Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Noodle in a Haystack

Somewhere in Indiana:



Somewhere in Texas:





Was there anyone in the world of sports that didn't see this one coming?

There are so few absolutes in sports, but one of the most concrete is that you just don't replace a legend.

In the 6 years since a carpetbagging university president fired the only coach I'd ever known, I have tried hard to keep an open mind about Mike Davis. In his first year, I went to the United Center in Chicago to cheer the team on in the Big 10 tournement. Even though the Hoosiers lost the final to Iowa, I still felt good about the decision to drop the interim tag and let him keep the job.

A year later that faith was rewarded with an unexpected trip to the NCAA championship game. Even as I drove back all night from Atlanta after watching my team lose, I felt like we had stumbled upon a hidden coaching gem.

The only problem was, it all semed to stop there.
Every year since has been a hodge podge of highly recruited prospects that fail to gel or grow. When you have grown up with Indiana basketball, this is a painful scene to watch.

I don't know what the future holds for the program, but I do know that this will be the top available job this offseason. If I was the AD at Tennessee, I'd be working real hard to dig up some extra cash in order to give Bruce Pearl a very big extension.

Monday, February 27, 2006

NUFCED by wikkidpissah


WHAT IT'S ALL ABOUT

In case you haven't seen it, check this out:

www.youtube.com/watch?v=UBYPaNc57Ik&search=autistic%20basketball%20player

I'm more or less a cryer, but you never know what'll start it. When I was little, I used to run headfirst into walls when frustrated unto anger. My peeps taught me to suppress the rage, but the sublimation would always cause me to burst into tears. During my rough & tumble days, my friends would laugh at how there'd be tears in my eyes as I pounded a foe into submission. I went through the entire process of my wife's death barely squeezing a drop, yet the love story in Forrest Gump (Jenny in the movie resembles my Mary physically and, like her, was molested as a girl & died young) gets me bawling like a baby. These days I'm more impervious than I used to be but, if something hits me, watch out.

This story hit me. Matter of fact, stories of triumph are mostly what get me anymore. Well, there ain't a story of triumph to top that of Jason McElwain's. Once, during the down time between some of my many young forays into showbiz, I worked with severely autistic adolescents in a program geared toward integrating them into society. After exhibiting some talent for handling them well even in their most escalated states, part of my job became to take them out to do errands for the group. I became truly endeared to my pupils when I saw how little patience they had for the patronizing pity of strangers. Most overwhelming interactions cause them to retreat into that mad, intractable world that "normals" are powerless to understand. Try to do something for them because they look retarded, though, and they'll smack you right in the face and won't stop 'til they draw blood. To work with them is to be as fascinated by their Mad-Hatter-on-acid world as you're likely to become envious.

Jason McElwain is but mildly autistic, but the inscrutable sureness in his manner sent me back to memories of my old friends. That he is incapable of processing joy as we do watching his AMAZING four minutes on the basketball court makes the story just that much more compelling. Fortunately, the lower level of his affliction allows enough comfort with human contact for him to be able to let others raise him on their shoulders, affording him the view from atop his world. This is sport, this is what it's all about. Get me a hankie.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

WETBOAT'S NFL COMBINE MUSINGS



DON KNOTTS, REST IN PEACE

I did not grow up with Don Knotts as Barney Fife, nor did I grow up with him as Mr. Limpet. The Don Knotts I grew up with was the one who played Ralph Furley on “Three’s Company.” God, I thought, Mr. Furley had to be a lucky man to live one floor below two gorgeous women, and be stupid enough to think Jack Tripper was gay. He hid his insecurity in his loud wardrobe and guffawing laughs.

Don Knotts was the running example of how laughter can be the best medicine. Like George Burns, who lived to be over 100 and outlasted his doctors who told him to stop smoking, and Richard Pryor, who battled his drug and MS demons to live as long as he did, Don Knotts leveraged his avuncular style, deer-in-the-headlights demeanor, and aw-shucks goofiness to bring us all a lot of laughter and tears over many, many years.

Thank you, Don.


SEARCH FOLLIES


Ain't this gnarly? I hate this music, though, this CD, like, plays only the Olympic hymn.

It’s late February, there’s no football in the horizon, and I find myself sinking ever-so-surely into my midwinter-induced narcoleptic stupor. The Olympics in Torino didn’t salve my fatigue, as I resolutely refused to watch the first week of the quadrennial event, and caved in only because Michelle Kwan quit, and I wanted to see the upstarts Sasha Cohen, Emily Hughes, and Kimmie Meissner perform on the stage. In spite of their falls and pratfalls, Hughes, Meissner and Cohen must be commended for their incredible performances in the Olympics. Placing 2nd, 5th and 7th, given their combined level of experience and talent, is nothing short of amazing.

So, if I’m VERRRY bored, what do I do? For starters, I thought – wouldn’t it be interesting to see what pictures I came up with, based on image searches of certain keywords? So I went to Yahoo! News Search to do my work (plain Google would have been a no-brainer, but there were way too many irrelevant results to make this worth my while, so I needed a controlled sample. You learn something in statistics class.)

I keyed in the word “funny” in the Yahoo! News Search and came up with those pictures:


A Dutch fan at the Olympic speedskating competition in Torino. They're nuts for this sport in their home country. I don't understand their fascination with speedskating, for the same reason I don't understand southern American men's fascination with NASCAR.


Funny car. Pretty easy find.



Now, the third search result for the word "funny" was this image of the Iranian president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. If this Western-hating, Holocaust-denying, nuclear-loving leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran rates as the third image search result for the word "funny" in Yahoo! News Search, THAT is very funny. After all, his actions have even embarrassed many moderates in the Iranian government.

Hmm…. how about if I searched “beautiful”? Again, you’ll be surprised by the results:


Not sure why a Singapore Airlines plane rates as a beautiful image. Perhaps the absence of gum (illegal in Singapore) and governmentally-condoned canings of underage Americans have something to do with it.



Ummmmmm, okay. Beautiful? Moving on...



When Rachel Hunter isn’t even the first result in the search, something is very wrong.


WHAT’S IN AN OLYMPIC SPORT?


The Olympic sport of tug-of-war has gone to the dogs.

Seeing as 8 of the 23 medals won by Americans (through February 23rd) are in snowboarding and freestyle skiing – all sports that originated in the United States – I have to wonder about the origins of some of the more recently introduced Olympic sports, and whether American-derived sports are dominating the Olympic scene. After all, baseball and softball got cut as Olympic sports in recent years.

I checked the official Olympic site for sports which were performed at past Olympics, but are no longer part of the Olympic scene. This is a very interesting list.

Cricket – Honest to God, I’ve never seen a cricket performance. I imagine it involves a paddle and a ball. Here in the US, paddles are used only in fraternity houses.

Croquet – One word: ZZZZZZZZZZ.

Jeu de paume – Basically, this is tennis without racquets. Try fielding a 135-mph Roscoe Tanner serve with your bare hand.

Lacrosse – Too American-oriented, and even then, it's popular only in the mid-Atlantic States. Love watching it, but it's not going to be an Olympic sport any time soon unless it has a truly global following.

Pelote basque – Found only in Basque regions in Spain and in select locations of southwestern Connecticut.

Polo – Who wants to see Prince Charles on the medal podium?

Power boating – If they allow this in the Olympics, what’s next, Indy car racing? Jeff Gordon winning gold medals will be too much for any sane American, let alone other countries, to swallow.

Rugby – Hey if the London 2012 organizers are gonna put rugby in the Olympics, let’s bring American football into THIS!

Tug of war – now HOW fun would that be? Put the U.S. on one side, China on the other, and hear ‘em grunting in English and Mandarin. If this makes it back to the Olympics, they’ll rename it “rope pulling.” No one in the Olympic movement wants a sport with the word “war” in it.

Ok, th-th-th-that's all folks!

(Nope, nothing about the NFL combine. Go talk to Creek.)

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Well.... If No One Is Going To Post anything.....

.... I might as well throw up an updated mock draft. Here you go:


Round 1

1. Houston- Reggie Bush RB USC
2. New Orleans- Matt Leinart QB USC
3. Tennessee- Vince Young QB Texas
4. NY Jets- DeAngelo Williams RB Memphis
5. Green Bay- Mario Williams DE NC State
6. Oakland- Haloti Ngata DT Oregon
7. San Francisco- A.J Hawk LB Ohio St.
8. Buffalo- D'Brickashaw Ferguson OT Virginia
9. Detroit- Tamba Hali DE Penn St.
10. Arizona- Jay Cutler QB Vanderbilt
11. St. Louis- Chad Greenway LB Iowa
12. Cleveland- Michael Huff DB Texas
13. Baltimore- LenDale White RB USC
14. Philadelphia- Winston Justice OT USC
15. Atlanta- Jimmy Williams DB Virginia
16. Miami- Demeco Ryans LB Alabama
17. Minnesota- Vernon Davis TE Maryland
18. Dallas- Darnell Bing S USC
19. San Diego- Ko simpson S South Carolina
20. Kansas City- Santonio Holmes WR Ohio St.
21. New England- Richard Marshall CB Fresno St.
22. Denver (f/WAS)- Mathias Kiwanuka DE Boston College
23. Tampa Bay- MArcus McNeill OT Auburn
24. Cincinnati- Brodrick Bunkley DT FSU
25. NY Giants- Tye Hill CB Clemson
26. Chicago- Leonard Pope TE Georgia
27. Carolina- Gabe Watson DT Michigan
28. Jacksonville- Antonio Cromartie CB FSU
29. Denver- Chad Jackson WR Florida
30. Indinapolis- Joseph Addai RB LSU
31. Seattle- Bobby Carpenter LB Ohio St.
32. Pittsburgh- Manny Lawson OLB NC State

Round 2

33. Houston- Eric Winston OT Miami
34. New Orleans- Thomas Howard LB UTEP
35. NY Jets- Jon Scott OT Texas
36. Green Bay- Ernie Sims LB FSU
37. Oakland- Donte Whitner S Ohio St.
38. San Francisco- Sinorice Moss WR Miami
39. Tennessee- D'Qwell Jackson LB Maryland
40. Detroit- Ryan O'Callaghan OT California
41. Arizona- Laurence Maroney RB Minnesota
42. Buffalo- Claude Wroten DT LSU
43. Cleveland- Kamerion Wimbley OLB FSU
44. Baltimore- Ashton Youboty CB Baltimore
45. Philadelphia- Abdul Hodge LB Iowa
46. St. Louis- Jonathan Joseph CB South Carolina
47. Atlanta- Daryn Colledge OT Boise St.
48. Minnesota- Max Jean-Gilles OG Georgia
49. Dallas- Jeremey Trueblood OT Boston College
50. San Diego- Martin Nance WR Miami(OH)
51. Miami- Brodie Croyle QB Alabama
52. New England- Kai Parmah LB Virginia
53. Washington- Derek Hagan WR Arizona St.
54. Kansas City- Greg Blue S Georgia
55. Cincinnati- Dominique Byrd TE USC
56. NY Giants- Spencer Havner LB UCLA
57. Chicago- Kelly Jennings CB Miami
58. Carolina- Maurice Stovall WR Notre Dame
59. Tampa Bay- Stanley McClover DE Auburn
60. Jacksonville- Anthony Fasano TE Jacksonville
61. Denver- Jesse Mahelona DT Tennessee
62. Indianapolis- Charles Spencer OG USC
63. Seattle- Hank Baskett WR New Mexico
64. Pittsburgh- Jason Allen S Tennessee

Monday, February 20, 2006

NUFCED by wikkidpissah

FIND THE IDIOT

Since the statute of limitations has run out, I suppose I can say this without particular consequence: I spent over a quarter of a million dollars and three-quarters of my waking life for a twelve year period on illegal recreational substances. Drugs. Nothing made more sense to me then or less to me now. The gambling profession DID lend itself to the ingestion of various headache powders - in fact, in the early 80's, it was difficult to find anyone in a casino bathroom using it for its intended purpose. I took no more or no less risks than typical person within that lifestyle, and that means I'm lucky to be alive. I have no teeth, a heart condition and a basic mistrust of my sanity. While I was able to stop without use of a twelve-step program, I heartily resent the company of all my old friends who've graduated into dullardry as a result of same. To the young people I say, everyone must find that of which they are capable, can endure and must see the view from the top & bottom of themselves - even should that include the use of mind-altering chemicals, you'll ever regret the day that usage crossed from adventure to lifestyle. And, please, don't do ANYTHING addictive before your mind is fully grown else you end up subliminally regretting each moment of life without your personal Jones. Just say maybe, but learn to say when.
Even though I threw a good portion of my life and well-being away on drugs, I was never in a position where I had to make a specific choice between my vices and my vocation. Drug-testing entered the gaming business after I was done with them, but I cannot imagine choosing an entertainment over employment. I've seen it done, seen people warned, suspended, reinstated, suspended longer, programmed, reinstated, suspended, reinstated, fired. Maybe it has to do with the amount of time that testable remnants of each substance stay in the system but, even though I've known a dozen cokeheads or methheads to every pothead, almost every subject of the aforementioned pattern was a stoner. Maybe apathy IS stronger than addiction.
These choices pale, however, compared to someone possessed of the monumental stupidity it would take to throw away a chance afforded to but a precious few in the name of a decent buzz. Why, Whizzer? Why, Stickyickyricky? Why would you work as hard as you do to become a professional athlete and then throw it away to enhance your appreciation of Bob Marley? This ain't performance-enhancing, boys. For the most part, it ain't pain-killing. You guys have windows of around a half-dozen years during which you can make up to EIGHT figs per annum, after which there are fifty years of life during which you're free to attempt smoking the Kingdom of Siam. Git 'er done, then have some fun, but in that order.

Here's a scene from one of my favorite old movies, "The Treasure of the Sierra Madre":

Howard (old prospector): Say, answer me this one, will you? Why is gold worth some twenty bucks an ounce?
Flophouse Bum: I don't know. Because it's scarce.
Howard: A thousand men, say, go looking for gold. After six months, one of them's lucky. One out of a thousand. His find represents not only his own labor, but that of nine hundred ninety-nine others to boot. That's six thousand months, five hundred years, scrambling over a mountain, going hungry and thirsty. An ounce of gold is worth what it is, mister, because of the human labor that went into the finding and getting of it.
Flophouse Bum: I never thought of it just like that.
Howard: Well, there's no other explanation, mister. Gold itself ain't good for nothing except making jewelry with and gold teeth.

Ricky, you struck gold. We are not jealous of that, Your fans enjoy your gift as much as you do. We do not envy your ascension to that rare position to have wealth, success and fame. But, we cannot but condemn your disrespect for the mother lode or the mountain from which it came. Go, do, be. But know you've squandered what any would treasure. So long -



Saturday, February 18, 2006

Creek's Week In Review




NBA:

Carlos Boozer made his return to the court early this week. How much do you think he's regretting leaving Cleveland at this point? He's kind of like the bizzaro Art Modell. The sad part is, there's about a 100% chance he doesn't finish the season healthy either. I believe that's what the radioshow host/sports writer/douchebag types call "karma."

The Rockets traded Moochie Norris for Maciej Lampe. On this surface, this is very unimportant, but does anyone else remember when Lampe was drafted? He was supposed to be a sure top 15, and as he fell to the 2nd round, the Knick's faithful were actually chanting his name they wanted him so bad. Speaking of which, the Scott Layden era hardly seems that terrible nowadays.

The Spurs lost the last two games of a long road swing, however, that's not enough of a reason to lose to the Sixers. Believe me, Tim Duncan should have had a 30 point game, to go along with Nazr Mohammed's 18/20. I'm still pretty sure I imagined that game anyway.

Radmonovic for Wilcox... eh, whatever.

Steve Francis rumors abound, K-Mart being fined, Grant Hill coming back from an injury, Marcus Camby hurt... somethings never change.

The Darko experiment is officially over in Detroit. There were some good times, but in the end, the joke turned from funny to sad. Thank you, Darko. Thank you for filling the void left in our hearts by Ryan Leaf.

Just in case anyone cares, A.I.2, Andre Iguodala is my pick for the dunk contest. Yeah I'm a homer, so what?



MLB:

Apparently Sammy Sosa is going to retire. I was never a big fan of Sammy to begin with. That whole, stupid runnig full speed out to your position thing always pissed me off. It reminds me of the kid on your little league team wth A.D.D. who was always doing crazy shit like that.

The Mets signed one of my favorite players of all time, Jose Lima. Just a whacky character that wouldn't function in society as anything but a baseball player. If someone acted like that at an office job they would be deemed "crazy" or "insane," but in baseball, it's perfectly acceptable. Remember his music video?

Kerry Wood is still alive.

Pedro got a new shoe. In a related story, my grandmother found her earing.

Ozzie Guillen made A-Rod and Nomaaahhh his bitch for pretending to care about Latin America. Guillen said they were hypocrites, and "just kissing latino people's asses." He later apologized, but you know what, he has a damn good point. Do you really think A-Rod was interested in playing for the Dominican team? Ozzie Guillen is just too real for MLB. It's ok Oz, some of us appriciate your outspokenness.


College BBall:

Eddie Sutton's a drunk old man. Instead of "off the wagon," can we use "fallen down the stairs" for him? Please?

Is it weird that I'm looking forward to a Bucknell/Northern Iowa game?

If I see one more story about Mike Davis, I'm going to hit Oprah with a tire iron.

That Villanova/UConn game was good fun. gotta love a Big 5 team taking out the #1 team in the country.

If Gonzaga wins the national championship this year, J.P. Batista will have to have as much to do with it as Adam Morrison.

St. Joesph's lost a terrible game to Temple. We should have sent in a goon. I'm telling you, it's a great idea. We send in Alvin Mofunanya with "Goon" taped over his name, and he just beats the crap out of people. It would work, people.


NFL:


Peyton Manning threw 3 INTs in the Pro Bowl. Word is somebody told him the game meant something shortly before kickoff. BOOYAH!

Vikings defensive coordinator Ted Cottrell is being forced into retirement. Sad thing is, just 2or 3 years ago, he was at the top of that "coordinators whodeserve head coaching jobs" list. I don't want to turn this into a race issue, but this is a damn race issue. How can there be NO jobs for him now? Something here stinks.

Terrell Owens is still dead to me.

A.J Feely was signed to a two year deal by the Chargers. Monsterous cackeling could be heard throughout Philadelphia, directed towards South Beach.

Rumor Mill: John Abraham wants out of NY, Randel El is talking to Chicago, Cpep trade talks are heating up, Drew Brees could be leaving.


NFL Draft:

Vince Young isn't going to throw at the combine. Smart move, he's a top 5 pick now, and throwing would only hurt.

Gil Brandt released his player rankings. I always enjoy what he has to say, and he is one of the best judges of talent in the business.

Word is, that Houston Texans owner Bob McNair is the one who has the final say in who the Texans will be picking #1 overrall. He's said to love Reggie Bush.

Jay Cutler is the most overrated thing I've seen since Napolean Dynamit.- nufced

Ahmed Brooks has been kicked off the Virginia football team. Not sure what he'll do, or how this will affect hisdraft stock, but Virginia is going to be terrible next year.


Winter Olympics:
To be honst, I've watched hardly any. Other than the hockey, I could care less about the olympics. A bunch of skinny Russian girls with adam's apples skating around in sequence just doesn't intrest me for some reason. I heard someoneon the radio the other day spewing off about how not watching the olympic is un-American. If that's the case, then just call me Osama, because screw the olympics.


NASCAR:

Whew-hew, it's racin' time again! Seriously though, I am turning into a fan of Nascar (which goes aginst all my principles,but it is entertaining. I think either Tony Stewart or Elliot Saddler will win Daytona, but I'll be rooting hard for Joe Nemecheck, who I may have to declare my favorite driver. I've been reading a lot of good things about newcomer Denny Hamlin, so there's a name to look out for.


Have fun watching the great American race this weekend, as well as whatever olympic events you might be tempted to tune into. I, of course, won't be caught watching the olympics this weekend, because THAT'S... how I roll.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Around the Ellipse - Mr. E

What’s In A Name?

Johnson, Jones, Smith, Thomas and Williams - which last name is the most popular in the NBA today? If you’re old school, you’re probably thinking Smith or Jones. Off the top of my head, I can think of two players named Johnson (Anthony and Joe) and three named Thomas (Etan, Kenny and Kurt). I was surprised to find that, according to NBA rosters, Williams is the most common of all (13). These guys could make up their own NBA team! Here are the totals for the rest:

Johnson – 7
Jones – 7
Smith – 6
Thomas – 7

So what’s in a name? In the general population, Smith and Johnson outrank Williams, with Jones right behind in 4th. Thomas lags in 12th. From a fantasy perspective, you’ll do best with a selective approach. Other than Jason and Mo, the Williams family doesn’t offer much to fantasy roundball owners. Eddie, James and Jumaine are all reaping rewards in the Jones family (try to keep up, if you can). Kenny and Kurt are leaving no doubt in the Thomas clan. The Smith name should be avoided, and Joe is the only Johnson worth holding (unless you like holding your own).

Three Faces

In my travels around the various resources of fantasy basketball information, I was intrigued by the following three player images:






Can you name these players? That’s right, they are all the same, one Scot Pollard of the Indiana Pacers. This guy reminds me of that game I used to play as a kid with a magnet and metal shavings …

Even better was the addition of our Ffriend, Kimani. That’s Kimani Ffriend, actually, new to the Memphis Grizzlies. Granted, he hasn’t played a game this season, but is that any reason to picture him like this:






Where the hell was the photographer that day? At least give the man his dignity … with a name like Ffriend, it’s the least that Yahoo!, CBS and the NBA can do!

Allow Me To Project

So, who’s the sleeper of the second half? Who’s that must have, can’t miss, sure-fire guy that’s going to put you over the top and into the postseason? Damned if I know, but that’s never stopped me from having an opinion and sharing it with everyone. Here’s my best guess by position. Each of these guys is most likely available in your league (unless you have one of those freakishly deep 16 team leagues):

C – Chris Wilcox: A perfect trade at the perfect time for a guy who needs a change of scenery. Nick Collision is a wreck, mostly, and not worth holding. Besides, the Clippers have a solid fantasy playoff schedule. Take a flyer on the ex-Terp and make everyone else wish they had.

PG – Charlie Bell: If you need assists and think the Bucks are ready for a run (I do), get this man on your roster. Second choice would be Steve Blake – seriously, how long do you think Sebastian Telfair will last?

SG – Bernard Robinson: No, not Bernard King, Bernard Robinson. That’s right, on the Charlotte Bobcats. C’mon, they haven’t got a healthy starting lineup on that roster some nights. Bernard will make the most of his opportunity.

PF – Mark Madsen: Eddie who? With Griffin on the bench and Madsen getting the starts, the only thing between Madsen and surprise of the year is Mark Blount – nufced. Besides, he’s got center eligibility, too!

SF – I was tempted to go with Bostjan Nachbar (what a great name), but instead I’ll recommend Devean George. With Lamar Odom still on the shelf and solid performances from DG, you can ride it while it lasts, and if Odom never makes it back, you’ve got a winner. Not so good on the playoff schedule, but you can’t have everything …

Noodle in a Haystack



The Winter Olympics are here. Too bad for sports fans can't see them live.
According to Forbes, NBC paid over 600 million dollars for the right to show us tape delayed events. Brilliant.

How stupid are they at NBC Sports? Over the last decade they've let the NFL, NBA and MLB take their games to other networks, choosing to stamp their band on NASCAR and Arena Football. Now they've spent over a half a billion dollars to bring us tape delayed Olympic coverage at the height of the internet age.

I can understand their desire to have the games on in Primetime, but why not show them live when they happen then put the condensed version on later? Would it kill them to bump Passions for a couple weeks? Hell, they could've just written Bode Miller in to the show as himself and the housewives would have watched the Olympics without ever knowing their drivel had its time slot usurped.

And speaking of soap opera drama, the human interest stories continue to become a bigger and bigger part of the Olympic story. At least back when the games were live we could always comfort ourselves with the foolish notion that they were only feeding us this crap because the next curling match wasn't due to start for another 15 minutes.
And the bar has been raised. No longer is Herman Meijer's motorcycle crash compelling enough. Now we have moved fully in to the daytime talk show arena with the story of speed skater Chris Witty. Witty is a 5 time Olympian who was sexually abused as a child, and forgive the cynic in me that pictures the NBC producer licking his chops when he first found out.

Sadly, the world's greatest athletic gathering has become just another TV show. A scripted drama so carefully orchestrated that the network doesn’t care if you read the results on the internet before you see it on TV. To them, ESPN.com is no different than Soap Opera Digest.

A shame indeed.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

NUFCED by wikkidpissah



PEERLESS
The First amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances

God bless Terrell Owens. His 2006 Pariah Tour is just underway and, so far, his former and future teammates are giving America the best example I've seen in a while of how society is supposed to work in dealing with one who feels society should serve him above all others. Let me explain...

Among animals who live in social groups, behavior that is unsafe or unacceptable to the herd is not dealt with by attack – it is dealt with by isolation, and then, should it persist, expulsion from the peer group. Now, I’m not one of those who believes that we should follow what those leftover animal instincts inside us do; in fact, the entire point of life is to grow beyond genetic & societal dictates to be the best individual (and member of society) one can become. But peer pressure, a force most often given a negative connotation, exists to be the greatest tool for the reform of individuals within a society.

The reason for the bad rep of peer pressure is its recent history. Before the playing field was leveled by the defense of civil rights for all, its force was used to punish weakness, differentness, independence. In the 500 years (a yawn & stretch in anthropological evolution) since the Protestant Reformation & the Inquisition (which was the Catholic reaction to it), the group has persecuted the individual in the worst possible way. And, although the heavy percentage of Puritans in early American society kept that trend going, the entire basis of our glorious country and its founding documents was to end persecution in all its forms.

Don’t worry, kids, the civics lesson is almost over - stay with me. In the fiftysome years I’ve been alive, society has either levelled the field or provided the mechanism to do so for almost every segment of our great society. The greatest problem these freedoms have created has been in governing the behavior of individuals who have perverted our new liberty in the name of license, in the name of doing whatever the fuck I wanna do & y’all be damned.

It cracks me up, whenever I clamp down on someone for being indecent or inconsiderate, to hear their battle cry, their rebel yell, “Freedom of speech, maaaaan”. Let’s get this out of the way for once and for all: THERE IS ABSOLUTELY NO PROTECTION OF SPEECH OR ACTION FROM ITS NATURAL CONSEQUENCES! Our founders understood freedom to go hand in hand with responsibilty and made the mistake of thinking that, once the people were protected from persecution by our institutions (which, as you can see above, is the sole guarantee of our 1st Amendment), free people would usually act in recognition of the public good. That is because a mechanism was then in place for self-governance that hardly exists any longer: peer pressure.

Hear this now & hear this well: You are SUPPOSED to harsh your bud’s buzz when he’s outta line; we are SUPPOSED to collect around moviehouse talkers & other public nuisances to show them the error of their ways; we are SUPPOSED to boycott Samsung for introducing popups that can’t be closed; we are SUPPOSED to protest corruption loud & long. This is how a society is SUPPOSED to work: freedom from persecution, freedom of expression, freedom unto responsibility. The reason bullying has become so prevalent these days is that we’ve forgotten that the strong are supposed to protect the weak and that forming groups of ascending size and power to handle those who would victimize are how we achieve strength.

Terrell Owens is truly a singular athlete. Singular in that, while he may not be the best receiver in football history, his ability to both beat defenders deep & beat them up short makes him possibly the most unique. Singular in that he believes his physical superiority to others gives him license to assert it upon every social occasion. Singular in his view that football can be played outside the team concept. And now, hopefully, singular in becoming the first non-felon to become an unemployable athlete. Every place he casts his presence or interest in his quest for employment, groups of individuals with past, present and possible future dealings with this beautiful beast have popped up to shout, “Bad dude. Mess you up. Stay away”. Now, I know that some franchise will likely end up hinging their hopes on this magic miscreant & fear that his legal team might attempt to cast this castigation as restraint of trade. But this is how society is SUPPOSED to work. If the animal, no matter how fleet its flight or strong its fight, cannot contribute to the welfare of the group, it gets cut out of the herd. God bless Terrell Owens. Nufced.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Welcome, Creepie


It is my pleasure to present to LOCKERROOM readers the first of our offseason guest columnists. Young Astrocreepbm is known to many Fanballers as a ferocious debater and the force behind many pointless, multi-page threads. As he said to me in his interview, "The best defense is to be offensive".

A little background on our new friend. Conceived in the upper deck of Cleveland's Municipal Stadium (his parents were actually up there not to watch the Indians game in progress but a fire on the lake, which Mrs. M found romantic), Creepie was raised with the solid foundation of hopeless fandom common to many residents of the Buckeye state. The turning point in his life was when he was 6yo and his parents, a barber and an explosives expert, accidently left him behind after a daytrip to the beach at Sandusky Point. It was there he witnessed his first drunken flag football game. He plays weekly to this day, but wears a beer hat as his helmet & has been known to burn many opponents during fumble recoveries with the cigarette ever present on his lip from whistle-to-whistle. Though employed full-time as a maker of Quaker furniture in Shaker Heights, he is quite welcome among our ranks as well.

BANG, POW, PKKKRRRRRRRRR!!! by Astrocreepbm



SHELL's GAS

Art Shell has just been hired as the Raider's new head coach, which was very surprising as he was not their first, second, third, or probably even fourth option. His NFL numbers pretty much speak for themselves, going 56-41 with 3 playoff appearances. But what does this mean for the fantasy gems in Oakland like Randy Moss and Lamont Jordan?

QB - Only one QB has started a full 16 games in a season under Shell, and that was Jeff Hostetler in 1994. Hoss also was the only one to throw over 20 TD, throwing exactly 20. Many years their was a 2-way split at QB. The QB stats where not great, but then again Shell had Jay Schroeder mostly and no one named Moss, so there is definitely a chance for improvement. So as far as Collins goes, don’t expect 30 TD and 4000 yards, but 20 TD passing and 3000 yards is definitely feasible if everyone stays healthy. That’s if Collins is even the QB though.

RB - You ready for this? Here are some names: Marcus Allen, Bo Jackson, Eric Dickerson. Here’s some numbers: 0. Yep, during the Shell regime their was never any RB that rushed for 1000 yards. In 1994 Harvey Williams fell just short with 983. Well, don’t get too sad Jordan owners, because it’s not that bad. Jackson never had a 1000 yard season, Allen only had 3, and Dickerson was at the butt-end of his career in L.A. Don’t expect a huge improvement, but I’d say his numbers should jump up a bit. Even though the numbers did not point to it, the L.A. Raiders usually had a good rushing attack.

WR - Now we’re talking. The WRs under Shell enjoyed some success. The best year being Tim Brown’s 89 catches, 1309 yards, and 9TD season in 1994. The L.A. WR spot under Shell has been very kind, with the leading WR averaging 60 catches, 940 yards, and 7 TD. While the numbers are certainly respectable, they should be way higher with a healthy Moss. I predict this will be his “comeback” year. Also, don’t forget Jerry Porter, as Shell’s offense spreads the ball to different WRs. Then again, when can you ever rely on Porter? He is about as reliable as John Mayer in a bar room brawl.
OVERALL - Expect more of the same from the Raiders. They will be better simply because Moss, Jordan, and Collins will all have one more year of experience together under their belts. However another new coach should counteract that. The only player that should benefit greatly is Moss, who should have a great season. Lamont Jordan should have first round consideration, and obviously you can rate Moss high as usual, but don’t bank on Collins. Shell has shown in the past that the QB position is not his strongest suit, and he definitely isn’t afraid to make changes.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

By The Numbers - You Can XL Now

It’s time for a look at the numbers for the Super Bowl. As in some past SBs, no QB stepped forward to distinguish himself, so they gave the MVP to a receiver (as predicted by me in another space). Nothing to see here folks, just move along …

Tale of Two Steelers

To paraphrase Charles Dickens on the fantasy performances of two Steelers: “it was the best of times, it was the worst of times” for Hines Ward and Ben Roethlisberger. Hines showed the age of wisdom and was the spring of hope for Pittsburgh. Big Ben showed the foolishness of his age, and Ward’s MVP performance saved Steeler fans everywhere from a winter of despair.

As I predicted elsewhere, Hines earned the MVP as the lone beacon of consistency and played like a man on a mission. His 123 receiving yards and TD catch earned his owners 12 fantasy points. Ben, on the other hand, threw two picks and had a meager 123 passing yards. Only a blatant zebra gaffe saved him from a total of negative 1 fantasy point.

It’s a mark of a team of destiny when they can survive their own mistakes and sub-par performances to win out over their foes, and the king with a large jaw (that would be Bill Cowher) is a bridesmaid no more.

Seattle Slew Itself

Jerramy Stevens should learn to shut his mouth and focus on his business. He was the man with the most opportunities, fantasy and otherwise, to make losers out of the Steelers, but drop after drop left him with a meager 25 receiving yards and one TD (7 fantasy points). Some may say that Shaun Alexander played well, and that’s true enough, but on the big stage, 95 rushing yards and 4 fantasy points doesn’t cut it.

Matt Hasselbeck played as well as could be expected, he just didn’t get the support he needed. With totals of 273 passing yards, 35 rushing yards, a pick and a TD, his total of 10 fantasy points was so low only because players like Darrell Jackson flamed out after one great quarter. Imagine if Stevens, Jackson or Joe Jurevicius had really showed up to play? You can’t be standing on a guy’s neck and then give him a chance to get up. Like many teams, the Seahawks will be active in the free agent market for a top tier WR – they must strike while the iron is hot and the NFC East is busy devouring itself …

What’s Next

Well, this is the end of the road for BTN for this NFL season. Next week, I’ll shift my attention to the NBA and tell you about your best hope for roundball's second half fantasy sleepers …

Noodle in a Haystack


I'm a little short on time this week, but luckily this picture perfectly captures my feelings about Super Bowl XL.

Monday, February 06, 2006

NUFCED by wikkidpissah


SPORTS HEAVEN

Super Bowls should not be played indoors.

I like spectacle as much as the next guy. Super Bowls are spectacular. The NFL Championship lends itself to extravaganza because football’s armored players & martial aspects give it greater visual appeal & event quality than any other sport. In the last decade or so, however, this spectacle has come very close to making the game secondary to its production values. This year it crossed the line & I think that was because it was played inside. Put SBXL in Miami or San Diego and all you’d get is some publicity-puffed singer doing the Anthem, some fighter planes would buzz the joint and you’d play the game. Indoors, the production falls prey to the dreams and ambitions of every publicist, ad exec and segment producer connected to the operation. And, in their rush to be the Barnums and Berkeleys of event broadcasting, they forgot that the reason everybody was there was for a football game to determine the most significant title in sports.

Generally, I avoid the interminable pre-game activity & analysis. If I gotta spend four hours watching even the commercials, I ain’t gonna spend the three hours before it being told what to expect. I’m in the kitchen with the girls (and closer to the hot wings, of course). So I take my spot about 15 minutes before game time and they got Super Bowl MVP’s (all walking funny) and Anthemites all over the freakin’ place and nobody practicing football. The Steelers have an offense based on timing plays and Seahawk coach Mike Holmgren was among the original innovators of the timing-play attack. But the practice vital to success in these systems was brushed aside here by some production assistant who didn’t think enough streamers were being unfurled in the lower left quadrant of your screen or because they’re wheeling Aretha onto the field. And guess what? The first half of the game which six months of blood & sweat, dreams & disappointments have pointed to was played by two totally out-of-sync teams. The Steelers couldn’t get it together and the Seahawks couldn’t avoid penalties on their biggest plays. And it is spectacle’s fault.

Super Bowls should not be played indoors.

One more anti-capitalist rant: 12 ounces of cola cost four cents to produce - I’ve paid up to $1.50 for a can. 12 ounces of lager cost seven cents to produce - I’ve paid as much as six bucks for a bottle. Marketing is the reason I’m paying up to a 10,000% markup. Few of us will see any of the 118 footballs alternated into each play for commemorative purposes or meet one the 118 luxury-boxed fatcats who’ll receive one of them. I’m still trying to figure out whose enjoyment of the NFL Championship was enhanced by the seven-story high image of Ruthlessbergerfrickle projected on a building across from Ford Field. The squillions of $$$ spent on production & airing of commercials convincing us to increase our fluid intake needn’t even be mentioned. It's us paying for all of that, you know. We should stop doing that. I’m gonna go try and figure out how we can – I’ll let you know. But, first, SBXL game action:

Fan or Referee?

PGH 21 SEA 10

The Interception Bowl – my memory is terrible for these kinds of things, but I can’t remember a play that turned a SB around like the Herndon int. I mean, this thing was OVER (though it shouldn’t have been – no way shouldn’t the ‘Hawks have been up two TDs in the 1st half) until Big Ben throws the worst SB flat pass since Theisman-to-Squirek. Then, when Seattle had all the mo, Taylor’s pick returns the favor...My SB MVP: DeShea Townsend – he did a beautiful job on single coverage all day (his get-behind-the-receiver-and-slow-him-down-without-contact stuff was the best I’ve ever seen) and his sack of Hass late sealed the game...For the record: the pushoff call on DJax WAS justified, Ruthlessbergerfrickle was NOT in and the worst call actually went against the Steelers (blowing the whistle on JStevens fumble-ruled-incompletion early in the 2nd Q). I didn’t think the refereeing was as bad (nor as "biased") as the forum-posters do, but this was easily the worst post-season for officiating ever...Proof I am a football genius: chose Steelers, in this space, as SB champs before the playoffs began (though over Carolina) and exact margin of victory (called it 24-13)...Sweet call on Randle El-to-Ward. Hard to believe they’ve never used that play before...Best image of the day: Steelers’ owner doing handjive in congratulating a player after the game.

Well, it’s been a pleasure serving you in LOCKERROOM’s inaugural season. I’ll weigh in occasionally until baseball season begins, when I shall return to a weekly column on The Pastime. One last word on the hype: did you see the Taco Bell commercial where the nerd guy was driving a convertible eating a taco-wrapped-in-a-tortilla-wrapped-in-a-party-hat and a nerd girl on the sidewalk gave him the “good-to-go” sign? Am I the only one who wished he had licked two fingers then returned an inverted version of the salute? Giggity-giggity. Play hard -

Sunday, February 05, 2006

WETBOAT'S EXTRA-LARGE SUPER BOWL MUSINGS


Quite a hairy situation when these two follicular opposites take the field.

By today, Super Sunday, the typical reader is oversaturated, over-hyped and over-Superbowlicized by the zillions of articles, advertisements, and TV reports about whether the bald pate of Matt Hasselbeck could be successfully implanted with enough hair follicles from Troy Polamalu’s rich and flowing mane (a sack or two would do it), who will win the annual Cowher Family Spitting Championship, and how many cracks there are in the front door of Da Bus’ dilapidated and abandoned boyhood home in Detroit. Oy, I just noticed I counted three Steelers and only one Seahawk in the last sentence! The Seahawks can’t get a break from the media, huh? Sorry, Seattle, you’re just too socked away up in a foggy little corner of the U.S. for us media moguls to pay any attention. My pal Tony Kornheiser has a geography lesson for us: “They’re so far north and west of the Mississippi, Lewis and Clark didn’t even get there – they reached the Pacific Ocean in Oregon!”

So what can Shaun Alexander and Co. do to bring the fair city of Seattle out of its rainy obscurity by winning its first championship since the NBA’s Supersonics in MCMLXXIX? If Shaun can run more than CXXV yards and score II touchdowns, Matt Hasselbeck throws for another CCL with at least a passing touchdown for good measure, and Lofa Tatupu and Leroy Hill rattle Big Ben in a Marino-esque way in his first (and only?) Super Bowl show, this could happen. Pittsburgh, who has won IV Super Bowls, may not find the going easy in its pursuit for title number V.

Wetboat, why the Roman numerals?

I’m making a statement. If the NFL keeps sticking to an inefficient system used 2,000, or MM, years ago by ancient Romans for numbering each and every Super Bowl, I fear for the future of American football. The Roman Empire collapsed because it became too big, too clumsy, and too inefficient to financially manage its far-flung possessions. Try adding XXXIII to XIV on a piece of paper to figure out the over-under on Super Bowl XL. It gets worse when you MULTIPLY these numbers! No wonder they couldn’t manufacture calculators to accommodate this system, you can’t go from 0 to 4,000 without making room for 15 letters! The ancient Arabs gave us the numbering system we use today – a good reason the Arabs and their Turkish brothers dominated Europe for so long after the Roman Empire went out of business.

I think I got the advertising industry’s fascination with the Super Bowl’s Roman numerals figured out. Since the 9th Super Bowl, the letter “X” has appeared at least once in the Super Bowl numerology every year. Think IX, X, XI, XII…XX, XXV, and on and on. This letter connotes mystery, power, and a hint of danger. The inherently uncertain definition of “X” made it possible for marketers to shape every Super Bowl to their packaging and advertising purposes. Last year’s Super Bowl, XXXIX, was long enough for host city Jacksonville to drape a banner of it across one of the city’s bridges. This year’s edition, XL, is tailor-made for things like oversize potato chips, 3-liter Coke bottles, and Rochester’s Big & Tall stores. Not to mention Detroit’s over-sized American cars.

Remember the 30th Super Bowl, XXX? Advertisers wouldn’t touch it with, umm, a six-inch pole!

Unfortunately, or fortunately depending on someone’s perspective, this Romanophilic fascination among football fans will go stale in the next few years. When the 50th Super Bowl rolls around, it will be the first time in over 40 years the letter “X” won’t be part of the name. The sound of Super Bowl L will send marketing executives running to the toilets and gagging. This will be the first Super Bowl in which the LOSING team will happily embrace the title! After that, it’s LI, LIII, LIII…I doubt the Roman numerals will continue forever. The NFL should just call L the 50th Super Bowl and be done with Roman numerals.

Because after all, when the 888th edition of the NFL’s grandest spectacle draws nigh, pitting the powerful offensive juggernauts from the planet Venus against the suffocatingly tight defense of Uranus, is there room on T-shirts for “Super Bowl DCCCLXXXVIII”?

If there is still a National Football League then, and the ageless Doug Flutie is still drop-kicking field goals.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Super Bowl XL Syllabus



Isn’t it truly sad? I cannot actually believe this season is about to come to an end. This is by far the fastest any season has gone. I guess that is another example of how as you grow older time moves along quicker than we might like or even appreciate. Life is so fleeting, yet so few of us take the chance to examine ourselves in a way that allows the days to move slower.

I want to take this occasion to slow down time for a moment and allow everyone to realize where he or she is at and who they have become. We must periodically take time to reflect on the choices that we have made that have inevitably led to where we stand on this rotating ball of confusion. (I love funky temps)



I for one, begun my life as a poor scrawny boy born into a chaotic world of drugs and abuse that helped to mold my cynicism at a young age, that along with a city of so many sports disappointments. I witnessed countless acts of cruelty to my family and those around me. I was forced to grow in a home that was marred with screaming and violence and learned to associate this with what a family is supposed to be. My only recourse was to throw myself into my education to even give myself a chance at escaping my own personal hell.



I had to attempt to juggle school with making sure that my brothers and sister stayed on track, which proved to be an impossible task for a 15 year old. Instead of communication, I used brutality to motivate, as that was the only course of action that I had become accustomed to using or having used against me. I remember once my brother didn’t want to do his homework so I pummeled him until he would listen to reason.

However, it wasn’t all bad living in a house of no responsibility. I remember having a water fight with my brothers and my mom, where we drenched the entire house. It is one the best memories that I have as a child. Another was staying up late with my mom when my step dad was out binging. I would gladly get her Michelob’s and Lipton Rice soup while watching Dynasty and Dallas. It is the only fond memory I have about spending time with my mother. Once, I saw one of the druggies that lived at my house eat Alpha-Bits with Beer and it wasn’t because we were out of milk. That was very funny to me.

Those years seem like a blur to me now, not because of the drugs, but because of ignorance. Well, maybe a little because of the drugs. I made it through high school modestly graduating somewhere near the top in a massive class of 996. I always did my best to stay in the background, doing so because I felt that if I weren’t noticed, then no one would expect anything from me. I had intended to go to college, but money, or lack thereof, led me to another direction that was all too familiar.

I, putting it lightly, started to dabble in the world of psychedelics and alcohol that only helped to further my downward spiral. I was told by my ignorant father to leave as soon as I was able to employ myself. I spent the next several years working for a health insurance company where I continued my using and continued to blame everyone for my downfalls except the one in control of it all, myself.

I distanced myself from family almost to the point of being a stranger and I didn’t care. The only things in life that I did care about were sports, money and when I would be able to get high so I could have fun. Life was passing by me and I didn’t even notice. Then my mother passed and I was ready to give up. I was willing to work during the day and sleep at night. The only thing that I derived any joy from was football, but even that was reduced to another way to get money. It took 9/11 and meeting my wife to turn the tide.

She showed me how to feel emotion once again instead of living life like a robot, merely existing instead of actually enjoying life. She showed me that I was worth something and breathed life into my numb body. She enabled me to enjoy the simpler things in life and that we are only on this planet for a short time and need to enjoy what we can.



Don’t get me wrong; I still have that Philadelphian attitude. I can recall my bite as quickly as Mike Tice selling tickets in Detroit this weekend. Here he is trying to sell Dick Vermeil. "Dick, I got a really good deal for ya."



As long as my teams continue to build me up only to tear me down, then I will always hold disappointment close.













Super Bowl XL

Sunday February 5, 2006

In Detroit, this weekend commemorates Super Bowl X-tra Large. The Pittsburgh Steelers take on the Seattle Seahawks. Ben Roethlisburger has done so well that people actually spell his name correctly. Matt Hasselback looks the part of Terry Bradshaw with his chrome dome. Now he only hopes to accomplish part of what Terry has done against Bradshaw’s old team. I said early in the year that if Holmgren knew what was best for him, then he would ride SA to the championship. It seems now he understands what it takes to win. Bill Cowher is a throwback. In this day and age of pro football, coaches are on short leashes. If they do not produce consistently, then they are given the boot. However, Bill has stood the test of time. He has had his share of disappointment and has come through it all.





Championships are won with defense and running games. Pittsburgh is a defense that everyone knows about. Seattle has a defense that seems to go unnoticed. We all know about the running games that these teams possess. It will be the situation back versus the all-encompassing super back. RBBC versus the one-man show. Who will have the best approach, only time will tell?





So much throughout the season there is talk about streaks and trends, about stats and matchups. All that goes out the window on Super Bowl Sunday. The game of games comes down to gameplan, execution. More specifically, who can handle the pressure and who can take control of the game. There are so many intangibles to take into consideration. Both coaches have coached in the big game with only Holmgren winning one. The media hype is magnified by a trillion when approaching the big weekend. Players cannot help but allow all kinds of thoughts enter their minds. It comes down to who can control their thoughts and keep their focus on the goal that almost 1700 men set their sights upon every year around Labor Day. Not only does the season culminate on this history-making day, but some careers do as well. Jerome has been to the big dance before only to have Neil O’Donnell throw more accurate passes to Larry Brown than his own teammates. Do you think that Jerome will be thinking about that game on Sunday? I say how could he not. Ben made it through the playoffs extremely well. Will he ponder his performance in last year’s AFC championship? Matt Hasselback knows that he has the MVP in his backfield to take the rock, but if it’s a close game in the fourth quarter, will he reflect on the playoff game against Green Bay where Al Harris took his ill-fated pass to the house after Hass guaranteed victory. Can Holmgren be the first coach to win the Show with two different teams? There are so many different mind games going on solely for the fact that each and every one of these men wants the same thing. They want to hoist the Lombardi Trophy High and feel vindicated for going through an intensely grueling season.



Sometimes these men are put on levels where people forget that they are just men. Maybe because of television or media attention, but alas they do feel stress and pressure like anyone else. The difference being that these men will do it in front of an audience of millions with the possibility of either making or breaking a career for many at stake.

So much depends on how the game begins; if you look at the history there have been many more blowouts than close games. I think this is because when teams get off running, the other team senses the end and plays out of character. Whichever team can stay patient, keep with a gameplan and stay focused will be victorious. Both coaches have a great ability to motivate and control. Both teams are disciplined and know what it takes to win.

I personally don’t see a blowout this year, as both teams are strong and ready to play. Seattle has never won a Super Bowl and that is the intangible that may put them over the top. Pittsburgh has the ball bouncing their way lately. You may say that sounds a bit cheesy, but when two teams are evenly matched and both have a fire that burns for the ultimate goal, then it is something as small as this that one team needs to put them over the top.

Seattle 24 Pittsburgh 28

MVP – Bill Cowher


14 Pittsburgh 3 Seattle – Halftime

I actually have some crap going on in my life right now that is more important than football will ever be, but I am looking forward to this game as a chance to step away from reality and enjoy myself.

If any of you are in any kind of fantasy game, then you don’t really need any advice, but as always Go With Your Gut and Don’t Look Back.

………….Professor Ellis D Trails.

Weekly Mock

1. Houston- Reggie Bush RB USC
I doubt this changes. Unless a trade is made, Bush will be a Texan.

2. New Orleans- Matt Leinart QB USC
Same as above. Most likely won't change barring a trade. Leinart is still the best QB in the draft, and a better fit for New Orleans over Vince Young.

3. Tennessee- Vince Young QB Texas
I could see Cutler making his way to this spot after the combine perhaps, but for now, VY is still far ahead of Cutler.

4. New York Jets- DeAngelo Williams RB Memphis
Seems more and more likely to me they will make a deal. If not, I think they take either DeAngelo Williams, LenDale White, or Cutler (who isn't considering taking Cutler at this point? It's enough already with the Cutler. We're sick of Cutler.)

5. Green Bay- Mario Williams DE NC St.
Like I said last time, best defensive player in the draft, and GB needs to get the biggest playmaker on the defensive side of the ball.

6. Oakland- A.J. Hawk LB Ohio St.
Next best defensive player, and can play either the 3-4, or 4-3. Has the speed Al Davis likes, plus has that "Raider look." (Reads: he's ugly.)

7. San Francisco- Michael Huff DB Texas
Can help with the '9ers secondary woes at either CB or safety. Will probably play CB early on for the '9ers, but should probably be moved to safety some point down the road.

8. Buffalo- D'brickashaw Ferguson OT Virginia
Will be a top 5 pick,as someone will trade up for him, and that team could be Buffalo. In any case, they get him here at the #8 spot in this mock.

9. Detroit- Tamba Hali DE Penn St.
Climbing up boards, and fills a need. Detroit has been drafting offense for the last 4-5 years, and looks what it's gotten them. It's time to switch things up a little, and take a chance on a possible top pass rusher.

10. Arizona- Jay Cutler QB Vanderbilt
Don't think they'll draft a a RB in the 1st one year after taking one in the 2nd. They'll likely lose McCown to free agency, and it's a good time to get a young QB who can be your future.

11. St. Louis- Chad Greenway LB Iowa
The vets they brought in last year at LB didn't help, so they'll try through the draft. The secondary is a major need as well, so they could look there, and Vernon Davis is always an option for the TE loving Scott Linehan.

12. Cleveland- Haloti Ngata DT Oregon
Crennel gets his dominating NT to make is 3-4 a success.

13. Baltimore- LenDale White RB USC
With both Chester Taylor and Jamal Lewis possibly on their way out, they need a RB who is talented enough to replace them. Even if they keep one, White is used to splitting time. Just remember, the Ravens will take who they feel is the BPA.

14. Philadelphia- Winston Justice OT USC
Eagles will likely go BFPA (Best Fat Person Available). Reid loves the big OT, and both of ours will be gone in 2 years (Runyan possibly this year). I very seriously doubt we go WR.

15. Atlanta- Jimmy Williams DB Virginia
Was looking like a top 10 pick, but could fall even more. Especially, with a safety like Ko Simpson looming, who could work his way in the top 15 before it's all said and done.

16. Miami- Demeco Ryans LB Alabama
Looked kinda slow at the senior bowl, but could work in Saban's 3-4 as an ILB. Another team that I think will go for the best defensive guy on the board, and there's an SEC connection here as well.

17. Minnesota- Vernon Davis TE Maryland
Childress loved the TE in Philly. Wiggins is decent, but having Davis would open up things for Burleson, Williamson, and the Robinson boys. Daunte still needs a top receiving threat, and Davis is one.

18. Dallas- Manny Lawson DE/OLB NC St.
The need an OT more, but Many Lawson will be climbing up boards, and should solidify Parcell's front 7 in the 3-4.

19. San Diego- Jon Scott OT Texas
Had this pick penciled in as Ko Simpson, but after Scott's impressive showing at the senior bowl, and his ability to play both tackle spots, I think the Chargers fill their tackle need early on. Still about 50/50 with this pick though.

20. Kansas City- Santonio Holmes WR Ohio St.
They do need another defensive playmaker, but how much longer do they plan on trying to win the superbowl without a true #1 WR? New coach, possibly a new offensive strategy.

21. New England- Richard Marshall CB Fresno St.
Gotta love a good rumor. Sticking with the Hill-Belichick conspiracy theory.

22. Denver(f/Was)- Mathias Kiwanuka DE Boston College
Will take the top defensive lineman (assuming Holmes isn't around). Kiwi's performacne against D'brick really hurt his stock.

23. Tampa Bay- Marcus McNeill OT Auburn
Pick will allow Anthony Davis to be moved to guard, and Sean Mahan to be moved back to center. Should improve the offensive line tremendously.

24. Cincinnati- Ko Simpson S South Carolina
I think his stock will rise, but for now, this is a good spot. I've heard that Cincy will likely go either TE or safety in the 1st, so Marcedes Lewis or 'Nique Byrd could be the pick as well.

25. New York Giants- Tye Hill CB Clemson
I'm liking this pick as of now. Hill is sounding like a sure 1st rounder, and the Giants need secondary help. I think he would get picked over Cromartie.

26. Chicago- Leonard Pope TE Georgia
Boring pick, but it does make sense. It would improve the red zone offense, and the passinggame overrall. Could see them going CB here though.

27. Carolina- Gabe Watson DT Michigan
Brenston Buckner will be retiring soon, and Jenkins is always hurt. Watson stock is rising, and seems like a great fit in the Panther's D.

28. Jacksonville- Antonio Cromartie CB FSU
Count on Del Rio to take a chance. He did it last year with MAtt Jones, and I wouldn't put it past him to take Cromartie, who would likely be a top 10 pick if he hadn't been injured.

29. Denver- Chad Jackson WR Florida
With Smith getting old, and Darius Watts sucking, they'll need a WR who can start sometime in the near future.

30. Indianapolis- Joseph Addai LSU
With it looking like Edge won't be back, Addai is a great fit to replace him, as he has speed, and is a good receiever. Although it may be tough to pass on defense with guys like Ernie sims and Thomas howard still around.

31. Seattle- Bobby Carpenter LB Ohio St.
They would rather get a DE, but the value at OLB is too great here for them to pass up on.

32. Pittsburgh- Martin Nance WR Miami (OH)
A hot rumor, not that I really like the pick. If they let Randel El go, I think Derek Hagan, or Sinorice Moss might be a better pick. Plus getting a versatile O-lineman like Davin Joseph wouldn't hurt.