Thursday, December 30, 2010

Gary Patterson, Andy Dalton Leads TCU Horned Frogs To The Unthinkable

It wasn't long ago when Andy Dalton, dressed in his causal attire and madly fell in love with Southern California, sent a text message bragging about his arrival at Disneyland on Sunday afternoon. He looked very excited, he smiled heavily, his eyes widened and he wildly celebrated at the Happiest Place on Earth.

From there, of course, he mingled with Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck on a brisk afternoon, thinking back of the memories from an unthinkable season that transpired in the weak Mountain West. Realizing that he's verified as the savior for the third-ranked Horned Frogs, proudly serving as the quarterback to illustrate one of the most remarkable seasons in school history, Dalton is one of the disregarded athletes in the sport.

He tried every attraction in his countless hours spent at the happiest amusement park, only to try and replicate his fearless attitude for rigorous preparation and then translate the same type of mentality for the Rose Bowl Game on Saturday. This has been a season of goofiness, chaos, corruption as figured in college football with a deranged system, which either snubbed or smeared a program worthy of national title hopes.

Unfair as it may be to discount TCU, the system with such a BCS crisis has no sympathy for the Horned Frogs. Maybe it's because of such a favorable schedule the Horned Frogs are faced with each season, even if some people inevitably believes Texas Christian deserves a shot when the university's football program has emerged into a top-ranked national power.

In other words, the Horned Frogs were too powerful in the Mountain West and unevenly pummeled their opponents as they ended the season unbeaten, with the nation's No. 1 defense for the third consecutive season and 36 wins in its last 39 since 2008. Nonetheless, as the Granddaddy game looms, it has drawn ceaseless complaints and malcontent critics can't endure the idea that the Horned Frogs earned a trip to play their first Rose Bowl Game in TCU's history.

Get over it...

"We're not just representing TCU," Dalton said. "We're representing all the non-AQ schools."

For once, the Horned Frogs are well-deserving of a respective opportunity to resonate greatness for a school without much triumph in the past, a school waiting for glory as TCU encounters the stiffest test by meeting a Big Ten powerhouse in the Wisconsin Badgers. It's ultimately interesting to see whether or not TCU is actually capable in securing the stunning upset in the next few days, above all the hearsay that the Frogs are incapable of matching the Badgers energy or immeasurable toughest. Fair enough.

"Obviously we've done something right to get to go to the Big East, and hopefully we'll make that league better," Dalton said. "I can't see us dropping off. I think we'll just keep getting better."

What fun to witness the Frogs, for once, face the hardest challenge all season with much at stake. This is probably, by far, the heaviest spotlight TCU has ever possessed, a noteworthy program suddenly adored by overzealous fans. Yes, in all honesty, dignity elevated in a year when the Frogs were untouched and never suffered a broken heart, dominating many of their opponents in a cupcake fashion, smothering opponents with their monstrous defense and forestalling a potent offense.

It comes as no surprise that TCU is virtually anointed nowadays, no longer classified as darlings of the BCS, but mettle crusaders to finally appear in a meaningful contest on a night the masses will likely watch, curious to find out if the Frogs can pull off the huge stunner. However, no matter what happens, it's considered a signature game for TCU, a team always coveted with a fierce mentality for big moments.

He is indeed credited for the renovation of a program below its standard, but of late, Gary Patterson, TCU's accomplished coach, has brought life to a school now one win away from transcending greatness. It's fair to say that Patterson is an expert, not only in show business, but for the way he hones his players and prepares everyone for pivotal moments. As a young teenager, he played the guitar in a rock band.

He is still cool, only this time a cool coach who understands the formula and style of coaching and has introduced it routinely to his players. From his early years, he desired to play football and someday become a head coach. And wouldn't you know his lifelong dream turned into reality, and now he's leading the Horned Frogs with his devotion to his knack and dexterity. Because he's a fiery coach, he's in his seventh season of double-digit wins in 10 full seasons as head coach.

For all those years, not as many cheers as there are now, the small university never had much worth celebrating but they will if TCU prevails Saturday night. Before World War II, TCU was on the national platform, but plunged shortly after and painfully dealt with 30 losing seasons from 1961 to 1997, including a dreadful eight-year drought at a period the Frogs never accounted for more than two wins in the entire season.

Since then, obviously, Patterson has recruited beloved figures. Since then, TCU has been elite. That explains why he's pocketing $1.6 million, the second-highest salary among any coach of a non-AQ school. Lucky to have a rifle-armed, pocket thrower like Dalton, who has thrown for more than 10,000 yards and has excellent mobility, release much stress off the heart and soul of Patterson. It's only fitting to have a pair of receivers, such as Jeremy Kerley and Jimmy Young, two reliable studs with athleticism and size. It has been a good four years, and Dalton has been hurling passes to his star receivers.

You see, Dalton is the coolest red-headed dude around. Patterson is the coolest guitarist around.

You'll see New Years Day.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Mike Singletary Experiment Crippled The Niners, Now Jed York Could Use a Cure

On Monday, he arrived in front of the press with a helpless look on his face, unsure how to amend the downcast era of woeful collapses in a year the San Francisco 49ers were forecast to win their attenuated division.

There he was, Jed York, the president of the Niners, an undisciplined and defenseless executive who sadly doesn't have the knowledge or motivation for running a storied franchise. For all the flaws in the past, he stood in a news conference speechless and uncertain of his next direction to cure inefficiencies that have dismantled the beauty of football in the Bay Area.

In order to restore buoyancy, York vividly had no choice and decided finally to salvage reliance -- something that was almost lost -- and then he realized that he had to fire Mike Singletary, after he wasn't an inspirational or experienced voice for the daunted Niners. When Eddie DeBartolo, 64, owned the team years ago, now 10 years removed from the ownership role, he was fearlessly devoted and keen to solidify a crippled roster and happened to win multiple Super Bowl titles because of it.

And in the meantime, Eddie D has faith in his nephew. But if he wishes to follow his uncle's footsteps, Jed needs to boldly restore goodness for one of the most popular franchises in the NFL. It's nice to know that he made considerable changes to erase one of the most embarrassing memories in a disconcerting ending, finishing 5-10 in a season the Niners were favorites in the mediocre NFC West, but sadly missed the playoffs for the eighth-straight season.

It came hours after the 49ers charter plane landed in San Francisco, when York readily dismissed Singletary and told reporters the next day that he never intended to make any emotional decisions. And yes, as it happened in the wee hours, defensive line coach Jim Tomsula was named interim coach for the season finale against the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday.

"We're going to win (Sunday)," Tomsula said. "Let me make that clear. We're going to prepare to win a football game."

It is, ultimately, a cruel business for the average coach and can be very difficult to secure jobs in a complex profession such as the NFL, rather than it is to protect a status of employment, once someone flounders and uncovers blemishes and diplomatic issues. And for good reason, although he had a decent 18-22 record, he was canned following the painful 25-17 loss in St. Louis that smeared the Niners postseason quest and bruised Singletary's stint.

This after the Niners lost the nucleus of their team and couldn't even advance to the playoffs, unable to capitalize in a sloppy and agonizing defeat, an anticlimax very hard to swallow given that the Niners were close to clinching a playoff berth.

In such a brief stint, he was anointed and fulfilled the role serving as the Niners head coach, but then he suddenly fizzled and never had the mental capacity to maintain patience or enlighten his players, without verbally abusing them on the sideline or uttering impolitely in the locker room from his unbearable rants. Maybe he lasted as long as he did because of his inspirational and fiery nature, fueled by his competence at getting his point across, once he accepted the coaching responsibilities from the Yorks, who truly believed he was the answer to eliminate the dreary era.

For now, as a disappointing season comes to a closure, the Niners are eager to finish strong. And now, the Niners are ready to move forward without Singletary's weird methods throughout his coaching days, a point of his career that he was volatile, brusque and inexperienced. As it stands, he simply is a Hall of Fame linebacker, but won't ever be defined as a Hall of Fame coach.

The recent distress is created from the repetition of losses, even if Singletary had an impressive resume and had the Niners riding on a good start earlier in the regular-season. But he couldn't instill or implement a sense of urgency and steadiness for the Niners, a team in need of communication and instrumental principles.

And there's much pressure on York, the 29-year-old inheriting the family legacy in his second year as President/CEO. Within his term, he designed the 49ers Cafe located at the player's complex, but screwed up by hiring a cryptic Singletary. The story this winter in San Francisco has been Singletary, but now he's faulted for diagramming a resemblance of the West Coast offense from the 1985 Bears and installing hilarity for pulling his pants down in the locker room as a way to state a point.

He was also criticized for yanking the best quarterback or firing coaches on his terrible coaching staff. He was not parallel to the late Bill Walsh, the brilliant mastermind who led the Niners' dynasty back in the '80s. At this point, for the most part, the priorities are hiring an experienced NFL coach with an attractive resume, and eventually investing in billions for stadium creations in the Bay Area. He is definitely ready to hire a general manager, to fortify the challenging position since the departure of Scot McCloughan.

"It's important to me to get a general manager and have the general manager get the head coach. It's important to get someone who is the right fit for the 49ers," York said. "It's about time."

Yes, it is time...

The understanding of releasing Singletary, even though he clearly wasn't the suitor for the Niners, is that he had two years remaining on the $10 million, four-year contract he signed in 2008. It wasn't what the Niners had in mind, but after a 0-5 start, they were still in contention and almost survived in the substandard NFC West, considering that San Francisco had the most talented team in the division.

However, the Niners were shellshocked, pummeled and faltered for the lack of stability in a weakened offensive system, ruptured by the 49ers quarterback issues with Alex Smith, the 2005 No. 1 overall pick who turned into an absolute bust. The likelihood is that the Niners are proudly flirting with the availability of Jim Harbaugh, and this alone, is a golden opportunity for Harbaugh if he's willing to leave Stanford for San Francisco. Before Walsh died, he lobbied for Stanford athletic director to hire Harbaugh and ever since, the Cardinal has been a premier program in collegiate football.

The rest of the sports world clearly knows this is a time for York to prove he's worthy of reforming the Niners. This is essentially when we'll learn the true colors of Mr. York.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

The Lakers Are Anything but Intimidating

If someone utters one word about the possibility of the Lakers capturing a three-peat, please let them know the Lakers aren't even close. It wasn't long ago when Kobe Bryant, wearing another championship T-shirt, gazing upwards to watch the confetti fall in his hair or caressing the trophy, collected his fifth ring to cement a dignified legacy.

If the Lakers aren't nervous of the sudden demise, from a perpetual drought to erase the memories of an indelible back-to-back journey and diminish the traditional perception of a team in Hollywood, the motionless fans are hysterical of the undermined calamity.

So now, the gist of the annual Christmas Day appearance for the Lakers, in theory, perished over the years and has been the one day that the team humiliates itself by crumbling in a signature game. There are times, such as Saturday night in which the Lakers were embarrassed and taken to school by the Miami Heat, when the Staples Center is the equivalent of a mortuary—as if the demise of the untouchable Lakers is slowly materializing. Wasn't it devastating??

"This is serious stuff," Bryant said after he posted only 17 points on 6-for-16 shooting. "You don't just have two rings and say we're satisfied with what we've got and let it slide. I am not rolling with that."

Looks as if Team Hollywood quit. Looks as if the brainless, inactive fans observed spongy and incompetent superstars and the most talented franchise in the NBA staggered. As it is, the torpid fans are incapable of inspiring the dispirited defending champs, not loud or cheerful enough of uplifting a diverse town or even one of the most popular franchises. With all the hype of this marquee matchup, a long-awaited LeBron-Kobe show every devotee had been anticipating so anxiously, the timing couldn't be better for the Heat to awaken in the most dynamic test this season.

For once, he was a benefactor and settled for a triple-double. And so it ended when LeBron James had 27 points, to accompany 10 rebounds and 10 assists as the self-proclaimed King James had his best game this season against the defending champs to lead the Heat to a throbbing 96-80 win over the Lakers Saturday. But if the Lakers ever were to move forward, sustain three consecutive championships that amazingly send Los Angeles into a tie with its nemesis the Boston Celtics as the franchise with the most NBA titles ever, they'd have to purge the apathy, softness and weaknesses.

Otherwise, it's the prelude to futility and alters into plights, even if the Lakers consist of the greatest closer in the game—Kobe Bryant—or Phil Jackson, maybe the most respected coach for winning his 11th title.

A few minutes into the game, the Lakers rode a 7-2 run and had the crowd, not only in the Christmas spirit, but electrified and screaming to jolt the building with an alley-oop from Bryant to Lamar Odom.

He looked stylish in his new shoe, the unique footwear known as the Nike Kobe Zoom 6 Green Mamba Grinch Christmas Shoe, crazily sporting the shoe just as Odom and Pau Gasol. And there was James revealing his trendy shoe as well—the red ones he wore on the floor. But this wasn't about who had the better shoe. Instead this was about which player had the better outing. It's been horrid, for sure—plenty of nightmares in a town where the celebrities come out to see the Lakers in their courtside seats.

Because of the hype that centered Kobe and LeBron, a pair of puppets and marketers for producing their animated Nike ads, the Heat-Lakers had been defined as the prime-time event on Christmas. And it really was a physical battle as the refs allowed a pair of top-notch teams to play without blowing the whistles. It was so awful, for much of the night, that the Lakers couldn't survive a critical bout when it served as motivation against the toughest opponent with an ambition ever since forming the deepest trio in pro basketball of all time.

Most of the disgust that had shifted on Bryant's face was an expression of frustration, not the normal facial feature of him scowling or grinding his teeth as if he's ready to devour his opponent’s blood. After suffering a Christmas whooping for the second straight year, Kobe wouldn't lash out as much in the news conference, practically humiliated with the ugliest rout on a national holiday when the average populace paid close attention to the Lakers. As we all know, they are playing like confused kids on a playground, scared to attack the rim or penetrate to dominate in the interior.

"We need to play with more focus and put more importance on these games," an irritable Bryant said. "I don't like it."

He wasn't too merry.

"I think these games mean more to our opponent than they do us," he said.

It wasn't amusing to see the Lakers miss shots, fail to defend brilliantly and collect rebounds, but it was painful for a lot of people, many of whom purchased expensive tickets as high as $900 for non-courtside seats. But then with the poor performance of the Lakers, fans walked towards the exits early, and couldn't bear the devastation of trailing by 19 points. From here on out, as long as the Lakers play carelessly and uninspired, it simply won't become easier for Los Angeles.

"That was embarrassing," Magic Johnson said on ABC. "It really was."

There is apparently no sense of pride for the Lakers, lifeless in a must-have. Gasol remained scoreless until midway in the second quarter with an air-ball on one possession, not taking advantage of his upper body strength and had been beaten or tormented in the paint to finish with 17 points.

"I sensed anger in Kobe, obviously, but I didn't sense a lot of anger in our team," Lakers coach Phil Jackson. "I didn't sense that kind of anger that rises in a team when they know that they really disappointed themselves."

Until the Lakers overcome struggles, they won't beat the much-deeper Spurs or Mavericks. That is just something to think about.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Michael Jordan's Mental Lapse Dents Bobcats Future

This time, he can escape his personal stress, if only for a moment, when he stunningly resigned from the franchise, ran from the burdens and surrendered in his successful coaching career to finally realize he's not capable for such a tiring and stressful task.

It is, I dare say, telling that Larry Brown, upset and disgruntled with his team for weeks, wasn't the suitor to mend the dysfunctional Bobcats.

And for a while there, the Charlotte Bobcats were a burgeoning unit on the rise, turning into a watchful event for spectators in a popular atmosphere of passionate and loyal fans that traditionally cheers for famous college athletic programs.

It was a spectacular season for the Bobcats a year ago, an NBA team that posted the best record in franchise history, had the league's top defense and advanced to its first ever postseason appearance.

It wasn't long ago when Brown, wearing a dirty gaze on his face, was unhappy with the cost-cutting trade that sent center Tyson Chandler to Dallas for Erick Dampier, who was eventually cut by Charlotte.

It would figure, given the parallels of a divorce for all the misgivings and bungles poorly made by executives, that Brown was mentally burned out with the perpetual maneuvers.

This doesn't seem as shocking as it is to visualize the abrupt departure of Brown, a coach admired heavily with his win-now approach, if nothing else, which seemed to arouse Michael Jordan in hiring the sophisticated teacher of basketball.

For once, working for a stubborn-minded Jordan wasn't so easy and Brown left for what seems to be the end of his longstanding career. He packed his bags and took his belongings, ready to breathe and leave behind a tedious profession.

For now, presumably, he doesn't have to report for work, but can take a hiatus, or better yet, retire forever and embrace life outside of basketball. It's going to take a makeover and the hiring of a clever coach to rebuild the Bobcats, but until then, surrounded by scumbags within a mismanaged business, the Bobcats are delayed of rising as ultimately a dominant force.

As for Jordan, owner of the Charlotte Bobcats, he has foolishly dismantled his own franchise with his ill-advised draft mistakes as a perplexed NBA executive—see 2008 when he carelessly passed on Stanford's Brook Lopez.

If he was unwilling to select a beastly 7-footer, listening to Brown rant in the draft room that he had preferred to select D.J. Augustin, it's obvious Jordan had accommodated his coach and grabbed the point guard over the muscular 7-footer.

And although he was discontent with Raymond Felton, Brown didn't want to see the star guard leave as a free-agent unless he was replaced by a full-time starter.

The demise of the Bobcats is cast upon a sharp-minded Hall of Famer, in terms of playing for a team, but not running it as a business.

Sadly enough, the Bobcats are on the brink of inferiority and uncertainty, blinded by Jordan's lapses. They could have clearly risen in the Eastern Conference if he made wiser decisions, instead of his boneheaded choices of late.

But as in the case of Brown, he demanded much of the personnel decisions as the coach and, as it turns out, he had been in a feud with Jordan.

In the wake of the firing, along with the sudden surprise in the last day, it's an indisputable theory of which he was extremely tired of the belligerence. If Jordan had been in communication or reached an understanding with Brown, instead of losing his patience for a lousy relapse, he would have been able to reconcile.

But he couldn't repair a relationship in shambles, not after Brown vigorously formed his own roster and constantly was unsure whether he desired to remain on the job or escape from the endless headaches. Not after Jordan invested his own money to refurbish the Bobcats.

If there ever were a moment that Jordan desired to have the last word, as always, it showed when he dismissed Brown on Wednesday and deeply occupied himself with the stiff assignment of accepting the everyday responsibilities.

Ever since Jordan purchased the majority share of the Bobcats, taking control of basketball operations, he vastly improved the roster by gambling and neglecting long-term deals.

We have seen precisely in his tenure, as Jordan traded Jason Richardson and Jared Dudley for Boris Diaw or traded Stephen Jackson and his grueling contract, that he initially tried to upgrade.

But it all backfired in his face, although the risky deals had an immediate impact and bolstered Charlotte into the postseason.

It is amazing how fast the Bobcats plunged, and for now, Jordan is assigning the coaching duties to Paul Silas, an old-school coach and well-known custodian of Charlotte.

So then, maybe he's the suitable voice, given his history of a strong method in coaching and urgent style.

All of the sudden, a financial crisis dooms the Bobcats, and the $99.2 million paid to Gerald Wallace, Jackson, Diaw and Thomas over the next three seasons dents a rebuilding plan as the Bobcats are above their means as far as finances.

And the result, after he spent from his own pocket by taking on enormous salaries for underachievers, is that he's reportedly considering a trade proposal. That would send Augustin, DeSagana Diop and Matt Carroll to the Los Angeles Clippers for Baron Davis. If so, he'd reunite with his former Hornets coach Silas.

Sure, it seems a little weird that Jordan vowed to expose his franchise to the market, vowed to be available and vowed to sell the organization, especially after giving Brown control.

Meanwhile, Jordan tried to assemble the Bobcats, but instead ruptured his legacy. Consider this a mental lapse for a man, now in control of his depleted franchise. Consider this a disaster.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Michael Vick Matures Into Leader, Engineers Comeback of Ages

He does seem like a worthy candidate for the MVP award, despite that Michael Vick was thrilled bankrolling a dogfighting ring as his amusing activity outside of football. It was a time for him to prove to us, no doubt, that he's the best quarterback in the NFL, one of the most sensational players with versatility of a gifted star on the Philadelphia Eagles.

Not surprisingly, the permissive citizens here waited no time pampering him with adulation, allowing the speedy quarterback a second chance after he paid his debts to society, well at least, most people believed it anyway. It's a shame, as we offer adoration to a man who still presents remorse and earns reverence with his gracious and humbled charisma, that we live in a society very forgiven of a horrific past, rooting for Vick as if he's never broken the law.

If there were ever a proper moment to release the sickening memories of his wrongdoings, when he almost sabotaged his image and his remarkable career for electrocuting, drowning, hanging or shooting dogs, it is now since he has been the vital element of the Eagles this season. What really matters is not the infamous operation called Bad Newz Kennels, not the shame of a diabolical past, not that he was once a criminal with no morals or ethical principles, but that he's wildly commended in a town which could be ungrateful and senseless at times.

It's already been forgotten by many that he was a problem-child in the NFL with the Eagles en route of possibly clinching a playoff berth in the upcoming weeks, to surely shock the people in an improbable season. The other night he walked into the Sixers game and fans gave Vick a standing ovation, madly applauded and overwhelmed him with chants of "MVP, MVP."

The most amusing part of his towering season, as the focal point of a team with postseason potential, is that Vick is respectively agile in open field and has been problematic to thwart in midfield. And while he has been a factor of leading the Eagles, Vick is currently the MVP hopeful in a season he was given the starting assignment to replace an inconsistent Kevin Kolb. Remember him? The backup quarterback who had been benched as the starter after he sustained a concussion.

By the time coach Andy Reid finished playing musical chairs with his tandem of quarterbacks and figured out that he was comfortable assigning the starting job to his accelerated performer, he finally deserted the switcheroo of juggling his quarterbacks each week and simply named Vick as the starter. Since then, he has been an asset to the Eagles schemes, a likable man although he served a 20 month sentence for a federal dogfighting conviction, only to redeem himself of fraud and dishonesty.

This, not long after he poorly used bad judgment when a so-called comrade was shot at Vick's untamed birthday party that associates from the public were welcome to partake in. And to escape from the ravaged troubles in the past, he is solely a component the Eagles need to pilot them. Its deep receiver core that is really unstoppable and nifty, is compelled to outplay a defense without heart and balance, normally beating down the coverage provided by their opponents.

This was, after all, a different Philadelphia team from the one early in the season before Vick took over and began to play with heart and determination, glowing as the comeback story in the NFL this season. He is, by far, the toughest speedster in the league and has the mobility to frustrate defenders, hasty eluding pressure in the pocket and crazily dusting through traffic and gains yardage when he separates from the pass rush.

For years, they'll tell stories about a miraculous comeback, one which will live on for the ages in the history of the Eagles, and a team that had been in serious need of a miracle on Sunday against the New York Giants. Among all things, the Eagles were trailing by 24-3 at halftime and almost were taken down in a humiliating loss. But suddenly in the second half, Giants fans were in disbelief to watch Philly tie it at 31-31 with 1 minute, 16 seconds left. And then the miracle happened. There he was, DeSean Jackson, after fumbling the ball on a punt, retrieving it in a hurry and returned it 65 yards for the stunning game-winning touchdown.

"I have never been around anything like this in my life," a stunned Tom Coughlin said after the disheartening collapse. "It's about as empty as you get to feel in this business."

As for the letdown, when Vick was uncovered and untouched in the final quarter to engineer a masterful drive. Coughlin cringed angrily and had a confused look on his face as he tossed his head gear and met punter Matt Dodge on the field, where he screamed at him to light him up brighter than a Christmas tree. Not only that, with a large lead at home, he saw it dwindle instantly as the Giants couldn't survive in the end, giving it away to the Eagles. And just like that, Philly was on top with a staggering 38-31 lead to suddenly cap the win and advance into first place in the NFC East.

"By far, this is one of the greatest comebacks of my career, being down by such a huge deficit," Vick said after the Eagles clinched the division with a 10-4 record. "We were able to come back in a short period of time. It's outstanding. I give a lot of credit to my teammates. I have to thank God for the opportunity, but it was, by far, one of the best."

Yes, it was one of the best finishes in the history of sports.

For the Eagles, after surviving maybe its toughest test all season, they can win one of their next two starts now that they own the division lead. For now, the Giants are in trouble, not prevailing in critical situations to avoid the hassle and must win at Green Bay and Washington to ensure a spot in the postseason. That is hardly an easy task, now after suffering a painful heartbreaker at home in front of a fervent crowd.

But, in the meantime, Vick has grown quickly into the leader in a turnaround season and handles the leadership role with dignity and humility. It was the lack of effort defensive wise, just as the Eagles drove the ball aggressively to exhaust and outsmart the demise of the Giants defense that relapsed and cost the Giants another loss to the Eagles, who swept them in two games this season.

How did this happen? Really, how did this happen? No really?

As he finally had a 35-yard scramble and dashed in the middle, along with a 33-yard scramble, Vick continued to run as a way to wear out and irritate the Giants. And this was before he connected with tight end Brent Celek on a 65-yard touchdown pass. All along though, it was a disastrous mistake kicking the ball to an explosive Jackson, particularly when Dodge failed to follow instructions to boot an onside kick.

The point is, of course, that Vick created the miracle and has been putting together the unimaginable to avoid blitzes, fumbles and turnovers, not turning out as a disappointment, but an important player going down the stretch.

Was this the greatest comeback in ages? Absolutely.

"I can't name another one of these," Reid said. "This is exciting. It's a great day to be a Philadelphia writer."

Yes, it is a great day to be writer, because this was one of the best stories I've ever dwelled on.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

LeBron James Gets Last Laugh Over Blatant Crowd at Garden

For now, he's a public enemy in New York, greeted with unpleasant chants by soulless fans at the Garden. That was, the King, who arrived to the world's most famous venue on Friday night and duplicated a compelling spectacle on a night the crowd ridiculed and insulted LeBron James badly.

In the stands, boorish and blatant Knicks' fans tried their hardest to increasingly raise misery towards the most hated ballplayer in the game. It's too often, now considered a villain of the Madison Square Garden when months ago James was lustily cheered, that he's taunted and unwelcome.

Think of his one-hour reality TV show, a preposterous extravaganza that hijacked our consciousness last July. The discrepancy came the moment he announced his "Decision" on airwaves, absorbing the world's attention for a callous and narcissistic mind to create speculation, to scare jittery fans and to keep his potential landing spots hostage, until he finally said he was taking his talents to South Beach.

It's one thing for a slew of hate to portray James as the most evil ballplayer, although he's an economic boon and owns the spotlight in any town whether or not he's abused or saluted. Before, it felt like a recruiting trip, wearing his Yankees cap at the airport but a Cavs uniform on the brightest stage on Broadway every time he arrived to New York as a visitor.

The hostility, which attracted the enthralling circus in a town doubtlessly used to stage shows, fueled James' mind to perform as an aggressor and play with energy in front of celebrities and an energetic sellout crowd on a night the fans raucously shouted at James. When he walked onto his playground at the Garden and anxiously put on another entertaining display on his inhospitable court under the glowing lights of New York's humongous palace, he was identified as a jilter and traitor after he was supposed to contribute in a rebuilding stage with the Knicks.

He was supposed to join the Knicks and revive a lifeless franchise by his high-flying dunks as a global superstar in the big city. The Garden used to revere James with his spectacular performances that New Yorkers flirted with the magnetic superstar, amazingly wooing him to play for the Knicks when he became available to the market.

But as you probably know, the absurdity of his over-the-top free-agency announcement elevated the animosity across our nation. On the day he became a free-agent, James followed his heart and mind, telling the world that he opted to join forces with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh to form the most attractive trio of all-time. He never desired to play for the Knicks, but was fascinated with the city and has always delivered his epic performances to put on a breathtaking show in front of a frenzied crowd.

It was his first appearance in New York since ignoring and humiliating the Knicks last summer of which he was jeered loudly every time he touched the ball. While the churlish New Yorkers unpleasantly booed James on his every touch, he delivered 32 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists, settling for his second triple-double of the season.

"This is a great building. Certain buildings in this league that you just thrive on and you're excited about, and this being the Mecca of basketball as a kid you always envision not only playing in the NBA but also having a chance to play in Madison Square Garden," James said after the Heat destroyed the Knicks in a 113-91 blowout.

If nothing else, to silence the growing displeasure of raging fans that began once he abruptly departed Cleveland, he responded with an athletic, dazzling masterpiece, shifting the emotions in a building which suddenly dropped silent and no longer jeered. As it turns out, he punctuated an unstoppable exhibit to get the last laugh of a watchful event after he dashed his way in the lanes, buried step-back three-pointers and provided behind-the-back passes, driving in traffic as a distributor to hand it off to his teammates.

"It was a fun night, seriously," James said. "The fans here are great. We all know the fans here are very passionate and they want their team to win. And if you're not on their team, then you suck. And we all know that."

There were times, such as the late '90s that Reggie Miller was nastily taunted or received death threats for entering the Garden, reminding us of the heartless torture in one of the most electrifying buildings in the league. The ridiculous headline this week from a creative tabloid, featured on front of the New York Post read "LeCHICKEN," a day before he visited the Knicks for another remarkable date.

For now, he is wary of the uncontrolled New York media and vindictive fans, neither of whom worships James after he turned down the Knicks in favor of the Heat, considering that he could have allied with Amar'e Stoudemire, who has validated the relevancy of the compelling Knicks. Spike Lee jumped around at the party, but watched the Knicks fall to a lustful James. Drake appeared, too, but saw the Knicks being smothered.

When the Miami players were introduced, the crowd stood fiercely and belittled James that boosted his level of capabilities, uplifting his mastery to thrive on the derision for the unrealistic transition to South Beach. The prodigious talent of a star transformed the Heat, and suddenly, he is playing with heart and vigor, doing whatever to silent critics. But more importantly, he's on pursuit of a championship and has been the essential piece to a well-equipped team, comprised of prodigy and top-notch stars.

Better yet, he's not just trying to silence the public or ripen into the greatest ballplayer ever, but he's aiming to establish as a global businessman, once his career comes to a terminal. After all, he's already investing roughly to improve his product and has been an attraction for consumers, willing to purchase his products and tolerate his giddy Nike ads. By the end of his captivating performance, he still proved that he's the most exciting player to watch, especially if he's playing in the Garden, where he has engraved a remarkable legacy and replicated Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant.

"LeBron was really dialed in," said Heat coach Erik Spoelstra. "He made some possession-saving plays on one end and really carried us on the other. When he's making that mid-range jumper it really opens up everything."

Every time he visits New York, he plays the role of facilitator as a way to impress the crowd, I guess, putting on an intense showpiece in front of a sellout crowd, intrigued by his beautiful play as the Garden turn nuts like it did in the late '90's. And now it looks as if the Knicks-Heat rivalry is being renewed, one that will live on for the ages if LeBron and Amar'e exists.

Like always, he channeled Jordan and Bryant at the Garden, a place that muted by the third-quarter as James led a 27-7 Miami run. For all the talk swirling around the Heat's softness, as to which they were soft and passive defensively at one point, Miami assertively double-and-triple teamed Stoudemire, causing him to force ill-advised shots and make awful passes.

By then, he was held to 24 points on 11-for-28 shooting, snapping his franchise record of nine-straight 30-point games. However, if James played for the Knicks he'd clearly be considered the iconic celebrity of New York, maybe even more famous than Derek Jeter. Had he joined the Knicks, he'd be idolized for amending the town's woes and generating millions in one of the most active cities in America. But out of his four suitors, he rejected New York and Chicago, even his native town to play for the Heat. At the beginning, it seemed this marriage wasn't possible of functioning or creating a nucleus that builds upon myriads of unstoppable, forceful basketball.

At the very least, he tried to fire his coach, requesting discipline and mental toughness, but Hall of Famer Pat Riley stayed with Spoelstra. So fittingly, James is not only a marketing mastermind, but a mellowed superstar and has brought his unified teammates together with his style of sharing the ball for involving his co-stars such as Bosh and Wade.

Mostly, though, James hadn't found his rhythm to flourish within a trio of compatible superstars and overwhelmed New York with his outstanding show, albeit he's one of the hated athletes, unless he continuously resides in Miami. As life foiled for the Heat, on a pursuit to attainment, they escaped the long-suffering droughts and contemptible meltdowns.

Although he elicited plenty of hate, James puts on a dramatic scene at the Garden.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Tony Reagins Prolong Woes, So Angels' Fans Might As Well Boycott

It's as if spirit has suddenly vanished on Katella Ave.; almost as if the Angels couldn't care less in revamping an inactive ballclub faced with tremendous emptiness and shame, unable to lure a blockbuster free-agent in an offseason attempt.

Before, the well-respected ballclub that resides near Disneyland was as popular as the other team in town and the city of Anaheim had been emblazoned with seas of red attire to adore the best baseball franchise in town.

At this point, the Angels are in oblivion, even if this is one of the main attractions in Orange County, even if this is one of the most mediocre clubs in baseball and even if Tony Reagins, the inept Angels general manager, is a toxic waste in a town that once was accustomed to postseason splendor.

These days, as the Halo in the parking lot of Angel Stadium doesn't brighten the sky as much, the organization is failing so miserably to improve and helplessly transforms into dysfunction.

It was one of baseball's well-operated businesses, until the owner Arturo Moreno purchased the franchise when the Walt Disney Co. decided to relieve itself of the responsibility in running a profitable business.

And just as much as he downplays the magnitude of becoming the first Hispanic owner, he pathetically denies to confess that he has sabotaged the Angels and disgusted devoted fans in a depress community, unless they drive down the street and spend countless hours at Disneyland to release all the disillusionment and affliction.

Beyond the duplication of his failures as owner, so largely that fans are bickering in an outcry for losing on every bid this winter, it has lifted the insanity and the sport has strangely teetered.

For all the belief that the polarizing Bill Stoneman, the former general manager who built the Angels World Series championship team, wasn't aggressive in reaching deals or assembling talent, he's now truly missed since stepping down after eight years.

And yet, what turned into futility to expand upon the twinge of unsuccessfulness, the malcontent fans might as well just boycott the Angels next season, until Reagins is canned by his softhearted boss and until the Angels make adjustments, erecting a profound club and reinstalling exuberance.

The Angels are wrapped in tremendous disarray, until Moreno is reluctant in believing in Reagins' horrendous implosions as a nugatory executive, relied on to renew a depleted and lifeless culture. Reagins, by further note, isn't criticized of his botched inactivity after he hasn't solidified or rehabilitated normalcy.

Whatever it is, he's poorly tearing down the essence of Angels’ baseball, ruining a franchise that has plunged mightily and he is heavily not suitable for the task.

The Angels were never on the verge of pulling off a valuable deal to benefit long term, nor were they considered likely the favorites of the AL West, but blameworthy losers and could replicate another awful season.

Honestly, the deranged Angels couldn't care less about winning a World Series, let alone spending wisely on a few leading candidates, losing on Carl Crawford and Cliff Lee.

What the hell?

It's not particularly hard to notice that the Angels are cheesy in the way they run a lousy business, unless you are blind or either in denial. Every season, this time, it's a suspenseful scenario and the Angels constantly keep the fans guessing on any potential upgrading pieces.

But in the end, while other franchises bid aggressively for the best slugger or ace available, the Angels are deprived of putting together the repertoire of necessary players, befitting for rising into top contention in a ripened division.

In all, it figured that the Angels were endangered of losing Crawford based on its history in the past, even if they informed other clubs he was a targeted free-agent amid the pursuit.

The most recent story in the midst of such a misunderstanding, around the time when teams are actively upgrading to add missing pieces, is that Reagins acknowledged he was busy calling other organizations. For now, it's not easy to believe a damn thing and it feels sometimes as if he's overwhelmed by a shortage of finances, unsure whether or not he desires to ensure a player of a long-term deal.

"I think when you hear the marquee names being shopped around or portrayed in the media as 'that player is coming to your market,' there's an excitement level, and then when he doesn't come, obviously there's some disappointment by some." Reagins said.

If you haven't notice, he's been saying the same thing repeatedly during his tenure and still, he hasn't done anything to reform the defenseless Angels.

"But you have to go and play 162 games every year," he said. And being able to add bullpen pieces are significant. When you don't have those pieces and your bullpen doesn't perform the way it can, it can really show itself. I'd rather have those pieces than not have those pieces, I can say that."

I'd rather have a dignified player, too.

In an effort to not fortify a misplaced era, the Angels aren't anywhere near returning to its usual form.

So the understanding, for some, is that the Angels prolongs an epidemic of woes, wrongly at a time when the high-market franchises are rebuilding and aiming to rightfully be the elites of baseball.

This is the town that Mark Teixeira was traded to as a rental and then hightailed his way to New York, where he signed a sizable deal with the Yankees.

This is the town that Paul Konerko turned down millions, just to stay in the Southside of Chicago, a place he gladly calls home.

This is the town that had a chance to bid for Lee and, at one point, had been in the sweepstakes to potentially finalize an unforeseen deal with the unhittable ace, but as usual the Angels lagged, allowing the Phillies to present a fitted amount and stun the baseball world by signing the peerless left-hander.

This is the town that was in the running for Roy Halladay in midseason, but opted to rebuff interest in grabbing the Cy Young winner.

When it comes to baseball in a tepid town that has dysfunctional owners, oddly enough, fans tend to become furious with the lack of aggressiveness in adding a relentless texture.

There has been, on the other hand, gossip that teams from smaller markets with limited profit are forced to overpay to attract top-tier free-agents. And believe it or not, it's very obvious these days.

The latest deal of insanity came on a $126 million contract for Jayson Werth that the Washington National foolishly gave to a role player who had a fairly superb season as an outfielder for the Phillies.

Then, it was the Boston Red Sox giving Crawford a ridiculous $142 million deal. It was, by far, one of the most overpaid and mismanaged deals in baseball history, but reports were released that Moreno came close to proposing a contract within a pricey range.

Hell, the last time the Angels signed a top-notch free-agent happened two winters ago, when they brought in Torii Hunter, but since then the Angels famously become known for offseason blunders.

If what is destroying the Angels isn't visible for people, then either the folks of Orange County are simply humiliated or could be unaware of Reagins.

What's more important, for the moment, is the destruction and it has held the fans hostage, wondering if the Angels were ever coveted to obtain one of the finest free-agents on the market.

The situation probably turns burdened for the well-respected manager Mike Scioscia. For now, at least, the responsibility of assembling a refinable aspect falls on the skipper.

Just the other day, however, it was an amusing party that generated holiday cheers to more than 200 children at the annual Angels' Children's Holiday Party at Downtown Disney's ESPN Zone, but so far, that is as much holiday cheer the Angels have treasured this offseason.

Don't expect much, until Reagins is given his final paycheck.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Do Yourself a Favor, Brett Favre: Preserve Your Legacy

He is, without a doubt in my mind, the equivalent of Ren and Stimpy or the smart ass kid from Leave it to Beaver, one of the most annoying divas in the history of sports, to suddenly leave petulant fans in disgust with the frequent headlines of his annoyance that features regularly in front of tabloids.

This year, of course, I was pretty hopeful of Brett Favre's return, just as much as I've been confident for an economic recovery or just as much as I've been optimistic that cartoons in the future can relight the pleasure of watching an amusing kid show other than Sponge Bob or Jimmy Neutron.

In the most ultimate ending to a gloomy tale of 10,000 Favre Tales, on an abnormal, unsettled night, he was battered and defenseless and stared from the sidelines in despair, incapable of bolstering the Minnesota Vikings to essentially a substantial victory as a remedy to release all sorrow or install a sense of pride for a franchise that deteriorated.

And finally, the lack of chemistry dismantled the Vikings, a discombobulated team once worthy of the Super Bowl, now mired in disarray for enduring such a murky season from the midseason firing of Brad Childress to Favre's nagging ailments. Every now and then in one of the most bizarre scenes, along with the ills of humiliating losses and exhausting drama, the Vikings had an epidemic of disruptions and injuries, while fading into the dark clouds.

However, for the grandfather of quarterbacks who has gray hair and walks like an elderly man, old enough to qualify for a discount as a senior citizen if he goes to have dinner at a restaurant, the days are darkening as a cloud hovers over his failures this season, a sign of misfortune and anguish.

Whatever his intentions are, just as he shows signs of fatigue in the late stages of his accomplished career, he should come to realize that now is a respectable time to depart the game he cherished for decades.

The perception is that he's mentally and physically tired of the game, no longer active as a full-time quarterback, incapable of enduring continuous hits or harassment on the turf. When he stood on the sidelines and helplessly watched, wearing black workout pants, a black T-shirt and a purple hat, he observed a disheartening night and missed the start of his first NFL game for the first time since Sept. 13, 1992. The sense of fruition deflated for Favre, battered and ineffective as the NFL-record ironman streak at 297 regular-season games came to an unhappy ending, almost smearing an impeccable legacy of transforming into the most eminent quarterback in NFL history.

"I've played through a lot of stuff," he said gently at the postgame interview following a 21-3 loss to the Giants. "This is something different."

For all the drama swirling around the three-time MVP, known as the biggest nuisance in sports whether it's for his retiring, un-retiring plans during the summer months to hijack the spotlight or even the lewd text messages he allegedly exchanged with ex-Jets reporter Jenn Sterger, he may want to retire for good without changing his mind of a possible return.

There comes a point in life, especially when he's approaching the elderly period in his life with fragile limbs or disjointed shoulders, of which Favre needs to cede his ego trip and travel to his rural area home in Mississippi and jump onto his John Deere tractor. This was a horrible way in so many ways to reach a terminal of generally a spotless heritage in the league, symbolized as the best player in the game for setting nearly every passing record.

Here in America, it used to be a birthright saluting the gunslinger after he was manifested as the symbol of the Green Bay Packers, until he held the general manager Ted Thompson hostage of his commonplace, misleading episodes in the summer. For years he has announced retirement in tearful press conferences, but months later announce that he's coming back for another season, and his constant mind-changing forced the Packers to promptly trade the bewildered face of their franchise to the New York Jets.

There, of course, he lasted one season and agitated perturbed Wisconsin natives, most of whom burnt his jerseys and labeled him as a traitor, simply for joining its archrival the Minnesota Vikings.

Viewed as a enemy in his former town, he was welcomed to Minnesota in the declining phase of his historic career and almost led the Vikings to the Super Bowl a year ago, only to fall short against the improbable New Orleans Saints in the NFC Championship Game, a postseason game in which he was battered and beleaguered and limped off the field.

As it turned out, he slowly walked to the sideline and dropped his head down in a state of shame and grimaced in pain, wearing an agonizing facial expression as if he was ready to call it a prosperous career after he threw a costly interception late. Even if he's an ageless quarterback at the age of 41, still competent in hurling downfield passes or breaking records endlessly, it seems ill-advised blunders have eclipsed Favre's proficient fulfillments.

As the rest of the distraught, beaten and disappointed Vikings, with bleak stares and a lack of self-motivation, played without the presence of their pass thrower, Favre alluded to the longevity of his beautiful and long tenure in the league.

Yet again, hopefully, he realizes all good things must come to an end, just as every good story comes to an end and, by now, Favre's subtle tale is finally over. For the rest of this season, we may spend time wondering if Favre plays ever again, or better yet, decides to leave the game eternally.

If so, he'll definitely culminate the irritable and annual folly, along with the desire to selfishly fluctuate his mindset and steal the publicity in the summer just to inform the world of his sudden comeback when he skipped minicamps and training camps. This after Favre garners an assumption that he's beyond superiority, worthy of special privileges to unfairly miss out on preparations and conditioning, all because he's too lazy or remiss.

As far as the Vikings were concerned, he was a household name, which meant he was an integral piece to Minnesota's bottomless core in a sphere of the offense, but as time progressed, he encountered broken bones, aches and personal issues.

By history, he's the toughest quarterback to ever play the game and contain all the fundamentals within a long-lasting streak that deservedly is considered one of the greatest historical marks of all-time. But now, he's drowning in a whirlpool of injuries and the darkening age of his imposing term is overshadowing a remarkable accomplishment.

What's next? Purple raindrops fall from the sky in Minnesota? The Vikings' mascot rides onto the field in a luxurious Corvette, instead of a motorcycle? Prince, a Minnesota native, performs a hit song from his album Purple Rain as a way to solace a saddened fan base and reflect on nostalgic memories of the era when Favre was far more splendid?

There is a sense, believe it or not, that he won't return next season, now that the Childress reign is over in Minnesota after he was fired midway in the season and replaced by interim coach Leslie Frazier.

In clarity, it almost felt like ex-Vikings coach Childress begged Favre to return for his 20th season and visited him at his Hattiesburg, Miss. home, concerned on the welfare of his quarterback's health status when he was still recovering from injuries he suffered in the NFC title game.

And with that, Favre carefully reconsidered and eventually assured his teammates and Childress that he'll return. Right then, he could have informed the team of his unavailability to play, particularly when he was beaten badly in the previous season and appeared weary in the pocket, not as agile eluding the pressure of bulldozing defenders and had been harassed and abused, on the final stages of his playing days.

This because he was obligated to satisfy his teammates although he was absent from the first few weeks of training camp. In terms of his travails, he couldn't feel his right hand and stood on the sideline, even though Mother Nature almost helped his cause of Monday night's game, which was relocated at Ford Field in Detroit. Bearing with the unconventional circumstances of watching and losing a streak of longevity, ascendancy and mastery, he seemed like he was ready to disclose on retirement.

It has been nearly 19 seasons, and Favre has proven to be very durable and courageous, owning a fascinating consecutive-game streak that illustrated perfection and persistence. Listed as a game-time decision and inactive for the Vikings game, he couldn't heal in time to protect his incredible streak and missed his first game in exactly 6,651 days, nursing a damaged shoulder and his right hand is constantly numb, not allowing him to partake.

The oddity of such a downfall is that he's placed on the injured reserve list, ending an unbelievable stint with injuries after 20 years of greatness. What else is there to accomplished, except retire from the game as a proud individual for winning a lone Super Bowl ring, breaking and setting plateaus and lastly been awarded with the Most Valuable Player award three times, deemed respectively as the endearing icon.

And finally, it's befitting that Favre preserves his marvel legacy by waving goodbye to football on Sundays, since he felt unfitted to suit up. It was hard to envision the streak coming to an end, and with the streak lost, it's a visible indicator that now is a time to be an aloof, mow his lawn and live happily in the rural area of the South.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

This Most Prominent Trophy Will Be Given to Cam Newton

There has been everlasting talk of Cam Newton, arguably the best player in the nation, a singular superjock with godlike cleats for polishing as the greatest candidate for any award on the collegiate level, currently an adorable Heisman hopeful on Saturday when the prestigious stiffed-armed trophy is expected to be distributed in his favor.

On Tuesday night in Lake Buena Vista on the Boardwalk in Disney World, he realized that dreams come true at a magical locale, sporting a tailor-made black suit along with an orange tie and sauntered onto the stage in front of thousands.

The speculation of a distinguished star that was born in Auburn turns immense, after he was named the recipient of the Maxwell Award and Davey O'Brien Award, an indicator of which it could have been a preview of another gratifying evening.

If there's one way to relight romance in such a turbulent season, such as erasing the gloom of madness swirling around his image, it would be to win the Heisman in a landslide.

It's too often, in a sense, that an athlete's allegations or poor judgment away from the field is misguided. It's too often, in a way, that we ignore an athlete's accomplished feats on the field, as the disappointing missteps creates a ruckus to stain believability or even the university's reputation.

In the thrust of his scandal, he's not the most likable player, considering that the NCAA eligibility ruling relieved much uncertainty and enriched his Heisman status, allowing him to play without the system inflicting a severe sanction. It's easy to assume we can vote for the junior quarterback, the respected superstar and cornerstone at Auburn University, known as the famous legend in a town where fans lift signs that read "YES WE CAM!!"

The palatability of this annual voting is that fans have either rallied behind Newton or disregarded the sensational player, once the criticism of the NCAA's ruling left most of the nation in angst or disgust. Just this week, as we want to believe that Newton is beyond any infractions and instead an immaculate individual, he received 203 first-place votes, roughly 62.2 percent.

But the saddest issue of this special acknowledgement is that he was overlooked by 17.4 percent of voters, scorned dearly of his troubles to which he hardly bared a shred of specifics, given that skeptics had grudges and denounced his incredible breakthrough blinded by the negative publicity which could cost him the noble award. Yet increasingly, it's still imaginable that he acquires much commendation for such a monstrous season.

In the next month, when USC seeks relief for the penalties levied following the Reggie Bush investigation, the university won't ponder demanding an explanation for why Auburn quarterback was allowed a free pass or wasn't hit with sanctions. But from his success, he is expected to join the list of iconic legends in the past, even if cues from the NCAA present that Newton's father, Cecil, auctioned his son for money.

As an intense Heisman Watch so incredibly grabs our attention, it reminds us of the three other candidates anyway. Such are Oregon's explosive tailback LaMichael James, who recently just led the Ducks to an improbable BCS National Championship game; Stanford's Andrew Luck; and Boise State's Kellen Moore.

And, not surprisingly, James had been named the new Doak Walker Award winner. But he's really humbled for a greater opportunity, on the same stage in honor of the most glorified trophy and he gladly arrived to New York on Friday afternoon, filled with excitement and self-belief. With the Ducks appearance in the national setting on Jan. 10, millions of casual fans and observers will be introduced to James if they haven't already been aware of his rushing capacity, leading the nation in rushing yards.

"It means everything to the program, to the community," James said at a brief conference at the Marriott at Times Square. "We're going to the national championship. I think that means more."

Is he the fastest guy in the Heisman conversation? I'd like to think so.

Every so often, he's regarded as the foreign of college football, but it's hard to deny that he's a gifted runner. And the only thing in his way is Newton or Luck, despite that he set a school record for total touchdowns in a season (22), and led the Ducks to an undefeated season. Even as one of the nation's best, he's exactly embracing this moment with a modest attitude, willing to give the nod to Newton gracefully and thoughtfully.

"I don't care what happens off the field. Whatever that situation was, to me he's still the best player in the country," James said Wednesday at the College Football Awards media conference. "I would vote for him."

Even in a place like New York, where the media outlets are critical as well as most inquisitive reporters, are curious to ask Newton troublesome questions, such as details in relations to his veiling scandal. For once, his merit of worthiness for the prize that represents integrity veered when the investigation ended. Asked how he feels without his father in attendance:

"It hurts," Newton said. "That's the decision he made, he's doing it for the betterment of me, his son. I think that's a good thing. Whatever his decision is, I'm all for it."

He's as much an admirer of his father, even if Newton's father shamefully tried selling his own son as the most popular football star these days, acknowledged that he was unaware and had no ties or even communicated with any universities. Despite all of this commotion, he repeatedly alluded to that he loves his father, but more importantly, he wasn't distraught of his father's involvement of breaking the rules just to pocket money.

And again, in all genuineness, his father, Cecil, announced that he's not attending the ceremony as a way to reduce a distraction or worse a media frenzy on the night his son could celebrate a memorable moment in bliss if he is named the next Heisman winner. The festivities of this weekend, for all four players, is inexplicably highlighted by their outstanding performances to shine the spotlight on their schools, as Newton led the Tigers to one of its historical finishes in school history.

Not in recent memory, amid so much turmoil, has an admonishing quarterback from Auburn maintained the mentality or unflappability to lead the Tigers to an inconceivable 13-0 finish. As overwhelming as it seems that he's the frontrunner to claim college football's most prestigious award, ever since he was reinstated the eligibility, the suspense minimized vastly with Newton, a 6-foot-6, 250-pound player who has excellent stamina and agility.

This is important, on all levels, because of his nonpareil efficiency and versatility, proficient of making a defender miss in the open field. If so, from there, he's almost untouchable and becomes a force to be reckoned with. Better yet, he's a nimble pocket passer, always hitting a receiver downfield and certainly has been one of the most charismatic quarterbacks with strength to deliver in a prevailing pass attack.

In fact, as it happened, he leads the nation in passing efficiency, but is ranked 15th overall in the rushing department. And now, as Newton elevates his Heisman hopes to engrave a shred of history and hopefully put aside the burdens, he has run for a mere 1,409 yards and 20 touchdowns and has thrown for 2,589 yards and 28 touchdowns.

It was truly a season filled with a lot of disruptions surrounding Newton's status, but he played aggressively and energized the Tigers to clinch a berth in the grandest game in college football.

"I think he's the greatest one-year quarterback that I've seen in college football," said former Georgia coach Vince Dooley.

All over football, for some, Luck is the essence of an NFL-ready quarterback, but he's not projected to steal the Heisman, even if he's in the running for fascinating Stanford's vertical passing game. This is because, obviously, Luck is a factor as coach Jim Harbaugh elaborated on, flattered of his mobility and precision, all the essentials an NFL franchise takes a liking to.

This from a man who is eligible for the 2011 NFL Draft, nonetheless, he could potentially spend his junior year at Stanford if the NFL unravels and is afflicted by an ugly lockout. Almost as nice as it felt to witness a gunslinger, Luck is seventh in the nation in passing efficiency and he threw for 3,051 yards, 28 touchdowns and seven interceptions.

Newton, one of the many quarterbacks on a unique level who is a proper candidate to place money on the table in a sporting bet, is the feel-good story which I believe the voters prefer a feel-good story.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Red Sox Controls Leverage With Blockbuster Maneuvers In Shopping Spree

The scene is outrageous in a town that charmingly adores the tasteful smell of delicious hot dogs sold at Fenway Park, one of the oldest venues in sports for which a fan intensely desires to bite into a frankfurter and then to drop the wrapper on the ground as it blows.

I don’t care that the owner of the Boston Red Sox, John Henry, is disliked greatly by a whiny town in an urban community known as New York in which the population uses the lamest excuse and believes the Red Sox purchase their talent.

It’s one thing for a prominent franchise to squander money foolishly in these fragile economic times, especially if the franchise wasn’t successful in addressing its prerequisites or assembling a deluxe makeover that benefits the team’s fortune in the future.

It is simply a matter of overhauling a premier business to elevate the show business in Boston and keep the obsessed crowd appeased after each Red Sox devotee has been a financial advantage to a loyal ownership.

Much of this is a matter of competing with its nemesis the New York Yankees in every hostile meeting come next spring, of attaining the nod in arguably one of the most competitive divisions and of investing in hope that prosperity fosters.

This time, the Red Sox were blockbuster buyers and transformed into the smartest team of the offseason, stringing together valuable pieces to assemble a multitalented team.

In hindsight, consider it a shopping spree in the most convincing offseason in franchise history that the Red Sox, a team with architect Theo Epstein and intellectual team president Larry Lucchino, earned early Christmas presents.

It makes a better story, thus the franchise failed so badly in pulling off colossal deals in the previous winters, to identify the Red Sox as the masterminds of baseball, finally escaping the lampoonery era of being ridiculed for missing out on solidifying their stagnant roster.

While the Red Sox stunningly entertained a trade with the dynamic Adrian Gonzalez, acquired in a deal from the San Diego Padres over the weekend, the undaunted Boston ownership stole the top hitter on the market Carl Crawford and gave the star outfielder a seven-year deal, $142 million deal, the 10th largest in baseball history with an annual average of $20.3 million.

The timing was absolutely perfect for the Red Sox to express interest in the availability of Crawford, and as much as it sounds eccentric signing a precarious left fielder to the richest contract for an outfielder in history, it’s just unveils that the Red Sox know the importance of snatching integral stars as a way for ballooning ticket sales and, most of all, delivering multiple championships in a town that traditionally is accustomed to otherworldly talent.

Not all towns are baseball towns, but as we know, baseball is a proverbial trait and gratifies an entire culture, as the Red Sox are seen as the fabric of a championship-starved environment.

All of which Epstein, as we teased him for one of the weirdest Halloween stunts when he walked away from the team’s office wearing an expensive gorilla suit, is now a genius for pulling off the unthinkable.

In essence, he is the face of the franchise, not a laughingstock or a silly buffoon. By the time he returned, he was adored and welcomed back in a city while taking on his toughest task and regaining power for personnel decisions.

So far, his latest maneuver is accessible in the Red Sox revamping period and could have been the ingenious suggestion for renovating Boston as a way to match the intensity of the hated Yankees.

And he is, spending wisely and collectively, although he took a vast risk and spent an estimated $300 million on two players, each whom earned a seven-year deal.

He’s not a rare species from the Planet of the Apes, but an astute general manager with the art of structuring talent, persuading players by awarding the mega millions and sacrificing his sharp legacy as Boston’s master builder.

Rarely, if ever, do the Red Sox blend together a strong core of depth in their lineup, such a plot that better yet seems like a shopping spree.

In this, there was no need to walk into a Macy’s department store or Kay Jewelers to catch a bargain on a low-priced sale and find the suitable gift for this holiday season.

For weeks, there had been much speculation that Crawford was signing with the Yankees, and then reports swirled of him potentially signing with the Los Angeles Angels. In fact, at one point, he was close to accepting a contract offer from the Angels.

Upon hearing the gossip that the Yankees were bidding for the availability of Crawford, aiming towards stealing the top players on the market, he would have clearly settled in well wearing pinstripes.

It came as a shock to fans when his presence would have helped tremendously. For once, the Yankees failed miserably in getting Crawford and allowed the enemies within the division to declare him as a local resident in a town that gives much adoration.

Even if he had signed a long-term deal with the Yankees, the Steinbrenners and Brian Cashman were ready to trade one of its other outfielders, either Brett Gardner or Curtis Granderson.

There’s nothing new, however, that the Red Sox and Yankees are disdained and face much envy for intimidating the league by signing every available star. Logic is, as Major League Baseball is an unbalanced league with a deadbeat, worthless commissioner by the name of Bud Selig, that they share the highest payroll in baseball.

The slight difference is, with the profit owners pocket in order to pacify their star sluggers or perennial aces, the Yanks and Sox are separated by an estimate $64 million, a value that transcended beyond nine ballclubs’ entire budget.

But now, since the Red Sox has relieved $40 million off its payroll this season, losing Adrian Beltre, Mike Lowell, Victor Martinez and lastly Julio Lugo, Boston had cleared enough salary cap space to please Crawford, a four-time All-Star and speedy base runner with a .299 batting average and a 3.40 on-base percentage.

In that span, he averaged 13 homers and had stolen 50 bases per year, but he comes to Boston with blemishes as Gonzalez, a first baseman slugger likely to sign a seven-year extension within the $20 million range, can fortified a batting order instantly with his powerful hits.

Crawford, a member of the much-improved Red Sox, has been criticized already and has accepted a wealthy contract many believe he’s not worth, given that he has never drilled as many as 20 home runs in a season.

As it stands, this was a courageous choice, but more than anything, a sassy move by one of the finest organizations.

The state of the Red Sox is that the team is relentless and steadfast with a left-handed lineup, comprised of a hittable lineup with enough ooze to stand as the superior franchise in the American League East, owners of five projected starters who are left-handed batters, which include Crawford, Gonzalez, J.D. Drew, David Ortiz and Jacob Ellsbury.

Rationality is that the Yankees, whom ironically aren’t centralized in all the free-agency bidding, are losing greatly for a variety of mistakes. That’s a good thing, because now it’s an annex to one of the greatest rivalries in sports.

Red Sox vs. Yankees.

And as it seems, the Red Sox have the leverage.

This is projected to be the best team, coming into next season, I believe.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Urban Meyer Cowardly Bails on Florida Gators as Pressure Turns Immense

Suddenly, he shocks us again by pulling the switcheroo without unleashing a shred of specifics. And yet again, another mysterious update from his baffling, stunning developments. This is considerably a misfortune for Urban Meyer, one of the greatest collegiate football coaches in history, the annoying flip-flopper who can never make up his freaking mind and quickly turns into a clone of Brett Favre.

So now, he's leaving behind his successful brand of work, cowardly bailing out on the University of Florida, a frequent pattern of his trait to continuously part ways with a prestigious school known for stockpiling championships. In hindsight, it's the equivalent to the stock market crashing on Wall Street, but the only difference in this situation, of course, is that his unexpected departure is disheartening to the show business in Gator Nation. And now, after leading the Gators to two national championships during his accomplished tenure, he's inexcusably using the escape hatch and has sorely relinquished one of the premier jobs in college football.

What's next? He publicly steps to the podium and makes an announcement that he's willing to sacrifice and take a leave of absence, similar to his last resignation a year ago on Dec. 26, 2009, when he was smart to admittedly think wisely of his family and unveiled the significance of family values?

Then again, maybe he's a devoted husband and father of three children, willing to spend the rest of his days with a caring family and relieve heavy stress and pressure from a burdened life in football, ready to care for health issues. And for whatever reason, if you believe he'll return to fill his own vacancy in the next 24 hours, you probably believe Charlie Brown will eventually marry Lucy.

He spoke of his severe chest pains after a devastating loss in the SEC Championship a year ago, when he left us confused in a riddle and emotionally announced that he was leaving to attend to his health. In theory, the latest press release Wednesday announcing Meyer's resignation wasn't a knee-jerk reaction to a health scare a year ago when he briefly resigned, but presumably was a misleading story that swirled instantly and refreshed our memories of his inability to suddenly endure headaches.

This time, hopefully, he leaves for good, cowardly taking an easy way out of a situation instead of enduring the downcast publicity or anguish that clouded a noteworthy program. By all accounts, he no longer had the desire building a storied program, burnt out of having demands within a program he had shrewdly assembled. This time, for once, he felt at peace and had expressed no emotions at the news conference.

"I think I'm doing what's best for the University of Florida, my players and myself and my family," said a composed Meyer.

However, in Gainesville, the Gator faithful were caught off guard, livid by the uncertainty when he walked away for the second time within a year. There is, in a sense, an evident assumption that he's bailing on the Gators for ending a dreadful season all so miserably and finishing the worst season of his career. Minus the presence of Tim Tebow, the Gators dropped below average and toppled to miss out on the BCS bowl activities, which never settled too well with the 46-year-old Meyer.

Is he abandoning the Gators? Few believe he's running from burdens, and I believe he's running from the awful letdown of this season as well. It's likely, as the expectations of coaching an elite program are immense at Florida, that he's simply exhausted mentally and physically by the traveling, stress and pressure. Is this whole theory misguided? By tomorrow, he could announce to the nation that he's coming back to coach next season.

"At this time in my life, however, I fully grasp the sacrifices my 24/7 profession has demanded of me, and I know it is time to put my focus on my family and life away from the field. The decision to step down was a difficult one," he said in a statement released Wednesday by the school. "But after spending more than two decades motivating and celebrating the young men I've been so proud to coach, I relish the opportunity to cheer for my three terrific kids as they compete in their own respective sports."

Does he expect me to really believe that?

In fairness, Meyer is a coward, a pitiful quitter with no morals. All of his recruits means nothing to him, just as much as the University of Florida means zilch. For the most part, considering that he stepped down to cuddle and embrace life with his family, is not necessarily accurate.

But more importantly, he tries to avoid having his name linked to the Newton scandal and protect his legacy, roughly giving up as a way to keep his well-known status intact with the university and realized the Gators were vastly languishing as a lack of physical presence toppled Florida. It's as if the school knew this was coming when Meyer called athletic director Jeremy Foley, who stood behind the podium Wednesday evening, to tell him he was contemplating retirement and had finalized his arrangements on Tuesday.

"He said it's the right time in his life, as he said, he's at peace with the decision," Foley said.

All because he's running away, he's at peace.

He cannot endure Florida's 7-5 record, including a 4-4 record in the SEC. As his arrogance renders, it's hard to swallow a 24-point defeat to interstate rivals Florida State, the first loss to the Seminoles since 2003, just as it's hard to bear the distasteful rout to Alabama. In addition, he ultimately watched nine seasons of a .842 winning percentage diminish, but most of all, he cannot accept losing and escaped his failures by quitting on his players, the fans and the university.

On a positive note, Meyer will coach his last game for Florida in the Outback Bowl, as the Gators most likely will be riding the coaching carousel in search for their next head coach. There's much speculation, in the meantime, that he's the primary candidate to be hired as the next Denver Broncos head coach and unite with his former star quarterback Tim Tebow, who ran a stout offensive system efficiently unlike John Brantley. As you reflect back on Meyer's stint, erase it from your minds instantly.

Good riddance.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Josh McDaniels Can Blame Himself for Spygate, Denver Broncos' Failures

Feel free to light a candle in the high attitude, kiss your spouse under the mistletoe and unite collectively in the Mile High City to witness millions of twinkling lights and festive parades, but more importantly, applaud the recent firing of Josh McDaniels.

If he looked like a basic, clever head coach in the NFL, wearing his typical Broncos hoodie to impersonate his former mentor and boss Bill Belichick, it’s because McDaniels gazed at the mediocre Denver Broncos from the sidelines who unraveled each Sunday and never had a mind for coaching a pro franchise.

By now, we realize that he was never a beneficiary for cultivating an unproductive team or reestablishing faith to the Broncos, unless we are willing to include an awe-inspiring 6-0 start, winning his first six games as a rookie coach last season.

The firing of the sweatshirt-wearing coach comes as no surprise after the Broncos fell out of the postseason category, ever since he parted ways with quarterback Jay Cutler and dropped to a startling 5-17 to wipe out an unbeaten start in his reign.

There’s more to this story, as Broncos owner Pat Bowlen finally realized that he needed to redirect discretions, such as McDaniels’ ego trip and egocentric ways when he was handed the coaching gig with very little experience.

The tenor of which his dismissal loomed, as it finally came to hunt a foundered McDaniels, so often dates back to his lack of integrity and furtive issues.

And it’s at least a palpable sense of belief with a multitude of Broncos fans delighted over the sudden refinement within a once-respected franchise, to finally understand the magnitude of winning by deciding to move on without McDaniels in the Broncos’ rebuilding plans.

“I think everyone here is surprised with the timing, but not surprised it happened,” said former Broncos star safety John Lynch. “Right when I heard the Spygate thing, I thought, ‘It’s over.’”

Turns out, he was right.

Turns out the fans were, too. For those of you surprised by the latest news, even if the Broncos were reluctant canning the second-year coach, this isn’t a surprise when Broncos video coordinator Steve Scarnecchia was caught filming the San Francisco 49ers walkthrough practice on Oct. 30 in London.

Through all of which, McDaniels mistakenly acted as if he was a slow-minded moron when he was aware of Sypgate II, but never reported it to the team and kept it a secret until details were revealed publicly to humiliate him.

Thus, by putting his job status in jeopardy, by being labeled as the bonehead for an outrageous misstep that pretty much stained his credibility and principles to accommodate good character, it all backfired in McDaniels’ face and cost him his profession as a team leader.

As much as we tried to understand the variations of the human mind, we tried to understand the mind of a man with no pride and no zest, but a man who only cared strictly about his ego and legacy, not even his reputation.

When it comes to McDaniels -- the number of responsibilities the Broncos pledged they wouldn't give him -- simply for his inexperience and disadvantages, it was always about his attitude and ego. If ever there were an explanation, the Broncos weren't hesitant to admit that he was allowed too much authority at such a young age.

"I think the responsibilities that he was burdened with, it's fair to say that we probably burdened him with too much of that and we were unfair to him in that respect," said the team's chief operating officer, Joe Ellis. "And we certainly need to assess that and look at that moving forward."

Surely, Bowlen and the ownership gave McDaniels the benefit of the doubt. How dare McDumbass was aware of inexcusable sins and reacted untrustworthy and secretive, adding to the maligned crisis that stained the humility of an elegant franchise. At 34, he was the NFL's second-youngest head coach, and had never coached a team and never been permitted to make personnel decisions.

Within his stint he lacked maturity, molded by Belichick in New England and served as an outstanding quarterback coach to groom and improve the play of the obscure Matt Cassel with a majestic 11-5 record in 2008.

As it turned out, McDaniels' inability to communicate and conduct a team alone is not surprising after leaving from an organization run by Belichick, who makes his baffled coaching staff seem like worthy clones of Vince Lombardi, just as he identified a genius in Charlie Weis.

"I think it kind of evolved and grew into that and as I said, I take some responsibility on behalf of Pat for allowing that to happen," Ellis said."And it's very likely that the plan will not empower the next head coach with the kind of authority that Josh was probably unfairly put upon him. And it's also fair to say that we'll stick to that plan."

For a long time, the relationship between Bowlen and McDaniels had been severely blemished and irreparable, although Bowlen never demanded a change or fired him. The emphasis of the problem cast troubles upon the Broncos, losing an abundance of games, the loyalty of fans, conviction and ambition.

It's pretty pathetic that he had the shortest regime—less than two seasons—of any head coach in Broncos' history.

All along, McDaniels was a risk for a team considered prominent and well-respected of premier NFL franchises, clearly embarrassing himself and mishandling his toughest task. A team that was paltry, within a well-organized franchise, is facing maybe one of its painful seasons in decades, if ever.

"My decision to relieve Josh McDaniels as head coach was not taken lightly," Bowlen said in a statement. "I will always be appreciative of his passion, enthusiasm and hard work, and I thank him for his efforts."

To no one's surprise, he was terminated for the spying scandal revealed last week, and it prompted Bowlen to break off his relationship with Mr. Know It All McDaniels. And so when the NFL delivered a $50,000 fine to McDaniels and the Broncos for illicit taping of the Niners walkthrough, he had every reason to part ways with McDaniels.

"I am very grateful to Pat Bowlen and the Broncos for giving me the opportunity to be the head coach of such a proud franchise," McDaniels said in a statement released by the team. "I would like to thank all of the people who helped us over the last two years. I am especially appreciative of the efforts of every player, coach and member of the personnel department who worked so hard every day."

The realistic understanding is that the Broncos were smart by firing McDaniels for a cause, or Bowlen would still owe him the rest of his four-year, $12 million deal.

It might be clearly an intelligent decision, after McDaniels listened to trade offers for Cassel, after he feuded with Cutler and said he never wanted to trade him, after he believed in Kyle Orton and after he selected Tim Tebow, regardless of his poor status for an NFL upstart.

In other words, if you haven't noticed all of his bad personnel decisions and dumb draft picks, including trades and free-agent signings, Bowlen waited too late to purge McDaniels. And so it ends, of which he couldn't escape an equivocal crisis or couldn't confess his rotten sins to relinquish from the national outrage in Denver.

Finally, he was divorced by the Broncos, a team that overly loved him, perhaps too long.