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Here's the deal. I can be "opinionated". If you like what you see, please come back from time to time. If you don't like what you see, you can come back too.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Stevie & stupidity

I really wasn’t planning to post something about Stevie-gate. 
But the over-reaction keeps going overboard.
First it was Bob Costas and his pompous old-fart commentary Sunday night.  He sounded so old and grumpy he made Andy Rooney seem young and cheerful.  In fact, he made Andy Rooney seem alive.
Then it was New York Jets defensive tackle Sione Pouha getting his moment in the spotlight.   Pouha said Stevie’s airplane crashing routine was insensitive to the 9/11 attacks.  Pouha, who by the way was going to college in Utah when 9/11 happened and didn’t even become a Jet until four years later, apparently has been kicked in the head a few times during pileups.
If you use his logic, aren’t the Jets being insensitive because they didn’t change their name after the attacks?  Maybe they should be the New York Towers.
Personally, I think the Jets are insensitive to the residents of New York State because they still call themselves the New York Jets even though they play in New Jersey.  For that matter, the fact that their coach has a foot fetish and their quarterback has a thing for high school girls makes them insensitive to perverts everywhere.
But I digress.
Let’s get back to Stevie.
Here’s the capper.  Today the NFL fined him $10,000.  Really?  Give me a break.  Yes, Stevie showed poor taste in mocking Plaxico Burress for shooting himself in the thigh.  But it was kind of funny.  After all, Plaxico did one of the dumbest things a professional football player has ever done.  (and we’re talking about NFL players…not too many Mensa members in that bunch)  Personally, I think Plaxico’s jail sentence was as long as it was because it included time for stupidity.  Plus the fact that he was wearing sweatpants to a nightclub.   At least they weren’t Zubaz.
But back to Stevie and his celebration.  His long, overdrawn, overly exuberant celebration.  Which leads me to my opinion on what he did.  Actually, I have several opinions.
First, I don’t have a problem with the Plaxico thing. I do have a problem with when he did it.  The great showboaters like Terrell Owens know there’s the right time to make an ass of yourself and the wrong time.  Stevie picked the wrong time.  If he had actually caught Fitzpatrick’s pass at the end of the game instead of dropping it and scored a dramatic go-ahead touchdown with a minute to go, I’d have had no problem.  But he did it in the first half.  Of a very hard-fought game.  Bad timing.  Really bad timing.
But his stupidity caused a bigger problem than his ego.  He broke the rules.  He fell to the ground.  And that’s a penalty.  In this case, a penalty that started a really bad chain of events that led to a Jets touchdown.
No, he didn’t lose the game for the Bills.  He helped the Bills lose.  But he had a lot of help.  Let’s not forget that when the Bills had a three-point lead late in the game, the defense stopped the Jets and forced a punt….and the Bills offense could have run out the clock.  Or at least gotten a couple of first downs and made it harder for the Jets to come back. 
But they went three and out.  So the Bills defense had its chance to win the game.  And they didn’t.  Remember the third and eleven that the Jets converted to a first down?
Look, Stevie is what he is.  A decent wide receiver capable of making big plays, but also capable of dropping passes at critical times.  He can be very entertaining.  And very frustrating.
He wants to be the center of attention.  Nothing wrong with that.  But I hope he’ll get that attention for what he does on the field.  Big games.  Big catches.  Big touchdowns.  Not big screw-ups.
I hope he’ll be a Bill for a long time.  And I hope there will be more celebrations.  I just hope he uses more common sense, and better timing.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

What Buffalo sports fans can be thankful for this year

It certainly doesn’t seem like Buffalo sports fans have much to be thankful for this Thanksgiving.  We’ve had more than our share of turkeys this year.
A Bills season that started out so well has gone down the toilet faster than Ryan Fitzpatrick could sign his name on that contract extension…..and now with Fred Jackson out for the year, is there really any hope at all?
But in the spirit of the holiday, here’s my list of things we really can be thankful for.
First, Terry Pegula.
Second, Terry Pegula.
Third through 10th, Terry Pegula.
I know the Sabres haven’t been world beaters, and there are still questions about talent at center and overall team grit…..but does anyone doubt that this team will win the Cup?  Does anyone doubt that Pegula will spend whatever it takes and do whatever it takes?
I’m thankful that even though they’ve gone from exciting to embarrassing, they’re still the BUFFALO Bills.  Not Toronto or Los Angeles or God knows what other big-market city is salivating for an NFL team.  And yes, when Ralph goes to wherever it is he’ll end up when he leaves this world, there’s a better chance that the team will leave than stay….but call me an optimist.  They’re talking lease extension (and even though the politicians could screw it up, I don’t think they will) and we’ve heard enough rumblings about potential new ownership groups that I remain hopeful.
Speaking of the Bills, I’m thankful that we haven’t learned they’ve been pulling a “Weekend at Bernie’s” thing with Ralph.
I’m thankful we’ve had half a great season from Fred Jackson.  (And perhaps he’s thankful he no longer has to carry a team that underpays him and wasted a draft pick on CJ Spiller)
I’m thankful that Stevie Johnson hasn’t gotten any headlines for his Twitter posts and pictures this year.  On the other hand, I wish I could be thankful for the way he’s playing.
I’m thankful that David Nelson isn’t dating one of the Jills.
I’m thankful that we seem to finally have a real tight end.  I’m looking forward to being thankful for him being a major part of the offense.
I’m thankful that Ryan Fitzpatrick hasn’t hurt a fan in the stands with an errant throw.
I’m thankful that OJ is still in prison.  I’m also thankful he hasn’t killed anyone else.  (allegedly)
Back to the Sabres….I’m thankful for Nathan Gerbe.  Don’t you just love the way he plays?  I wish he had been on the ice when Lucic plowed into Miller.
I’m thankful more players don’t tell Bucky Gleason what goes on in the locker room.
 I’m thankful the slug is gone.  (not Tim Connolly, the logo)
I’m thankful the Sabres still have Thomas Vanek.  Yes, they overpaid because they screwed up his contract talks and let Edmonton dictate the terms….but I think I’m going to be thankful that he’s going to turn into the beast who took over the Frozen Four at HSBC Arena and made Sabres fans want him on the team in the first place.
I’m thankful for cup holders above urinals.  I liked the idea so much, I decided to put one in my bathroom at home.
I’m thankful for Mike Schoop.  I love the way he always agrees with his callers and treats them with such respect.
I’m thankful for UB football.  Really.  It’s the closest thing we have to college football.
But most of all, I’m thankful that I’m a Buffalo sports fan.  Even though our hearts have been ripped out and stomped on by our teams, opposing teams, league officials, and fate….we still have hope.  We still believe, even though we may not Bill-ieve.
Happy Thanksgiving!                     

Thursday, November 10, 2011

The Penn State Scandal: So long, Joe

To the Penn State board of trustees: You did the right thing.  It took a few days, and maybe you did it out of reaction to Joe Paterno’s attempt to paint you into a corner….but you took the appropriate action.
To the Penn State students who staged that embarrassing pep rally at Paterno’s house Tuesday night and then protested last night: You’re young, you have the right to be stupid.  Someday you’ll realize that you let your passion for a campus legend overcome your ability to figure out the right priorities.
And to Joe Paterno: Yeah, in hindsight you wish you had done more.  In hindsight, I think the parents of the boys who were sexually abused or assaulted wish you had done a lot more.  They wish you had done the right thing.  And by the way, as you think about your legacy, think about the fact that the words “sex scandal” will join “winningest coach” in THE FIRST SENTENCE OF YOUR OBITUARY.
I still can’t believe the Penn State scandal got this big this fast.
And who knows where it will go from here.
Who knows what will happen when the team plays its last home game of the season Saturday against Nebraska.  Of course they’re going to play the game.  This scandal is horrific and growing worse every day, but 100,000 fans will cheer Penn State’s football team Saturday….and they have that right.  The game should be played. 
But at least Paterno won’t be on the sideline.  Can you imagine all those people cheering him despite learning what we’ve learned this week?  Can you imagine the victims and their families hearing those cheers?
Thank goodness the board of trustees prevented that.
Yesterday, when I heard that Paterno had announced he would retire at the end of the season and basically told the board “I do what I want….you don’t tell me what to do”, it made me angry.
He was trying to go out on his terms.  He fired that pre-emptive strike so he could coach his last game at Beaver Stadium, then finish out his final season and coach his final bowl game and go out with the glory he deserved.
And a lot of people think he should have gotten that opportunity.  A lot of people are really angry at the board for firing him.  How could they treat him this way after everything he’s done for all those years?  Did you hear the reaction when they announced it at last night’s news conference?  No one cared when they announced they had fired the college president….but when they made the announcement about Paterno, it was as if they had announced he had died.  Look at the students who protested last night.
I say good for the board.  It was the right decision.
Penn State is in for some very tough times.  There could be more criminal charges….we know there will be huge lawsuits….and the college has to do some major rebuilding of its reputation.
It’s going to take time, but I think firing Paterno is a huge step on the road to recovery.
I love college football.  And for years I’ve been a huge Joe Paterno fan.   I’ve also respected him a lot more than most coaches.  I respected the way he ran his program.  But not any more.  That’s one of the saddest parts of this.  This is now as big a part of his legacy as all those wins.  And that’s a very big loss.