Thursday, January 29, 2009

So You're Scared and You're Thinking That Maybe we Ain't That Young Anymore

Show a little faith.

As much as I'm looking forward to watching football on Sunday, the game doesn't really interest me all that much. It'll be an easy choice this year between going to the bathroom during the game or the commercials - it'll be during the game. Last year I don't even remember moving during the second half the game - I was too worried that if I moved even a muscle I would jinx the Giants' momentum and somehow kill their chances. I'm serious. The last time Pittsburgh was in the Super Bowl, I decided to get up during the game and missed the Randel-El bomb to Hines Ward. The only exciting part of the game, and I chose to go to the bathroom at that exact moment. Figures.

Now that we're all up to speed on my bathroom schedule, past and future.

This year I'm really looking forward to two things:

1) Bruce Springsteen
2) TH's legendary Super Bowl party

I'm all kinds for fired up for the Boss to play at halftime. Somehow along the way, at least with my generation, Springsteen has been vastly underrated or even forgotten. I'm not quite sure why or how this happened but it's really too bad, his body of work is pretty incredible. Born in the USA is one of the best albums of all time and the opening harmonica/piano in Thunder Road is one of my favorite things in the world. I've enjoyed Prince and Tom Petty the last two years, but I'm hoping this year is going to be something really special. If I had to guess, the set list would be (in no particular order): Working on a Dream, Glory Days, The Rising, Born to Run, Dancing in the Dark (maybe). I would love to hear Thunder Road, but I'm not optimistic. I would be shocked if he plays Born in the USA.

While the Boss will only be on for 15 minutes, the other 9 hours that the Super Bowl takes to play will be spent at TH's Super Bowl Spectacular. For those who have never had the privilege of attending, it's a non-stop feast from start to finish. And it's not just mindless gorging and chips and salsa - TH does it right. We usually get two main courses, one specialty from each of the two participating cities - in addition to gourmet dips and I've heard rumours of a ridiculously-good sounding dessert this year. It's not a day for counting calories. I plan on eating so many chemically-softened cookies my heart explodes.

Enjoy the game everyone - it's the last football game you'll see for a long time. It'll be gone in the wink of young girl's eye.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

The Audacity of Hope: A 47-Point Plan to Rebuild the Kansas City Chiefs

“Starting today, we must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and begin again the work of remaking [the Kansas City Chiefs]” – Barack Obama - January 20, 2009

Ok, he may or may not have actually said those exact words – but if he can misquote George Washington/Thomas Paine, I can misquote him.

Hope is a funny thing. If you’re a paranoid pessimist like me, even the slightest feelings of hope are generally followed by a laundry list of thoughts why that hope is unwarranted and sure to end in disaster. However, when your football team has its first new General Manager in 20 years, is poised to get itself a new coach and has the #3 overall draft pick, it’s tough even for me to be anything but hopeful for the upcoming NFL season. It’s a clean slate and a chance to start over with fresh minds and personnel. And can we win?

So here today I present to you my 47-Point Plan to Rebuild the Kansas City Chiefs. It’s unsolicited, totally misguided, and not too far above the worst message-board ramblings. I know you don’t care, but there are two weeks until the next NFL game, whaddya want from me?

1. Fire/Hire a Head Coach. Or Don’t. But Do Something Already.

Herm Edwards is hanging out to dry. The majority of the sought-after coordinators have been hired. A week is not enough time for me to be already doubting Scott Pioli, but throw us a bone – anything. Truth be told, Steve Spagnoulo is the guy I really wanted to see as the next head coach of the Chiefs, but he’s off the board now and in St. Louis. Jon Gruden is suddenly unemployed, but I swear to you right now – if Gruden is hired by the Chiefs I will retire my allegiance to them, at least for the time that Gruden is with the team. I suspect I would reconsider if that were actually to happen – but it won’t. The hot rumour right now is that Todd Haley, the offensive coordinator of the Cardinals is going to be the guy the Chiefs want. I think I would be fine with that, it would be nice to have someone with a little more experience but it seems like Haley would make a good head coach – and a guy’s gotta start somewhere. This would explain the delay, as the Chiefs couldn’t talk to Haley until after the Super Bowl. Meanwhile, three Chiefs’ assistant coaches, including their defensive coordinator have already jumped ship – which to me means that change is imminent. But with every passing day that the Herm is still in charge, it makes me more and more afraid that he’ll be patrolling the sidelines next year – wasting time outs and not really knowing where he is.

Here’s something really interesting – and at the moment is only the rumour of a rumour – but if it’s got any legs at all, could become really, really interesting. As of Tuesday’s official sale of the Miami Dolphins, Executive Vice President of Football Operations, Bill Parcells has a 30 day (I think) out-clause in his contract that would let him leave the Dolphins and still get paid. But do you know who Bill Parcells’ son-in-law is? That’s right, new Chiefs’ GM Scott Pioli. I’m not sayin’, I’m just sayin’.

In any case, can we please just have a coach already? The Senior Bowl is on Saturday and it would have been nice to have some permanent staff there to scout the talent.
[Thursday Morning Update: ProFootballTalk is "reporting" that Herm getting canned is happening sooner, rather than later - and the new rumour is that Mike Shanahan is going to be the next head coach. That sound you hear is me trying to swallow my own tongue.]

2. Trade Tony Gonzalez

Don’t laugh – I’m serious. Yes he’s the only viable pass-catcher the Chiefs have but it’s time for him to go - especially if the Chiefs can sell high on him after his big season. And they don’t have a viable quarterback anyway, so what does it matter? From his demand to be traded (and then not) to his demand that Tyler Thigpen be the quarterback next season, it’s time. This is a rebuilding team whether Gonzalez wants to admit it or not, so why not get rid of people who don’t want to be a part of the program and get something in return? So here’s my plan – trade Gonzalez to the New York Giants. It seems the Giants are in need of someone to catch the ball and Gonzalez probably has a few good years left in the tank. I think a reasonable return would be a 2nd or 3rd round pick – the Giants 2nd rounder would be the 58th pick overall, so it’s almost a 3rd rounder. But maybe you can get a 3 and a 7 or something like that. I have no idea if the Giants have the cap room or even the draft picks to make that happen, or whether they have any interest. But this makes sense to me and that’s all I’m really concerned with. All I know is Tony needs to go before it becomes a locker room-dividing situation.

3. Trade Larry Johnson

This is a no-brainer. Worn out his welcome doesn’t even begin to describe this situation. I don’t think there are many women in the great Kansas City area that Larry hasn’t physically abused or spat liquour in the face of, so it’s time to move on to greener pastures.

But do you know where Larry is going? I’m pretty sure I do. He’s going to be a Patriot next season. I have no proof to back this up, other than the following conjecture:
a) Scott Pioli obviously has a relationship with the Patriots organization,
b) The Patriots are in need of a running back who isn’t Laurence Mauroney
c) The Pats have a history of taking in troubled players and turning them into team-first guys, i.e: Corey Dillon and Randy Moss

The problem is, I don’t think you can get very much for Johnson. I’m sure he has a huge contract. He also has his off-field issues and a history of getting injured, especially in recent years. Realistically it might be another Randy Moss situation; the Patriots giving up a 4th round pick to take a player off another team’s hands.

4. – 47. Draft Smart (Oh please, please, please draft smart)

I don’t think I’m overstating anything when I say the 3rd overall pick in this year’s NFL draft is the most important moment in the history of the Chiefs’ franchise. Draft well and it could lay the foundation for many successful years ahead. Draft poorly… and well, does the name Alex Smith ring any bells? San Francisco still hasn’t recovered from that pick 4 years ago (albeit not a great draft year, but DeMarcus Ware and Shawne Merriman went 11th and 12th, respectively). I must say, I have total confidence in the man who helped lay the foundation for the Patriots’ dynasty to make the right decision in Kansas City.

First of all, if Detroit takes Matthew Stafford #1 overall, which they are almost surely to, DO NOT Kansas City, I repeat – DO NOT take Mark Sanchez at number three. This might be the worst quarterback crop ever so it’s not worth taking the risk on a guy who started one year at USC with the 3 pick. I’d be much more content to take a chance on Graham Harrell, Rhett Bomar or Nate Davis (or someone) in the later rounds. If Detroit doesn’t take Stafford, St. Louis won’t either which means he falls to Kansas City – and in that case they have a tough choice; take Stafford and hope he pans out or pass go with a later round guy and maybe shoot for one of the Big 3 next year (Bradford, McCoy or Tebow). In the event Stafford falls to 3, I think Kansas City should pass (no pun intended) on him, and let me tell you why.

Kansas City’s defence was historically bad this season – setting the record for fewest sacks in a 16-game season, with 10 – yeah 10. This year there are a lot – a lot – of great defensive players available at the top of the draft and I think that’s where KC needs to get a lot better… now. I think the decision comes down to one of two players: Rey Maualuga or Brian Orakpo. The obvious answer would be Orakpo, a defensive end who can get to the quarterback – something the Chiefs sorely lack. But honestly I think the Chiefs should take Maualuga, a middle linebacker. A competent middle linebacker would allow the Chiefs to change the way they use last year’s number one pick, Glenn Dorsey, and hopefully get a little more out of him this year (anything out of him would be a step in the right direction).

Honestly, I just can’t wait for the draft – other than opening day, it might be my favorite day of the year. And having another top 5 pick this year makes it that much more exciting for me. It’s like getting 7 extra Christmas presents in April.

Alright, that concludes my self-involved ramblings for today – but don’t worry, I’m sure there will be plenty more to come.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Oh, Snap... My Soft Tissue

I must say, it's really too bad that a) that hit was helmet to helmet and b) McGahee got hurt and was carted off - because barring those two things, that might have been the hit of the century. Was it dirty? I don't think so, Clark just ducked his head to hit McGahee. But was it illegal? Hoo boy, you better it believe it. Despite what Phil Simms thinks, I'm 100% certain that you can't hit a player helmet-to-helmet anywhere on the field. I think Clark has to at least get fined for it, no?

And while we're on the subject, I think this pretty much confirms what I've suspected all along - Phil Simms is functionally retarded. He's clearly graduated from the broadcasting school of "Just Saying Random Words While Trying to Prove a Point." Say what you will about guys like Kornheiser, Aikman and Baldinger but Simms is far and away the worst broadcaster in football.

But how about those Cardinals of Arizona? That was quite a game, it certainly made up for the late game being mostly a snoozer. And it's obviously been a long time since I've watched an Eagles game because I forgot that Donovan McNabb really isn't very good. Not sure how I forgot that. It's a good thing the Cardinals pulled that one out in the end, at least we have a shot at a decent Super Bowl now. If the Eagles had somehow stolen that game they would have been wiped off the face of the Earth by the Steelers.

And now we only have two weeks of completely manufactured media stories before we actually get a football game.

Monday, January 12, 2009

So... That Just Happened

We always knew that at heart the ghost of Tommy John was a vengeful being.

Most of the time his shenanigans are pretty banal - stealing your newspaper, scaring the tourists, causing those brown patches in your lawn, mutilating cattle. But this time was a little different, he brought the full force of his spectral rage to bear.

What made him choose this moment to snap and finally come collecting? We'll probably never know. Maybe it was the cries of a thousand displaced elbow tendons. Or maybe he just hates Cajuns. That I can understand.

Whatever the reason, that was a performance for the ages on Saturday night. Now we'll always know when the ghost of Tommy John shows up - you will know him by the trail of 6 turnovers.

So... now we're left with two 9 win teams in the NFC Championship, both vying for the opportunity to be soundly beaten by either the Ravens or Steelers in the Super Bowl. Cardinals v. Eagles, catch the excitement! Oh and by the way, thanks to this:

I'm officially off the Eagles bandwagon. I hope they get lit up like the Aurora Borealis this weekend. Is it really too much to ask players to act like they've been there before - especially when they've been there 4 TIMES BEFORE! I guess a 58 passer rating goes further than it used to, eh Donovan? May all your passes be feeble and off-target and may all your Campbell's Chunky Soup be cold.

If you asked me right now (and why haven't you, by the way) I'd say that we're looking at a Baltimore/Philadelphia Super Bowl. If it ends up being Baltimore/Arizona... wow, I may have to watch it but I don't have to like it.

Or maybe it'll end up being the Pennsylvania Bowl - at least then there would be an obvious story line for the media to beat into the ground for two weeks before the game.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

The 2nd Annual Sports As Life College Football Bowlstravaganza

Yes folks, Cooper is back to wade through the unending mire of the college football bowl season; previewing all the highlights, lowlights and which games you should shovel your driveway during. And yes, he made it through December.

If We Make it Through December. Bowl Predictions Part 8 of 6? 7? 8?

“If we make it through December we’ll be fine”……Merle Haggard.

Finally, the championship game. I feel a lot like Elaine in the denim vest episode. I have had to ingest a lot of crap to get to this point and now it should all payoff, however I am forced to work tonight and thus will miss the game in it’s entirety. Dammit all to hell!

January 8th:

FEDEX BCS Championship Game: Florida (12-1) @ Oklahoma (12-1)

So in less than 6 hrs one of these two teams will be crowned national champions. I am sure fans of Utah will have something to say about that but TS for them. I really wish I had something smart to say about this game however the little intellect that I have has been completely exhausted. All I can say is that I am not getting burned by Oklahoma again this year. There was the debacle against LSU in 2004 BCS title game,

the debacle against USC in 2005 BCS title game,

and then the debacle that was the Fiesta Bowl in 2007 against Boise St. I honestly don’t think this game is going to be remotely close. Tim Tebow is the second coming of Christ it appears. And apparently He himself will also be thrown to the Lions. He was thrown to some lions at some point was he not? Either way enjoy your life sucking career in Detroit Tim Tebow.
(Ed. Note - I don't think he's coming out, and if he does I don't think there's anyway he's #1 - of course it's Detroit, so who knows)

Florida 52 – Oklahoma 21

And by the way rumor has it that I will be floating around the Regina area come this Friday. If anyone is interested in some brews give me a shout or surely I will come looking for you.
(Ed. Note - Good, you can come pick up your Christmas bonus)

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Playoffs? Don't Talk About Playoffs, Are You Kidding Me?

Ok, I will admit it... at the moment, I'm a little bored with the NFL playoffs. I'm sorry, ok? That's just how I feel.

Don't get me wrong I watched all the games on Wildcard weekend and enjoyed them for the most part. I'm just not finding any of the games or more importantly, the teams, very compelling. I've got nobody to root for and even worse, nobody to root against. That should mean I can just sit back, relax, and enjoy watching without giving myself a stroke. But of course, those who know me well know that I'm really not happy unless I'm furious about something. Which means that I'm finding something lacking in these games.

Sure with each team there are things, both good and bad, that I find interesting.

I could root against San Diego because Phillip Rivers is a spectacular pile of assface, but in all honesty he's nowhere near as dislikable as he used to be. And he is a pretty good quarterback, even though I'm pretty sure he throws the ball underhand. Seeing Norv Turner's latest epic fail is always funny too. But they just don't raise that "New England-esqe" ire in me.

Pittsburgh I don't really mind. They were my fantasy defence this season, so I have a soft spot for them. But they just won the Super Bowl 3 years ago, so I'm not rooting for them to break a 3 decade drought or anything *cough*Kansas City, 29 years*cough*. I give them a solid "meh".

I find Tennessee to be extremely boring, they're a solid team though so I can't really dislike them too much. Plus I love watching a solid defence. And Albert Haynesworth should have been the MVP.

Baltimore might be the leading contender for my playoff nemesis this season. I like the team and Ed Reed could also have been the MVP, plus I enjoy seeing good rookie quarterbacks. But I will never cheer for a team that Ray Lewis is on.

Arizona I have no strong feelings about one way or the other.

They have an explosive offence, but I really couldn't care less if they win or lose. Of course they're going to lose this weekend, so I'm really not too concerned.

The neutrality I feel towards Arizona is pretty similar with Carolina too, only with a more positive slant. I wouldn't really have a problem with Carolina winning the Super Bowl but I wouldn't lose any sleep if they lost either.

New York I actually like... well I like Eli Manning. Seeing him in the America's Game about last season's Giants made me a big Eli fan. And I'd be rooting for them but they won last year and I'm in favour of giving other people a chance.

And then there's the Eagles - after going through all these teams while writing this, I think I've deciding to make the Eagles my team for the playoffs (which of course means they will be crushed by 85 points this weekend). Normally I wouldn't care less about the Eagles and I really can't stand Brian Dawkins. But I would enjoy seeing Donovan McNabb win a Super Bowl so maybe people would give him a break already. That guy's been through more crap than Andy Dufrense.

So I'll keep watching the playoffs because I loves me some football, but it's difficult not having a vested interest in the games this year. Truth be told I'm much more interested in the Chiefs' search for a new GM (and soon head coach, /crosses fingers). But emotionally attached or not, the playoffs are still a great excuse to sprawl on the couch in sweats while covered in chip crumbs...

Like I've ever needed an excuse for that.

Monday, January 5, 2009

The 2nd Annual Sports As Life College Football Bowlstravaganza

Yes folks, Cooper is back to wade through the unending mire of the college football bowl season; previewing all the highlights, lowlights and which games you should shovel your driveway during.

If We Make it Through December. Bowl Predictions Part 7 of 6? 7? 8?

“If we make it through December we’ll be fine”……Merle Haggard.

We are down to the final 3 games. Starting tonight with the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl. First off I would like to give a shout out to everybody’s favorite douche bag Nick Saban. Ahem…F**K YOU!!! Even though I picked Alabama to win I found no greater pleasure than watching the lowly Utah Utes pound the ball right up Saban’s back side.

Enjoy Ute’s fans take on the Crimson Tide and their damn elephant

January 5th:

Tostitos Fiesta Bowl: Ohio St (10-2) @ Texas (11-1)

The question is not who will win this game but whether do I watch this game over Canada’s gold medal game against the Swedes tonight. I am still not sure. Maybe I will break out the other TV and have both going at the same time. Maybe to make the perfect tri-fecta I will bring the TV down from upstairs and have some questionable adult material on that one.


January 6th:

GMAC Bowl: Ball St (12-1) @ Tulsa (10-3)

This game seems like a pointless match-up between two unknown teams but it may be worth watching seeing as how the over for this game is set at 77 so expect a lot of offense.

Anybody else ever seen this before? I didn’t even know it existed until the other day.


Saturday, January 3, 2009

The 2nd Annual Sports As Life College Football Bowlstravaganza

Yes folks, Cooper is back to wade through the unending mire of the college football bowl season; previewing all the highlights, lowlights and which games you should shovel your driveway during.

If We Make it Through December. Bowl Predictions Part 6 of 6? 7? 8?

“If we make it through December we’ll be fine”……Merle Haggard.

Only 4 more games to go and I could not be happier.

January 3rd:

International Bowl: Buffalo (8-5) @ Connecticut (7-5)

Buffalo makes it’s first bowl appearance since 1958, and frankly I would not be surprised if this is actually their first winning season since 1958. Buffalo can thank two men for their remarkable turnaround. The first is former Nebraska QB and 1984 Heisman runner up, Turner Gill. Turner apparently has a huge fan in Charles Barkley.

The second man responsible in Buffalo’s turnaround is there assistant coach/quarterbacks coach. That man is Danny Barrett. Yes THAT Danny Barrett.

I am still unsure if being the assistant coach/quarterbacks coach for a lowly mid-major team is step up from being a CFL head coach, or a step down.
(Ed. Note: Step up)

Speaking of former Rider coaches, Kent Austin the current offensive coordinator at Ole Miss who were successful in defeating the Red Raiders of Texas Tech in yesterday’s Cotton Bowl. Congrats to him and to former Rider QB Steve Sarkisian, offensive guru at USC who was successful in beating Penn St Thursday night in the Rose Bowl. Where was that offensive brain of his when WE needed it? Didn’t he lose out in a job to Jack Kemp?

Connecticut to win

Friday, January 2, 2009

The 2nd Annual Sports As Life College Football Bowlstravaganza

Yes folks, Cooper is back to wade through the unending mire of the college football bowl season; previewing all the highlights, lowlights and which games you should shovel your driveway during.

If We Make it Through December. Bowl Predictions Part 6 of 6? 7? 8?

“If we make it through December we’ll be fine”……Merle Haggard.

January 2nd:

AT&T Cotton Bowl: #20 Ole Miss (8-4) @ #8 Texas Tech (11-1)

If you missed the Texas Tech defeat of Texas earlier in the season, well here is the end.

(Ed. Note - I've had deeply troubling dreams about Michael Crabtree playing for my favorite football team. Suffice it to say, I love him... I've said too much)

Texas Tech

Autozone Liberty Bowl: Kentucky (6-6) @ East Carolina (9-4)

Wow talk about a shit game this late in the bowl season.


All State Sugar Bowl: #7 Utah (12-0) @ #4 Alabama (12-1)


Thursday, January 1, 2009

The 2nd Annual Sports As Life College Football Bowlstravaganza

Yes folks, Cooper is back to wade through the unending mire of the college football bowl season; previewing all the highlights, lowlights and which games you should shovel your driveway during.

If We Make it Through December. Bowl Predictions Part 5 of 6? 7? 8?

“If we make it through December we’ll be fine”……Merle Haggard.

Wow is this starting to get tedious and a little nauseating. And to think there is going to be even more bowl games next year. Due to time constraints I am unable to provide much more than a pick for each game. My apologies.

January 1st:

Outback Bowl: South Carolina (7-5) @ Iowa (8-4)

Capital One Bowl: Georgia (9-3) @ Michigan St (9-3)

Konica Minolta Gator Bowl: Nebraska (8-4) @ Clemson (7-5)

Rose Bowl: Penn St (11-1) @ USC (11-1)
Seriously how awesome would it be to spend a week on the USC campus. Jebus H!

And after seeing this I am prepping a resume for USC. I can do that just as good as that guy. What’s that you say smoking hot cheerleader? Your leg hurts? Why let me take a look at that for you. No, no trouble at all, I insist.


Fed-Ex Orange Bowl: Cincinnati (11-2) @ Virginia Tech (9-4)