Tag Archives: Donovan mcnabb

Random Thoughts, Vol. 4

BYE BOSTON!!!

Guess what time it is… this random thoughts should be fun.

The Red Sox blew it… hahahahaahahahahahahahahahaahahahahahaahahahahaahahahah

So did Atlanta (on behalf of my buddy Brian Scully who’s a huge Phillies fan… hahahahaahahahahaahhaahahahaahahahahaha)

Two SEC teams atop the NCAA rankings… shocker

The Philadelphia Eagles are 1-3… hahahahahahahahahahahahaahahahahah

(side note: I know I’m putting lots of bad karma on my side by making fun of my enemies but I don’t care because this is funny. Also a message to Steve Smith, how’s Philly treating you :-P?)

Matt Moore, Josh Collmenter, Ivan Nova and Max Sherzer are all rookies that have won playoff baseball games… Cliff Lee, Zach Greinke, and C.C. Sabathia haven’t, um….

Ohio Staters Dan Herron and Devier Posey were suspended for benefits… again… please fire Gene Smith I’m begging you.

Texas A&M has led their last two games by a combined 55-20 at the half, and lost both of them.

Jordan Jefferson wants his job back at LSU… Les Miles would be stupid to say anything other than kick rocks.

Tony Romo blew a fourth quarter lead in week 1, led the Cowboys to overtime win with a punctured lung in week 2, seemed like the only competent Cowboy in week 3, then threw away week 4… at this rate Jerry Jones will be in ICU by week 9 from all of these heart attacks.

Mark Sanchez is trash…

It hasnt been a good year in Indy

… so is his offensive line.

You think the Seahawks should’ve resigned Matt Hasselbeck?

The one team that can beat Boise State is Fresno State… the game’s in Fresno… I’ll be nervous all Friday night.

Albert Pujols better not leave St. Louis…

… same for Prince Fielder in Milwaukee

(think about it for a second, why go somewhere else to play for more money when, if your Pujols, you can stay in St. Louis and be greater than Stan Musial, or if you’re Prince, stay in Milwaukee and be the ring leader of the most fun clubhouse and atmosphere in baseball? They should both learn from Carl Crawford who took more money to play in Boston and had a miserable season there when he wanted to play for the Angels. Money isn’t everything, you have to enjoy where you play and I don’t see how Boston, New York, Washington, L.A., or anywhere can compare for either of these cats.)

Ryan Roberts has too many tattoos.

Why doesn’t the Big Ten add Toledo? They’re much better than Indiana.

Missouri in the SEC? TCU in the Big East? When did NCAA realignment become like the NFL?

All of these passing yards in the NFL are nice, wait until it gets cold and you have to run the ball more and we’ll really see who the best team in the NFL is.

Is it wrong that every time I see Calvin Johnson I do the Transformers transforming noise?

Donovan… it’s over.

South Carolina had to change their uni’s because the referee couldn’t make out the numbers because the camouflage blended in with the black… Under Armour is really failing at trying to be Nike.

Speaking of South Carolina, Steve Spurrier and Stephen Garcia = George Steinbrenner and Billy Martin?

Can't wait for Saturday.

David Stern is starting to cancel games… uh oh.

When did Jesse Palmer get so much clout on ESPN?

The Rangers demoted Sean Avery to the minors, so now what do we do with these Armani vanity glasses?

Rex Grossman has a better record than Ben Roethlisberger, Michael Vick and Matt Ryan… I need a drink.

The Colts are really bad without Peyton Manning.

(I always knew Manning was important to the Colts success, I just didn’t know he meant this much. I mean this team could beat Purdue. The fact that Manning means this much to the Colts is a mix of crazy and sad. Think about when Tom Brady went down with a torn ACL, the Pats went 11-5! Bill Belichick just plugged Matt Cassel in there and the Pats still won games. The Colts tried with Curtis Painter and Kerry Collins and it doesn’t matter it’s just not the same. If this doesn’t prove that Manning is the most important player in the league to his team then I don’t know what will.)

If Serena has one more unwarranted blowup I’m done.

Red river is this Saturday… I’ll be looking at the sidelines more than the game. Texas and Oklahoma girls… yessir!!!

You do realize that the Yankees threw the last game of the season so the Red Sox wouldn’t make it right?

Even still, that was the greatest ending to the regular season ever.

(how great was that ending? I couldn’t stop watching the Yanks-Rays or Sox-O’s at the same time. The single fact that Red Sox lost in the manner that they lost was pure poetry. To go 7-19 in September and have a 3-2 lead in the bottom of the 9th on the last day of the season only to watch Jonathan Papelbon be as sketchy as ever as he gave it away to the last place team in the division and three minutes later watch Evan Longoria line a fastball over the left field wall to clinch a berth for the Rays was movie magic. You couldn’t ask for a better script or a better ending. The best Yankees loss ever: Red Sox lost the game, the Wild Card, Terry Francona wasn’t brought back as manager and Theo Epstein might skip town too. All I need is David Ortiz on steroids and it’ll be perfect… wait a minute.)

Last one: Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Taylor Hall, Thomas Eberle might be the next Wayne Gretzky, Jari Kurri, Mark Messier.

Crazy? Yes. But damn they look good already.

So happy hockey’s back.


The Birthday Confessions Of A Sports Writer

Nothing will ever beat this game.

So I turned —- today (you’ll never get my age ever in life), and I’m currently nursing a hangover thanks to the normal heavy dosage of liquor consumption made possible by my friends (raspberry rum and soda and raspberry vodka and soda are two totally different entities, ugh).

This is hardly the condition I should be in to write a blog especially when there isn’t much to discuss right now.

However, in this silly mind of mine I decided to give you some of my sports confessions.

We as sports writers get our favoritism, views and beliefs in sports at a young age and two things happen; either you stick to your guns or you switch up sides.

I’m the latter of this. Truth is my New York sports bias is a recent thing. I used to…

Wait, let’s do this in a proper numerical style. I mean why give you a drawn out explanation then get into the confessions? I think we’ll do 24 facts, not my age but the number I wanted to wear if I ever got to play with Michael Jordan as a kid because 23 was sort of taken.

1. I hated New York sports teams growing up

Giants, hated them. Yankees, they sucked. Mets, them too. Knicks, yuck. Rangers… That’ll be number two.

My mom forged my sports life as a kid. I loved who she loved because she was a sports nut. She loved Joe Montana, Michael Jordan, and the Mets. All I knew was the San Francisco 49ers, Chicago Bulls, baseball cards and that NY sucked.

I actually cried when the 49ers lost to the Giants in 1991 when they were trying to three-peat. That seems so weird now especially now that I scream at Eli Manning every two seconds and own 8 giants jerseys.

This is how I got into hockey.

(my favorite sports moment is still Super Bowl 23. Me and my mom watched that game on the couch together with me curled up underneath her. As Montana led the 49ers up the field on that last late fourth quarter drive my mom and I slowly pulled away from each other and moved closer to the TV until Montana hit John Taylor for the winning score. You should’ve seen us scream and parade around our house like we had won the Super Bowl. That will never be beat.)

2. I used to hate hockey.

I mean I’m black and from the projects in Brooklyn, NY. My mom hated hockey and so did I. She always thought it was a dumb sport and there were no black players so there was no point for it. Since I followed her lead with everything (except the mets, I wasn’t that dumb) I followed that philosophy.

Then the New York Rangers won the Stanley Cup and I watched it all. That hooked me.

I was in Washington D.C. when it happened but I felt the energy of New York. I learned about the 54 year curse, how much of a hockey city New York actually is and how truly bad ass Mark Messier truly was.

After that run you couldn’t pull me away from a hockey game. Even when the New Jersey Devils killed hockey in the late 90’s I was still into it heavy.

(I guess you could say the Rangers made me a New York fan. After that run in 94 I felt that I had to like all New York teams because how could I like teams from other cities when I was a true New Yorker?)

3. I was a Michigan fan growing up. (Florida State too.)

In New York there was no college team team in the area that drew attention. Every Saturday the TV selections were Notre Dame, Florida State on ESPN and the Big Ten on ABC with Michigan on every single week.

Truth is I always wanted to go to Michigan. I loved the colors, the fight song, Brian Griese, Elvis Grbac, Desmond Howard and Charles Woodson… And the fab five… And Glen Rice’s performance against Seton Hall in 1989….

I still have more great Michigan memories than Ohio State memories… AND I WENT TO OHIO STATE!!!

I could point out moments in great games like the Rose Bowl in 1997 versus Washington State, I cried when Kordell Stewart’s hail Mary beat Michigan in the Big House, I was so happy when we got revenge in Boulder some years later…

I should probably stop there before all of my Ohio State buddies kill me.

4. I never truly liked Tiger Woods

HELLLLOOOO HEISMAN!

There was always something off about him to me. He was too pristine, too clean. Me being from the projects I felt as though with black men there had to be some nasty streak in you somewhere. Jordan had one, Michael Irvin too, Jerry Rice was a prick at times but Tiger was too perfect.

I didn’t like how he always won and how everyone jumped on his bandwagon. I didn’t like how black people crowned him as our king of the moment when he didn’t seem interested in being black (whatever that means) I just never liked him.

When this scandal tore him down I laughed at him, but it didn’t bother me too much. It was just another athlete taking a nose dive. I don’t feel bad for him, I don’t care that he’s not playing well and honestly I dont care if he ever does again.

5. Maryland made me love Duke

I used to be the biggest Duke hater alive… They beat UNLV when I loved Larry Johnson, they prevented the Fab Five from winning a title, The Laettner shot that beat Kentucky made me want to stab myself… and I couldn’t believe that this many white guys were good at basketball and that they kept beating brothers.

(side note 2: for Grant Hill and coach K to criticize Jalen Rose for saying that Hill was an Uncle Tom because he played at Duke was silly. Everyone in the projects felt like that. We liked Kenny Anderson, baggy shorts and baldies. Hill and any other Dukie was a sellout to us. How could they play with all of these white boys and not there own people? Do I think like that now? Of course not. I understand what coaching can do and that you can ball no matter the color. But still you can’t criticize a guy for saying something that the majority of people like him felt was true.)

Then I moved to Maryland where they hate anything New York; Yankees, Jets, Metrostars it didn’t matter. I didn’t understand the hatred because one, New York wasn’t their rival in anything and two, because it didn’t make sense. It got to the point where I kept hearing Yankees this, Giants that, blah blah blah that I got angry and said that I would hate the Terrapins just out if spite.

And who do Terps fans hate more than anything?… Duke.

So there I was cheering for Duke, the team I always hated but because I wanted to piss Marylanders off I was forcing myself to like.

That’s when I fell in love with Jay Williams, Shane Battier and Carlos Boozer and they had me hooked.

It was Williams especially because he was a Jersey kid and I always liked guys from my neck of the woods. I loved his game, fearlessness and how he ate the Terps for lunch. His ten points in 58 seconds still makes me laugh.

Watching Maryland fans whine and cry more than made up for the Yankees not winning a World Series for ten years.

6. I didn’t care that Brett Hull’s skate was in the crease.

The skate had nothing to do with the goal. Get over it Buffalo.

Dumbest… Rule… Ever!!! So many goals were disallowed because of that dumb rule that never should have been made because half of the time the skates never interfered with the goalie.

Did Hull affect Hasek’s angle? No. Did Hull interfere with Hasek? No. Did he skate in late and come up on the side if Hasek an nothing to do with the goal? Yes.

Ok then. Sorry Buffalo deal with it.

7. My least favorite sports moment as a kid was watching my Oakland A’s get swept by the Cincinnati Reds.

How did Eck, Dave Stewart, Rickey Henderson and my favorite player Mark McGwire not only lose but look awful against the Reds? Was Jose Rijo that good? How about Chris Sabo and Eric Davis? That was the first time in my life where I went to school the next day after a game and couldn’t stop thinking how in the hell that just happened.

The A’s were so much better, they had the pitching, the hitting and the power and they lost to The Nasty Boys?

I need a juice box.

8. Syracuse-Georgetown is the best basketball rivalry in college basketball

John Thompson, Jim Boeheim, Billy Owens, Alonzo Mourning, Dikembe Mutombo, Sherman Douglas, technical fouls, physical basketball, a loud Carrier Dome and an even louder Capital Center… God I love the Big East.

9. I will always hate Texas A&M football

Why? Because they screwed Michael Bishop out of everything.

A title, a Heisman, and a pro career.

I only watched Kansas State because of Bishop and his speed, arm and instinct. I couldn’t name another Wildcat from that team but I just loved Bishop.

I didn’t care that he was six feet tall or needed some fine tuning. I just knew that once K-State got to the National Championship all the world would see his skill…

And Sirr Parker killed that.

I’m glad the SEC said no to you.

10. I really don’t care who did steroids in baseball

It was legal and it brought the game back.

Where would baseball be if Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa didn’t have their home run chase?

Steroids or not that was a magical summer where everyone sat in front if the television and their lives hinged on every at bat. It was awesome; McGwire found the fountain of youth, Sosa emerged as a superstar and the game was popular again.

As much as everyone hides it we love baseball. We all played it, watched it live and have fun at the yard whenever go. The game was suffering well after the strike of 1994 it needed a boost and this was it.

Yeah he did steroids... he also saved baseball.

Did the use get out of control? Yes, but to me it was worth it and I’ll always remember the summer of 1998 as the summer that baseball truly came back.

11. Steffi Graf is my least favorite athlete ever.

She beat Monica Seles who was my favorite women’s player at the time, she beat Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario, she won seemingly every tournament she played and won with ease.

She wasn’t snooty, had no mean strike, no off the court issues… nothing.

She was just a machine, a well-oiled wrecking ball that made Saturday’s at Roland Garros and Wimbledon no fun to watch because you knew she was going to win.

She was the Bulls before the Jordan, golf before Tiger and Yankees before their rise…

And she was a total class act. That’s why I hated her I guess.

12. The only reason why I hate The Pittsburgh Steelers is Super Bowl 40

The Seahawks played against 17 men at a time, the Steelers and the refs. Quite honestly the worst called game ever and the Steelers acted like nothing happened. I still want Mike Holmgren to body slam Bill Cowher.

13. If Ohio State plays Syracuse in anything… I’m cheering for Syracuse

Buckeye Nation is really going to kill me.

Now I was a Michigan fan and I loved the Seminoles but I always wanted to be an Orangeman (and I would’ve if tuition wasn’t $42,000 a year).

Of course in basketball I loved the Orange and always will, however I like Syracuse football as much as I love OSU football.

Those were the Donovan McNabb days when he was slinging it to Marvin Harrison. I had a man crush on McNabb because he was just a beast. He could run it, throw it and make a three pointer every once in awhile. He was the first in the era of the scrambling QB and he made it work.

Harrison I thought was going to be the next Jerry Rice, and he almost was. He made everything look easy and could catch any ball thrown at him. With those two guys I thought it was the beginning if a dynasty at The Cuse on the field…

But we know how that went.

Fast forward to this year and The Cuse is on its way back. Coming off of an 8-5 year Syracuse has an outside shot at the Big East and could win 9 games. I’m honestly more excited for Orange football than Buckeye football.

Maybe it was the scandal, the tats, the selling of rings but I’m over it. I want to cheer for something I can believe in and right now my childhood favorites are trending up. I’m not totally abandoning Ohio State, but if they square off against the Orange I might be in a Syracuse Marathon Men shirt.

I’m looking so bad to the alumni right now.

My man Donovan.

14. I laughed at The Knicks when Reggie Miller scored 8 points in 17 seconds

I mean it was funny.

15. I still think the Ravens fixed Super Bowl 34

THERE IS NO WAY IN HELL THAT BALTIMORE CAN SCORE 34 POINTS!!!! ESPECIALLY AGAINST A TOP FIVE DEFENSE!!! AND I’M STICKING WITH THAT!!!!

16. My first pair of basketball kicks weren’t Jordan’s… They were Ewing’s

That orange and blue with the basketball hanging off the side… C’mon son! They were way fresher than the Jordans.

17. As much as I loved Mark Messier my favorite Ranger is Adam Graves

You ever date a girl who isn’t prettier than other girls that you’ve dated, doesn’t have big boobs, doesn’t have a great body, but makes you happy and does all the little things? That’s Adam Graves. He wasn’t as well known as Messier or Brian Leetch, he wasn’t as rough as Jeff Beukeboom and he wasn’t Mike Gartner fast.

But he always scored goals when you needed them, always killed penalties well and always laid it out in the ice. I was more upset when we traded him to San Jose than when Wayne Gretzky retired… true story.

18. The first game that made me throw a violent tantrum and had me cursing up a storm was the Mariners-Yankees ALDS game 5 in 1995.

Literally cursed so loud that my mom barged into my room and caught me about to tear into my book bag.

I hate that the M’s got into the playlets in the first place with that late season run (I was cheering for then to make it at first because I loved Ken Griffey Jr… Learned that lesson) I hate that Randy Johnson was so unhittable and I hate Jack McDowell because he had no business being out there amongst other reasons for hating him.

When we fired Buck Showalter at the end of the year I was part pissed and part happy. I was happy he was gone but mad that he cost us so many games including that one.

19. Pete Sampras- Andre Agassi is still my favorite sports rivalry.

This was the first sports thing that me and my mom went at each others throats about. She loved Agassi, the image, the hair, the return game and that he seemed like a down to earth guy. I liked Sampras’s nerve, his serve, the way that he played the game. He was the first cerebral athlete that I admired because he always seemed in control.

She called Sampras snooty, I called Agassi a punk, yeah a tennis rivalry broke up our house, weird I know.

It was the tennis that was so great. They were constantly gunning for each other and only measured themselves against each other. Jim Courier, Boris Becker. Stefan Edberg, none of them mattered. Sure they were good competition but Sampras only cared about Agassi and vice versa

You know these Roger Federer- Rafael Nadal matches? Those were three to four times a year for Sampras and Agassi or so it seemed. They were epic and just had you sitting on your hands past the third set.

Man did they hate each other.

They wanted to kill each other I thought. It was the perfect match if wits; Sampras and his finesse versus Agassi and his power. The series never tilted too far in one way. Sampras won his titles as did Agassi but Each has their own bragging point; Sampras won 7 Wimbledon crowns the most ever while Agassi has the career slam.

(side note 3: you know how I know this rivalry was really nasty? Last year in a charity match Sampras teamed with Federer to take on Agassi and Nadal. Agassi and Sampras traded barbs that were more than just smack talk. The crowd and Federer and Nadal just stood there with the crackers looks on there faces. I guess time doesn’t heal all wounds.)

20. The biggest choke job I ever saw was at the 1994 World Cup when Roberto Baggio missed a wide open net in penalty kicks costing Italy a chance at beating Brazil

I didn’t understand soccer at the time and didn’t like it… But even I was saying to myself “how did he miss that?”

21. As much as I hate the SEC, Nebraska is still my least favorite college team

They are still the most overrated program ever. They never threw the ball and no one could stop them. I remember watching the 1996 National Title game against Florida (who I also hated thanks to my allegiance to Florida State) and watch them beat down a team that beat down everyone and I couldnt understand it.

That Tommie Frazier run was the perfect example. You know option right was their bread and butter, they were in position had him stopped, yet 65 yards later the Huskers were up 62-24.

I can’t believe in 1994 that Nebraska and Penn State both finished undefeated but Nebraska won the outright title. PENN STATE WOULD HAVE KILLED THEM!!! Kerry Collins, Ki-Jana Carter and Kyle Brady along with that defense would’ve stopped that option I guarantee it.

Same with the split tile in 1997 with Michigan. Michigan was definitely the better team and had a better defense. However, everyone loved Nebraska, the loved Tom Osbourne a his gimmick offense. It ticks me off and I hope Ohio State beats them by 80 this year.

(by the way, you know what could’ve solved the issues of 1994 and 1997? A playoff… Just saying)

22. I still get nervous when I see a Florida state kicker kick

Wide right… Wide right 2… Wide left… That’ll do it to you.

Ugh!

23. I used to love Cal Ripken Jr an thought he was the greatest shortstop ever…

Then I moved to Maryland and heard about Cal so much that I wanted to puke… oh and Derek Jeter happened.

Cal made me want to be a shortstop. He hit for power, drove in runs and was great defensively. He had the iron man streak and everything pulled me in.

I had a serious collection of Cal Ripken cards that I wouldn’t sell for anything…

Then I got older and studied the game more and realized that he was alright.

One, that streak is the most overrated streak ever in sports. Of those 2600+ games only 200 of them were meaningful. He trotted out for so many bad teams and bad years that really the streak took on it’s own life because that’s all there was in Baltimore.

When you look at Brett Favre’s streak in the NFL it is way more impressive because Favre played in title games, won 3 MVP’s, went to the playoff in all but 3 or 4 years and carried his team to victory. Ripken wasn’t even close.

Then there was the fact that he wasn’t a great hitter. He always hovered around .275 and once his power went so did he.

Then there’s this fact… for all of the mess about Derek Jeter’s defense did you know that Ripken has more career errors, more 20+ error seasons and a lower fielding percentage than Jeter.

Maybe we should steer some of this overrated talk in Cal’s direction.

Ripken was good but he isn’t Jeter. Jeter has played in way more important games, come through in the clutch too many times and has made more ridiculous plays than Ripken ever did.

It’s not even close as to who’s better. Jeter is hitting almost .300 and playing decent defense at shortstop at age 37, Ripken was already tanking.

I’m sorry Maryland and baseball critics, Ripken was highly overrated. It just took me a few years to figure it out.

24. My middle school teacher Ms Rodriguez first put it in my head that I should be a sports writer.

We had a project where we had to write something and put it into summary form for class. I used the NHL all-star game for my project. I watched the entire thing took notes, wrote a three page report and talked about in threw minutes or less highlighting Owen Nolan’s hat trick (I still don’t know how he didn’t win MVP that year, the game was in San Jose… He was a Shark… silly voters),

Needless to say I got an A and she, as well as my classmates were really impressed. She told me to stick with it and that I would be a really good writer one day.

Overrated.

I hope she’s right. Writing a blog hungover while spilling your sports guts isn’t fun. However it may be worth it in the end and I might have many more happy birthdays in my future.

Thanks for reading and supporting the blog so far and letting me spew my ridiculousness for all the world to see. Now if you’ll excuse me my hangover is gone and I’m going to try to get a new one.

I might need a few drinks once I hear it from Buckeye fans about what I said.

Sometimes confessions should stay secret.


Make Or Break For The Washington Capitals

These playoffs have to be different for the Washington Capitals.

Alex Ovechkin and company should watch old footage of the 90’s Philadelphia Flyers, the early 2000’s Sacramento Kings, the mid 2000’s Philadelphia Eagles and the early 2000 New York Mets. Why you ask? Because they all have one thing in common, they all couldn’t get over the hump.

The Kings never could beat the Lakers, the Eagles never pushed themselves to a championship level, the Flyers always fell short and the Mets teased, exceeded and then failed. Washington, you’re next.

Honestly I shouldn’t care. As a homer I hope desperately that my Rangers will oust the Washington Capitals and begin a Stanley Cup march. Yet the Capitals are so much more intriguing of a storyline.

The Caps roll into the playoffs as the league’s hottest and most dangerous team. In January they were 6th in the Eastern conference and trying to figure out how the new defensive style that Bruce Boudreau implemented this year.  Now they are the number one seed after snatching it up from slumping Philly in the last two months of the year. After a 6-0 beat down by the Rangers in late February, the Caps went 16-4 the rest of the way and find themselves as the current favorite to win the Cup.

Playoff exits have been too early for the Caps.

Boudreau’s system turned out to be more than successful as the Caps finished in the top 5 in GAA and number 2 overall in penalty killing even though they were a middle of the road offensive team. Alex Ovechkin sacrificed the most of any other player as he finished with career lows in goals and points, as did Mike Green and Nicklas Backstrom.

Even though the Caps weren’t lighting the lamp as much, they were winning at a higher rate and stifling opponents at the same time.

Now comes the hard part.

Sure all of this worked in the regular season and they benefitted from Tampa Bay’s drop off thanks to their younger players hitting a wall. However, the postseason is a different animal, and it’s one that the Caps haven’t been able to tame.

Last year the Capitals were number one in the entire league and were barely even challenged during the regular season.  Once the playoffs hit they began pummeling the Montreal Canadiens and led the series 3-1 thanks to a 17-goal outburst in three games. Yet they lost the series because Montreal shut them down on offensive and Mike Cammalleri was able to find the net frequently even though the Habs registered 70 less shots than the Caps in the last 3 games.

Couple that with their lackluster showing in game 7 against Pittsburgh the previous year and getting ousted by the Flyers in the year before that and the Caps are in must win mode.

This team cannot afford a third straight early round exit as the Eastern Conferences number one seed. If not for the Rangers inability to score in 09 then the Caps would have been eliminated in three straight first-round series. The Caps have to win and win impressively if they want to avoid the stigma that currently sits in front of them.

And you know who it starts with.

Alex Ovechkin has to shake off his down year and be the force that he once was in this series. He has to be physical; he has to charge Henrik Lindquist at will, he has to be 60-goal Ovie instead of this version.

For the Caps to win it all Ovechkin has to score more.

Yes the Rangers are more physical, more rugged and like to slow the game down even more than Washington, but Ovechkin has to break that cycle. If this becomes a defensive struggle then the edge will go to the Rangers simply because that’s how the Rangers have always played and it’s a style of play that benefits them. The Rangers have no Ovechkins, no Alex Semin’s, no big-time playmakers that can change a game. Hell they don’t even have Ryan Callahan who will miss the playoffs because of a broken leg suffered from blocking a shot (by the way, the Rangers lead the league in blocked shots as well as hits).

What they do have is one of the best defensive pairings in the league in Marc Stall and Dan GIrardi. They have a ton of young, big, physical forwards that love to grind it out and wear a team down like Brian Boyle and Artem Anisimov. The Rangers almost beat the Caps two years ago in the same  1 vs. 8 scenario, but were undone by their lack of goal scoring. This year the Rangers outscored their opponents by a larger margin than the Caps… and they’re an 8th seed.

Hence the reason Ovechkin, Semin and company have to get going. If they don’t speed the game up and make the Rangers play at a faster pace then the Caps will have another summer of what if’s. questions and doubts.

Do I think the Caps will win the series? Unfortunately yes. Sure the Rangers owned them in the regular season but that doesn’t matter now. The Caps are red-hot and look better than any other team has at anytime during the year. They are on a mission to quiet the naysayers and doubters and finally get over the hump and they finally have the system and players to do it.

However, we said this about Chris Webber and Vlade Divac, about Donovan McNabb and Andy Reid about the Legion Of Doom and Carlos Beltran. Are the Capitals really ready to take that next step? Or are we watching the same old story with different characters? Beginning Wednesday we’ll find out.


The Eagles Love To Torture Me

I hate the Eagles.

I remember when the New York Giants lost to the Philadelphia Eagles 10-7 years ago on a Brian Westbrook punt return for a touchdown. I remember looking the television at Champps in Columbia, Maryland a if someone had just jumped up and roundhouse kicked me in the testicles and I was in so much pain that I couldn’t move, speak or anything. I remember walking to work afterwards in the most demoralized state that I had ever been in.

It was worse than the 39-38 loss in the playoffs to San Francisco where we blew a 24 point lead the previous year because this was a divisional rival and that loss began a slow painful death to our year. It was the end of the Kerry Collins era when he got injured and was then jettisoned out of town, it was the end of Jim Fassel as we lost the next eight games to finish 4-12 and it was the beginning of my absolute hatred towards the Eagles.

Yeah I know that they’re a divisional rival and the New York and Philly are supposed to hate each other, but I always had mutual respect for Philadelphia. This goes back to my old adage of how parents shape your sports life, well my mom at a point in my lifetime loved Randall Cunningham and how he darted through defenses in those pls green, grey and white uniforms just thrashing people and leaving linebackers wondering what happened. So I started liking the Eagles a little because of Randall and his unorthodox style of play (side note: another reason why fatherless homes suck, you get confused in your sports allegiances. Had I had my dad around he would’ve slapped some sense into me and told me that he would disown me if I like the Eagles in any way. You know like how I will if my kid ever wears an Islanders, Michigan or Red Sox jersey).

If it really is deja vu, then the Giants season will take the same turn it did in 03 after Westbrook's return.

Besides I hated everyone else in the division that had to be hated. The Cowboys and Redskins were like chopped liver to me and I want Troy Aikman and Darrell Green to die more than Reggie White or Keith Byars. My thinking was that since I hated those two I might as well like the Eagles because they have to play them like the Giants did, so I made my mom and i happy.

Then, well the Eagles got better than the Giants and I got older and began to learn regional rivalries. You can’t like the Eagles, their off-limits like every other team in your division. You have to hate them it’s only natural. I mean the Packers fans can’t like the Lions because it’s not a rivalry but it’s an interdivisional matchup. How crappy would you feel if the Lions made the playoffs thanks to a win over the Packers and they missed out on the playoffs? Exactly.

(the sad part about this is that living in Maryland totally jaded this rule to so many people. Starting about 2007 there were so many people claiming that they liked the Orioles and the Red Sox that I want to drown myself in the harbor. People gave me the same answer over and over “I like the Red Sox a lot but I’m still an o’s fan… Um no you’re not. 1. You couldn’t name one Neil Diamond song, 2. You have no Boston ties except maybe in seafood and 3. You never, ever, say that a team in your own division means just as much to you as the team you grew up with. Thats like if my buddy Scully said to me that he liked the Nats now but not if they play his Phillies… I would hit him with a skillet.)

So as Donovan McNabb and gang green rolled to 4 NFC title games and a Super Bowl I had to deal with the fumble brothers Kerry and Tiki, the beginning of the Eli era and Will Allen an Will Peterson who I still loathe to this day.

Then came my moment of glory, 2008 and the Giants Super Bowl win. Scully and my other Eagles buddy Andrew always try to discredit that win by saying Eli’s a bum the Giants got lucky and other phrases I’ve heard day in and out in my life, but all I did was point to my shirt and say that Donovan couldn’t do it in 4 and Eli did it in 1. I had all the material I needed. There wasn’t a thing that any Eagles fan could say to me about the Giants. I dont care about the 2008 playoffs loss. The fact that we got swept last year or anything. The Eagles got nothing on us… Until yesterday.

That 38-31 loss was the most heartbreaking loss of my life. Yes I understand the Yankees lost a 3-0 lead in 2004 an the Rangers blew a 3-1 lead against the Caps two years ago but like the 2003 Eagles loss those were slow painful deaths. This was at the alter about to get married having the band playing for ten minutes while waiting for your bride to come out, which she obviously won’t, bad.

We had the division wrapped up, a first round bye and legitimate Super Bowl shot all wrapped up and we threw it in the fire. I’ve never seen a football team collapse the way that we did and of all places it had to happen to me while I was in Boston on a personal holiday. It was almost the ballbuster of the trip, thank god Elizabeth was sitting next to me so I couldn’t go into full meltdown mode and she would think i was a nut.

Here’s all you need to know; the Giants absolutely dominated 52 minutes and 30 seconds of this game. We kept Mike Vick in check, stopped any big DeSean Jackson plays and threw all over the Eagles defense. It was 31-10 after Eli threw his 4th TD of the game and it was over, I told Liz it was over I even sent Scully and Andrew messages mocking that stupid E-A-G-L-E-S chant. I was thinking about the Packers next week and how we get the number two seed in the NFC… then this ridiculousness happened.

At 7:38 in the fourth quarter Vick hot tight end for a 70 yard touchdown because Giants defensive coordinator Perry Fewell stayed aggressive with a 21 point lead and Kenny Phillips tried to make a big play and failed miserably. 31-17 G-men. No problem.

Then the Eagles recover an onside kick, understandable… EXCEPT OUR SPECIAL TEAMS COACH DIDN’T HAVE THE HANDS UNIT OUT JUST IN CASE A TEAM DOWN BY 14 POINTS MIGHT WANT TO TRY AN ONSIDE KICK THIS LATE IN THE GAME!!!!!

(side note: my buddy Tara always says Scully and I should have our own ESPN show, I disagree because of games like these. Can you imagine me doing a show after this game? I’d get fined or fired because I would rip everyone in a series of f bombs.)

You think I was ticked, try talking to him.

What happens Vick makes a great play on third down because, again, Fewell takes another risk an fails. Three plays later Vick runs it in to cut the lead to 31-24.

At this point I’m not even paying attention to anything Liz is sitting there probably thinking I’m going blow a gasket. He told me her dad gets like that during Browns games so she probably was having a flashback. Poor girl.

Giants get the ball back and I’m praying we get first downs. We get one which leads to this new great moment in the play calling history of Kevin Gilbride: run on first down, pass play on second down which gets us an offside call, run, pass play, sack… ok WHY THROW THE BALL WHEN YOU RUN THE BALL AND KILL CLOCK AND MAKE THE EAGLES USE TIMEOUTS?!?!?! The pass plays cost us clock and a penalty. If we run the ball we kill the clock, game over done. Instead the Eagles get the ball with 3 minutes left.

After forcing another third down Vick runs 30 yards for a first down because Aaron Ross over plays him instead of containing him (at one point I wanted an Aaron Ross jersey, I’m glad I never got it). The two minute warning hits and Liz goes to call her mom, she’s seen this picture before apparently. One minute left Vick to Maclin, touchdown, tied game… Shoot me.

So instead of it being tied with seconds left, which should’ve happened if Gilbride had common sense, there’s a minute left, the Giants are so discombobulated we get nothing an get sacked with 14 seconds left.

Now the ridiculous part… Let me tell you how scared I am when Matt Dodge punts the ball, Jamie Lee Curtis in Halloween scared. He’s terrible, I’ve watched him punt this year, league’s worst punter hands down… And he’s kicking to DeSean Jackson… Tom Coughlin tells him do what even Helen Keller knows to do in this situation with a guy like Jackson back there, kick the ball out of bounds. Easy right? He’s a punter, it’s his job, what does he do… Kicks the damn ball directly to Jackson… I’m not making this up.

As he returns the ball up the sidelines I immediately thought of the Westbrook return and how it killed our season in 2003. I knew our season was done, we won’t make the playoffs with two road games left, we won’t recover from this. The damn Eagles did it to me again. They ruined a promising season where the Giants should be going to the playoffs as a two seed and home field advantage. Instead we won’t make the playoffs it’s done.

38-31 Eagles win. When Liz came back she tried to console which led to me going into the bathroom and cursing Matt Dodge and his mother to hell. Of course this happens in Boston and I’m sure Scully, Andrew and every pats fan got a kick out of it.

The Eagles are now more hated in my house than the Cowboys or Redskins ever will be. They’re secondary to the Eagles who continue to torment me. Westbrook, McNabb, and now Jackson. If my mom or anyone influences my kid to like the Eagles I’m jumping off of a cliff.


McNabb: A Play

I guess Shanahan is MacBeth to McNabb's Banquo, look close and you can see the kinfe.

And now I present to you a piece of a new play I’m writing. A tale about talent, time and torture, the story of a man that is strong in will and leadership but is done in by his graceful persona and meekness. Ladies an gentlemen I give you MCNABB:

Act 1, scene 1:
(the three witches. Loria, Reid and Owens sit calmly outside of The Linc in Philadelphia. Their eyes fixed on their television screens eyeing the moves of McNabb and his associate Shanahan. Owens laughs at the misfortunes of the man he once considered his friend while Reid and Loria ponder McNabb’s misfortune)

Witches: double double toil and trouble, Fedex burns and Dan Snyder bubbles. Wicked man Shanahan turns all the wheels while Donovan paces with wounds yet to heal.

Owens: soft man McNabb winner of zero, without my aid he wouldve never been a hero. Look at Philly thrives in his departure, his is just a novice while Vick is the archer.

Reid: oh dear brother I stood by at war, when words pierced us together an we fell on our swords. I benched thee in the same fashion of the present. Though Rex Grossman in my eyes would never have left my bench kid.

Loria: I gave unto thee riches never seen before Snyder made player contracts obscene. I traded thee to a familiar circumstance with no weapons, no receivers and nary a chance.

Witches: we see you again and again you are down, but now at 34 are you down for the count. New contract at hand but the future is dim. Dear friend we fear your time is at end.

Scene 2:
(Donovan sits next to Albert Haynesworth contemplating what to do next after another debilitating setback that has lessened his influence as an excellent quarterback and now brings him more doubters.)

Albert: cardiovascular endurance huh? I would love to hear his excuse for me.

Shanahan believes Rex runs the offense better, or is he hiding the truth?

Donovan: wouldn’t we all.

A: you have to speak out against these demons with huge egos. How can a man that was fired after it was clear that he couldn’t lead a team without a superstar quarterback tell us that Rex Grossman is a better fit for out team? Did he not see how terrible he was in Chicago?

D: indeed it is troubling. But I have been here before with Owens, and Limbaugh. With follies overtime rules, which are dumb to begin with, and the lack of a ring. This is nothing new to me. Nor will it get old.

A: time and time again Donovan you have handled these failures of judgement of character with grace and humility. You are one of the best men in the league and yet you are constantly disgraced. It’s not your fault we have no receivers, no run game or no direction. The shanahan’s are merely deflecting blame to save their name.

D: indeed but who cares we’ll be rid of them next year with I in Minnesota and you with Giants.

A: hopefully. I would say I shouldn’t have left Tennessee but you see that mess.

D: indeed.

Scene 3:
(Dan Snyder throws money in every direction in ignorance. He’s currently wondering about the price of possible free agents Jon Kitna, Brian Westbrook and even aging defensive end Kyle Vandenbosch… there is no dialogue just imagine the stupidity and the possible amount of money that Snyder is about to waste on aging players… Again.)

Scene 4:
(the shanahan’s Kyle and Mike comb over their evil plots of self-absorbency of their egos and their plots of showing their power)

Mike: we’ve finally rid ourselves of Donovan McNabb.

Kyle: an excellent play dad of putting every blame on the aging moor when in reality injuries have decimated us, we’re on our fifth different running back and my play calling had been atrocious.

M: yes. Deflecting blame is what I do best. Yes this is partly my personnel and I did want McNabb here, but I can’t take blame for this mess. These players will understand that I am in charge if I have to cut or bench everyone. This is my team and my rules. I care not that I gave McNabb nothing to work with or that he has a bad offensive lone that could block a soccer ball. You play by my ridiculous rules and if you cant comply with my ridiculousness then sit down.

K: thank you father for sparing me in this process. I have pathetic in my practice especially in that Giants game two weeks ago were I looked like a moron. You saved me from all harm dad.

(Our act ends with McNabb riding the bench looking as stoic as ever, waiting patiently for his time in Washington to be done. A shadow emerges in the form of Zigi Wilf and a message reads “come to minnesota” and McNabb heeds the warning and plans his escape north.

Shanahan watches as Grossman fumbles and trips over himself and the Redskins begin the descend deeper into mediocrity while Dan Snyder talks about adding the Panthers Steve Smith to his team for 100 million dollars, again past his prime. Shanahan can no longer place blame, but he can’t take it either so he steps down a year later as does his son.

Haynesworth moves to New York for a million dollars and explodes for thirteen sacks and another huge deal as the Giants become the most dominate team in the league. How the next act will play out is anyone’s guess. One thing is for sure, this has been one big comedy of errors.)


Shanahan’s Trick Trumps The Redskins Treat

Shanahan's comments about Donovan McNabb are beyond ridiculous.

I’ve heard of a lot of crazy things from NFL coaches in my lifetime. I’ve heard Lovie Smith continually say that Rex Grossman was his quarterback for months, even though Rex couldn’t hold on to his jock strap without losing it. I’ve heard Andy Reid call his quarterback situation a blessing when it really is a huge curse. I’ve heard Ken Whisenhunt say that Derek Anderson is the perfect man for his offense ( somewhere Matt Leinart is still laughing at that one)…

But there is nothing dumber than what I heard from Redskins coach Mike Shanahan when discussing why he benched Donovan McNabb with less than two minutes and the Redskins down only 6 points yesterday at Detroit in favor of the aforementioned Grossman. Shanahan claimed that Grossman had a better grasp of the two minute offense and gave the Redskins a better chance to win than McNabb… Um, what?

You mean the same quarterback that was cold coming off of the bench that hasn’t played a live snap in two years? You mean the same quarterback who lost his job in Chicago to Brian Griese? You mean he gave the Skins a better chance to win over the six time pro bowler who lead the Eagles to four straight NFC title games and a Super Bowl and that you paid a hefty price for to acquire from Philadelphia? Really Mike… REALLY??!!

Now let me ask Mike Shanahan a question, do any of us from spectators to Skins fans look that stupid? Apparently so in his eyes. Because after Grossman fumbled away the game to Ndamukong Suh and the Lions finished off the Skins 37-25, there was Shanahan feeding the football world his trash. Unfortunately for McNabb he’s seen this episode before.

This is the second time that McNabb has been pulled from a game due to ” performance” in his career and for the second time it leaves you scratching your head as to why.

In Philadelphia he was pulled by Reid for Kevin Kolb at Halftime of a game versus Baltimore where the Eagles were only down by 3 points. Reid’s reasoning was that he felt the offense needed a spark and he pit Kolb in to do so… against the best defense of the decade. The Eagles then got blown out.

However that was different than this benching in the sense that McNabb and Reid had a history, Shanahan has no history with McNabb at all. What he did was undermine his quarterback and basically his entire team.

What kind of message do you send to your team when you bench your starting quarterback late in a game where you need one score to tie and you’re in the thick of a divisional race? Call me crazy but not a good one.

Unfortunately McNabb is used to this.

For once in his career I just Donovan to go off on someone like they properly deserve. It seems as though every year McNabb is in the center of some type o controversy and always takes the high road like a true professional. Just once I want him to rear back an let some venom fly onto the individuals who continuously put him in a bad situation. Instead he calmly addresses the situation after it’s over an moves on. He’s a better man than I would’ve been.

The worst part of the whole situation is that the Redskins now have a bye week to let this whole story stew before the Eagles come to Fedex Field on the 15th. That means two weeks of stories, analysis, questions and no answers.

Shanahan says McNabb will stay his starter, but for how long? What about that contract extension McNabb sought after? Why would he want to stay after this incident? Also you have to wonder about the ever present Haynesworth situation. Maybe his behavior towered Shanahan wasn’t his fault after all. Maybe Shanahan brought that tension on by himself just like the McNabb situation.

Just what the Redskins and their fans needed, more uncertainty about their team. They tried to create an identity for themselves with the acquisition of Donovan McNabb and now at 4-4, an improvement over season, they still seem to be stuck in the same position as last year.

In the NFC 4-4 is good enough to stay on the playoff hunt. However, you have to wonder with Mike Shanahan’s decision making how much longer they’ll be there. If any of his decisions are as bad as the McNabb benching then not very long.


McNabb’s Passing

Despite his success, Donovan McNabb will be known for what he didn't do in Philly.

In news for not making sense this weekend, the Philadelphia Eagles trumped everyone’s card this evening from another drunken Lindsay Lohan fall, and Dr. Dre releasing Red Sox themed headphones (excuse me while I vomit).

If you missed it the Eagles finally traded Donovan McNabb after all these years…to their divisional rivals the Washington Redskins. Let me repeat that for you, the Philadelphia Eagles traded their all-time leader in 5 different statistical categories , that led them to 5 NFC title games and a Super Bowl, to a divisional rival that had issues deciding on what to draft due to needs in all offensive areas. The Eagles just made the Skins job a lot easier and possibly gave them a piece to take them to the top in the division.

I’m not against the Eagles trading McNabb at all, I felt his time had come and past three years ago when the McNabb trade rumors first began. McNabb had a great career in Philadelphia where he passed Ron Jaworski as the team’s leader in touchdowns, passing yards and wins. However it was becoming more and more clear in recent years that the Eagles had gone as far as they could go with him at quarterback. With a possible quarterback Armageddon brewing in Philadelphia, the only smart option was for the Eagles to trade their aging quarterback for draft picks and see what they have in Kevin Kolb, the quarterback of the future they drafted out of Houston three years ago.

Kolb performed well in two games without McNabb this past season throwing for 718 yards and four touchdowns, plus he was in the last year of a rookie deal and the Eagles couldn’t risk having wasted a pick on a quarterback that they thought would be a piece of their future.

However, with that said, why would you trade within your own division? It makes no sense even if it was the best deal on the table for the Eagles. How can you make a divisional rival better while hurting your own playoff chances? Picture if the Yankees wanted to trade Alex Rodriguez to the Boston Red Sox or the Lakers trading Kobe Bryant to the Phoenix Suns because they offered the best deals for each player. You don’t think fans and other GM’s wouldn’t scratch their heads and utter “what the heck?”

What it does for Redskins is it makes their lives a lot easier knowing that; A. they can draft an offensive lineman instead of a quarterback this month to better protect who’s behind the line of scrimmage. B. they have a leader in the huddle that they know can go out there and win games for them if need be, and C. they still have the option have drafting a quarterback later in the draft like Colt McCoy or Tim Tebow who can sit for a year or two behind McNabb and get some seasoning.

McNabb's new home.

It would’ve made more sense to trade McNabb to the Raiders or whoever else was available for whatever the price because the deal wouldn’t have affected the Eagles place in their own division. Losing a veteran in McNabb will lower the Eagles shot at the playoffs already, but trading to a divisional foe makes it even harder because now the Redskins became a playoff, and division contender, with McNabb under center than with Jason Campbell, Jimmy Clausen or Sam Bradford.

With McNabb you can expect the Redskins to win about four more games and the development of Devin Thomas and Malcolm Kelly could improve dramatically with the experience of McNabb behind center. McNabb made decent receivers out of Jason Avant, L.J. Smith and turned DeSean Jackson into an elite receiver in two years.

The Eagles will survive in production. They still have Jackson and Jeremy Maclin and Lesean McCoy, who shined in certain instances last year, will see more carries with Brian Westbrook gone (oh I forgot, the Eagles don’t run the football). However, they’ll miss McNabb’s presence in the huddle, off the field and around the community. He was the face of a franchise that suffered through disappointment after disappointment and all the while McNabb stood tall. He performed when he was benched for Kolb last year, when T.O.-gate nearly made him go crazy, when Jeff Garcia’s success made people question his relevance, even from day one when Eagles fans booed him harshly because they wanted Ricky Williams (Eagles fans, you get a fail for that one) McNabb took it all and succeeded. Not nearly as much as he wanted to, but the he carried himself and made Philadelphians respect him more that any Eagle in team history. Now he’s history.

The Eagles made the right move, but to the wrong team. Trading McNabb was bound to happen sooner or later, yet you have to wonder what the effects of this deal will have on the Eagles now, and in the near future. Guess we’ll find out starting next season when the two meet head to head.