Tuesday, September 30, 2014

TOM BRADY AND THE PATRIOTS AREN'T DEAD YET



Hop on board, here we go.

The New England Patriots got embarrassed on Monday Night Football by the Kansas City
Chiefs. They looked more like the Jacksonville Jaguars than a franchise that has won 10 or
more games for 11 consecutive seasons. Now that they are down on the mat, it's time for
everyone to pile on.

Brady is terrible and hasn't won the Super Bowl since he married Gisele, Bill Belichick has
turned into Bobby V, and Logan Mankins, the greatest lineman in team history since John
Hannah, shouldn't have been traded. Blah, blah, blah. Everybody has an opinion why the
Patriots are just 2-2 after four games. 2-2?! That's blasphemous in New England!



Trent Dilfer says the Patriots aren't any good anymore. Ray Lewis said something again
that nobody understands, and everybody on social media is ripping them.
#ThePatriotsRwicked bad.

Stop it.

It is not even October yet. Anyone who has watched a team in red, white, and blue
coached  by Belichick, knows they don't hit their stride until December. People seem to
forget this franchise is  51-13 over the last four years. Hello?



Has Brady lost something off his fastball? Absolutely. Does the offense look like Rich
Kotite is calling the plays? Without a doubt. Is the secondary the primary reason the
defense stinks? You bet.

But Belichick will figure it out. He always has. The hoodie hasn't gone stupid overnight.

Through all the injuries, bad draft picks, and controversy, (remember that Aaron Hernandez
guy?)  Belichick has always found a way to fix all the holes in time to keep the dam from
bursting. Man, he won 11 games with the immortal Matt Cassel when Tom Brady went
down in 2006. Belichick has won with running backs off the scrap heap and receivers
who can't do what they were drafted to do: catch the damn ball.


Brady is hardly done. He's still the smartest quarterback in the league and can throw the
ball. Few quarterbacks can rack up 300 yards a game with a line that can't block, receivers
who can't catch, and a running game that is average at best.

The Patriots have long been like an amoeba. They can adapt and adjust to what they have
and don't have and Belichick has always found a way. Always.

The Cincinnati Bengals are headed to Foxboro for a Sunday Night game on national
television. They are undefeated and recognized by many as the best team in football. Don't
bet against the Patriots. When their backs are to the wall and people are doubting them,
they often bounce back with a great performance. It's long been the Belichick way.

The Patriots are far from dead. Don't bury them just yet.

Monday, September 29, 2014

PHIL MICKELSON ACES BLAME GAME



(follow on Twitter @sportsrip)

It's sadly ironic that on the day when major league baseball said good-bye to Derek
Jeter, one of the classiest and most respected players in the history of the game, the world
of golf had to see an icon along the lines of Jeter, disrespected in a terrible way.

Tom Watson, who like Jeter, put together a career defined as much by the way he
carried and conducted himself as his accomplishments, was torched by Phil Mickelson
after another United State disaster in the Ryder Cup. Watson, who captained the team
for the second time, is golf royalty. He is on the Mount Rushmore of the sport along with
Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer. He's  respected the history and tradition of the game and
his character is beyond reproach.

Almost as soon as the Europeans captured the cup for the sixth time in last seven meetings,
Mickelson threw a dart at Watson, all but blaming him for the team's pathetic performance
in the Ryder Cup. In an icy and uncomfortable press conference with the entire team and Watson
on the dais, Mickelson referred to 2008 when the team won the cup with Paul Azinger as
captain. Mickelson praised Azinger for his "pod system" and " having a game plan", taking
an obvious dig at Watson and putting the weight of the loss squarely on him.


I thought to myself, Derek Jeter never would've put the blame on his manager. Not classy,
not his style. It was almost kind of sad that Watson had to sit there and listen to Mickelson
cut him down publicly. It seemed so awkward and wrong, so very wrong.

First of all, no matter what the set-up or pairings, it's the players that play, hit every shot,
and determine the outcome---not the captain. If baseball players cried and whined every
time they didn't like a line-up, I'd be up until 2020 writing about it. As self-absorbed as
baseball players are, I've never heard anyone blame their lack of success or a loss on
the lineup. Very few of them have blamed an 0-for-5 night on the manager.

Baseball, like the Ryder Cup requires team play within a series of individual games.
When you got into the batters box, it's just you and the pitcher. When a golfer takes his
stance, it's just him and the ball. No manager, no captain, nobody to blame but you.


With every loss in the Ryder Cup, that seems to change. The players want to blame the
captain for the line-up and not pairing them with other players they are 'comfortable' with.
It happened at Medinah in 2012 when the Europeans staged a miracle comeback to shock
the Americans. Nobody said anything about the "game plan" of captain Davis Love III
after the team took a 10-6 lead into the final day. But after they choked it away on the final
day with the individual match-ups, there were plenty of players chirping and throwing
Love III under the bus. They just didn't do it in an open forum like Mickelson did to
Watson.

Just one time, I'd love to hear one of these silver spoon-fed, country club raised golfers
say, "Yep, our hats off to the Europeans. They were better than us. They kicked our
ass. No excuses."

Instead, the excuses come flying out faster than the clubhead speed of Mickelson. The line-ups
stunk, we didn't have the "pod system" and the game plan wasn't as good as the last
time we won and Watson didn't let us have any input during the entire event, Mickelson
would say. That's right, can you ever imagine Tom Brady saying, "Yeah, coach Belichick
didn't let us have any say in the game plan and it wasn't as good as when we won our
last Super Bowl." Never.

There are times when it's best to keep your mouth shut. This was one of them for Mickelson.
Clearly, he was bitter because Watson put him on the bench for all of Saturday' activity.
Nothing hurts a player's pride more than being told to sit down during one of the biggest
events in the sport of golf. Mickelson's ego was crushed and he didn't like it.

Instead of showing the class of Derek Jeter, Mickelson morphed into Richard Sherman,
taking an unnecessary shot at somebody else. Yeah, I guess it made him feel better for
a moment it, but it really made Mickelson look really bad. Real bad.

Tom Watson deserved better. Mickelson should've acted and played better and kept
his mouth shut and just played the game.

Friday, September 26, 2014

10 THINGS DEREK JETER NEVER DID


Five World Series rings, five gold gloves, more than 3,400 hits, and universal respect.
Yes, Derek Jeter has done just about everything in his 20-year major league career. He
capped his Yankee Stadium life in storybook fashion by ripping a walk-off single to
beat the Baltimore Orioles Thursday night.

But there are a few things Jeter never did which is a testament to his character
and remarkable poise under pressure. Here are the Top 10 things Jeter never did in his
illustrious career.

10. Derek Jeter never complained about a scorer's decision and certainly never whined
about it publicly like David Ortiz, who went so far as pointing in the direction of the
official scorer to show his disgust.


9. Derek Jeter never had a tantrum and threw his helmet to the ground in anger. That's
right, the Yankees captain made more than 7,000 outs but never once blamed it on
his head gear.

8. Derek Jeter never had to be retrained by a teammate from going after an umpire or
another player. Seriously, Jeter is just way too cool to look like a buffoon.

 
7. Derek Jeter was never condescending to the media, had an obnoxious response, or said
anything really, really stupid or controversial. Helloooooooooooo, John Rocker.
 
 
6. Derek Jeter never showed up an opponent or teammate. He was the epitome of class
and despite playing in the 'me, me, and more about me' generation, Jeter never took the bait.
 
 
5. Derek Jeter never whined, sulked, or put himself before the team. He certainly
never refused to go into a highly-charged rivalry game as Nomar Garciaparra once
did for the Boston Red Sox against the Yankees.
 

 4. Derek Jeter never showed up his manager or told him what to do despite his great
    baseball I.Q. and experience.
 
 
3. Derek Jeter never cheated, got fined, suspended, arrested, or even mentioned as a player
    who pumped his body full of fraud during the Steroid Era.
 
 
2. Derek Jeter never got in the face of an umpire nor was ejected in his 20-year career and
    that is close to amazing. In more than 2,900 games never got the heave-ho. If he had a
    gripe with the umpire about a bad pitch or call, Jeter did it oh so quietly.

 
 1. Derek Jeter never got caught dead sunning himself with his shirt off in Central Park.
     Good, grief! Jeter didn't want any part of the A-Rod circus next year and left the game
     well before it arrived. That's what you call a good ending.
 
 
 


KEITH OLBERMANN, YOU'RE AN IDIOT



Keith Olbermann, the host of a show on ESPN2 that has fewer fans than the Tampa
Bay Rays, got up on his soap box last Tuesday and railed against everything Derek Jeter.
Jeter wasn't this, wasn't that, and certainly wasn't good enough to have a season long
good-bye tour in major league baseball, Olberman said. "K.O."stopped short of saying
Jeter was the most overrated player in the history of the game.

Oh, I get it. When you are a big tree that falls in the woods that nobody ever hears, you
have to be over-the-top controversial to get noticed and become "trending". You have
to say things so outlandish they will strike a cord with a sports world already buried in
an avalanche of negativity, controversy, and filth.
 
 
Cutting down a man who is squeaky clean in a sports world that's been swimming in
a cess pool (Ray Rice, Adrian Peterson, Jonathan Dwyer, Jonathan Papelbon, and Roger
Goodell) was the quickest path to attention to Olbermann. He knew that slamming Jeter
was the way to lather up the clowns on sports talk radio and to see his name all over
the Internet.

Olbermann opened his diatribe by saying, "Contrary to what you've heard, Derek Jeter is
not the greatest person in human history." Which is both funny and ironic since that is what
nearly everyone who has ever worked with or come across Olbermann has said about him.

Keith Olbermann is not the greatest person in human history. In fact, he's ranks near the
bottom five and if he thought long and hard enough, he would name himself as the worst
person in the world, an honor he bestowed weekly on one of the eight networks he used
to work for.

Abrasive, condescending, a bully, and prone to epic temper tantrums, Olbermann has
been fired from more television jobs than the number of domestic violence incidents
the NFL experienced over the last year.

Unlike Jeter, the words class, leader, respect, and great teammate have never followed
Olbermann anywhere at anytime. He is and always will be, just another smarmy television
guy trying to make a name for himself by cutting others down. That takes a lot of talent,
right K.O?

And it really is hard to listen to someone criticize an athlete like Jeter especially when
they haven't broken a sweat or gotten into the arena to compete. Ever. Little League
doesn't count. He has never faced a 95-mile an hour fastball, a knee-buckling curveball,
or a nasty split-finger fastball with 50,000 fans screaming in game seven of the World
Series. So, go ahead, K.O. keep dumping on athletes who paid the price to get where
they are. Maybe you'll get a spot on the Jimmy Kimmel show.


Olbermann  criticizes a man who has more hits than everyone but five players in
the history of the game. He wants to dump on a guy who has played the game the right
way for 20 years and put five World Series rings on his fingers. Go ahead, everybody
has a right to give an opinion.

I'm just wondering what Olbermann was thinking after Jeter's storybook walk-off single
on Thursday. Come to think of it, I don't really care and neither should you because it
just doesn't matter.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

THANK YOU, DEREK JETER



Take away the 20 years in pinstripes, 3,453 hits, five World Series rings, five gold glove awards,
and the Rookie of the Year award and what do you have? Derek Jeter, a man of impeccable
character and the single-most respected athlete, including Michael Jordan, over the last two
decades in sports.

Thank you, Derek Jeter.

The sports world today is being defined by the headlines regarding domestic violence, child
abuse, crotch grabs, and cover-ups. Through it all, stands a man who has lived his baseball
and personal life under the most powerful microscope (New York City) while playing the
games most glamorous position, shortstop for the New York Yankees. And no one, as hard
as they tried, could find anything to dirty or stain a man who gained universal respect.



Thank you, Derek Jeter


There has never been a spec of controversy with Jeter. He never cheated the game, pumped
his body full of cheat, appeared on the police blotter, criticized a teammate, stiffed a fan,
thrown a helmet or been ejected from a game. Never. Come to think of it, I've never even
seen the Yankees captain get in an argument with an umpire. Have you?  He's baseball's
snow white, a player so clean he squeaks and role model who was true through and through.



Thank you, Derek Jeter.

Perhaps to make a name for themselves or to become "trending" on Twitter, the detractors
of Jeter have come out as the hour glass winds down on his brilliant career. They scream that
Jeter wasn't the best shortstop to play the game or even in the Top 10 when it comes to all-time
greatest Yankees. Jeter never got caught up in that and never really cared. He didn't need
to be fueled by some hack on sports radio or anyone who never played the game. Jeter's inner
drive burned with ferocity and he minded his own business, taking care of it the right way.


Thank you, Derek Jeter.


Jeter has redefined what it means to be a Yankee and an athlete of great character. Our media
today seemingly wants to reward the 'me' guys, you know, the ones with the colorful quote
and those who think it's cool to call out a teammate or an opponent (Richard Sherman). The
sports world glorified Seattle's all-pro cornerback not because he brings lock down coverage
to every game, but because he called San Francisco's Michael Crabtree mediocre on national
television. Who in their right minds thought that was a classy move?

Do you think Derek Jeter would've ever done that? Never. He showed everyone that a player
can be great and a great gentleman.


Thank you, Derek Jeter.

When he tips his hat for the final time of his career on Sunday, Jeter will ride off into
retirement at age 40 and be enshrined in Cooperstown in five years. Like Cal Ripken
and Ozzie Smith before him, Jeter will be replaced and become far less significant in
the sports world and in our consciousness.

It happens to all the great ones because after all, it is just sports and we live in a world
with a lightning quick news cycle that spits out everything in a matter of days. Derek
Jeter gave the sports world 20 great years of doing things brilliantly and doing them
the right way.

And that still counts for something, even in this scandal-ridden and morally corrupt
world.


Thank you, Derek Jeter. Thank you for being you.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

HOPE SOLO, CLINT DEMPSEY, AND SOCCER'S IMAGE PROBLEM


When Clint Dempsey went 'uncover' for ESPN and walked the streets of New York
City to find out if people recognized him, it was hardly shocking that few people did.
Dempsey, the team captain of the United States World Cup team and best player
in the country, could've worn his full uniform with his name on the front and back of
the jersey and people still wouldn't have a clue who he is.

"Who is Clint Dempey?"

As for Hope Solo, well, that's a completely story. She is one of the best players in
the history of women's soccer and if she walked down the streets of New York
far more people would recognize her than Dempsey. It's not because of her talent,
Dempsey is far more impressive on the pitch than Solo, but it's because Solo has an
edge--a sharp and cutting one. She is a lighting rod and a magnet for controversy
and in this country and with our media, that is what sells.  She is far more popular
or well known than Dempsey or any other player, male or female, will ever be and
for all the wrong reasons.

Solo is back in the spotlight and under the microscope for two reasons. One, she
is awaiting trial on domestic charges and after the firestorm in the NFL surrounding
Ray Rice, people want to know why Solo is still playing for U.S. Soccer. Secondly,
someone hacked a computer and leaked nude photos and put them on the Internet
for the entire world to see. Most of the world saw Solo in the buff  a few years ago
when she posed for ESPN's "The Nude" issue and that didn't leave much for the
imagination.

Now, the game of soccer is getting something it has always craved for: attention.
Except for the World Cup every few years where everybody jumps on the bandwagon
until the U.S. loses, which is quickly for the most part, nobody really cares that
much about the sport. It still ranks far, far, and far behind the major sports in
this country and when the best player in the country, Clint Dempsey, goes on
the streets of New York and nobody recognize him, well, that's pretty sad.


So, despite all the drama and controversy Solo is bringing, do you really think
the leaders of the sport are all that upset about it? Doubt it. What's the old saying?
Bad publicity is better than no publicity at all. By the end of the day Wednesday,
you can expect to see Solo featured on ESPN, CNN, Fox,  TMZ, Access Hollywood
Inside Edition, and just about every news outlet and source in the country, not
to mention the world. Sorry, but Dempsey or men's soccer could never buy
that amount of publicity.

Solo is a rock star in soccer and is on the cusp of being a household name. She
is Richard Sherman in cleats: talented, outspoken,  and controversial. Sherman
had a meteoric rise in the sport and in the national consciousness after dressing
down Michael Crabtree in the NFC Championship. To some people, this was
low-class, disrespectful, and bush league. To others, Sherman became hot and
a "personality" they had to have on talk shows, magazines, and incredibly, as
a spokesman and pitch man for their company. That's right, rip an opponent and
be rewarded.

Sherman probably learned that lesson from watching Solo during the 2007 World
Cup when she was benched by coach Greg Ryan in favor of Briana Scurry for
the semifinal game against Brazil. Solo called out her coach and it went viral,
making her the most well-known player on the team:

"It was the wrong decision, and I think anybody that knows anything about the
game knows that," she said. "There's no doubt in my mind I would have made
those saves. And the fact of the matter is it's not 2004 anymore. ... It's 2007, and
I think you have to live in the present. And you can't live by big names. You
can't live in the past. It doesn't matter what somebody did in an Olympic gold
medal game in the Olympics three years ago. Now is what matters, and that's
what I think."

Solo had the talent and the media now felt she had the edginess to make
her the one to go to for the quotes and features. She became the "it" girl in soccer
not for her talent, but for her controversial nature. It didn't stop there, Solo
got into a scuffle with her then-fiance' Jeremy Stevens, a former NFL player.
He got arrested, then they got married a few days later. She's been on 'Dancing
With the Stars' and a cover girls for hundreds of magazines. As for Dempsey?
Yeah, well, he's been on the cover of Xbox game but he still can't get recognized
on the streets on New York City.


Do you really think the heads of U.S. Soccer are going to ban or suspend Solo?
Are you kidding me? She is the one who sells tickets, draws ratings, and attracts
the attention the sport needs. I'm sorry, but if this were the NFL, I'd think
differently. But soccer in this country is far away from being the NFL as I am
from being Brad Pitt. Sadly, the game needs Solo. She is one of the few stars
that would be recognized on the streets of New York.

Soccer needs her more than she needs soccer. Sad, but true.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

BRUCE JENNER AND HIS NEXT WIFE



Not-so-breaking-news: Bruce Jenner has been kicked to the curb (finally) by Kris Jenner,
matriarch of the famous Kardashian Clan. After 20 years with the former Olympic champion,
Ma Kardashian said buh-bye to Bruce, filing for divorce.

Money won't be a problem for Jenner, he's said to be worth over $100 million. Finding
another suitable mate, well, that might just be a challenge for a man whose had a nip, a
tuck, and some pretty bad things done to his face over the years.. I'm not sure what happened
to Jenner after he won the gold medal in the Montreal Olympics game in 1976, but there's
no way a dude who became the "world's greatest  athlete" should've ended up looking like
that and part of a diva reality show.


Now that he's single, here's list of candidates that could be the next Mrs. Bruce Jenner.

5. HOPE SOLO. Jenner could use a few ass whoopin's to toughen him up and there's
no better woman to provide it than Solo. The Olympic goalie is currently awaiting to go
on trial for going all Bruce Lee on her cousin and brother.


4. KATE GOSSELIN. Like Jenner, Gosselin's had some cosmetic work done over the
years. She's a reality queen and has a bunch of kid's so Jenner can make an easy transition
to the instant family after living with all those Kardashian's for many years. Drama queen.
Perfect for Jenner.

3. LOLO JONES. A match made in Olympic heaven, although Lolo never won a medal.
Not in track. Not in bobsledding. However, she takes gold for being able to attract attention
without ever having done anything. (Sounds a lot like Kim Kardashian). If this marriage
happens, I envision a big-time reality show on Oprah's network.


2. MELISSA McCARTHY. Not so far-fetched. Identity thief and a man who had his
identity stolen years ago.

1. THE CAT WOMAN.  No explanation needed.


A WTF?! WEEKEND IN SPORTS


Needless to say, it has been a crazy time in the sports world with domestic violence,
child abuse, crotch grabs, and cover-ups dominating the headlines. Yes, I've heard
the saying that what happen in sports is just a microcosm of life. If that's the case,
then we live in a world that is just flat-out messed up. There were moments last weekend
that caused many to say, "WTF?!", you know, those instances that have everyone
asking 'what the hell' were you thinking?"


Roger Goodell kicked things off on Friday with his state of domestic violence in
the NFL where the commissioner said absolutely nothing and danced around questions
so well, he became the odds-on-favorite to win 'Dancing With The Stars'. Goodell
said he's put together a team to work on domestic violence issues and he'll have a
plan in place by the Super Bowl? The Super Bowl? That's 5 months away! WTF?!
You're not trying to fix the economy, Roger! Put all your experts in a room and get
it done in a day.

OMG! was probably the first thing out of the mouth of the man who caught a foul
ball off the bat of Derek Jeter on Friday Night at Yankee Stadium. The Yankee legend
is retiring after this year and that's a valuable souvenir. But OMG! went to WTF?! after
his daughter tossed the ball back on the field. Lucky, the ball was retrieved and the
man got his Jeter ball.

Before going to bed on Friday, a story broke that caused me to yell in amazement,
"WTF?!!!'. Rex Chapman, former NBA star was arrested for allegedly stealing
$14,000 of merchandise from an Apple store and selling them to a pawn shop. Are
you kidding me???? Chapman made millions during his NBA career and he's now
in so bad he stealing things? Good, Lord.

Rex Chapman mug shot without IPhone

Late Friday night Florida State decided to suspend Jameis Winston for the entire
game against Clemson after his stupid act in the student union on Tuesday. Apparently,
the Heisman Trophy didn't understand what the meaning of "suspended" really means.
He dressed for the game and went out for warm-ups before he was intercepted by
coach Jimbo Fisher who had a "WTF?!" moment, not to mention look on his face
when he saw Winston on the field. He sent Winston back to the locker room and
told him to change ASAP and stay away from the crab legs to be served for the
post-game meal.
 
"What the hell are you doing out here?"

Perhaps, the biggest "WTF?" moment came on Sunday during ESPN's "NFL
Countdown."  After ESPN broke the story the Baltimore Ravens tried to cover-up
the Ray Rice scandal, some producer at the worldwide leader thought it was a
good idea to get the thoughts of a man who was involved in the cover-up of a double
murder in Atlanta 14 years ago. Helloooooo, Ray Lewis. Just his appearance
alone was cringe-worthy. That turned into a train wreck when Lewis uttered
the most regrettable line in television in quite some time, "There are some things
you can cover-up, and other things you can't". Ray Lewis, you deserve an ESPY!

Monday, September 22, 2014

RAY LEWIS, COVER-UP EXPERT


When ESPN turned the spotlight on Ray Lewis to give his opinion on the Baltimore
Ravens and their alleged cover-up of the Ray Rice scandal uncovered by "Outside the
Lines", I cringed.

I had visions of a NASCAR race at Talledega with drivers going five-wide at more than
200 miles an hour without restrictor plates on. You just know there is going to be an epic
wreck and should turn away, but you just have to watch to see how spectacular it's
going to be.

That's how I felt when Lewis, the face and heartbeat of the Ravens franchise for 17 years,
was given the ESPN pulpit on Sunday to talk about the alleged cover-up. Leave it to
ESPN for covering all their bases, getting expert opinion from a man who may have
helped cover-up a double murder in Atlanta 14 years ago. Leave it to ESPN to give
their viewers expert opinion  from a man who was charged with obstruction of justice
in that murder case and admitted to lying to police during the investigation.

Man, that's credibility!

Lewis seemed to have forgotten about that when he told viewers that general manager
Ozzie and owner Steve Biscotti "never lied to me." and gave the impression they
would never lie about what went on in the Ray Rice scandal. Of course they didn't
lie, Ray, why on earth would anybody ever lie? (Except to maybe save their hides.)


I find it hard to trust a guy who not only lied to police but testified against two of his
"friends" as Lewis did in the double-murder case in Atlanta. He agreed to testify
against them in exchange for the charges of murder against him being dropped. Talk
about a great deal!

And those obstruction of justice charges that Lewis has on his record came from
the former all-pro linebacker telling people in his limo shortly after the murder to
shut their mouths and not say anything. Nice. Lewis didn't have any trouble saying
things about the other two men charged in the case, you know, the "friends" of
Lewis. It's amazing how things change when you're facing life in prison.


Then the spectacular crash I envisioned, happened. Ray Lewis went solo down
the straightaway without the restrictor plates on. His mind and mouth were out of
control and he went airborne on the air. When talking about the Ray Rice scandal
and the Ravens' efforts to make it all go away, Lewis spewed the words he may
regret forever:

"There’s some things you can cover up, and there’s some things you can’t.”

Brilliant expert opinion, simply brilliant. Ray Lewis, you deserve an ESPY.