29
Dec
09

Miscellaneous Tuesday

BEARS 36, VIKINGS 30 – Hell of a game to close out Monday Night Football for the year.  The Bears controlled the first half, but Brett Favre rallied the Vikings in the second half.  The Vikings’ special teams repeatedly failed them and allowed the Bears to have great field position throughout the game.  Jay Cutler threw 4 TD’s and only 1 INT and finally looked like the guy the Bears thought they were getting at the beginning of the year.  I was impressed with his performance especially because he didn’t have Devin Hester and lost Johnny Knox early on.  Game MVP has to go to Bears WR Devin Aromashodu who had 7 catches for 150 yards and the game winning TD catch in OT.  It seemed like every time Cutler needed a big play Aromashodu made it.  The Vikings came out pretty flat and though they looked good in the second half, seem to be headed in the wrong direction as the playoffs approach.  Their loss allowed New Orleans to clinch the NFC’s #1 seed and means they no longer control their own destiny for the #2 seed.

EAGLES NOW CONTROL THEIR OWN DESTINY – Thanks to the Bears victory mentioned above, the EAGLES are now in the driver’s seat for the #2 seed in the NFC and the bye that comes with it.  All that stands in their way is a game against the loathed and despised Dallas Cowgirls.  Win that game and the Eagles are the #2 seed, lose it and they could fall to #6.  I’ll be posting more about this later in the week, but man this game just got even bigger. 

TEXAS TECH MAY NEED A NEW HEAD COACH – Tech’s head coach Mike Leach was suspended last night by the university for its upcoming bowl game because of allegations that he mistreated one of his players (who was later revealed to be the son of ESPN’s Craig James).  The James family accuses Leach of severe mistreatment of their son (who had suffered a concussion).  Leach’s lawyer counters that while James’ son was sequestered from the team, he was not at all mistreated.  Today Leach’s lawyer filed a motion that would grant a restraining order that would allow him to coach the bowl game.  I have no idea how this story will shake out but the writing seems to be on the wall for Mike Leach.  Given the somewhat nasty divorce between Kansas and former head coach Mark Mangino due to allegations of player misconduct, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Texas Tech and Mike Leach parting company soon. 

This raises a somewhat broader issue for me though.  Over the last few years we’ve seen coaches all over college sports get fired or resign due to allegations of “mistreatment” of their players.  I put mistreatment in quotes b/c it seems to me that when a program is flourishing, all kinds of behavior is overlooked, allowed, and probably even rewarded.  But when that program goes south or suffers a few years of mediocre results, all of a sudden several players come forth and talk about all the bad things their coach did to them (Bob Knight anyone?).  I AM IN NO WAY EXCUSING PHYSICAL ABUSE OR NEGLECT BY COACHES.  Please don’t think that.  There certainly has to be a level of respect that the coaches must maintain towards their players (who we all forget are actually COLLEGE STUDENTS).  And if that bond of trust is  severely and repeatedly broken then the coaches absolutely MUST pay the penalty, no questions asked.

But there’s a fine line between lots of yelling, challenging a player’s manhood from time to time, and forced extra workouts or conditioning, and physically abusing a player.  I continue to be fascinated by the debate over what constitutes motivation v. what constitutes abuse when it comes to success in college sports these days.  Some of the toughest and most brutal coaches of yesteryear wouldn’t survive very long in this day and age.  Names like Lombardi and Halas and Bryant and Hayes and Schembechler would never have lasted long enough to make their marks on a program if they were coaching nowadays (and yes I know some of those guys coached in the pros).  Having never played sports on a collegiate level I wonder what those types of coaches really think about this issue.  Are players today too coddled and wimpy as a result or are the coaches are taking the stresses of their jobs out on their players and crossing lines?  The debate continues…

METS SIGN JASON BAY – Guess Omar Minaya read the blog last night and saw me making fun of him for the Escobar signing.  So today he made the widely expected “splash” of signing free agent OF Jason Bay for 4 years and about $66 million.  Bay immediately becomes the Mets’ starting leftfielder and David Wright’s new protection in the lineup.  I look forward to seeing Bay’s HR’s turned into doubles by his new home ballpark, Citi Field.  Way to do your homework Omar – I’m sure he’s going to make your lineup lethal. 

GO SEE AVATAR – It’s freakin’ amazing.  But don’t cheap out either.  SEE IT IN IMAX 3D.  There’s really no point in seeing it any other way.  I would bet that seeing it that way will one day be compared to seeing the original Star Wars in the theatre when it first came out.  Nicely done, Mr. Cameron.

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