Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Smith & Dungy Represent More Than African Americans

I was happy to see Rob Long take the stance that he did on the media's excessive preoccupation with race as it relates to the head coaches of Super Bowl XLI, Lovie Smith and Tony Dungy. In this week’s edition of the Press Box Long writers, “I’m not saying we shouldn’t acknowledge Smith's and Dungy's milestones, but in the end, the focus on these men should be about their tremendous work ethic and the positive effect they have on their respective teams, not their race.”

Rob Long, you have said what most of us have thought but didn’t say so as not to offend or disrespect your African Americans heritage.

What we know about Smith and Dungy is that they share a common and inspiring work ethic as Long suggests. They represent their organizations well, they are trusted and admired by their players and that they are outstanding coaches in addition to being classic gentlemen. They embody the expression "role model" regardless of their color.

These men should be as proud to represent their heritage as any other man regardless of race. But to overemphasize race, takes from their individual achievements. I'm simply proud that they represent the NFL and America.

Hey Rob, can you send your column over to Shannon Sharpe?

Monday, January 22, 2007

OBSERVATIONS FROM NFL CHAMPIONSHIP WEEKEND


Watching the conference championship games yesterday was hardly as difficult as I thought it might be. Sure, I thought of how exciting, how incredibly electrifying it might have been down at The Vault last night. When the Colts won I had visions of purple and silver confetti tumbling from a snowy Baltimore sky. I had flashbacks to Super Bowl XXXV when that same confetti fell from a Tampa sky at Raymond James Stadium.

It wasn’t meant to be this year.

I must admit, I enjoyed the games particularly the AFC Championship. And while the outcome wasn’t necessarily comforting I accepted it and justified it by concluding that Peyton Manning earned it. He works extremely hard to achieve what he has and such efforts are deserving of the spoils. Besides, I’m tired of the Patriots winning.

Having said that, GO BEARS!

Some of my observations from yesterday….

* Rex Grossman is clueless. Back to back timeouts? It’s very hard to believe that he is the quarterback of a Super Bowl team. The Bears defense isn’t as good as the Ravens…not even that close in my opinion. Arguably Grossman isn’t as good as Kyle Boller. If the Ravens were in the NFC, could they represent that conference in Super Bowl XLI with Boller behind center?

* I’ll take Troy Aikman as an analyst over Phil Simms any day. Hey Phil, it’s now ok to remove your lips from Tom Brady’s butt. Boomer Esiason, you are now free to do the same and Jim Nantz, you can stop batting your eyes at Peyton Manning. What’s up with all of these man crushes?

* I didn’t think that was a fumble by the Saints return man Michael Lewis.

* Reggie Bush cheapened his touchdown by pointing at Brian Urlacher. I’m sure Urlacher will get his turn one day Reggie when you are attempting to catch a pass crossing the middle of the field.

* Thomas Jones was drafted in the same draft as Jamal Lewis and looks so much fresher and spry. He certainly sees the field better than Jamal. Interestingly that freshness has to do with workload. Jones has 1,349 career carries. Lewis has 1,822. That’s close to two full seasons of work.

* Chicago’s WR Bernard Berrian was chosen four picks ahead of Devard Darling. Darling has 2 career catches for 5 yards and 0 TD’s. Berrian had 5 catches for 85 yards and a score yesterday.

* Did you know that Robbie Gould was with the Ravens during Summer Camp 2005? He was signed to the practice squad after final cuts and eventually waived by the Ravens on September 27, 2005.

* I think all four teams yesterday ran a draw and a screen pass at some point. Are they illegal in Baltimore?

* Do you think every offensive line coach in the league will now teach their players to stand up and point at a defensive player every time they cross the line of scrimmage? The Colts’ linemen certainly are good at picking up a free 5 yards a couple of times a game. What a bogus rule!

* If the refs don’t call holding on the Colts O-Line when they play the Patriots, will they ever call it again during these playoffs? Richard Seymour was tackled from behind by Ryan Lilja and nothing was called.

* Assante Samuel is really, really good.

* What happened to the Patriots front 7 in the second half yesterday? 32 points the Pats allowed in the second half.

* When the Patriots cut Reche Caldwell next year, he certainly has a future in the next Star Trek or Star Wars movie. Tom Brady sure could use a stud wide out.

* Did you notice that Jim Plunkett during the presentation of the Lamar Hunt trophy to Jimmy Irsay almost said Baltimore Colts? How great would that have been? Nope, not over it I guess...

* Hey Shannon Sharpe, ease up!

* Hey, what do they do with all the pre-made Championship hats for the losing team?

It was a very good year for the Ravens and in that we can take solace. Yet we all know from observing those games yesterday, it could have been so much better.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

AFC Championship Blog

It’s halftime of the Colts v. Patriots game and a couple of things come to mind:

The Colts and their fans are whiny little female dogs…

I wonder if the Ravens could handle Brady…

The Patriots look incredibly well prepared. I wonder if Brian Billick could match wits with the other B.B. in a strategic football chess match…

Ok, it’s 2 seconds later and I’ve stopped wondering…the answer is NO!

Boomer Esiason and Phil Simms have man crushes on Tom Brady…

Does Peyton Manning have that look of “Here we go again” or what?

Forget about Champ Bailey. I am watching the best cover corner in the league tonight…

Wilkins just ran into a truck named Izzo.

(8:33) Colts have the ball on their first possession…

Gotta give the whiny little dogs credit for one thing at the RCA Dome…they can keep it quiet for the offense…

I think I just jinxed Assante Samuel…

At least I know the refs ignore the Colts holding against the Pats too.

Well, it looks like we might have a ball game after all…

(8:40) Nice drive little doggies…

QB sneak….TD…anyone else thinking Ben Roethlisberger?

Friday, January 19, 2007

RAVENS NEED TO FIND WAY TO MAKE AD STAY



Last night while listening to the Adalius Thomas show I had this sinking feeling that maybe I was listening to AD as a Raven for the very last time. It felt in many ways like saying goodbye to a friend not knowing if or when you might see each other again.

During the show, AD’s wife Sheri spoke briefly about their lives upon arriving in Baltimore. She said that they came into town in cars from college and they rented an apartment. Now their standard of living has improved, paralleling the plight of AD’s career. Yet she was quick to give AD credit saying that despite his success, he has remained the same grounded man throughout, unspoiled by riches and accolades.

AD is not only an exceptional athlete, he’s an exceptional human being. It’s rare that we get to experience first hand in these modern times, a player as gifted and as humble as AD. His is the consummate teammate, leader, community spokesperson and activist. On and off the field, his shoes are too big to fill. His departure would leave a gaping hole in Baltimore.

Yet we know the NFL to be a business. Its employees remind us all too often. And in this age of the salary cap, it is very possible that last night’s show was AD’s last. The Ravens would love to keep him but they might not be able to afford him.

Couldn’t he make money in other ways outside of the Ravens? Couldn’t he become the local spokesperson for Under Armor or Legg Mason or Alex Brown or Johns Hopkins or Black & Decker or McCormick Spice or all of the above? And couldn’t the value of such endorsements offset the hometown discount that might enable AD to stay?

Hey, what is Bubba Smith’s law firm doing these days for a spokesperson?

Can’t the Ravens force all new incoming players to buy their new homes through Sheri Thomas who is a real estate agent? That might help, right?

Business is business and AD has to take care of his. Whatever he does, naturally we wish him well. How could we not? We just wish it could be here in Baltimore.

They don’t build them like No. 96 any more.

Let’s hope the Ravens realize that and find a way…

Sunday, January 14, 2007

WAKE ME UP WHEN THE PLAYOFFS END





Over the past week or so, I interpreted a few things as omens that the Ravens would win yesterday. I looked back to Steve McNair getting locked out of Baptist Park in Nashville as a sign. And then there was Brian Billick’s ascension from the outhouse to possibly the penthouse. Yeah, those would make for great stories. They dripped of tales of destiny.

Destination Miami!

Then there was the average number of points the Colts scored on the road during their four game road losing streak -- 18. And those points came against defenses that on average ranked 18th. And low and behold, the NFL’s favored son and crybaby Peyton Manning wears No. 18. And as we know, that’s a digit less than 19 and 19 is our town’s favorite football number. The signs were there.

Signs, signs everywhere there were signs.

18 is less than 19 so the Colts would come up short.

When I ordered a bagel on Saturday morning my receipt was number 119. Another sign!

On my way to the stadium, a friend called and told me a tale about how he asked his daughter if she had a lucky charm that he could borrow for the game. She immediately handed over her lucky rabbit’s foot.

A hunting we will go…A hunting we will go….

We left the ammo home!

Bad sign.

Now all of these questions are swimming in my head:

1. Who do I root for now?
2. Do I want to root for anyone?
3. Do I want to even watch football?
4. Suddenly I hate Sports Center and Tom Jackson and Ron Jaworski and Sean Salisbury.
5. I hate everyone that correctly predicted the outcome of yesterday’s game.
6. I’m scared to death that my wish for a Patriots loss will now come true.
7. I hate the idea of Indianapolis hosting the AFC Championship game.
Go Chargers!
8. More destiny….shouldn’t the Chargers and Saints now play in the Super Bowl?
9. Am I a traitor if I buy a Saints hat?
10. Cheaters can win and Shawne Merriman might.
11. I can now cancel my trip to Key West and then into Miami.
12. Anyone want to buy a couple of plane tickets to Ft. Lauderdale on February 1?
13. I wish I had a dollar for every time I hear Peyton Manning’s name mentioned.
14. PEYTONMANNINGPEYTONMANNINGPEYTONMANNING. (I must admit I like his commercials)
15. Bert Jones was right.
16. I’d hate to host a sports talk show tomorrow.
17. How many will be calling for Billick’s head again?
18. I feel bad for Steve Bisciotti.
19. Wait a minute, why should I feel bad for a young ¾ billionaire?
20. What in the hell were the Ravens doing in that huddle yesterday?
21. If you don’t have a killer instinct, why go hunting Brian?
22. You have a Hall of Fame quarterback and you don’t trust him with 55 seconds on the clock?

WAKE ME UP WHEN THE PLAYOFFS END
(To the Green Day tune of “Wake Me Up When September Ends”)

Winning has come and passed
The Super Bowl is in the past
wake me up when the playoffs end

Like my Ravens come to pass
Festivus has gone so fast
wake me up when the playoffs end

There goes the reign again
Fallen from the sky
Drenched in my pain again
I grab a beer and cry

Hopes & dreams laid to rest
I thought that we were the best
Wake me up when the playoffs end

Winning has come and passed
The Super Bowl is in the past
wake me up when the playoffs end

Bring out the cheers again
Like we did when Fall began
Wake me up when the playoffs end

There goes the reign again
Fallen from the sky
Drenched in my pain again
I grab a beer and cry

Hopes & dreams laid to rest
I thought that we were the best
Wake me up when the playoffs end

Winning has come and passed
The Super Bowl is in the past
wake me up when the playoffs end

Bring out the cheers again
Like we did when Fall began
Wake me up when the playoffs end
Wake me up when the playoffs end
Wake me up when the playoffs end

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

REX WAS JUST KIDDING ABOUT THAT 5 SECONDS OF SILENCE


On Tuesday Rex Ryan made this plea to the fans: "If the crowd can just hold on for about five seconds when [the Colts] get to the line - just kind of hang in there for five seconds - that way we can communicate with ourselves on defense, and then [fans can] pick the tone up the rest of the time through.

"So, if we could do that it would be great," he continued with a smile. "If you forget, we'll live with it."

He was kidding right?

To try and orchestrate such a 5 second window of silence would only serve to subdue the crowd. Why give Peyton Manning any chance to organize his troops. Chances are he will start the game with a no huddle. So when would Rex like us all to remain silent? The results would be like asking a band that hadn’t played together before to perform a song they haven’t heard before.

He really was kidding, wasn’t he?

Here’s Ray Lewis on how crowd noise will affect the Colts:

"You go to play them in Indy, and of course we'd play them well, but then everybody could hear his checks. He’d get with Marvin [Harrison], he'd get with Reggie [Wayne] and all those guys, and they could hear his checks clearly.

"For Peyton Manning to try to come up and do all those checks, now, everything has to be hand signals. The crowd affects everyone who comes [to our stadium]. It creates false starts, creates so many different advantages for our defense."

Now that's more like it.

Rex stick to what you do so very, very well….orchestrate the defense. Trying to use the mute button on your remote on what promises to be a boisterous crowd of epic proportions for five seconds will only serve to weaken one of the home field advantages.

Just ask your team captain.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

IF YOU COULD WOULD YOU UNDO THE COLTS MOVE?



If you happened to meet Dr. Emmett Brown best known for his time machine in Back to The Future and he allowed you one ride to go back in time to that infamous snowy night on March 28, 1984, what would you do?

Knowing what you know today, that the Browns would eventually come to Baltimore and become the Ravens…that in their fifth season in Baltimore the Ravens would produce a Super Bowl Championship while playing in a beautiful state of the art stadium adjacent from the jewel of baseball parks at Camden Yards, both of which are arguably byproducts of the Colts move to Indianapolis…that Cleveland, the city abandoned by the Browns would get a new team and keep their colors, name and history…and the team that left you in 1984 would still be seeking its second Super Bowl victory (the first coming in January, 1971 in Super Bowl V)…after all that, would you go back and undo history to keep the Colts in Baltimore?

If you are one to say that things happen for reasons and that even if given the opportunity to ride in Doc Brown’s DeLorean you would take things as they are, that’s acceptable and understandable.

However, if you are one of those that would take that ride, what would you do and what change would you try to affect that might permanently change the history of the NFL and the Baltimore Colts -- a change that would fill that 13 year gap here in Baltimore without the NFL and restore the city’s heritage?

Would you take Irsay to happy hour and convince him to sell the team? Would convince him to wait? Or would you go back further in time than March 28, 1984 to the date John Elway was traded and affect that signing -- a signing then-Colts GM Ernie Accorsi swears would have happened? Or might you go back to the day that Irsay bought the team from Carroll Rosenbloom?

Or is there something else you would do?

Bring it on …we want to know!


C'MON MCFLY, WHAT'S IT GONNA BE?

Monday, January 08, 2007

GET OVER IT BALTIMORE!



“Hey Baltimore, get over it!”

Bet you’ve heard that one when the subject of the Colts midnight move to Indianapolis back in March of 1984 is brought up, right?

GET OVER IT!

Gee thanks there Dan Marino and all of the national media folks who don’t get it. They don’t or can’t feel Baltimore’s pain yet they languished over Art Modell’s act of desperation when he moved the Browns to Baltimore. They panned one of the NFL’s pioneering spirits yet casually dismiss the fact that a drunken fool like Robert Irsay who publicly denied his own heritage, ripped away a huge part of Baltimore’s.

There’s isn’t much or anything that can be done about it today and most Baltimoreans I believe recognize this. But we all would just like the atrocity to be AT LEAST as nationally scorned as Modell’s move was. Those colors and horseshoes and that name belong in Baltimore. Yet it will never happen.

Some of you may never get over it.

HAVE YOU?

Personally I have gotten over “it” for the most part. Sure, there’s a little twinge of resentment there and even though I knew it was in the Ravens’ best interest to have the Colts win on Saturday to give our city a chance to host the AFC Championship, my body language still suggested that I was pulling for the Chiefs.

No one likes being dumped.

Has the new girl in purple eased your pain or are you still feeling scorned Baltimore?

Saturday, January 06, 2007

NICKNAME FOR RAVENS DEFENSE

What might be a deserving nickname for the Ravens defense? We’ve heard plenty of recommendations ranging from Purple Pain to D-Rex to The Beast. The one that I particularly like is Riptide Rush.

Think back to the Broncos at their best while on defense and you think Orange Crush -- a name that had staying power. Riptide Rush is a purple shade of Gatorade. And if you think about the Ravens defense and the way they morph in all sorts of shapes and sizes while attacking opponents from all directions, isn’t that like a riptide?

I can see it now. With each highlight reel for each individual player, that player comes in on the big screen at The Vault riding a huge purple wave right into the featured footage of the player's on field heroics.

There goes AD on the wave followed by quarterback hits, interceptions, fumble recoveries etc all played to the tune of Wipe Out. And when he's finished wiping out opponents, he gets back on his board and surfs off the screen on a purple riptide wave (of course sponsored by Gatorade!)

You with me?

Got a better idea?

Then bring it on!

PERSONALLY I'LL MISS BILL COWHER


Some are celebrating the resignation of Bill Cowher. I’m not one of them. Sure, Cowher’s snarl, chin (I swear he was often striking the pose for the cameras) and his weekly impersonations of Daffy Duck where both irritating and at times humorous. But I respect him as a coach and I respect his accomplishments. I for one will miss him because he helped make the Ravens/Steelers rivalry a fierce one. His competitive nature and combative style and fearless approach to managing games with gadget plays and fake punts, helped to make the rivalry engaging and entertaining.

Without Cowher, the Steelers are weaker not just due to the absence of his leadership but also due to the rippling affect it will have on his very solid coaching staff. Chances are the Steelers will turn their sideline over to one of two assistants, Russ Grimm or Ken Whisenhunt. If the nod goes to Grimm, Whisenhunt is likely to walk. That leaves the Steelers with an inferior head coach to Cowher and in essence two assistants that will no longer be acting as assistants.


A good rivalry requires competitiveness. The Steelers might not be quite the challenge as they've been under Cowher, at least not for awhile. And that isn't good for Baltimore and the NFL.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

JUST SAY NO TO THE RAVENS?

We sure do our fair share of whining around here. If it isn’t the perceived snubbing by the national media we're whining about it’s the referees and their collective vendetta against the Ravens and Brian Billick and Art Modell and Art’s Uncle Chet and the only male cheerleaders in the NFL.

Let’s just admit it, we like it that “they” don’t like us.

What’s the first thing we do if the national media heaps (no pun intended) gobs of praise upon the Ravens. We worry that it’s going to go to their heads and the Ravens will take everything too lightly, right?

What happens if the Ravens play on Saturday instead of Sunday next week (early word is that is exactly what will happen.) What will the complaint be then? Too early, too dark, not dark enough? I’ve actually tried to hone in on the favorable pub that the Ravens get. Mike Ditka likes us for the Super Bowl. Boo-Yeah seconds that emotion. You know blabber mouth Irvin is going to go with Ray Ray if he doesn’t beat himself to death first with those non-stop flapping jaws of his.

And speaking of Jaws, he is pulling out the homer card and picking the Eagles to go to the Super Bowl. We should be so lucky. What a walk in the park that would be for the Ravens!

Anyway, here’s what I’m hoping you can help me with. Any time a national media member, out of town media member, weatherman, weatherwoman, Wonder Woman or anybody disses the Ravens, I want to know about it and I’m asking you to post it here. Judging from that siren…I mean that whining sound emanating from the village below in Who-are-the-Ravensville, that should be a mighty lengthy list.

So let’s have some fun…let’s post all the naysayer thoughts here and build one big fat colossal “Just Say No To The Ravens” blog, we’ll email a copy to each of those non-believers!

Deal?

By the way, I think part-time 24x7 columnist and WNST Morning Show host Drew Forrester is on to something with his column yesterday. I’m as confident as he is that the Ravens are South Beach bound!

Every night when I drift off into the fog of LaLa Land as I fade into the realm of REM (and I’m not talking about that crappy band from Athens, GA) my dream's sequence opens up with a big billboard adorned with pictures of South Beach babes sans bikinis blowing kisses and saying, “Welcome to Miami!”

Can ya feel that?

Ok now, lay it on me….what are the talking heads saying today?