Life

Will Pete Carroll Go Back to the NFL?


Add me to the list of people who think this is a bad idea, if there is such a list:


Carroll's NFL experience was a lifetime ago; ten years is a long time to be out of the day to day grind. As good as USC has been, and as good as the competition has been, that's still not the NFL and no one can convince me otherwise.

Is Seattle the right organization? It's not a terrible organization, not by a long shot. It's not Oakland, and it's not Kansas City and it's certainly not the Washington Redskins (which snapped up a man in Mike Shanahan who's only been out of a job for a few years, rather than an entire decade plus one season).

I picked up the photo from a blog called "Kornheiser's Cartel," which promised to be a sports blog angling to trade off a little of the Mr. Tony magic (without actually involving him, of course).

Alas, that blog has been dead in the water for months. It sputtered through March, going a week or better with no updates, and then died in April, just as baseball season was getting underway. Someone took the time to design the blog, and register "kornheiserscartel.com" and everything. And it died from neglect.

A coach's command of the NFL dies from neglect as well. Could Carroll get it back? Could Carroll succeed? Absolutely. But, the price of failure might leave him unable to walk away from the NFL and go back to a plum job like USC. As long as the program he has built is succeeding, why would he walk away? Carroll could take the Seattle job and make a splash. That's when I'm afraid the game, and the competitive nature of the league, plus the parity in talent, would begin to take a toll on Carroll's bag of tricks. All coaches die a slow, lingering death in the NFL--just ask Bill Belichick, the guy who replaced Carroll.

The Los Angeles Times reported Friday that Seahawks chief executive officer Tod Leiweke flew to California this week to interview Carroll for the job. ESPN.com, citing unidentified league sources, said an announcement of Carroll joining the Seahawks could come early next week.

"Pete's name comes out at this time every year. In the past, he hasn't commented on such reports," USC spokesman Tim Tessalone said in an e-mail to The Associated Press. "He was not expected in [Friday]. ... At this point, we have nothing to report."

A Seahawks spokesman inside the team's headquarters Friday refused to comment on Carroll. Carroll did not return a phone message left by The AP.

Leiweke did not respond to an e-mail from The AP asking about Carroll, who was 6-10 in 1994 with the New York Jets and then 27-21 while twice reaching the playoffs from '97-99 with the New England Patriots.

University of Washington coach Steve Sarkisian, who left his friend Carroll and the Trojans 12 months ago for his first head coaching job, chuckled when asked if he'd like to be a head coach in the same city as his mentor.

"That'd be kind of fun," Sarkisian said.

"I'm so used to hearing people talk about Pete Carroll going to the NFL, they've been saying it for the last seven years when I was with him, so it's not new to me," Sarkisian said. "It doesn't surprise me at all. Every year. You can't find a year in the last seven years where it hasn't been brought up."

Posted via web from TalkingSmackAboutSports

Tim Tebow Should Give Up Now and Forget About an NFL Career?

Always shoot for mediocre, don't try hard, and always expect to fail. Giving up before you try is what winners do. Hey, you know that, because these other guys failed, you're gonna fail too, right? Right?

Tim Tebow has been a great story, but I'm concerned about how this story ends. It's not the Florida fan in me, or the Tim Tebow fan in me, because neither fan exists. But the writer in me? The writer in me exists, and the writer in me is concerned. Writers love a good story, and we especially love a good ending. And Florida quarterback Tim Tebow's story should have ended Friday night in the Sugar Bowl. Not his story overall. I'm not asking for the young man to die. I'm asking for him to retire from football. Wouldn't that be perfect? Seriously -- I cannot imagine a better ending, a more fitting ending, for this once-in-a-lifetime football player than his immaculate Sugar Bowl performance, when he threw for 482 yards and ran for 51 and produced as many touchdowns (four) as incomplete passes. We should all be so lucky as to go out like that -- knowing our limitations, knowing we have reached the apex of our career, and leaving on our own terms. That would be like me winning a Pulitzer Prize and then smashing my laptop to pieces after accepting the award. (I'm never winning a Pulitzer; I know this. It's an analogy, people.) That would be like Bobby Bowden passing Bear Bryant with 324 career victories at the declining age of 72 and then stepping down (OK, another bad example). It would be like Jim Brown winning the NFL rushing title in 1965 and then, at age 29, retiring from football. It would be like Dodgers pitcher Sandy Koufax going 27-9 in 1966, the best season of his superstar career, and then retiring at age 30. It would be like Rocky Marciano knocking out three fighters in 12 months and then, in 1955, retiring at age 32.
No, it would most emphatically NOT be like any of those incidents. This is where the hubris of the sports commentator or writer interferes with reality. Mr. Doyel wants shining glory and perfect endings and familiar absolutes. The real world has none of these things when a person really strives to achieve something and has something left in the tank. You can compare two great quarterbacks--Joe Montana and John Elway. Montana felt he had more football in him, so he toughed it out and tried to add to his considerable legacy. Elway retired after winning a Superbowl. I would suspect that Elway's decision was different because he didn't feel that he had it in him to win a third Superbowl. That's his right, God bless him. His legacy takes no tarnish, nor, in my mind, does Montana's. Even Dan Marino continued on, having one of the most horrendous games of his career. Should that have finished him? It all comes down to the quality of his play and his determination to come back. It has nothing to do with making it easy for some jackass with a pen and paper to tie up loose ends. Competitors will always come out and play if they have it in them. Each pro athlete makes a tortured decision to retire. To say that a young man who is absolutely unformed and without one single snap in the NFL should give up before even trying is the height of absurdity. Let Mr. Tebow do whatever he wants.

Posted via web from TalkingSmackAboutSports

Put Bert Blyleven in the Hall of Fame


I heartily agree with Mr. Bert Blyleven's own case as expressed here:


Wins are a tough statistic to consider in baseball. But for a few timely runs, and a little bit better run support, Blyleven would easily have over 320 wins and would have been in the Hall of Fame years ago. This is not a case where he, as a pitcher, didn't start enough games. It's more a case of having to have played on some teams that had anemic hitting. Just the fact that he pitched 242 complete games is enough by me. That's an amazing feat, one that you won't see in the future. Mr. Blyleven deserves to be in the Hall of Fame. Period. End of story.

When talk of my Hall of Fame candidacy comes up, usually people like to point at my career win total of 287 as a reason I shouldn’t be elected to Cooperstown. The so-called magic number of wins for automatic induction is said to be 300, and obviously I come up short in that department.
But in my opinion, wins are one of the hardest things to come by, and a pitcher can only do so much to control whether he wins a game. You can control your walks, you can control your strikeouts and your innings pitched. You can control whether you go nine innings by the way you approach a game. But one thing you often can’t control is wins and losses. It’s very difficult.
When I first came up in 1970 at age 19, I won my first game 2-1. My second game I lost 2-1. So after two starts, I had allowed three runs in 14 innings (1.93 ERA), but was just 1-1. That just shows you how hard it is, and it made me work harder. Maybe that’s why I was able to pitch 22 seasons in the majors, because I was so stubborn.
If you allow one run, but your team doesn’t score any runs, then you can’t earn the win. If your bullpen gives up a lead after you leave the game, then you can’t earn a win. Wins are a product of your team as a whole, and while the starting pitcher plays a significant role in who wins the game, he is not the only factor. The starter can only control so much.
Case in point: I lost 99 quality starts (at least six innings pitched while allowing no more than three runs) in my career, more than all but four pitchers since 1954. And I had 79 other quality starts in which I had no-decisions. That’s 178 quality starts in which I did not earn a win, yet people knock me for coming up 13 wins shy of 300.
Clearly, wins is a flawed stat, and I think observers of baseball are beginning to realize that. After all, this year’s Cy Young winners were Zack Greinke (16 wins) and Tim Lincecum (15). Both are great pitchers and deserving of the award, but neither led their league in wins.
One thing a pitcher can control is how far he lasts in each start. The better you pitch, the longer you last. This saves wear and tear on your bullpen, which in turn helps the starters who follow you in the rotation. Every time you pitch a complete game, your team benefits. That’s why I think complete games and shutouts are better stats to look at than wins.
I made 685 starts in my 22 seasons, and threw 242 complete games, so I went the distance in 35.3 percent of my starts. Compare that to Hall of Fame pitchers from my era and I stack up well. Phil Niekro completed 34 percent of his starts, Nolan Ryan 29 percent, Tom Seaver 35.7 percent and Steve Carlton 35.8 percent. Ferguson Jenkins (45 percent) and Gaylord Perry (44 percent) were the most impressive from my era in that department.






Was I Really That Wrong About Brett Favre?

This is not an attempt to dishonestly "walk back" things that I have said about Minnesota Vikings quarterback Brett Favre. It does tell you why I said what I said:

As it turns out, Chilly isn't such a chump after all. Sean Jensen of the St. Paul Pioneer Press reports that, both before and after the "heated discussion" that Vikings coach Brad Childress claims wasn't a "heated discussion," Childress targeted some heated words at members of his team. Per Jensen, the offense got it at halftime, and Favre himself was the target after the game, presumably after Favre aired the dirty laundry to the media. At the half, Childress reportedly cursed at the team and said it's "laughable" that the Vikings consider themselves a Super Bowl team. Though a kinder, gentler Chilly emerged on Monday, Jensen writes that "all is not well between Brad and Brett, and the primary difference centers on the quarterback's penchant to check out of runs and into passes." And so, as several of you have suggested in the comments, it sounds like there's finally a schism in Minnesota. Favre might not have known what the term meant in August, but we've got a feeling that he knows it now.
Originally, I took the line that Favre was finished. That turned out to be wrong--his season has been productive and fantastic. He is not finished. Therefore, my main point was proven absolutely wrong. Like the good blogger that I am, I did my penance.

I did say he was a cancer and a diva who could ruin a team, and that's born out by what you see above. I don't believe in team "chemistry," but I do think that if your star quarterback is an aging veteran who has had a lot of success coming back from injuries and has helped the team win games, fighting with the coach as the team begins to take a December swoon is a recipe for disaster.

Posted via web from TalkingSmackAboutSports

Coach Bobby Knight Puts a Turd Right Square Into the Punchbowl


It should come as no surprise that I am a Bobby Knight fan. He coached men's basketball in the NCAA the way that it is supposed to be coached. He graduated his players and he played by the rules. More important than the wins, he taught and instructed boys and helped make them into men.

Coach Knight repeated something yesterday that I've been saying for months about John Calipari:


Yes, it is a disgrace, and as I have pointed out here, here, and here, it's entirely the fault of an NCAA that refuses to deal with problems and apply even standards to every program in the NCAA. It is true that Kentucky took a hit this season--not the death penalty, but, rather, a minor penalty that had no bearing on the start of their season. The answer to your next question is a question of my own: how many times are you going to see a PAC 10 men's basketball team on ESPN or CBS this season and how many times are you going to see Kentucky on television?

Bob Knight said integrity is lacking in college basketball and cited Kentucky coach John Calipari as an example.

During a fundraiser for the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame, Knight said he doesn't understand why Calipari is still coaching.

"We've gotten into this situation where integrity is really lacking and that's why I'm glad I'm not coaching," he said. "You see we've got a coach at Kentucky who put two schools on probation and he's still coaching. I really don't understand that."

Massachusetts and Memphis were both sanctioned by the NCAA for violations committed during Calipari's tenure.

Knight, who won a record 902 games as coach of Army, Indiana and Texas Tech, did not elaborate or take questions from reporters.

But for more than 90 minutes Thursday, Knight recounted tales from his coaching days, stories from the recruiting trail, lessons he passed along to players and, oh yes, even a new critique of the NCAA.

Posted via web from TalkingSmackAboutSports

Tiger Woods May Have Been Using Prescription Painkillers

  12th Hole, Augusta National

Do you buy any of this? I certainly don't know what to make of it. When the incident happened, the first thing I went to was the possibility that Tiger Woods may have been impaired in some way by pain killers. Why? Because of his injuries. Because of the relentless way in which he continues to play, despite the wrenching effect that it has on his knees. Because that's far more plausible than anything else, and I was hoping I was wrong. Sadly, here it is over a week and a half later, and someone finally starts to ask questions about this particular angle:

On "The Early Show" Monday, Gerald Posner, the site's chief investigative correspondent, told co-anchor Harry Smith, "Somebody familiar with Tiger's medical treatment, back at the end of 2007, right after he tore his ligament in his left knee, around the time of the British Open, to the end of the year, said that he was dosing with prescription pain killers, opiates, at a time that one doctor was concerned enough about potential addictive possibility that he had a person personal talk with Tiger to ramp down the dosing.

"And then at the time of the car accident, I spoke withdraw made trauma doctors who said when EMT (emergency medical technicians) arrived, what they should have found, you've hit a hydrant, you've smashed into a tree, the rear of your car's been broken with a golf club by your wife, you have lacerations on your face, what happens? Your adrenal glands pump out adrenalin. It shoves blood into your brain and your muscles, and you're hyper-vigilant. That happens whether you're 75 or 15 years old. For a 33-year-old world-class athlete like Tiger Woods, he should have been up and around, walking and very alert, with the adrenalin rush. ... (But) he (was found) laying on the grass, snoring. He fell asleep, which raises the questions for some doctors -- was he on sleep agents or possibly on pain medications that may have dulled him? And we can't find out, because the Florida Highway Patrol didn't do a breathalyzer, a blood test or a urine test that night."

I had no idea he was, literally, banging a stable full of women. I had no idea what went through his mind when his wife likely clocked him with a golf club. I do know this--Tiger is a young man in a lot of pain, physical and emotional, and he has some holes in his psyche that aren't being filled with family, a beautiful wife, adulation, money, golf victories, or hardbody hotties who come running when he punches digits into his phone.

Posted via web from TalkingSmackAboutSports

Tiger Takes a Hit from Jesper Parnevik

Put this in the category of, "tell us how you really feel:"

In the most critical comment from a player, Jesper Parnevik said he owed Elin Nordegren an apology for introducing her to Tiger Woods. She once worked as a nanny for the Parnevik family. “We probably thought he was a better guy than he is,” Parnevik told The Golf Channel from West Palm Beach, Fla., where he is in the final stage of PGA Tour qualifying. Police said Woods’ wife told them she smashed out the back window of his Cadillac Escalade SUV with a golf club to help get him out after he struck a fire hydrant and tree early last Friday. “I would probably need to apologize to her and hope she uses a driver next time instead of a 3-iron,” Parnevik said, adding that he has not spoken to Woods since the accident. “It’s a private thing, of course,” the Swede said. “But when you are the guy he is — the world’s best athlete — you should think more before you do stuff ... and maybe not ‘Just do it,’ like Nike says.”
Notice how Parnevik goes directly at Tiger's money with that "Just do it" remark? That's some serious smack talking. Do you think that went too far? I don't. I think Parnevik has gotten some heat from his own people for putting the former Mrs. Nordegren in a world where she can now walk away with quite a bit of Tiger's money--what a terrible thing to do to a woman. As for the mental aspect, and the intimidation aspect, as it relates to golf, do you think Tiger is now finished as far as being able to break other players down? Do you think Tiger isn't going to go out there next year and run like a scared titty baby from Parnevik? What backs up your skills as a golfer is certitude, and I don't know how much of that Tiger has left. I really don't. I have to believe that Parnevik lives in Tiger's head now.

Posted via web from TalkingSmackAboutSports

Too Soon To Tell For Michigan State Men's Basketball

When I saw Michigan State play earlier this season, I said to myself, there's no way this is a number two team right now:

Erving Walker hit a go-ahead 3-pointer with 1:56 left and Florida hung on to upset No. 2 Michigan State 77-74 on Friday night in the Legends Classic. Walker finished with 12 points to help the Gators (5-0) remain undefeated. Durrell Summers missed two last-gasp 3-point attempts in the final minute. The Spartans (4-1) missed their chance to give coach Tom Izzo a record 341 victories at the school. Izzo will get another chance Saturday. Chandler Parsons scored 14 points to lead the Gators. Walker hit his 3 from beyond NBA range in front of Florida's bench for a 72-71 lead. Kalin Lucas scored 20 points for the Spartans. The Gators will play Rutgers in the championship game. Michigan State was knocked off because of some incredibly sloppy play. They hacked the Gators with bad fouls down the stretch and committed a whopping 23 turnovers. The Spartans also missed eight of 10 3-point attempts.
That's not to say that Florida is automatically that great, either. I hate early season rankings. It's nice to get some attention and give the players something to defend, but it seems unrealistic to say that Michigan State is now going to have something of a letdown of a season if they don't climb back up in the rankings. Wait until they have a half dozen Big Ten games under their belt. What I'd really like to see are games with teams from all the big conferences in the next few weeks before I sit down and start thinking about who's good and who isn't.

Posted via web from TalkingSmackAboutSports

Disciplinarian or Just a Nasty Human Being


I have to admit that, until this morning, I knew nothing about Kansas Football Coach Mark Mangino. Now that I do, I wish I was still in my happy, ignorant bubble:

Former Kansas football players are speaking out about an investigation into allegations coach Mark Mangino has verbally abused or had inappropriate physical contact with players.

Former Jayhawks linebacker Mike Rivera, who plays for the Tennessee Titans, said Wednesday night he could not speak about the allegations. He plans to have a formal interview on the matter with representatives from Kansas in the next few days.

But five of Rivera's former teammates said they were not surprised by the investigation launched by athletic director Lew Perkins. And some relayed personal experiences with Mangino.

Former Kansas wide receiver Raymond Brown, who was a senior last season, said Mangino would often "say personal, hurtful, embarrassing things in front of people."

Brown cited two examples. He said that once, his younger brother had been shot in the arm in St. Louis. Then came a game.

"I dropped a pass and [Mangino] was mad," Brown said. "And I said, 'Yes, sir. Yes, sir.' The yelling didn't bother me. But then he said, 'Shut up!' He said, 'If you don't shut up, I'm going to send you back to St. Louis so you can get shot with your homies.' I was irate. I wanted to hurt him to be honest with you."


Now, is that intended to motivate players? Yes. Is it appropriate? No. It should have been done differently. I think Coach Mangino would do well to change his approach. His approach has taken on a kind of Bobby Knight feeding frenzy situation, and that tends to go downhill fast.

Being hard on players is necessary. That added extra dose of personal nastiness is what is unacceptable. Constantly telling a player that he will go back to being on the block with his homeys is a tad bit racist, when you think about it. Mangino needs to motivate his players in a more positive way, such as, making them wear pink dresses or walk around with baby bottles stuck in the face guard of their helmets. Humiliate without using personal issues, in other words. Losing has begun to shine a light on Mangino and his methods, and few coaches can stand up to scrutiny when they're losing. Hell, Mangino looks like he's about to explode and go down with a massive coronary anyway.

Posted via web from TalkingSmackAboutSports

That Ricky Williams Sure is a Good Football Player

Given his strange odyssey, games like this one are worth noting:

Ricky Williams showed he's still got it.

The 32-year-old Williams rushed for 119 yards and scored three touchdowns, and the Dolphins beat the Carolina Panthers 24-17 on Thursday night for their fourth win in six games to get into the AFC playoff picture.

A day after learning Brown is lost for the season to a foot injury, the Dolphins (5-5) continued their surge after an 0-3 start behind Williams. The 2002 NFL rushing champion had a receiving and rushing touchdown in the same game for the first time in his career that included a couple of lost seasons.

"Coach always talks about finishing," Williams said. "Sometimes in this league, in a physical game, it's difficult to finish. I think in the past we've prided ourselves on finishing games and we did a good job tonight."


There aren't many 32 year-old running backs who could do half of what Williams did against Carolina (yes, the photo above shows Ricky running against Jacksonville; Jacksonville and Carolina occupy the same space in my head).

Posted via web from TalkingSmackAboutSports