the NFL. Disagree? Post your top 10 in the comments section.

10. San Diego:  Again, I hate white helmets, as a rule. Some teams (Tennessee — both college and NFL) pull it off, but few others do. The Chargers have great ingredients — the dark blue, trimmed in yellow, is an awesome mix, along with the simple, but effective, lightning bolts. They’ve switched back and forth from the baby-blue jerseys of the ’60s to the dark blue of the ’70s and ’80s. I prefer the dark blue, because it used to match the blue helmet. But the switch from blue helmet to white ruined a perfect look.  And earned the Chargers the #10 spot.

9.  Carolina: Boring, ugly and disorganized, and the Panther on the helmet leaves a lot to be desired. An awful lot. Other than that, it’s fine.

 

 

 

8. Detroit: Another tinkering gone bad. The original unis looked classic. Then they started messing with the stripes on the sleeves and added some black. The result is a boring uniform that looks like it was designed by a junior high art class.

 

 

 

 

7. St. Louis: I won’t even comment about the fact that the nearest “ram” to St. Louis is about 500 miles west of the city. I didn’t have a problem when the team simply changed the colors from yellow to gold (after all, I remember the Roman Gabriel-era white and blue Rams), but the blue-on-blue combo and the “progressive” piping is too much. Simpler is better, people.

 

 

 

6. Baltimore: I like black. I like purple. I don’t like black and purple. And the Ravens get extra penalty points for not being able to decide on a helmet when the franchise got started. Granted, the abomination they wore originally needed to be changed, but that  crow’s head that looks like a taxidermy ad is only barely better.

 

 

 

5. Arizona: made the mistake of changing part of the uniform, but not all. Kept the 1950s helmet on a 20xx uniform. Looks like they got dressed then realized the manager left the cool helmets back in Phoenix.

 

 

 

4. Tennessee: Who decided that light blue and dark blue look good together?

 

 

 

 

3. Cincinnati: Never looked good to begin with. The original helmet looked like it was designed by someone just too lazy to come up with an idea. The new helmet, I’ll admit, is creative. I liked the stripes for a while, but then the cuteness wore off. Then, the Bengals re-did the uniform. With unfortunate results — it looks like it was put together in the dark.

 

 

2. Seattle: The Seahawks had the misfortune to be an expansion team. I say that because, for some reason, expansion teams and uniforms are — for whatever reason — a terrible combination. The original uniform was … ok. Certainly not awe-inspiring, but not hideous, either. Another one of the teams that mix closely related colors and sport the new-look jerseys that look more like bibs than jerseys, Seattle’s unis can hurt the eyes. Think not? Check this out. The new-look helmet is about the only improvement to a blah uniform that now looks even blah-er.

 

 

1. Buffalo: Where to begin? Ok, the original was pretty atrocious, no doubt. Along the way, the Bills updated their helmet, switching from white to red (good) and implying some action to the buffalo logo (also good), but then they got a little crazy with the new look. The result is too much blue, too many panels, too much piping, too much everything. Even the road uniforms look bad. Buffalo, like Seattle (and Cincinnati) didn’t know when to stop and didn’t think that less is more when it comes to uniforms. I actually turn their games off the TV because I can’t stand to look at them (and that has nothing to do with the way they play).

 

 

Honorable Mention: Minnesota: The Vikings cause me to invoke the blasphemy rule. The Vikings had one of the classic uniforms, once up on a time. Purple. A simple, cool helmet (Viking horns!) and classic white pants with side stripes. And numerous Super Bowl appearances. But they caved to the wave of “new uniforms” in the last 10 years and botched the job. I’ve seen hotel bellhop jackets with less piping.


Now you see ’em … 26 January 2011

Might as well get a headstart on baseball season, since we’re all snowbound in Virginia in the grip of yet another deadly Snowmageddon event of Biblical proportions.

From the “You’re Way Overthinking This Dept.,” San Diego is a military town, and it really supports its troops. Between Camp Pendleton just to the north, the Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Miramar Marine Corps Air Station, Naval Air Station Coronado and the Navy’s 32nd Street base, that’s a lot of troops.  Every year, the Padres hold a Military Appreciation Day, during which the team wears camouflage jerseys. Yeah, not exactly the best look on the baseball diamond, but the intent is good. Well, they’ve unveiled this year’s jersey (at left). It’s intended to honor the Marine Corps, but — naturally — some Marines are poor-mouthing the effort. You can read the article here. Camo Guys, it’s a jersey. Don’t think about it too much.

 

 

In other news, Chad Ochocinco is changing his name back to Chad Johnson. I have a few words to say about this important matter: Who cares?

 

 

 

 

In still other news, there should really be classes for professional athletes in how to handle media interviews, and Rule #1 should be: Don’t Say It If You Don’t Want It Heard By The World.  Detroit Lions LB Zack Follett, in a radio interview yesterday, called his quarterback, Matt Stafford, a “china doll.” Of course, he had context. Of course, he didn’t mean anything negative. Which leads me to Rule #2: Don’t Try To Explain Your First Comment Because It Only Makes It Worse. Right, Zack, it’s the media’s fault. And Obama’s.


The Crypt Keeper returns: 25 January 2011

Oh sure, I was all set to post something clever today (not really), until I had the pigskin scared out of me by the photo at left. If you want to hear the latest rantings from Al Davis, click here. Tales From the Crypt. This trumps anything I had planned.


Was he or wasn’t he? 23 January 2011

The big story out of yesterday’s NFL playoffs wasn’t the fact that between the two Super Bowl contenders there are 18 NFL titles (12 for Green Bay, 6 for Pittsburgh); not that Pittsburgh won its third AFC title in six years; not that the Packers reached their first Super Bowl since the end of the Favre era (with a quarterback that may someday surpass Brett’s achievements in Titletown); or even that Chicago’s third-string quarterback put in one of the most impressive performances by an essentially untested quarterback in memory — under the most extreme of circumstances.

No, the story, fueled by players’ tweets and fumbled by the media, was Jay Cutler’s injury, or lack thereof.

I watched the game, and, like everybody else, had no clue that Cutler was injured, beyond the two blood stains on his elbow that evoked memories of Barnabas Collins (for you younger readers, think “Twilight”).  A knee?  Didn’t see that hit. Neither did the TV crew, apparently. The normally astute Buck and Aikman were strangely uninformed. The camera crew only showed Cutler standing, walking or generally being aloof. No report from the sideline, just shots of Cutler riding the stationary bike. His return was “questionable.”

I’m not going to pass judgment. I’m not a Bears fan, so, far now, I can only take the Chicago staff at its word. I will pass a little judgment on the broadcasting team, though. This wasn’t a regular-season August game that will be forgotten about before next weekend. This game was monumental. Besides the Super Bowl implications, this was Packers-Bears! The oldest, and some would say the fiercest, rivalry in all of football. Where were the reporters with the microphones jammed in the coach’s face? Why didn’t we get any word? Who knows.

The astonishing part of this was the multitude of tweets by NFL players and former players who fired off their opinions of Cutler’s status during the game.  Yeah, you can say it’s just jealousy by a bunch of sour grapes guys who are watching, rather than playing, the NFC Championship. Or it could say something else that has nothing to do with our instantaneous media madness.

Did Cutler violate the unspoken honor among players — that if you can walk, you can play? Or are hens coming home to roost for a player who has been roundly (and justifiably) criticized for his attitude toward fans and reporters, his cavalier approach and his (perceived) lack of respect for football’s authority?

I don’t know, but it’s interesting, especially on a Monday! Here’s the NFL network’s story:  NFL Network

And here’s a sample of some of the tweets, courtesy of Yahoo.

Form your own opinions.


Out with the old, in with the “new:” 23 January 2011

As promised, today’s all about ugly ducks and swans.

I’m like a lot of football fans — I tend to obsess and complain about team uniforms, especially when they change a lot. Over the last 10-15 years, the NFL has seen a lot of changes, some needed, some not. I know it’s like Charlie Brown’s Christmas — it’s a racket run by a big syndicate — but it still makes for interesting sportsgeek conversation.

Football isn’t the only sport that does this. Major League Baseball, with a few notable exceptions, has been tinkering with uniforms for years, too, but we’ll get to them in the summer.  The NBA essentially overhauled every uniform in the league, but that’s the NBA, so I don’t care.

So, following up on the Top 10 best uniforms in the NFL, today is a look at the 10 best makeovers in the NFL, based mostly on how they look as opposed to how they used to look. Disagree? Leave me your top 10 list in the “Comments” section.

10. New York (Jets): In the late ’70s and early ’80s, fashion restlessness took hold in the NFL, and both NYC teams were hit with the bug at the same time. The Jets, in keeping with the trends of the time, threw out their original Joe Namath-era unis for something simpler. Too simple, actually. All adornment of the jersey was tossed in favor of a solid green, boring jersey and matching helmet. The new “JETS” on the helmet was cool at first — I wasted plenty of time in chemistry class drawing it on my notebook — but the novelty soon wore off. The boring uniform must have worn off on the Jets’ play, too. With the exception of Boomer Esiason and Mark Gastineau, there was little to get interested in.  So, #10 is actually (like #9 to follow) a return to form. A welcome return.

9. New York Football Giants: The Giants did it, too, and botched up their uniforms as badly as the Jets. Never a fancy uniform to begin with, the Giants set a Big Apple standard for boring, and included a helmet that practically insulted the football world and white pants that screamed “BLAH.” With an ugly block letter “GIANTS” on the helmet, the message seemed to be, “In case you’re too dumb to know, you’re watching the Giants.” When they went back to the original, things seemed a little more right in the universe.

8. Houston: Houston hasn’t really changed its uniforms because it’s still a new franchise. But they made it to #8 because of all the “new-look” uniforms in the NFL, theirs is pretty slick. Granted, they have a few too many combos, and the “all-red” look they occasionally sport looks like somebody threw a bunch of Popsicles on the field, but the helmet logo is badass. And the colors, highlighted with the now fashionable trim, really works.

 

7. Philadelphia: The Eagles, back in the day, followed a trend common in the NFL — have your helmet adornment represent the name of your team, especially if your team is named after an animal. The Rams had their horns, the Eagles got wings. The uniform of the ’70s, though, was ugly. A retina-hurting green and silver that looked more like gray, and gaudy white stripes on the jerseys. When they re-did the uniform in the ’90s, they definitely improved the look: a green more pleasing to the eye (thanks to the adding of some black to the hue), more silver and redesigned wings. I’m still not a fan of the wings, but they definitely look better.

6. Arizona: The Cardinals moved from St. Louis and took their look with them. How boring was it? So boring I had a hard time finding images of the original uniform. The new one is a big improvement over the original with one exception — the white helmet with the original cardinal looks like a 1950s helmet on a 2010 uniform, which is exactly what it is. The new togs look great with the highlights, piping and vivid red, but the helmet needs some work. Maybe the Cardinals need to spend some time studying Atlanta’s look.

 

5. Jacksonville: The Jaguars are a mystery. An expansion team that went to the AFC Championship within five years that now can barely fill a stadium. A team with a cool, albeit unlikely, nickname (really, are jaguars prevalent in NE Florida?). A well-dressed team to begin with that decided on an “upgrade.” I don’t know why they did it. The uniforms looked fine before and they look fine after. Some people are just never satisfied, I guess.

 

4. Tampa Bay: OK, full disclosure here: I actually liked the original Tampa Bay uniform. At the time the orange-sherbet colors (especially the orange facemask) was uber cool. Of course, that was the 1970s. And the now-famous Winking Gay Pirate (not that there’s anything wrong with that) was cool, too. But, apparently, the masses disagreed, and the Buccaneers got a new wardrobe. And the Bucs proved that new can be good, especially when you put it all together with the darker orange/pewter look. And, best of all, they got rid of the white helmet. I’m not a fan of the cutesy football inserted into the Jolly Roger flag, but, eh, it’s football. It works. The only knock I’ve got against the new unis is there are too many combinations.

3. Atlanta: My hatred for the Falcons extends to their old uniforms. If you look at the “before” pic on the left and think you’re looking at the Georgia Bulldogs, don’t feel like you’re the only one. The colors are almost a total ripoff. That 8th-grade art class rendering of a falcon on the helmet is confusing as hell unless you study it. The original Falcons were overly simple — red jerseys and helmets and white pants. That changed during the Jerry Glanville era, and not for the better. The helmet was changed to black — and the falcon remained black.  Black on black just doesn’t work. They also went to a black jersey (they read the report that said black NFL merchandise sells better than anything else). But it was still a plain look. Today’s uniforms, however, are a huge improvement. I’m not a big fan of the piping and slashes and all the other multi-color decorations on jerseys, but on the Falcons, the look is awesome. White, black and red. And the falcon got a facelift. It may look a little outer space but it’s far, far better than the original. The Falcons are now one of the best-looking teams in the league.

2. New England: This was a tough call — where to place the Pats. Their original uniform was atrocious. It looked outdated in the ’70s. I like stripes on the shoulders, but the color combination and flat colors made the Patriots look bland. And the helmet — besides being white — was hideous. I get it, a “patriot” snapping the ball. Lame. And unless you were right next to player, it was hard to discern exactly what it was, especially in the days before HD TV. The current look is actually a variation on their remake. The first remake was a do-over that vastly improved the look. Since then, they’ve tweaked the jersey, added blue pants, and modified some of the striping. And it’s a great modern look. Even the helmet is brand-new — and it’s not white!

1. Denver: Folks, the original Broncos uniform was an abomination. It looked like it fell out of the ugly tree and hit every limb on the way down. Orange jerseys that could induce Immediate Cornea Meltdown, a baby-blue (baby blue??) helmet with a snot-slinging horse inside a big D. Oh, and white pants. No wonder they lost all those Super Bowls. The other team couldn’t quit laughing — or puking. But when the Broncos unveiled the new unis, I was impressed. Gone were the blinding orange and baby blue, replaced by a darker blue and orange trim. Finally, sanity landed. Denver was one of the first teams I noticed doing a complete re-do (after the Patriots), and one of the few teams that got it right. Since then, several teams have tried to do it, some with horrible results (Minnesota, take note). But Denver is by far and away the most improved uniform in the league.

Next up, worst uniforms.