Archive for January, 2009

Super Bowl Memos

January 31, 2009

On the eve of Super Bowl XLIII tomorrow evening in Tampa between the Steelers and Cardinals, I thought I would take a brief moment to compose brief memos to those that sometimes get forgotten and sometimes get ridiculed despite being the 2nd best team in the league that season, the losing teams.  So, without further preamble:

I to the Kansas City Chiefs: Relax, the coach on the opposite sideline would soon have the trophy named for him.  You didn’t have much of a chance.

II to the Oakland Raiders: Relax, you were playing above-said coach in his last game with the Packers.  You didn’t have a chance either.

III to the Baltimore Colts: Oops!  No one except Broadway Joe saw that one coming.  Better luck in 2 years.

IV to the Minnesota Vikings: I recommend you get used to this losing the Super Bowl thing.

V to the Dallas Cowboys: Congratulations!  You managed to lose what is almost universally thought of as the worst played game in SB history.  But take heart as better days are ahead.

VI to the Miami Dolphis: Don’t worry; this was your last loss for awhile.

VII to the Washington Redskins: When your best play of the day is the other team’s kicker botching a pass after a botched field goal, you are probably not going to succeed.  Still, not a bad season for a team whose alias was “The Over the Hill Gang”

VIII to the Minnesota Vikings: Used to losing this game yet?

IX to the Minnesota Vikings: 17 yards rushing won’t get it done.  The only score the Steelers got in the 1st half was a safety and yet you were losing at halftime.

X to the Dallas Cowboys: Hard to stop Lynn Swann, isn’t it?

XI to the Minnesota Vikings: Must be used to losing this game, as you couldn’t even get in old man Willie’s way to the end zone.

XII to the Denver Broncos: Consider this a precursor to the early part of Elway’s career.

XIII to the Dallas Cowboys: Are you sure you wanted to bring Jackie Smith in for the last season of his career?

XIV to the Los Angeles Rams: Nice try.  Might’ve actually won if Ferragamo hadn’t thrown that one ball to Jack Lambert.

XV to the Philadelphia Eagles: Someone tell Jaworski that Harvey Martin plays for the Raiders and not the Eagles before he throws 3 balls to him.

XVI to the Cincinnati Bengals: Maybe you should not have let the 49ers make a goalline stand against you.

XVII to the Miami Dolphins: Maybe you should not have let John Riggins bust a 4th and inches play for a 41 yard touchdown.

XVIII to the Washington Redskins: Maybe you should not have let Marcus Allen double back in his own backfield and then run forward 83 yards.

XIX to the Miami Dolphis: Don’t worry Dan Marino, there will be other tries.  Oh, oops.

XX to the New England Patriots: In the words of Admiral Stockdale, why were you here?

XXI to the Denver Broncos: Nice drive to get there.

XXII to the Denver Broncos: Giving up 35 points in the 2nd quarter won’t get it done.

XXIII to the Cincinnati Bengals: Don’t forget Taylor in the back of the end zone.

XXIV to the Denver Broncos: Giving up 55 points in one game makes it hard to win.

XXV to the Buffalo Bills: Don’t just blame Scott Norwood.  You let the Giants possess the ball for 40 minutes of this game and it was 47 yards out.

XXVI to the Buffalo Bills: Better get used to this now.

XXVII to the Buffalo Bills: ibid

XXVIII to the Buffalo Bills: ibid

XXIX to the San Diego Charger: I don’t think anyone was stopping that 49ers team.  But, ow!

XXX to the Pittsburgh Steelers: Perhaps O’Donnell shouldn’t have thrown the interceptions

XXXI to the New England Patriots: Perhaps you should’ve tackled Desmond Howard.

XXXII to the Green Bay Packers: Sometimes the other team is just destined, and this one’s for John.

XXXIII to the Atlanta Falcons: When one of your team leaders, an NFL Man of the Year, is arrested the night before the game for prostitution, that’s bad.

XXXIV to the Tennessee Titans: Perhaps Dyson should’ve run a deeper slant  route.

XXXV to the New York Giants: When your only score is a kickoff return, and you promptly give the other team a kickoff return score on the ensuing play, that is not good.

XXXVI to the St. Louis Rams: Who can argue with Patriots 4 months after 9/11?

XXXVII to the Oakland Raiders: Hard to win when the other team’s coach used to be your coach and he knows you better than you know you.

XXXVIII to the Carolina Panthers: They might throw the ball to Mike Vrabel in the end zone.

XXXIX to the Philadelphia Eagles: Better work on that hurry up drill.

XL to the Seattle Seahawks: Randle El might throw the ball to Hines Ward in the end zone.

XLI to the Chicago Bears: Its hard to win a title with Rex Grossman leading the way.

XLII to the New England Patriots: Undefeated regular season is remarkable, but you forgot to account for David Tyree using his head in the big moment.



6 New Busts in Canton

January 31, 2009

Will carry the likenesses of Bruce Smith, Derrick Thomas, Rod Woodson, Randall McDaniel, Bob Hayes, and Ralph Wilson.  I guess I can’t really argue with the worthiness of any of those six men.  But with the possible exceptions of Smith and Woodson I can’t help thinking there were some more deserving snubs.

1. Shannon Sharpe: At the risk of sounding inartful, how the hell do you not put him in the Hall ASAP?  He only retired holding the all-time record in just about every major statistical category amongst tight ends.  He was also a solid blocker for the likes of Jamal Lewis and Terrell Davis when they had great seasons.  He played on 3 championship teams.  I don’t mean to suggest he is better than Ozzie Newsome or Kellen Winslow, and some of his records have since been eclipsed by Tony Gonzalez, but he ranks with them and that he is a Hall of Famer should be undeniable.

2. Cris Carter: Left out for a 2nd year, and I haven’t the foggiest idea why.  Even if it were true that all he did was catch touchdowns, he caught a lot of those.  But he caught a lot of passes for a lot of yards and has to be one of the best wide receivers of all time.  Of course so does Art Monk, and he was made to wait a lot longer than 2 years.  Some might say its because of some of Carter’s off-field issues, ie, drug abuse.  Its a real shame if that’s the case, seeing as how O.J.’s bust is still in Canton on display.  Also, that was 20 years ago!  By all accounts, Carter has been a model citizen for decades now.

3. At least Carter and Sharpe were finalists IIRC.  Ray Guy and Jim Plunkett can’t even get on the damn ballot.  Guy was the best punter of all time, with the possible exception of Sammy Baugh.  There are a lot of football people that get off ridiculing punters and kickers and that is why Guy never gets serious consideration.  In related news, there are also idiots in this world.  In professional football, the quarterback is the single most important player on a team.  However, the kicker and the punter are the 2nd and 3rd single most important players.  The Hall is incomplete until guys like Guy, and when his time comes Adam Vinaterri, are enshrined.  As for Jim Plunkett, he is a perfect example of the vagaries of Hall voting.  I dare someone to look at his career numbers, the nature of the arc of his career (rough start with one team, great finish with another), and his Super Bowl success, then do the same thing with Steve Young, and then give me a rational explanation of how one was a 1st ballot enshrinee and the other has failed to get in for almost 20 years of eligibility now.  It can’t be done.  Plunkett and Young are the same person, save the fact Plunkett won 2 SBs to Young’s 1 and Plunkett has the better personal story (not that that should matter).

4. Russ Grimm and Bob Keuchenberg:  Sometimes I wonder what a great lineman has to do to get in, also.  It is possible (see Randall McDaniel) but its probably too hard for linemen to get in.  In general, I would say its too easy (Plunkett aside) for quarterbacks and running backs and too hard for everyone else.

5. Dick Lebeau: He should get consideration for his coaching being the inventor of the zone blitz.  But I actually speak of his playing career.  He was one of the greates defensive backs of all time and retired as the leader in career interceptions.  Indeed, he played when the ball was not thrown much and still ranks high on those lists.  But I don’t hold my breath on this one.

Obama Media Honeymoon Over

January 30, 2009

It didn’t even last two weeks.  If you’ve watched much news coverage of the stimulus package working its way through Washington, you have doubtless heard that it passed the House sans Republican votes and that Senate Republicans have offered up their own plan.  Said coverage has almost universally been framed in terms of Obama’s efforts at bipartisanship failing, or perhaps even that Obama didn’t do enough to get Republican votes.    Poppycock.  How about the media slanting this in a more truthful vein; Congressional Republicans being their usual obstructionist selves?  I mean, I’m pretty sure John Boehner and Mitch McConnell both popped out of their mother’s wombs and immediately said no to having the umbilical cord cut.  Saying no is what they do best.

But, really, why should Obama be expected to bend over backwards to get unanimous votes?  For one thing, its not possible.  Anything that Republicans would vote for en masse the liberal/progressive wing of the Democratic caucus would vote against.  More to the point, Obama won.  Democrats hold the majority in both Houses of Congress.  The ball is in their court.  When Bush was in the White House and the Republicans held Congress they rammed through what they could.  Its called being in power.  If Obama and Congress pass things people like, they’ll get to keep power.  If they don’t, they won’t.  That’s how it works.

Blago Ousted

January 29, 2009

By a unanimous 59-0 vote of the Illinois Senate.  If you are curious, he became the 8th governor in United States history to get impeached and convicted, and here, courtesy of Salon, is the list:

–William W. Holden of North Carolina, removed in 1871 after he sent a militia to quell violence by the Ku Klux Klan and suspended the right of habeas corpus for accused Klan leaders. He also had several political opponents arrested.

–David Butler of Nebraska, removed in 1871 for misappropriating school funds. The impeachment proceedings were later expunged from the legislative record, and in 1888 he was elected to another term as governor.

–William Sulzer of New York, removed in 1913. Sulzer, a product of New York City’s Tammany Hall political machine, snubbed its patronage demands after he was elected and launched an investigation into corruption. Legislators then brought charges of financial irregularities that even some anti-Tammany forces agreed were true.

–James E. Ferguson of Texas, convicted by the state Senate in 1917 on charges stemming from a fight over control of the University of Texas. Ferguson resigned a day before his conviction was announced.

–John C. Walton of Oklahoma, removed in 1923 after he declared martial law and ordered the National Guard to disband a grand jury that was investigating him.

–Henry S. Johnston of Oklahoma, removed in 1929 after he ordered the National Guard to surround the Capitol and prevent the Legislature from assembling to investigate him.

–Evan Mecham of Arizona, removed in 1988 after he was convicted of trying to thwart an investigation into a death threat allegedly made by an aide.

–Rod Blagojevich of Illinois, removed in 2009 after federal authorities accused him of trying to sell the Senate seat vacated when Barack Obama was elected president.

Sounds like Oklahoma in the 1920s was an interesting place!

Judicial Watch Loses Grip on Reality

January 29, 2009

I never have fully understood all the Clinton hating from the far right.  But this is just absurd.  Judicial Watch has filed suit claiming that Hillary is Constitutionally ineligible to be Secretary of State until 2013:

Are you kidding me???  I mean, is this a joke or something?  Since she won’t be paid the higher rate that Congress had passed, I don’t see there is an issue here.  No harm is being done to the American taxpayer.  Its not like she voted to have the Secretary of State’s pay bumped a few thousand dollars while a Republican was President and while she was running (or planning to fun) for President thinking she would end up being Secretary of State someday (I assume she voted for it as that sort of thing is usually pro forma).  I hope the judge dismisses this and makes Judicial Watch pay a steep wasting our time penalty.

Long Hard Slog

January 29, 2009

Of a commute to work this morning, as Rt 30 was still a mess after Wednesday’s winter storm.  Apparently, PennDOT is not always familiar with this chemical compound commonly known as “salt”.  I was still in West Virginia when I encountered stop and go (mostly stop) traffic.  As I crept into Pennsylvania I encountered rigs that looked like they were stopped dead heading back westbound, and the road appeared to have just been salted.  We got through the curvy section before and at Red Dog Rd and then encountered more traffic at Laughlin Corner with fire trucks in the intersection.  They were preventing traffic from getting west of Rt 168 on 30.  I’m not really sure why at that point, as the road seemed passable to me.  It was far from ideal of course.  Ideal would’ve been them having salted the road at some time overnight so that the dusting of snow that fell pre-dawn didn’t turn that section into a bobsled course.  I mean, I just don’t understand why they didn’t salt sooner.  The road was plowed; it had been plowed by the time I came home through their Wednesday evening at roughly 5pm.  It took another 14 hours to salt?  No thanks to PennDOT I was 10 minutes late for work.  By this afternoon PennDOT had finally salted and the road was basically cleared, though it looked at a glance like work still had to be done on Rt 18 and Rt 151 when I passed those intersections a full 24+ hours after the storm ended.

Of course, this is actually a bit better now than 30 in West Virginia.  The left lane heading east out of Chester is still unusable, and the left turn lanes at Rt 8/Pyramus Rd intersection are snow covered still this evening.  The left lane of the Chester Bridge is snow covered, and the ramps from the bridge to the freeway in East Liverpool have not been salted.  For that matter, 30/39 in East Liverpool is still a snow covered left lane, at least westbound.  I know this was a bad storm, but its been over for more than 24 hours now.  My opinion is that state highways should be cleared by now.  I realize local and neighborhood roads won’t be, in some cases not until the next thaw.  But I expect highways to be more passable than I found them today.

Peanut Processor New Product Had Salmonella

January 28, 2009

And continued selling it anyway:

Are you kidding me???  I hope those plant administrators are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.  That is reprehensible.

Ledbetter Law

January 28, 2009

Is heading to President Obama’s desk for enaction:

Its about time!  Republican objections to this law are just absurd.  Under the previous Supreme Court decision, a company need only keep the discrimination secret for 180 days and they had successfully run out the clock.  I’m not sure if there will be a flood of lawsuits because of this or not.  But, if there are, so what?  As Barbara Mikulski said, companies have a very easy way to avoid it; don’t discriminate.  If you have two people doing the same job with the same tenure, pay them the same rate.  Its that simple.

Gaza Aid Stuck at Border

January 28, 2009

From Wednesday’s New York Times:

That’s almost criminal if you ask me.  Sounds like Israel is basically laying siege to Gaza.  Maybe someone will have to get brave and try to deliver food via the Mediterranean.

New York Times Feature Article on Dan Rooney

January 27, 2009

The Steelers owner is profiled in Tuesday’s New York Times: