Kudos for the Glazers

Normally you can tell a writer is struggling for material when they start making lists (i.e. SportsCentre's list of best pass defences, quarterbacking, fatest ESPN talkings heads, etc.), but hats off to Michael Silver for ranking some of the richest men involved in the NFL.

As they rightly should be the Glazers (god speed Papa Glazer) are ranked among the upper third of the owners. My only quibble with the list is a minor one, that the Glazers should be bumped up a notch considering they had the cojones to make the difficult yet necessary decision to dump Dungy for Gruden. And even if the Dungy firing still doesn't feel right, the results can hardly be argued with.

And as long as we're on the subject this seems as good a time as any to introduce this article which states the obvious: pro sports are not the best investment. While shedding little facts on the subject it does bring up the question of why an owner would get involved in pro sports considering the drain on the wallet. While I certainly can not read the Glazers' minds I'm guessing the above picture is also linked to the answer. Or, in sum...

Winners desire champions.

(tip of the hat to HSS and True Hoop)

#55 up there with Enron execs

Derrick Brooks named one of the greatest pirates of all time by Swedish boxmaker Volvo.

I don't know how official this list is, but also listed are Blackbeard, The Great Pirate Roberts, and the former Enron executives. I'm not sure if this list is meant to be complimentary or not, but if it's an attempt to draw attention to self-obsessed, black hearted men then maybe this former Buccaneer would have been a better choice.

(tip of the the hat to C.A. for the tip)


The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Before we begin I have some breaking news to report, it appears journeyman quarterback Jay Fiedler will sign with the Bucs creating a three man race for the chance to sink the Bucs season should Chris Simms go down with injury. Tampa Bay would be Fiedler’s sixth team in 11 years.

At this point does it really matter which of the three backups is number two on the depth chart? Tim Rattay couldn’t beat out Alex Smith last season. Fiedler is Fiedler. And even if he is the next Marino, Gradkowski is still just a rookie.

And as good as he might be I’m still not sold on Simms. An inability to put up more than 7 points at home in the playoffs is a huge warning flag. Obviously Simms should get better the more time he has to learn Gruden’s offense, but he had three years to learn the offense before last season’s playoff debacle.

Has anyone else noticed the Bucs have started three different quarterbacks the last three seasons? Except for the o-line the quarterbacks have been a bigger mess than any other position. Gruden’s coaching has been the saving grace here. Look, I’m rooting for Simms and anyone else playing for the Bucs but unless the they can get more production from the quarterback position (especially considering the aging defense) the Bucs have no shot at the Super Bowl.

Hook 'em Chris


Better draft: NBA or NFL?

PTI posed this question today, and as much as it pains me to say it the NBA is a "slam dunk" to quote George Tenet. Even overlooking the absurd one piece suits, the more recognizable college basketball names, the shorter draft time and Adam Morrison's mustache the NBA draft beats down the NFL's version for one simple reason, Tremendous Upside Potential. Bill Simmons coined this phrase a while back and it sums up how absurd the NBA draft is.

Every year some foolish GM ignores tell tale signs such as the player disappearing in March (i.e. Rudy Gay), lack of production in college (Tyrus Thomas) or an inability to speak English (Adam Morrison and any Eastern European) instead focusing on potential. Consider this the Jordan effect, every GM is afraid to pass on the next great player. So you get guys like Darko going much higher than they should have, almost solely because Pau Gasol went much later than he should have.

One of my favorite side games with the NBA draft is predicting which player will outplay his draft position and which will be busts. This year I like Brandon Roy (no brainer except for his knee injuries) and Jordan Farmer (March has to count for something). Rudy Gay is the bust waiting to happen.

Switching over to live blogging mode for the moment.

7:55 - Let me throw in Thomas as a potential bust at #4. If he had gone lower I wouldn't throw him in the same category as Gay. And yes, I'm completely ignoring LSU's Final Four run...Big Baby Davis was/is the heart of that team. Thomas is a great help defender but will get eaten alive in one-on-one.

8:00 - I am loving this five minutes per pick in the first round. If this was the NFL Draft we would still be waiting for the third pick. If Tagliabue is half as smart as everyone claims he is the NFL would shorten the the amount of time a team has to pick in the first round.

8:05 - Who guarantees to draft Sheldon Williams with the fifth pick? The Hawks of course (but only because the Knicks don't pick in the first round this year).

8:06 - I normally can't stand Stu Scott but I enjoy the unintentional comedy he brings to live interviews. The two white guy interviews (the Italian and Morrison) stand out for me. In the middle of interviewing the Italian Scott stops the interview to point out how all the New Yorkers are booing the Italian and then expects the guy who barely speaks English to respond. Priceless.

8:14 - Really confused right now. Dan Patrick just said Houston is on the clock, but the ESPN ticker says Boston is up next. But I thought Boston agreed to trade the #7 pick for Telfair?

8:16 - Boston selects Randy Foye for Portland. That clears it up, kinda.

8:23 - Going back to the Morrison interview it's interesting how much his PR people have shaped him in the last couple of months. Back in March CBS had Reddick and Morrison on the pre-game set for the Final Four, and Morrison could not have looked more uncomfortable and spoken more unintelligbly. Three months later and he's at least able to form complete sentences on live T.V.

8:25 - Random question, does anyone know if it's possible to create folds in blogger? This post has already become unreadably long (and filled with spelling errors).

8:28 - Dick Vitale, the NBA genius that he is, questions why Houston would consider trading Rudy Gay to Memphis. Apparently Dicky V is not aware of Tracy McGrady.

8:30 - Patrick O'Brien is black? I hear center from Bradley and automatically assumed the guy is another white stiff.

8:34 - Jay Bilas, a guy I normally like, offers some really insightful commentary on O'Brien. To paraphrase Bilas, O'Brien is a hit or miss player, he'll either be really good or he'll just be OK." Captain Obvious points to Bilas.

8:37 - Seattle Supersonics select Saer Sene from Senegal. Say that five times fast.

8:51 - This might be a bad omen but just as I'm typing the words "Redick is a good fit for Orlando" my computer freezes.

8:56 - David Stern teases us all by announcing a trade just as the 76ers are on the clock. Everyone in the audience is expecting Stern to announce the Iverson trade when the Commish breaks everyones heart by instead making the Boston-Portland trade official. Stern would make a horrible prom date.

8:59 - Just stepping back for a second (and I know I'm beating a dead horse) I'm loving the quick pace of the NBA Draft. Just as I finish up commenting on the previous selection David Stern is announcing the next pick.

9:00 - Dan Patrick on David Stern hiding backstage while waiting for the next pick, "You rascal you." Stern's response? "Dan, I always look forward to your pithy comments." And I did that exchange absolutely no credit.

9:04 - If Patrick and Stern were characters from Deadwood, Patrick would be the greasy hotel owner/Mayor and Stern would be Big Al. Did that do the exchange justice?

9:06 - I suspect ESPN is just bringing Dicky V on to talk about ACC players.

9:15 - Chicago is stocking up on young talented players. They still don't have a go to guy, but they have enough pieces to trade for a go to guy.

9:19 - Wait a second, Marcus Williams is still left in the green room? The same Marcus Williams who was suspended early in the season for stealing computers? The same Marcus Williams who got bounced by George Mason? The same Marcus Williams who was out of shape for his workouts? (You see where I am going here.)

9:26 - I'll use the Bullets pick as an excuse to mention how much I like Gilbert Arenas. This hasn't received much press but Arenas recently announced he was willing to take a salary cut if the Wizards used that money to sign a good free agent. Of course if LeBron had made the same announcement it would have been front page news.

9:30 - He he, Quincy Douby.

9:33 - Turns out I was wrong Knicks do have a first round pick. And while ESPN reviews Isiah Thomas' moves all the Knicks fan start booing.

9:34 - And the Guido Knicks fan demands his team select Marcus Williams because New York doesn't have enough guards.

9:38 - Note to random Knicks fan, if you're holding a sign that says "A depressed Knicks fan" you can't be jumping up and down with a smile on your face after your team makes a horrible pick.

9:42 - One of the things that bugs me about the NBA (and MLB) is how teams can just pay money in a trade and receive a player. It just seems to encourage bad owners to sell off their best players.

9:44 - Your Marcus Williams mood update: Annoyed.

9:49 - ESPN.com has a draftcast where fans can interview players who have just been selected. Somebody asks Gay what he needs to improve to be an All-Star, and Gay response is, "My hunger. My versatility will help me a lot, but I need to get more hungry." And Denny's Big Slam Breakfast sees a sponsorship opportunity.

9:51 - And Marcus Williams is off the board at 22 to the Nets. And he still does not look happy.

9:53 - I'll be the first person to make the obvious "did the Nets scouting team just watch U Conn highlights?" joke.

9:55 - And while we're on the subject U Conn now has four players drafted in the first round. The fact that U Conn lost to George Mason just goes to show how little heart that U Conn team had (and how good of a coach Larranaga is).

10:09 - It's getting late and I stopped bringing the funny about two hours ago so I'll just quit now. At some point I plan on throwing in my two cents on the Bucs quarterback situation which is very quickly becoming a mess. I had hoped to do that tonight but the NBA Draft sucked me in, so consider this your teaser for tomorrow (or possibly later depending on my internet situation).


Pro Football Rumor Mongering

The reason that the internet will never replace the newspapers is simple...bloggers are a bunch of computer dorks in pajamas while reporters are, you know, real live reporters.

Of course, that hasn't prevented Pro Football Talk from masquarading as a news site and posting unsubstantiated rumors based on as trustable a source as "I heard this from a guy who knows a guy who knows a guy." Orson at EDSBS very rightly takes PFT to task for some Brady Quinn rumor mongering, even if Notre Dame bashing is the new black. Not to get all Sunday Preacher on you but when breaking what would be front page news it typically helps to have a named source. And this certainly isn't the first time PFT has propositioned a rumor as fact.

To recap the typical PFT rumor mongering goes something like this...

Step 1. Make a bold statement, like T.O. wears women's underwear. Cite unnamed sources and provide no evidence.

Step 2. Established newspaper interviews Cowboys/Eagles/49ers teammates about rumor. Confirms rumor is false.

Step 3. PFT slightly modifies original story while reconfirming its accuracy. Still does not provide evidence.

Step 4. Everyone eventually forgets the rumor and moves on. PFT continues making childish jokes about T.O. wearing women's underwear.

Step 5. Wait a few months and go back to Step 1.

I'm not saying everything PFT writes is wrong, just pointing out how PFT is a perfect example of what's wrong with the internet. It's real easy to dress up a half truth everyone already wants to believe, the internet is perfect for this. It's much more difficult to uncover the actual truth and then prove your story true. I just don't think there will ever be an internet version of Woodward and Bernstein.


Oronde, Oronde, where art thou Oronde?

Despite misguided rumors to the opposite it appears Ronde Barber is no closer to signing an extension with the Bucs than he was a month ago. To recap, Barber is 31 and is signed up for another year.

While it is easy to say (as a fan) that Barber deserves his, especially after being underpaid, I can understand how difficult a decision this must be for Bruce Allen. Corners, much like runningbacks, lose much of their value after they hit 30 and it would be foolish to overpay Barber, especially since he would be considerably less valuable playing for another team that featured a man-to-man defense. Plus the Bucs have Zemaitis on the roster now.

On the flip side, this approach has hurt the Eagles ability to sign free agents since Philly has a reputation of dumping guys when they get to a certain age. The Bucs probably have not reached the Eagles level quite yet, but after the Sapp and Lynch jettisons Tampa is certainly treading dangerous waters.

Pay $19+ K to meet Pittman

Even having been away for only a week there is plenty of news/Bucs-filler-until-training-camp-starts to cover. And even though I've been gone for a week my visits per day average has gone up which means either: 1.) I could post nothing but pictures of half-naked cheerleaders and be as effective or, 2.) most of my readers have the IQ of Ben Roethlisberger (rim shot!). Most likely it's some combination of the first two with a healthy dose of #3 (I'm an idiot) thrown in.

Scott has done an fine job of covering most of these stories in my absence, but I'll take this opportunity to add my own inane ramblings to the conversation.

In a follow up to a previous story, Michael Pittman has posted his crotch rocket on eBay but failed to sell the damn thing because bidding did not exceed his reserve. Come on people this is a chance to meet Pittman AND eventually donate your organs to a needy recipient. What are you waiting for?

The bigger surprise here is that Pittman has caved so quickly to his wife's demands, especially considering he once had a strong pimp hand (not that I'm saying that's a good thing). I understand Pittman has gotten more mature as he has aged but I'm sure there's a lesson here about always signing a prenup. Like Kanye's said, "I'm not saying she's a gold digger, but she ain't looking for no broke nigger."



You stay classy Me-Shawn

Great find by Dave's Football Blog on Keyshawn Johnson's participation in the '92 L.A. race riots. When asked whether he took part in the looting Keyshawn's response was...

Yeah. We weren't raised in Beverly Hills with (silver) spoons in our mouth, or in the hills of North Carolina. It just doesn't work that way. It's a different life. You have to survive. That was part of survival. What we took, it wasn't so much a need. It was a want.

Digest that for a second. Keyshawn participated in criminal activity because he wanted to, NOT because he needed to. Keyshawn was born in 1972, so...(doing some mental math) he would have been roughly 20 when the riots/looting was taking place. He was just a few years away from becoming the number one pick in the draft. If he had been willing to wait he could have bought all of the stuff he ended up stealing.

Also in the article, Keyshawn still refuses to believe he was kicked off the Bucs (instead he was "deactivated") and he has been shot in the butt.

A Bengal is arrested...again

Chris Henry keeps selling crazy.

Let's just take a quick jaunt through Henry's rap sheet...

- Arrested while wearing his own jersey for pulling a gun in Orlando

- Arrested in Kentucky on marijuana possession charges

- Arrested for a DUI after he failed a field sobriety test

- And most recently, arrested for giving alcohol to 18 year old prostitutes

And these are all in the last year. I'm not sure if there is some kind of arrests record for an athlete but if so we can probably consider Henry to be the Dan Marino of the criminal athlete world.

But I'm sure Henry will look great in Raider's Silver and Black next year.

Broken QBs and bikes for sale

Dr. Z, seeking to weave the Roethlisberger injury into the larger tapestry of the quarterback movement this offseason, points out just how quickly a guy can go from franchise player to reject.

I'm sure that Steve McNair also has had his eyes opened up to what the league is really like. He is part of an unsightly little quarterback club. Hero one day, injury liability the next. Drew Brees is a member. So are Daunte Culpepper and Chad Pennington.

Does Ben Roethlisberger belong after his motorcycle accident on Monday? No, not yet. He's in the class of the Bengals' Carson Palmer. They're still young.

Again, you have to go back to the seven hours of surgery Roethlisberger went through and wonder how that will have affected him, both physically and mentally. Even if Roethlisberger did not injure his knees the rehab will most likely set him back from being in the best shape he could have been sans surgery. It will be at least another four or five months before we can figure out just what effect the accident had on Roethlisberger.

But they say every story has a silver lining and for the Bucs that might be Michael Pittman's decision to sell his bikes.

Just because I can

Sports Talk Radio and ESPN talking heads alike have been quick to jump on the American team following their dismal performance the other day. But that doesn't mean you should give up on futbol. In fact, I found a few reasons to give el joga bonito another chance.


Bucs sign ANOTHER receiver

Arena League Rookie of the Year Ben Nelson now a Buc.

I've had some time to digest this move and I'm still not sure what Gruden is up to. Is this yet another sign of Gruden's fascination with adding receivers to the roster? Or another attempt by Gruden to motivate Clayton to reach his potential? Or some mixture of both?

Either way this move can only work out well for the Bucs. If Nelson somehow beats out the five receivers above him on the depth chart then the Bucs end up with more talent on the roster than before. If Nelson can't cut it then the Bucs cut him, and end up spending (basically) no money.

A.J. Nicholson has a big head

Remember the story about current Bengal and former Nole A.J. Nicholson breaking into his former teammate Lorenzo Booker's apartment? Well it just got better.

Turns out the FSU athletic department ran a series of roommate Q&A's with various players that lived together. And you guessed it, two of those players were A.J. Nicholson and Lorenzo Booker. What were some of the responses?

A.J. Nicholson's responses:
Why did you pick Lorenzo Booker to be your roommate?
It was cheap and I needed a place to stay. It was a great price for me.

Why would someone like to be Lorenzo's roommate?
I don't know. The only reason why I'm his roommate is because I got a good deal, but besides that, I don't know why someone would want to stay with him.

What's something someone would be surprised to find out about your roommate?
He'll eat up all your food. Watch him.

Lorenzo Booker's responses:
Why did you pick A.J. Nicholson to be your roommate?
I started out with him and I thought he was a cool guy and I hoped he didn't change.

If there was one thing that you would change about your roommate, what would it be?
His head is real big. When I sit down to watch T.V. his head is always in the way.

And I completely sympathize with A.J. Nicholson now. I've had those roommates in college who are always eating the last slice of pizza or leaving your emptied milk cartons in the fridge. Lorenzo Booker eating A.J.'s food totally justifies A.J. stealing a grands worth of electronics from Lorenzo.

(huge tip of the hat to the pewter report mb)

A face made for radio?

I'm pretty damn sure everyone had the same two-part reaction when they heard that Roethlisberger had been taken to the hospital after a motorcycle accident. Concern for Roethlisberger's safety followed by snark criticism of how he could be so stupid not to wear a helmet after what had happened to Jason Williams and Kellen Winslow. And while Roethlisberger certainly deserves heckles from the peanut gallery it is worth pointing out that unless he was wearing a football helmet the injuries to his jaw and face could not have been avoided by wearing a helmet.

But since it now appears the injury will not prevent Roethlisberger from playing next season, what will be the lasting effect of this injury?

It would be nice to think that athletes would stop riding crotch rockets all together, but the U.S. is more likely to win a World Cup before young multimillionaires quit thinking they are indestructable.

And you would think the NFL would do something to protect themselves but else can they do beyond threatening to take a player's salary away for non-football injuries as they already do?

No, the lasting impact of all this will most certainly be on Roethlisberger's wallet. Because Roethlisberger is about to become the Rondo Hatton of the NFL. Who was Rondo Hatton you ask? Rondo was the movie monster actor of the '30s and '40s who became infamous for how ugly he was.

And much like Rondo, Roethlisberger is in danger of becoming the villain and losing out on thousands of dollars of advertising through what may turn out to be largely no fault of his own.

Now there's a chance Big Ben won't look that bad, but after seven hours of surgery on his face and jaw to think otherwise is little more than wishful thinking. Which is a shame really because as Tom Brady has proven young, good looking quarterbacks who win Super Bowls are cash cows when it comes it advertising. Even before the Steelers won the Lombardi Trophy Roethlisberger was quickly becoming a media darling.

It has been mentioned that Roethlisberger was on a series of radio shows the morning before his accident, and in one of those odd twists of fate it may turn out the Super Bowl winning quarterback now has a face made for radio.


Who's ready for some futbol?

Unless you've been living under a rock...in a cave...with your hands over your ears you have noticed that the World Cup started today. A brief admission, a few months ago I felt much the same way about the World Cup that I felt about the Winter Olympics before they started, which could best be described in one question, "when does football season start?"

But unlike the Olympics I've come around on the World Cup, and am now eagerly awaiting the American's first match against the Czechs on Monday. I feel like the guy who admits to enjoying "Bridget Jones' Diary" when I write that, sure the World Cup is really good futbol but it's still futbol.

Anyway, Will described it best that the next month is like the first four days of March Madness for futbol fans...there are World Cup games on everyday. And a rare kudos to ESPN for having the commonsense to broadcast the games live.

And if you're looking to catch up on the sport, there are some good previews here, here and here.

Just for the record I did not enjoy "Bridget Jones' Diary", Bridget Jones on the other hand...


HGH in football?

Besides being thoroughly entertaining, this Jason Grimsley story could do to HGH what Jose Canseco did to steroids. Before Canseco shed light on the subject, there was no steroid smoking gun. Then Congress got involved and MLB was forced to institute steroid testing.

So what does this have to do with football?

The NFL does not test for HGH. Actually, none of the pro sports leagues test for HGH since it is so difficult to detect. And honestly, I don't know enough about HGH to know if it is as effective or prevalent as steroids. But if HGH testing levels the playing field (although not necessarily equalizing the talent) while ensuring the player's safety I'm all for it.

Baltimore gets good quarterback

Air McNair now a Raven.

Assuming McNair can pass a physical, he will be traded to Baltimore in exchange for a fourth round pick. This will give McNair a chance to participate in Raven's practice which last until June 15th. To make matters worse, the receiving corp which was originally upgraded for Boller now becomes McNair's to utilize.

Even with the upgrade in the passing game, it still comes down to rushing and defense in Baltimore. In the past both Lewis's have led the team in each facet of the game, but recently both players have become shadows of their former selves.


More chatter on McNair

There is now talk that Steve McNair is conversing with the Titans about restructuring his contract. The original reason the Titans were looking to get rid of McNair is that the last year of his contract is a poison pill to Tennesse's salary cap, so if McNair is serious about lowering his cap figure then he may end up staying with the Titans.

To recap, Baltimore is offering a fourth rounder but Tennessee wants at least a third rounder for McNair. If no trade or restructuring is agreed upon this month then McNair will likely be released come July. The former MVP would count $23.46 million against the cap.

It's gonna be a slow summer for the next two months so sit back and relax, 'cause unless another Bengal gets arrested there ain't gonna be a whole lot going on.

Gruden makes it to championship game

Jay Gruden to the ArenaBowl that is.

Chucky's little brother is the head coach for the Orlando Predators, who will play the Chicago Rush next weekend in Vegas for the twentieth installment of the Arena league championship. So if you're in Vegas Sunday and can't get tickets to the Blue Man Group or Siegfried and Roy you should check out some indoor football action.


From around the League

- Bengals quarterback Carson Palmer tells Sports Illustrated that he is ahead of schedule in his rehab from a devastating knee injury in December. Palmer (or Snowflake as his teammate Chad Johnson calls him) plans on returning by September 10th for the Bengals first game from a MCL and ACL tears, injuries which typically take eight to twelve months to recover from. Bengals coach Marvin Lewis demands that Snowflake play at least two exhibition games before Snowflake can start the first game.

Of course, as my buddy Plugs has mentioned multiple times to me, Snowflake injured his non-planting leg so everything will be fine.

The Bucs play the Bengals in Week 6.

- Titans quarterback Steve McNair is one step closer to becoming a Raven. An arbitrator has ruled McNair should be allowed to use the Titans practice, which could spur the Titans into trading McNair lest he get injured working out.

The Ravens have full team minicamps until June 15, which means after the 15th the Ravens have little motivation to make a trade for McNair. If a deal is not completed by June 15 the Ravens would probably wait until July when the Titans would have to drop McNair to make salary cap room for their draft picks.

The Bucs play the Ravens in Week 1.

- Despite deserving it, 'Skins safety Sean Taylor avoided jail time for assault with a deadly weapon. Instead Taylor will have to pay 10 Miami inner city schools a $1,000 each and visit each school.

Seriously, what the hell is wrong with Miami?

Shepherd re-inked

Bucs sign Edell Shepherd to one year, $425,000 contract.

Bucs have exclusive rights to negotiate with Shepherd so this deal was only a matter of when not if. Shepherd might have made himself some more money if he could have caught that last pass from Simms in the playoff game. Otherwise this another move to shore up a receiving corp which lacked depth last season.

Former Gator Earnest Graham remains the only unsigned Bucs free agent.