Sunday, February 22, 2009

The Sports As Life Podcast - From Rags to Rags, Episode 1

It finally happened - we've gone digital. Well, more digital - seeing as though you're reading this on the Internet and all. If you dare to click the play button on the audio player below, you'll be treated to the dulcet tones of the very first episode of the Sports As Life podcast - which for now I've titled From Rags to Rags.

In Episode 1, Cooper and I discuss the impending remake of the movie Slap Shot. Our only goal for the podcast was for it not to be the worst thing on the Internet, and I think we succeeded.

There may be one or two strong words in the podcast, so it's not 100% safe for work - but it's pretty close.

If you'd rather not spend 27 minutes sitting in front of your computer, you can directly download this episode at:

Hopefully, the podcast will be up and running soon on iTunes and then you'll be able to download it directly from there. For the time being, to download the podcast in iTunes:
1. Open the Advanced drop-down menu at the top of your toolbar
2. Paste this link into the box that pops up:
3. Click 'Ok' and the podcast should start downloading automatically

Referenced in the podcast was a video of the Rock. This is the clip in question if you'd like to view it for yourself (fast forward to 2:20 mark):

Friday, February 20, 2009

Something Funny This Way Comes

Here's a little comedy to get you through your Friday afternoon. If this doesn't make you laugh, I'm pretty sure you're made igneous rock.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Trebor Does Dallas

Not to be outdone by my shameless homerism, Trebor stops by today to discuss the current state of the Dallas Cowboys and their plans for the future. Here's his take:

My fellow [Cowboy Fans]: I stand here today humbled by the task before us, grateful for the trust [Jerry has bestowed upon me], that we are in the midst of crisis is now well understood. Our [fans are at war with a blonde singer/actress with a big mouth and huge jugs]. Our [Offense is badly weakened, a consequence of having too much talent and greed and irresponsibility on the part of some] but also our [special teams are far from special a collective failure to make tackles and not take stupid penalties.]

Today I say to you that the challenges we face are real, they are serious and they are many. They will not be met easily or in a short span of time. But know this [Cowboy Fans]: They will be met. [We will win a playoff game before the Lions].

This is the journey we continue today. We remain the most prosperous, [popular team in America]. Our capacity remains undiminished. But our time of standing by and doing just enough, [settling for mediocrity] and putting off unpleasant decisions - that time has surely passed.

Starting today, we must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and begin again the work of remaking [The Cowboys].

All this we can do. All this we will do.


This is what I dreamed of, and it wasn’t Wade Phillips delivering this speech but rather an unknown shadowy figure that has yet to been revealed. May not agree with his stimulus plan (308 billion in discretionary spending??) but Obama knows how to talk.

I got to listen to the event live as I was recovering from surgery that day and besides the thought of where is the Obama equivalent in Canada (none of the leaders here inspire anything [Ed. Note - Truer words were never spoken]), was imagine him as a coach and the inspiration he could give players. You hear stories of some of the great coaches and their half time talks, or lack there of (leaving the Superbowl ring on the table and walking out...awesome). I see Wade and can’t help to compare him to George, stammering his way through sentences, making up sayings that don’t make sense and doing a little laugh.

Anyway this big topic is what’s going to happen with Terrell Owens. Should he be cut, traded. To both I say no, he is a distraction and I’m sure his new TV show isn’t going to help things but he’s still got the skills and will remain a threat.

If Jerry is looking at that option, it’s a tough one, because what team would take him. What would you get a 1st round and 3rd round pick ?? Then there’s probably a select few who would actually want the ego in their locker room. Maybe Al Davis wants another shot at an elite wideout. If you can’t trade him you can't cut him. He’s also too good to just let go so keep him for another year, plus I believe by cutting the salary cap would take a hit for what is owed to him.

The Owens/Williams/Witten line could work and could be great. Though not as great as what Jerry thought, because he paid way to much for Roy. And put the team in a bad position for 2009. With Housh likely available that would have been a far better pick.

What the Cowboys need is to get rid of Wade. Sure Jerry said the coaching staff is in place but he quickly went back on that getting rid of the defensive coach and the special teams coach, so why not Wade. With the defensive coach it was Wade’s forte, he wanted a bigger part and too many cooks in the kitchen your left with giving up 44 points in a must win game.

Moving Wade down to defensive coordinator would be great, but would never happen. It’s like a job, if you get demoted you're looking for another job. The demotion itself may not be bad, but going to work with the same guys in that lesser role is tough. So either he’s head coach or gone fishin'. Which would mean only having Garrett stay on with the team.

Promote Garrett??? No, I’m not overly impressed with what he’s done on offense considering the talent that has been given to him. There lacks a certain creativity in his play calling, I’m no Madden extraordinaire but even I could do a good job of calling what play the Cowboys are going to run and I’m not that smart.

Shanahan is out there and originally I was thinking that he would be what the team needs. A no nonsense coach, be able to give the team some leadership. He would have a big back to work with and 2 good back-up options, which would be hell for fantasy owners, but he wouldn’t be changing much in the run first philosophy. The problem might be is that Denver was a zone blocking team, with small o-lineman, Dallas doesn’t have a small O-line. It may not be a big issue considering the talent in the backfield, but I think it’s a pipe dream to get Mike in Dallas, unless he’s still out there in November. If Dallas falters out of the gate I don’t see Wade lasting long.

I think where Dallas needs to improve is on Defense. There are some options out there that may work for them. First of all get a safety, Roy Williams aka Mr. horse-collar, isn’t an option anymore at safety. He’s paid right now like an elite safety which he is not, maybe in a different scheme he can flourish, but not in the 3-4, he’s said so himself. Not sure what I do with my Williams jersey if he’s gone, but there are a lot of safeties out there that could help.

Look at free agents out there. Dawkins is another pipe dream, because he’s likely staying in Philly. Landry might be an option because Baltimore has a lot of UFA’s- Ray Lewis (talk about later), Bart Scott and Terrell Suggs (Ed. Note - Suggs franchised today). Dallas could swoop in and pick up Landry with the attention that will be given to the big 3. Jermaine Philips is an option but I’d much rather see Sean Jones from the Browns. They play the same 3-4 so he would fit in and he can get the int’s, plus he’s young and cheaper than Landry.

As mentioned Ray Lewis is a free agent, and I don’t see him leaving Baltimore. He’s said there will be no home team discount but he’s the face of that team, and maybe it’s time to change that but he’s still a top performer. Maybe he’ll go to the Jets, follow Rex, kinda like Lloyd and Gordon… maybe a place not on the radar.

Since he’s a big name of course Dallas is going to be mentioned. I thought about that right away, since Dallas needs a veteran in there to straighten things up. When TO got traded to Philly, Baltimore was in the mix and I thought he was going to end up there, but then that trade was voided and there was a big mess. At the time though TO didn’t make any friends in Baltimore and has since disrespected Lewis a few times, so it would be interesting. Would I want to see Ray in Dallas… yes and no.

I’ve always liked Ray ever since he beat that murder thing, the problem is where does he play in Dallas? He’s not quick enough to follow the speedy rb’s, you can’t have him covering TE’s. Do you move Brady James over? Can’t really let old man Thomas do that. It would be tough to find a position for him and likely can’t afford him with only 10 million in cap space. If you want a Raven, go after Landry or the newly available McAlister, though there may be issues with his health, he could be a great bargain.

Can’t mention Dallas without mentioning Romo. I like this guy, I think he’s had some bad luck and a lot is thrown on his shoulders. Everyone expects him to be Aikman and that’s not going to happen. The one fault that can be seen is his nonchalant attitude, he’s not devastated enough after a loss for fans. But he’s the starter and one of the better qb’s in the league, what Dallas needs is a qb that can step in when Romo is hurt or thinking of jess (thinking, "damm what happened"), instead of the game.

..........Jess Then......................Jess Now...........

Brad was supposed to be able to step in since he knows the system but they let him go. I’m not sure who’s out there to pick up. Chris Simms may be the only affordable choice, Leftwich may be looking but Dallas needs a qb that’s quick on his feet until the O-line blocks better and that’s not Leftwich.

In the end with the draft coming up and them with the 51st pick, they may get some talent there but nothing to help in the short term. Between the draft and the free agents, I would like to see them improve in the following priority: safety, offensive tackle (to replace Flozell), backup qb, linebacker, cornerback.

Maybe this will be the year, I’m sure they will be one of the favorites again and hopefully they win a playoff game, it’s been way to long.

Monday, February 16, 2009

An Off the Cuff Offseason Presents: The Continuing Misadventures of Napoleon in Rags, Vol.1 – Come on Down!

To fill some space during the offseason I’m going to be running a series of stories about the “hilarious” mishaps that I am growing ever more accustomed to. My days are generally filled with fraudulent attempts at professionalism, lame attempts at humour and staggeringly transparent attempts to fit in with the normal humans. It’s mostly gaffes, apologies and dizzying social awkwardness – just ask anyone who has had the misfortune of being romantically linked to me. Don’t worry, not everything is 100% accurate or 100% hilarious. Here is today’s installment:

The Price is Right as a Sociological Phenomenon

This one's not really a 'mis-adventure' but I don't like being constrained by labels.

In the position I currently find myself, both vocationally and geographically, I am afforded the privilege of eating lunch at home every noon hour. This is a vastly underrated event and one which I credit for 3 of my 5 remaining scraps of sanity.

However, with the Flintstones no longer offered as lunch time programming, coupled with my meager cable package, I used to struggle in finding something to watch that doesn’t include afternoon courtroom drama. That is, until I discovered that my west coast CBS station shows The Price is Right from 12-1, and in HD no less. Happier I could not have been.

I love The Price is Right. But it’s not just because I love flashing lights and guessing how much things cost, which I do. It’s also because I love the deeper social implications of this show. Let me explain in a convenient 3-part list:

1) The Price is Right is better for your body imagine than watching a six-hour marathon of The Biggest Loser. Nowadays on TV we mostly see people with bodies that you and I could never achieve, especially you. A single episode of Two and a Half Men contains more perfectly formed T&A than the word attaint (yes that is a word, yes I had to look it up, and no it doesn’t mean what you think it does). After an evening of prime time TV, if asked, I would generally rate of my level of attractiveness as falling between gargoyle and goblin, or possibly hobgoblin. However, after one hour of the Price is Right I feel 75% less grotesque. It’s refreshing to see actual, normal human beings on TV.

2) As refreshing as it is just to see regular people on TV, it's even more refreshing to see real emotion from those regular people. There are very few places in society where we're allowed to let loose with what we're feeling. Screaming at the people in front of you in line at the mall to just HURRY UP AND PAY SO WE CAN ALL GET ON WITH OUR LIVES is generally frowned upon, trust me. But on the Price is Right anything goes. Screaming, yelling, shouting, jumping, high-fiving, hugging, kissing, running around, falling down - you get it all, and in a completely natural and uncensored form. It's great.

3) The absurdity of retail pricing. I'm serious when I say the Price is Right is 35% more difficult because of the ridiculous retail pricing. Where on earth are they buying these prizes? I think the Price is Right has a special outlet store where everything is marked up 30%. $2500 for a 42 inch plasma TV? C'mon, this isn't 2002.

One more thing I should mention, and it's that I'm clearly not the target audience for the mid-morning gameshow. Commercials during the Price is Right are aimed at diabetics, geriatrics with no life insurance, and people with so many health problems they should be living in a bubble surrounded my people in HazMat suits - much like the ending of E.T. The lists of medication side effects are always my favorites; and because I want everyone to know what they're getting into, I'd like to thank you for reading this post but I should mention that reading in the future could cause: uncontrollable urge to stop reading, jimmy legs, glaucoma, earwigs, bitter regret, yellow toenails, despair, unkempt nosehair, jimmy arms, feelings of dread is your basement or attic, puppy punching, two left footedness, chemical dependency, ground beef dependency, better website dependency, boredom eating, laugh line strain (extremely rare), nausea, inability to unread what you just read, and numbness of the outer extremities.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Friday, February 6, 2009

It's Officially Official


The fact that former Arizona Cardinals offensive coordinator Todd Haley would be the new Head Coach of the Kansas City Chiefs was both the best kept and worst kept secret in the world of us Chiefs' fans.

It was the best kept because there was an NSA-like secrecy surrounding the whole process. So much so that nobody really knew if there was a process going on. We didn't know who had been interviewed, who hadn't or if anybody had been.

It was also the worst kept secret because who else were they going to hire? All the sought-after coordinators were already snapped up. Shanahan and Gruden were terrible fits for the Chiefs team. And it seemed nothing could get Bill Cowher out of retirement this year. So who else was it going to be except Haley?

Personally, I think it's a good hire. He seems to have the fire and willingness to hold players accountable that's been sorely lacking during the reign of Herm Edwards. How can we really know how this is going to work though - we can't. Haley has only had two years as a coordinator. Before that he'd had various other positions - I'm much too lazy to actually look them up. I believe wide receivers coach and positions in the player personnel department were among them. But he's young and seems to have the desire to win and that's really all I can ask.

I would rate my mood as cautiously optimistic. Remember, even Bill Belichick was a colossal failure in his first stint as a head coach.

Now all that's left to do is sign Julius Peppers, draft Aaron Curry and get to work.

On a related note - does Scott Pioli have the worst head-to-torso ratio of all time? (He's on the left in the above photo). I was watching the press conference at lunch and he looks like a Dick Tracy villain.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Sports As Life Presents: An Off the Cuff Offseason

In an effort to keep things rolling during the unending drudgery of the NFL offseason, I’m throwing open the doors of the highly exclusive Sports As Life dining room. Whereas we usually have a strict NFL jersey-only dress code (or at least a Big 12 jersey), the rules will be relaxed in the coming months – so much so that you probably won’t even have to wear clothes to get a seat in here. If I could borrow a line from King of Hill, “No shirt? No shoes? … Yes service!”

Want to read about how I have a pair of pants that are 10% asbestos? We’ve got a table for you.

Want to read about why baseball is the best spectator sport? We’ve got a table for you.

Want to read about why I can’t wait for a new Justin Timberlake album? Why don’t you grab a seat at the bar, you’re table will be ready in about 20 minutes.

Is there something you want to lazily glance through during your lunch break? Let me know. Have you written something that others could lazily glance through during their lunch break? Let me know. Have you written a long-form epic ode to Han Solo and are looking for the proper forum to post it in? What about your Snakes on a Place fan fiction? Look no further!

Trust me, this will be better than reading constant revisions of my “47 Point Plan to Turn the Kansas City Chiefs Into a Super Bowl Contender.” Don’t worry, we’ll still be talking about the upcoming draft and the never ending coaching carousel – but I think this is a good way to fill in some space on those slow weeks. And there are sure to be some of them.

As it stands now, the main feature of the Off the Cuff Offseason is going to be a recurring segment called, “The Continuing Misadventures of Napoleon in Rags.” More on that later - I don’t want to spoil the surprise.

Addendum: I wrote this post over a week ago and some things have happened since then that I should at least mention:

First, I have nothing, nor will have anything to say about the Eric Tillman situation. Why? Well, because for starters it's not funny and that basically eliminates 98% of my repitoire. And second because there is nothing to say, until the truth comes out, what else am I supposed to add? Any personal commentary I have would surely put me in a libelous situation and I don't have the legal team for that. So, for the time being we will be ignoring the spiky-haired elephant in the room.

Also, I apologize for missing out on Groundhog Day, just so that I could post one of my all-time favorite movie quotes:

"This is pitiful. A thousand people freezing their butts off waiting to worship a rat. What a hype. Well, it used to mean something in this town. They used to pull the hog out, and they used to eat it. You're hypocrites, all of you!"

And finally, lost in the Super Bowl hulabaloo was the fact that Feb.1 was the 2nd anniversary of Sports As Life. Don't worrry if you forgot to send a card, I had forgotten about it as well. I just want to say thanks to everyone who has stopped by the site or has participated in any way - if it weren't for you, I wouldn't still be doing this.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Baby, We Were Born to Run

(Photo: London Telegraph)

Before I actually talk about the game, I would like to extend this greeting to the Canadian Radio-television Telecommunications Commission:

May all your doctor appointments start 3 hours late and contain uncomfortable prostate exams.

Seriously though CTV, thank you for 5 hours of commercials for next year’s Olympics. If it hadn’t been for those ads I would never have known they were coming up. Now I’m going to make a special point of NOT watching the 2010 games just out of spite (not that I would have anyway).

Are we so terrified of our fragile Canadian culture being eradicated that we can’t possibly show the Super Bowl commercials? Was there such a back-lash last year after that happened? Normally, I’m in favour of some government controls so that free enterprise can’t run wild, except for two places – liquor stores and entertainment.

To me, federally funding or protecting a Canadian TV show or movie and laws about Can Con on the radio are just ludicrous – if something isn’t good enough to be on TV or the radio without special laws in place, THEN IT SHOULDN'T BE ON TV OR THE RADIO! I’m not ok with inferior programming just because it happened to be created by someone born in the same country as me. If something sucks out loud, I won’t make a concession because it’s Canadian content – and I shouldn’t be forced to watch it or listen to it. If Theory of a Deadman can’t get any airtime without federal regulations, well… you know, maybe they shouldn’t get any damn air time. Even if the alternative is… (terrified intake of breath)… American.

There’s a reason people would rather watch The Office than Wild Roses and it’s not because of our obsession with the all-consuming American Culture. It’s because The Office is sublime and Wild Roses sucks like a siphon hose*. If aspects of the Canadian entertainment market are continually protected, where is the incentive to actually improve the product? There’s a reason that Corner Gas is so popular and is even airing on some American channels… and it’s not because of government coddling – it’s because it’s a quality program! Admittedly it’s not always my cup of tea, but it is well-written and acted. And yes I realize that Corner Gas probably got money from the federal government to make that well-written and acted program.
(*To be fair, I've never seen Wild Roses - it was just the first thing I could think of)

Fine, that is what it is – having a Canadian culture is important. But why is it that the only way we can have our own culture is by forcing it on people? I’m not for the complete destruction of the Canadian entertainment industry, but in the name of all that is hilarious can’t I at least have a choice? Canadians are the funniest people on the planet, there is no disputing this – satire is our national pastime. And there are truckloads of Canadian music that kick seven kinds of ass. But we’re still stuck so far inside our Canadian Inferiority Complex that we think the earth would stop rotating if we allowed in ESPN or Bud Light commercials. Do we really think we’re only capable of producing something worth watching if we can make people watch it?

There are plenty of true Canadian patriots who would still watch SporstNet if we suddenly were gifted ESPN. And you know what we’d soon realize, ESPN sucks… a lot. Some of their anchors are funny and some of their programs are nice, but after you’ve watched your third Around the Horn you’ll be looking for a gun so you can blow your brains out. But why not at least give us the opportunity to make that decision for ourselves? And let me watch College Football Gameday!!

I understand why the CRTC doesn’t want to let in media giants from the U.S., their Canadian counterparts wouldn’t be able to compete financially. But it’s very frustrating to me when I have 4 different NBC stations and I can’t watch Super Bowl commercials on any of them because CTV is simulcasting on all of them, even the non-HD West Coast one – which they usually don’t do. If I wanted to watch Canadian commercials, I would. But I don’t, so at least give me the option not to one day a year.

Through all of this, I am buoyed by the fact that the commercials weren’t very good this year – at least from the ones we were watching on YouTube during the endless Olympic propaganda (Yeah – suck it CTV, we still weren’t watching your commercials), except for this one:

At the very least, this whole situation made the decision of going to the bathroom during the game or during the commercials an easy one.

And speaking of the game, how ‘bout that game? It’s hard to believe we’ve had two great Super Bowls in a row (at least two great finishes), that’s almost unheard of. To me, last year’s was much more satisfying but I think this year’s was actually the better game. Other than the fourth quarter, last year was pretty dull; and last year’s winning touchdown wasn’t nearly as dramatic as this year.

I went into the game thinking I had no real rooting interest, but I soon found I was very much cheering for Pittsburgh – and I don’t really have a good explanation for this. I think it’s that I think Pittsburgh is a vastly superior football team. Arizona had a great run and came together at the right time, but they weren’t a better team than Pittsburgh. This is basically the same situation as last year with the Giants and call me a hypocrite if you want, but I will cheer against New England until my throat bleeds.

A few points about the game:

A) How does no one tackle James Harrison as he’s galloping down the field? With Boldin, Breston and Fitzgerald; and Hightower/Arrington/James – how do they not get to him before he’s 95 yards down the field? That said, it was a pretty incredible effort by Harrison.

B) Arizona should have taken more shots down the field to Larry Fitzgerald. As the only person I was with who is actually a Cardinals “fan” kept saying, “Why don’t they just throw it to him and let him get it.” I completely agree, even in double coverage Fitzgerald comes down with the ball 8.5 times out of 10. Warner had pretty good protection in the first half, they could have at least taken a shot.

C) Refereeing being a major story. What are most people talking about today? Officiating. Even as someone cheering for Pittsburgh I will admit the roughing the passer call on Docket was bogus. And how Santonio Holmes didn’t get called for using the ball as a prop after his touchdown is beyond me (To the point that I yelled out, “He’s using the ball as a prop,” as it was happening). The two defensive holding calls were bogus, but at least they evened out.

D) And in a game where every second play was being reviewed, why why why why why wasn’t the last play reviewed? Even I thought Warner’s arm was moving forward. I’ll never understand that one.

E) I thought Springsteen was great – even going off the board with “Tenth Avenue Freezeout” for the opener - until they did that lame referee thing. You’re the Boss, you’re better than that. And to the thousands of women who got pregnant when Bruce’s crotch hit the camera, you’re child support payments will be mailed out in 8 1/2 months.

F) The spread put out by TH was superb. I was in a food-coma for most of the third quarter.
(The much-dicussed First-Quarter dessert. Tremendous)

(My traditional Super Bowl cookies, which have certainly taken years off my life at this point)

And that’s it – the 2008 NFL season is finished (the Pro Bowl doesn’t count). As far as I’m concerned the 2009 season starts in 16 days with the Combine. But then we have to wait until April for the draft. Unlike last year, I don’t forsee a complete offseason-shutdown of Sports As Life. There will be much homerism as I discuss the Kansas City Chiefs and their search for a head coach and respectability. And there will also be a special offseason project I’ve got ready go, which I’m very excited about and will probably unveil tomorrow or maybe the next day, or whenever I feel like it.