Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Jerry Rice - A Dancing Fool? Perhaps.

#80 * Jerry Lee Rice * WR

Born: 13-Oct-1962
College: Mississippi Valley State
Height: 6-2 Weight: 196
Drafted: 1985, 1st Round San Francisco 49ers
Birth Place: Starkville, MS

Okay Jerry, if you say it's something that "Just Happened," I'll take it. Kinda like that time you were at the massage parlor in Palo Alto during a police sting operation, it "Just Happened" you were there getting a muscle rubdown and I took it then. You goto the Seattle Seahawks and ask Steve Largent, one of the few Seahawk Hall of Famers, permission to unretire his #80 jersey because you're Jerry Rice, the greatest receiver of all time, and it "Just Happened" that Largent didn't mind. I didn't like it, but I took it for what it was, Steve Largent being the more compassionate person. Even when Jerry came to my beloved Raiders and our Mr. Raider himself, Tim Brown, took a back seat to #80, it "Just Happend" that Jerry would be the leading Raiders pass receiver for that wonderful AFC Champion season. I took it because we were winning and all is good when your winning.

But now the greatest receiver of all time is telling us that his move to professional celebrity on the show "Dancing With the Stars" is something that "Just Happened." The kicker is when Jerry said, and I quote, "I'm working more now than when I played football." I just can't take that. Either Jerry is very hungry for attention of any kind or retirement has unmasked his so called competitive nature and revealed it for what it truly might be; a selfish need to do whatever Jerry wants regardless of how others feel.

He said his wife didn't want him home all the time. Also, his agent was initially against it, probably for fear of Jerry's image, which has remained flawless throughout his career. I think his agent's initial reaction was like most of us fans reactions; why would the greatest receiver of all-time want to go on a television show and dance while hollywood judges and TV viewers judge his dancing talent? He's the greatest receiver of all time for christsakes. If he wants to dance and compete, hire a private dancing instructor and compete on the professional dance ciruit. Hell, invite your wife to compete as your partner and make it a family thing. That I can take. But to allow judges and viewers to possibly make fun of the greatest receiver of all-time just doesn't sit well with me. He was recently a judge at last weekend's Miss America pageant, that I can get with. Jerry Rice crowning the young and beautiful Miss America. The greatest receiver and the pride of American beauty, lovely. But dancing on a show for the approval of some flaky judges and fickle viewers? Come on Jerry.

Seeing Jerry's gracelike moves from the football field appear feminine-like on a dance floor isn't my idea of work after retirement. Maybe those old homophobic feelings about dancers is rising in me and the problem is mine not Jerry's. Maybe I should run out and buy a $9.00 ticket to see "Brokeback Mountain" and say it's okay for all my old Western Movie heroes, (Lee Marvin, Clint Eastwood, Chuck Connors, Telly Savalas, Ernest Borgnine, Lee Van Cleef, Jim Brown, the Duke), to become more sensitive and understanding about survival together in the wild west. Hangup their colt45 pistols and put on a pair of dancing boots. Maybe the wild indians should have done a feel good dance instead of a war dance then gone out and greeted their enemies with love feathers. Or maybe I should just throw out my collection of old war movies in which Men looked and sounded dirty and tried blowing up each other for the sake of becoming a hero. Shame on us American born men of old.

I know I should support Jerry in whatever post-retirment activities he decides to participate in, but I guess I've always held a higher standard for Jerry Rice. When some football hating fool would ask why I wasted so much of my time watching football on sundays I'd ask him if he'd ever seen Jerry Rice catch a one-handed pass and stride gazelle-like for a sixty yard touchdown? When my 49er friend named his son Jerry in honor of his and my football receiving hero, I considered fatherhood just to have a son I could name J.R., forget the fact that my wife and I are now divorced, I'd still have little Jerry to celebrate sunday football with. Wonder how my friend and now 10yr old son J.R. are handling this?

Here's my beef in a nutshell on why I will not watch Jerry Rice dance to the stars:

Jerry Rice is a football Icon. His name will be associated with the NFL forever. He played during my era and in the bay area where I live. He played with possibly the greatest quarterback of all-time in Joe Montana. He holds almost every receiving record some of which will probably not be broken in my lifetime. He was born on October 13, 1962, only eight days after my own birthdate. His favorite team growing up was the Cowboys, as was mine. I was also a Split End on my high school football team as was Jerry. No, I don't cha cha. I guess I relate myself with Jerry so much though that I'm just protective of how he's viewed and how he'll be remembered.

I want to be able to say that I saw Jerry Rice play football without hearing a new generation of kids say, "you mean that bald guy who tried shaking his booty on TV and had no rhythm was a star receiver in football?" I want to be able to say Jerry was the greatest receiver ever period, not the greatest receiver but the worse dancer. I want Jerry Rice's name to be synonymous with Football and football only. Am I wrong for feeling that way? I guess I'd have to watch a sensitive chickflick to know or care why I feel the way I feel. I just know that I feel that way about football and it's heroes and as much as I try to accept Jerry's decision to dance, I keep getting this sickly feeling as if we've lost something special in sports. Maybe I'm just an old dinosaur who's time has passed. But I know one thing for sure, this old dinosaur ain't dancing for nobody.

Some of his accomplishmetns are:

* Played in 3 winning Super Bowls
* Super Bowl MVP
* NFL Player of The Year
* Pro Bowl invitee 13 times
* First in NFL history to score 200 touchdowns
* 28 receptions - 512 yards - 7 TDs in three Super Bowls
* Led the NFL in Total Receptions twice
* First in Receiving Yards six times
* First in Receiving TDs six times
* Led the NFL in Total TDs twice
* All time NFL leader in Total Receptions
* All time NFL leader in Total Receiving Yards
* All time NFL leader in Total Receiving TDs
* Second all time NFL leader in Total Yards From Scrimmage
* All time NFL leader in Total TDs

Jerry Rice, Football Player

Wide receiver Jerry Rice is the National Football League's all-time leader in receptions, yards and touchdowns. Rice played college ball at Mississippi Valley State, where he caught 310 passes for 4,856 yards and 51 touchdowns in 42 games. He began his professional career in 1985 when he was picked 16th in the first round of the draft by the San Francisco 49ers. With the 49ers he became one of the NFL's biggest stars, catching pass after pass from quarterback Joe Montana and then from Montana's successor, Steve Young. Rice played for the 49ers from 1985-2000, winning Super Bowls in 1989, 1990 and 1995. He later played for the Oakland Raiders (2001-2004) and the Seattle Seahawks (2004). In 2005, at the age of 42, Rice signed a one-year contract to play for the Denver Broncos, but retired before the season began. At his retirement, the NFL Record and Fact Book listed Rice with 38 different NFL records, including career totals of 1,549 receptions, 22,895 yards and 197 touchdowns.

Rice wore jersey number 80 throughout his pro career, but with Denver he had to change his jersey number. He picked 19, the same number chosen by his former 49ers teammate Joe Montana when Montana moved to the Kansas City Chiefs in 1993... Rice caught at least one pass in 274 consecutive games from 1985 through 2004 -- another NFL record.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

The Movie High Tension, or in French - Haute Tension, Will Leave You Breathless With Your Mouth Open.

I visited my local video store tonight looking for a good movie to watch. I'd just seen the action movie "Transporter II" the night before and was highly entertained. The new clerk at the store was a character. The only way to describe him is to say that he's a person that you meet and then talk about later. Haunting with tatooed hands, monotone voice and no movement in his face when he talks. Yeah, Haunting. But when it comes to movies he's as knowledgeable as Siskell and Ebert, or whichever one of that duet that's still alive, the fat one I think. Anyways, this hauntingly knowledgeable video store clerk convinced me to rent the movie High Tension. For that suggestion I must give him my "clerk of the month" award. He told me the movie was a foreign movie that had been out since 2003. He'd said that the lead actress was a known French actress and very good. He knew the work of the director and special effects persons on the film and said it was the original French uncut version which is the best. When he said that the movie stays with you long after you've finished watching it I decided to rent it, even if it was in French with English subtitles as he'd led me to believe.

Once home I discover the movie has a choice of English or French language, a true suprise and treat. Naturally I chose English. I used the english subtitles just because of the french accents, and the fact that I didn't want to miss a thing. Well, five minutes into the movie I am given a visual effect that sets the tone for what would be a Fantastic Horror/Psychological Thriller movie.

Who would've thought that the French could make a movie in the horror genre that could blow away the latest horror from Hollywood? The movie was made on a low budget, compared to Hollywood prices, yet there was nothing cheap or lacking in this thriller. You'll find yourself immediately pulled into the story and the suspense will convincingly keep you pinned to your seat. I was guilty of rewinding scenes a few times just to get the rush again. Awesome! If you like horror or suspense you've gotta do yourself a favor and see this movie. The sounds, visuals, camera angles, actors and actresses all make you feel like you're in the movie and scared to death of what may happen next.

I'll be watching this movie again with friends tomorrow afternoon. What a way to start my offseason football Sundays by watching Horror at its best. The movie "High Tension" also pays tribute to horror movies of the past with some familiar yet refreshed horror props. Who would've thought that it would take the French to bring back that good ole horror of yesteryear. When the buildup in your head was scarier than all the blood in Hollywood. Hats off to the movie "High Tension" for being everything a horror movie should be and more. Rent it before someone tries to tell you about it and ruins the entire movie for you. I promise that you won't be disappointed.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Plague - Flu - Influenza: Whatever the name, it's Deadly

Soon the plague was everywhere. And no one was safe.
The sickness preyed on the young and the healthy. One day you are fine, strong and invulnerable. You might be busy at work in your office. Or maybe you are knitting a scarf for the brave troops fighting the war to end all wars. Or maybe you are a soldier reporting for basic training your first time away from home and family.

You might notice a dull headache. your eyes might start to burn. you start to shiver and you will take to your bed, curling up in a ball. But no amount of blankets can keep you warm. you fall into a restless sleep, dreaming the distorted nightmares of delirium as your fever climbs. And when you drift out of sleep, into a sort of semi-consciousness, your muscles will ache and your head will throb and you will somehow know that, step by step, as your body feebly cries out "no," you are moving steadily toward death.

It may take a few days, it may take a few hours, but there is nothing that can stop the disease's progress. Doctors and nurses have learned to spot the signs. Your face turns a dark brownish purple. You start to cough up blood. Your feet turn black. Finally, as the end nears, you frantically gasp for breath. A blood-tinged saliva bubbles out of your mouth. You die - by drowning, actually - as your lungs fill with reddish fluid.

And when a doctor does an autopsy, he will observe your lungs lying heavy and sodden in your chest, engorged with a thin bloody liquid, useless, like slabs of liver.

Excerpt from the book "Flu: The Story of the Great Influenza Pandemic of 1918 and the Search fo the Virus That Caused It." by Gina Kolata

With all the talk about this Bird Flu in Southeast Asia I began re-reading a book that I never quite finished. People are now starting to look back at the year 1918 and the Influenza Flu that came and went like a thief in the night, stealing the lives of over 1.5 million Americans alone. Rather than try to find out more about it over the years it seems the country and the rest of the world just swept the catastrophic event under the rug. They never found out what caused it or where it really came from. This book claims that it started somewhere in Kansas and touched on every part of the world. It came during a time of World War and might have caused an early end to the war. If you look at different records for the year 1918 you may find a drop in activity or no activity at all. Such was the effects this Flu had on all aspects of life during that time. It was compared to the Black Death of the middle ages, and the scary part about it is that they expect it to return someday. I hope we're ready. Actually the scariest thought is that it's a man-made virus that was created by a country as a weapon of war and was accidently unleashed on the world in 1918. Why else would there be hardly anything about this deadly flu.

As an avid reader I sometimes come across books that just down right scare the shit out of me because it's about something that's so real. This, is one of those books. Frankenstein and Dracula, Freddy and Jason, The Wicked Witch of the West and all those ugly Monkeys didn't make me tremble and shake like The Story of the Great Influenza Pandemic of 1918. I should end my panicky comment with a line from the book that makes me feel it could happen again.

"Scientists have recently discovered shards of the flu virus in human remains frozen in the Arctic tundra and in scraps of tissue preserved in a government warehouse."

Yes, PRESERVED in a government warehouse. Give me Michael Meyers from Halloween with butcher knife in hand any day. Just don't tell me the next cold I get could be my last.

Crime Doesn't Pay

Remember the Cleveland Browns fan who ran onto the field during a game against Pittsburgh during the season? Well, he won't be running anywhere come Super Bowl Sunday or future football seasons to follow. He's been grounded by a Cleveland judge with the most cruel and painful punishment you can dole out to a NFL football fan. He may have wished he'd taken the 30 day jail sentence instead. Here's the story:


Nathan Mallett, 24, will begin his three-day sentence on Feb. 3 and won't be allowed to watch the Feb. 5 game on television or listen to it on radio.

Municipal Court Judge Joan Synenberg ordered Mallett not to attend Browns games in Cleveland or any other city for five years as a condition of his probation. He also must perform 150 hours of community service with Browns charities. He could have been sentenced to up to 30 days in jail.

Mallett, who expressed remorse in court, was convicted earlier this month of misdemeanor counts of disorderly conduct while intoxicated and criminal trespassing.

He has said he raced onto the field because he was upset by Pittsburgh's 41-0 win over the Browns on Dec. 24. His jaunt ended when Steelers linebacker James Harrison body-slammed him onto the ground and held him for police.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Seattle Beats Carolina To Advance To SBXL.

Congratulations Seattle Seahawks for advancing to the Super Bowl for their first time ever. This one is for all those great Seahawks players that never made it to the big one:

Dave Krieg
Curt Warner
Steve Largent
Brian Boswell
Jim Zorn (1st franchise Quarterback, is going to this Super Bowl as Quarterbacks Coach)

Seattle is going to their first Super Bowl and has a good chance of winning it all. In beating the Carolina Panthers today 34-14, they made it look easy. Their offense was clicking, their defense was relentless and their coach made all the right calls. The Panthers QB Jake Delhomme had his worse playoff game today, turning the ball over and being off target on many passes. Credit the Seattle defense for shutting down Panthers WR Steve Smith. Without much of a running game (starting RB Deshaun Foster not playing due to injury) the Panthers seemed one dimensional on offense while Seattle RB/league MVP Shaun Alexander ran roughshod over the 3rd ranked Carolina defense.

This makes for a good Super Bowl matchup, two teams with strong defenses and reliable offenses. Mike Holmgren will be taking his second team to the Super Bowl and would be the only coach to win two Super Bowls with different teams should Seattle win it. In this game Mike Holmgren seemed to loosen up on his conservative offensive approach and allow his QB to open it up a bit with passes. That may have been the difference in the game. The passing of Matt Hassleback had the Carolina Defense off balance and allowed Shaun Alexander to do what he does best, run through defenses.

Again, Congratulations Seattle Seahawks for winning the 2005 NFC Championship. Good luck in Super Bowl XtraLarge.

Pittsburgh Beats Denver To Advance to SBXL

The Pittsburgh Steelers made history by advancing to Superbowl XL. The Steelers defeated the Denver Broncos 34-17 with trademark defensive pressure on the opposing quarterback and smart play by their own QB.

The Broncos never really threatened and unfortunately Denver QB Jake Plummer was pressured into two interceptions and a fumble that will give more ammunition to his critics. Word is that Jake will lose you the game if pressured and well.....he lost under pressure. Denver coach Mike Shanahan should take some of the blame for this loss. He didn't make the adjustments necessary to get his team back into the game. But with the way the Steelers have been playing I don't know if any adjustment would have changed the outcome.

I credit the Pittsburgh Steeler's hunger for winning and their Nerves-of-Steel coach Bill Cowher for keeping them focused on the ultimate prize. The Steelers are the first sixth seeded team to make it to a Super Bowl, and they did it by beating AFC seeds one(Indianapolis), two(Cincinnati) and three(Denver). Pittsburh was not your average sixth seed in the playoffs and they showed why.

Conratulations 2005 AFC Champion Pittsburgh Steelers, and good luck in Super Bowl XtraLarge.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Hamster Charisma Charms Away Snake's Appetite

I thought I'd heard it all. Dogs saving lives of cats, Gorillas lip-synching Sinatra tunes, even tigers living in NYC apartments as pets. But this one gives new meaning to the infamous Rodney King quote, "Can't we all just get along."

Getting along is just what this snake and hamster, normarlly predator and prey, are doing. We'll never know if it was the Hamster's Charisma or the Snakes Loneliness that brought about this animal attraction. But in today's dog eat dog world, where the sly snakes of society coldly feed on the meek mice of men, any friendship among adversaries is a welcome hope for future negotiations between all living creatures.

One World!

Here's the story for you:

Hamster, Snake Best Friends at Tokyo Zoo

Thursday, January 19, 2006

This hamster was supposed to be a meal for the ratsnake. ...

(01-19) 17:03 PST TOKYO, Japan (AP) --

Gohan and Aochan make strange bedfellows: one's a 3.5-inch dwarf hamster; the other is a four-foot rat snake. Zookeepers at Tokyo's Mutsugoro Okoku zoo presented the hamster — whose name means "meal" in Japanese — to Aochan as a tasty morsel in October, after the snake refused to eat frozen mice.

But instead of indulging, Aochan decided to make friends with the furry rodent, according to keeper Kazuya Yamamoto. The pair have shared a cage since.

"I've never seen anything like it. Gohan sometimes even climbs onto Aochan to take a nap on his back," Yamamoto said.

Aochan, a 2-year-old male Japanese rat snake, eventually developed an appetite for frozen rodents but has so far shown no signs of gobbling up Gohan — despite her name.

"We named her Gohan as a joke," Yamamoto chuckled. "But I don't think there's any danger. Aochan seems to enjoy Gohan's company very much."

The Tokyo zoo also keeps a range of mostly livestock animals, and promotes "cross-breed interaction," according to Yamamoto.

But Gohan and Aochan's case was "was a complete accident," Yamamoto said.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Champ-ions of Divisional Playoff Weekend.It Took a champ to beat a champ - Champ Bailey.

The Thrill of Victory and the Agony of Defeat. That one liner pretty much sums up the feelings of the eight NFL teams and their fans this weekend. The four teams rewarded with the Thrill of Victory:
Seattle Seahawks
Denver Broncos
Pittsburgh Steelers
Carolina Panthers

All did it with tough Defense and good Quarterbacking. There was some pretty bad officiating throughout the weekend but no one call determined the outcome of any game. So for the four teams that suffered the Agony of Defeat:
Washington Redskins
New England Patriots
Indianapolis Colts
Chicago Bears

Thank you for participating in the NFL's 2005 Playoffs. There are no parting gifts to be picked up. Goodnight and we'll see you next season.

As for those teams celebrating a victory, Congratulations and we look forward to seeing you compete next week for the right to participate in Superbowl XL.

Though no rushers broke the 100 yard mark this weekend, there were four receivers who did. Two of those receivers were the difference in their teams winning the game:

Steve Smith 12-receptions 218-yards 2-Td's Carolina
Darrell Jackson 9-receptions 143-yards 1-Td Seattle

A special Honorable Mention is due to the Defensive player who helped his team win by providing a Knockout Punch. I give you "The Champ," or as one article read this morning, "It took a Champ to beat the champs":

Champ Bailey, Denver Broncos DB. His 100-yard interception Return to the 1-yard line was the highlight of a Champion. Never has a name fit a player so well in a defining moment in sports. Champ knocked the resilient Patriots down for an eight count on his interception return. Had the Patriots scored on that drive it would've been a totally different ball game. The momentum was with New England as QB Tom Brady picked apart the Broncos secondary to get them down to the Denver five yard line. So when Brady challenged "The Champ" with a pass thrown to his territory "The Champ" responded the only way he's known how in his seven year career. He knocked the Defending Champion Patriots the F*ck Out! Well, maybe he didn't knock them out but he sure staggered them enough to give the momentum back to his team. I, as well as most fans watching, just knew that Tom Brady would get his team into the endzone on that play. You could feel the Patriots confidence taking over the game. I believe even the Broncos were experiencing that familiar Patriots comeback and dominate rhythm to the game. Then it happened and the Broncos rode that one confidence boost toward their 27-13 Playoff win over the Patriots. Below is an excerpt from the NFL.com Wire Report on the play:

It didn't get really easy until Bailey changed the game.

The Patriots were moving the ball well in the third quarter. They cut a 10-3 deficit to four points on a field goal and had moved quickly to the Denver 5 for what could have been the go-ahead score.

But on third down from the 5, Bailey stepped in front Troy Brown in the end zone for the pick. He sprinted down the sideline and when he felt Kevin Faulk swipe at him helplessly about 70 yards into the trek, he thought he had it cinched.

Champions don't go down easily, though, and tight end Ben Watson wasn't quitting. Watson took an angle, and with Bailey slowing and bringing the ball down to his hip, Watson got there, knocked Bailey down and sent the ball flying out of bounds at the 1.

Or maybe through the end zone.

With Bailey lying on his back, grimacing and gasping for air, Belichick challenged the call, saying the ball flew out of the end zone, not at the 1, which would have given New England the ball back on a touchback.

"It was a great effort on his part," Belichick said of Watson.

But did it go out through the end zone?

"Go ask them," the coach said of the officials, who also set up Denver's first touchdown on a questionable pass-interference call in the end zone against Asante Samuel.

It was the kind of call a championship team might have gotten. With no decisive TV angle, though, the Pats didn't. On the next play, Mike Anderson scored his second 1-yard touchdown of the night and gave Denver a 17-6 lead.

I Witnessed Patriots Fans Bawling in their Beer

Yes, Yes. I watched the Broncos/Patriots Divisional Playoff game at a Bar full of Patriots fans. So I had to root for the Broncos. Well, I didn't really cheer for them to win as much as celebrated when they scored or made a play. I must admit, it felt a little weird celebrating a Broncos touchdown or interception, but I was in the same dilemma most Raiders fans were in during the game. Who should we want to see win the game? I finally decided on the Broncos as the lesser of the two evils because of what else, the Tuck Game of course.

For as often as I've cursed and booed the Broncos, that Tuck game in New England has given me reason to cheer against the Patriots every time, ever since. I wasn't quite sure going into the bar if I'd stick with backing the Broncos or not, but when I came in at half-time and saw the bar full of quiet Pats fans watching the game I just had to become a Bronco Booster for a night. I couldn't believe that their wasn't one Broncos fan in the bar. These folks were in a stunned mode and here I come with my Raiders gear celebrating a Tom Brady interception.

I only wish I'd video taped the faces of those fans when Champ Bailey intercepted that Brady pass in the endzone and returned it down to the one yard line. I swear those fans looked like they had to take a dump. That moment for me, and I'm sure for the Broncos, was truly Priceless. All the bad calls, fumbles and interceptions that went against the Patriots didn't make up for the Tuck game, but I can now replace some of that bitterness I still feel from that game with priceless memories of shocked Patriots fans faces as they suffered through their team's playoff game debaucle. I even got to see the Patriots fans empty out of the bar as if someone had died. I guess someone did die, all 53 of them in shoulder pads, cleats and a sobbing minuteman on the side of their helmets. And they'll be flying the corpses back to New England after the autopsy to figure out the cause of death on the field. What I saw was a collapse of the team's nervous system. They lost their nerve to fight back.

At some point during the night I overheard one Pats fan talking about the Raiders but he didn't dare speak out loud. They knew that their ten game playoff winning streak was over and it seemed that they'd lost a bit of that team spirit that has personified their play over the past few years. It was the Pats who were arguing with each other on the sidelines and falling apart when things weren't looking good. Tom Brady may have had one of his worse games in years. It was definitely his worse playoff game. And those Pats fans were hoping for Brady to turn into a Joe Montana and bring his team back, Not.

I think what will hurt the Patriots tomorrow is not so much that they lost but how they lost. They didn't go down fighting but went down in a cloud of mistakes and bad luck. The ball just didn't bounce their way in this game. I guess that's why they call it Homefield Advantage, because they didn't get the calls, the crowd noise was off the hook and in this case, the higher altitude may have been a factor.

So now all those football analysts can stop talking about Tom Brady and the Patriots as if their an invincible dynasty. If anything the analysts better start talking about the cracks and crevices that are causing the once proud dynasty to crumble and fall. Because when you really look at it, the Broncos did not dominate that game. I didn't even pick the Broncos to win this game thinking that Jake "The Snake" Plummer would revert back to his old interception throwing ways. The Broncos simply took advantage of the Patriots mistakes and the homefield advantage. Sorry New England Patriots Fans but tonight.........Your Team Sucked!

final score
Denver 27
New England 13

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Dungy's version of Monte Kiffin's 4-3 Defense

Back in the glory days of Nebraska football, Monte Kiffin developed a version of the 4-3 defense that eventually became the backbone of an NFL defense used by a number of teams.

Click Here to read the rest of this story by NFL.com senior analyst Pat Kirwan.

NFL Divisional Playoffs

Here we are in round two of the 2005 season Playoffs. Are you ready for some upsets? I can give you at least one reason why all four favored hometeams can lose this weekend. Here we go:

Seahawks: Redskins defense and passing game against weak Seattle secondary.
Colts: Steelers toughness on Defense and at QB. Colts could be rusty.
Bears: Panthers defense and better offense than Chicago.
Broncos: Patriots defense overall could rattle Denver QB (Jake Plummer).

Yes folks, Defense does win Championships. If it weren't for defense the teams playing this weekend couldn't have made it this far, except for Seattle who's schedule was full of lower ranking opponents. Questions to be answered by the favorites:

Can Seattle break it's streak of 6 playoff game losses?
Can Indianapolis shake off the rust from two meaningless games and a bye?
Can Chicago score against a third ranked defense?
Can Denver break the Patriots streak of 10 consecutive playoff wins?

These questions and more will be answered this weekend when the Divisional Playoff games kickoff.

My Picks for on the road to the Superbowl? Why not, everyone else has given there's:

Seahawks beat Redskins
Panthers beat Bears
Colts beat Steelers
Patriots beat Broncos

Panthers beat Seahawks
Colts beat Patriots

Colts beat Panthers

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Claudia Cardinale in "The Professionals"

Another classic Movie discovery. "The Professionals," a western that has it all, brings back memories of some of those great spaghetti westerns of the late 60's. Guess I need to do my homework, "The Professionals" may have been one of the great spaghetti westerns of the late 60's and may have laid the groundwork for the classic movie "The Wild Bunch."

An all-star cast with Lee Marvin, Burt Lancaster, Woody Strode, Jack Palance and the beautiful Italian actress Claudia Cardinale. Claudia Cardinale, had she mastered the english language better, would have become as big a star as Sophia Loren in english films. But then we wouldn't have her seductive accent imprinted on our babe-memory-bank now would we? She is still actively performing in Italian films.

This movie, made in 1966, had two things that endure long after watching it; the breathtaking panoramic views of the southwest countryside with horses stomping up clouds of dust, and The Girl (Claudia Cardinale), who is stunning and gives a powerful performance. You'll feel the grit of dirt in your mouth, the burning sensation of tequila in your gut and the lust of a drunken Raiders fan in your heart after watching this realistic western. I know, I just had to throw that in.

I remember seeing "Bandolero" on the big movie screen when I was a kid, and I fell in love with the lusty looking Raquel Welch on that day. Had I seen this movie on the big screen as a kid I'd probably be living in Italy and working in the film industry today. Such is the beauty and allure of Claudia Cardinale. I plan to submit a request to the many independent movie houses in the Bay Area suggesting a viewing of this masterpiece of a movie. One look at the pic above and you'll understand why. You're never too old to dream boys.

Here are two quotes from the movie, The Professionals. Both quotes are referring to the results of War, the movie being set in the time of the Mexican Revolution. But the quotes could apply to any war, even the War in Iraq.

When the shooting stops and the dead are buried and the politicians take over,
it all adds up to one thing, a lost cause. B. Lancaster

Without a cause we are nothing.
We stay because we believe.
We believe because we are disillusioned.
We come back because we are lost.
We die because we are commited. J. Palance

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Imagine a Drivers License Photo with Silver&Black Face Paint.

This photo is not of the fan, David Koch, from the article. But it sure gives you an idea of what the DMV photograper might have viewed through her camera lens.

I found this article about a Raider fan who refused to shed his Raiders costume during the shooting of his drivers license picture down at the Oakland DMV office. With spiked shoulder pads, silver and black face paint and all, his pride and poise wouldn't allow him to remove a single shred of Raiders gear. He is my "Raiders til I Die" award winner. Click Here to read the article from 2004.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

A Bigger Stronger Michael Vick? Vince Young and Texas Beat USC in the Rose Bowl.

Wow, what a game. The Rose Bowl lived up to and may have surpassed the hype as Texas defeated USC 41-38. I should just stop here and list the game stats for Vince Young. He may have had the greatest performance ever by an individual in a championship game. He scored the winning touchdown with 19 seconds left in the game. Reggie Bush and Matt Leinart may have Heismans, but Vince Young has a MVP performance in a game that will live in infamy in the annals of sports. He was phenominal. With his team down he took command of the game and willed himself and his team to victory.

To see him play you almost feel sorry for the defense. His running ability is a constant threat and it also buys him time to find the open receiver. He really is a bigger stronger version of Michael Vick, and that is scary for any defense. I wasn't convinced of his throwing ability until seeing this game. He can throw from the pocket or on the run with accuracy. I'll say it now, he deserved to be this years Heisman Trophy winner if this is how he performed all season.

I give honorable mentions to USC's Lendale White, a bronco of a running back. He had a better game than the feared Reggie Bush. Reggie did give us some highlight reel moments but his ill-advised lateral became a costly fumble that affected his play later on. Matt Leinart also had his hot moments and seemed to have USC on the road to victory, but in college football no lead is safe. The tight end for Texas, David Thomas caught 10 passes for 88 yards and was a huge part of the Texas passing game. Both defenses played as well as expected given the offensive power of both. I give credit to the Texas defense for stopping USC on 4th and 2 late in the game. If USC had made that first down, they would have most likely won the game.

The game's momentum changed a few times which made the ending drama that much more exciting. A few controversial calls and missed calls added to the intrigue but did not decide the game. It was an evenly matched championship game that could have been won by either team. It took the phenominal play of Vince Young to make the difference and win the game for Texas.

A game for the Ages. If you missed it you should check it out on ESPN Classics. I'm sure it'll be showing soon.

Congratulations Texas Longhorns. 2005 NCAA Football National Champions.

Vince Young Passing Statistics
30/40 267 6.7 0 0

Vince Young Rushing Statistics
19 200 10.5 3 45

Norv Gone! Could Mike Singletary bring the passion back?

I suppose today is a day of celebration for us Raider fans. Al Davis axed Norv Turner and immediately the bay area rains ceased and the sunshine illuminated future hopes and possibilities.

Back in August of 2005, two sports betting sites picked Norv Turner as the NFL Head Coach most likely to be fired first. A third betting site (sharpjuice.com) had Mike Tice as the first to go. In hindsight, not bad forcasting. I wonder what their picks are for the next Head Coach of the Oakland Raiders?

I read today that Al Davis, along with the rest of us Raider fans, missed the "Passion" of a Chucky or Madden as head coach. So who out there could possibly bring that back to a team that's looked unenthuased and passionless the past three seasons?

I don't know about other Raider fans, but my pick is definitely Mike Singletary. Don't ask me to justify my decision because I can't. Singletary has only one year as an assistant defensive coach with the 49ers and two years as linebackers coach with Baltimore. I'd like to have Singletary as an Assistant Coach of some type but the word is he wants a Head Coaching job. The Detroit Lions are talking with him as I write this. I think Singletary would be a perfect fit with the Raiders.

Visions of Singletary, eyes wide and focused, jaw squared and firm, getting in the face of his players and ordering them to dominate their opponent. Heck, seeing Singletary coaching the Raiders would make me hop up off the couch,strap on some cleats and pads ready to go play defense on Sunday. Sure I'd sacrafice my couch potato position to go out and become a Raiders soldier under the command of Mike Singletary, wouldn't you? Singletary brings that kind of passion and command to football. I remember someone calling him the "Black Butkus" back in his playing days with the Chicago Bears. What the hell, bring a little Butkus to the Raiders, we need that toughness back.

My choice for Mike Singletary as Head Coach of the 2006 Oakland Raiders is definitely a passionate choice. But as Al Davis has stated:

"We want to win. The Raider fans deserve it. The Raider players deserve it. My passion, my drive, is to see that we have that commitment, and that we get it done."

I believe Mike Singletary can and will get it done if made the coach of the Siver and Black.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Today I celebrate a true Friend

Friends are persons who we tend to take for granted. We know that we can depend on them through tough times. They are the persons in our lives who give us feedback on how we’re living. When a friend tells you that you’re wrong you may first debate the issue but finally you admit your error and thank that friend for their brutal honesty. A friend becomes family and in some ways knows you better than actual family. Whether it is issues with your job, family, relationship or health, a friend is there in your corner to cheer you on or up.

A friend cares not only about your inner person but your outer appearance as well. A friend will not let you walk around with a boogie hanging from your nose nor will they say nice things to appease your ego. If you walk out of the house wearing patterns that are just not meant to be worn together a friend will let you know it and might even suggest a better match. Usually a friend can tell you’re ill before you’ve even acknowledged it fully. That friend is so tuned into and concerned with your well being that any ills you experience will be immediately apparent to that friend. How do we honor friendships such as these? How often do we let these friends know their worth to us? We probably don’t give enough effort in giving back to a friend what that friend gives us and we definitely don’t honor them often enough.

So today I found myself reading a kind note of inspiration I received from my friend and I decided to shed a few words of acknowledgment and appreciation toward him. My Friend, who encourages my talents, inspires my ideas, listens to my concerns, comforts me during the lows and celebrates with me during the highs, overlooks my weaknesses, approves of my beliefs, shares in my joys and pains, laughs with me and also at times, at me, intoxicates my life with joyful blessings, uplifts my spirit with wisdom, instills in me courage, and is forever a part of my human family of loved ones.

Ladies and Gentlemen of Earth I give you my friend:

Dr. Donald “DeAnguelo” Robinson

His PhD in Humanity is one well deserving of 21st Century Homo sapiens who are not disillusioned by the material achievements of society. He is a man who lives the golden rule and teaches it by example, wishing prosperity to all humankind. It is written that if a person has but one friend in his life let that friend be full of worldly love and you’ll want for no additional friendships than this one. A friendly man proves to another man that to be a man one must respect all men and love all humanity.

We are all teachers to one another and serve each other as a mirror of ones own potential. It is an unwise man who let’s jealousy fog the mirror put in front of him and therefore misses out on the lesson. We should share our many talents with one another and not hoard the riches that God has given us. We all have talents and gifts, sometimes it may take a friend to discover or uncover it for us.

Thanks go out to my friend, Dr. Donald “DeAnguelo” Robinson, for being the man he is and helping me become the human I’m capable of becoming. It takes having a friend such as one like Donald for us to know what it takes to be a friend to others.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

What a difference three seasons makes.

NFL Teams in 2005 season playoffs who made the 2002 playoffs:
2005 Record 2002 Record
Pittsburgh (11-5) (10-5-1)
Indianapolis (14-2) (10-6)
NY Giants (11-5) (10-6)
Tampa Bay (11-5) (12-4)NFC Champion

NFL Teams in 2002 playoffs who didn’t make the 2005 playoffs:
2002 Record 2005 Record
NY Jets (9-7) (4-12)
Cleveland (9-7) (6-10)
Tennessee (11-5) (4-12)
Oakland (11-5)AFC Champion(4-12)
Philadelphia (12-4) (6-10)
Green Bay (12-4) (4-12)
Atlanta (9-6-1) (8-8)
San Francisco (10-6) (4-12)

NFL Teams in 2005 playoffs who didn’t make the 2002 playoffs:
2005 Record 2002 Record
New England (10-6) (9-7)
Cincinnati (11-5) (2-14)
Jacksonville (12-4) (6-10)
Denver (13-3) (9-7)
Washington (10-6) (7-9)
Chicago (11-5) (4-12)
Carolina (11-5) (7-9)
Seattle (13-3) (7-9)