Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Raider Legend Retires From Coaching

Raider Legend aand Hall of Famer, Fred Biletnikoff is retiring as receivers coach for the Oakland Raiders. We all know Fred will continue to work in some capacity with the Raiders organization, he's a huge chunk of what makes the Raiders Da Raiders!

I shudder to think that he was forced out by the newly younger coaching staff being part together. I'll just chalk it all up to timing. Maybe it's just Fred's time to move on in life. I can't imagine where he'll move on to, but he should know he'll always have a home with the Raiders.

I personally took a liking to Fred Biletnikoff after he suffered the tragedy of losing his daughter Tracy. The Raider nation mourned along with Fred and felt his pain. It made me that much more aware of my parental fears and I became more interested in building a better relationship with my own son. The Tracy Biletnikoff foundation continues in her honor.

Thanks for all the loyal years you've given to the Oakland Raiders Fred. We'll see yah around the Coliseum come football season.

Friday, January 26, 2007

New Raiders Head Coach: Lane Kiffin

Okay, its been a few days since Lane Kiffin was introduced as the Raiders next Head Coach. I know I should be welcoming this change with open arms, but there's just something about this young man that makes me want to go out and buy insurance. Sort of like an accident waiting to happen.

If the game had passed Art Shell and Tom Walsh by, then maybe young Kiffin is far ahead of the game and knows what the Raiders need. I want to believe that he's the answer, and I don't particularly hate the decision, but again, there's just something about it that makes me uneasy.

Maybe I just don't see the leadership qualities. Maybe it's just the way he comes across as trying too hard to please the Raider Nation. Whatever the itch I have that makes me uncomfortable, I'll give the kid a chance and try to hold my uneasiness at bay.

His bio says he's gifted at recruiting college players. Well, if the Raiders don't improve this season Kiffin and the whole darn team might find themselves playing in the East-West Game. And maybe we'll be lucky to unload the bunch, coach included, in time for the 2008 season.

I'm just not feeling this one Al! I'm really not!

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Sports Radio With Jason SMITH

I'm a sports radio junkie. I wake up to sports radio, I travel listening to sports radio and to wind down before going to bed I turn on sports radio. Of late, sports radio has not been giving me my daily fix. A number of things have taken the focus away from sports; call-in fans, stubborn and/or premadonna radio personalities, young hosts, overdone sound bites, controversy.

However, tonight I found myself relieved to have found a sports host who gives good quality reportage without all the distractions.

Jason Smith, of "ESPN AllNight" gives a daily dose of sports that's exciting, fun and most importantly informative. Jason delivers his knowledge and opinions in a way that makes you feel you're listening to a friend and a fan. The one thing that's noticeable about Jason's espn show is the continuous focus on sports. If he gives a funny analogy, it's usually to drive home a sports opinion. Case and point, when discussing Gilbert Arenas's motivation for playing like an mvp this season and getting back at the coaches who didn't vote him to the olympic team, he quoted Arnold Schwarzenegger playing a vengeful father:

"I Like You Soli, That's Why I'm Going To Kill You Last!"

Washington Times:
"Arenas ranks second in the league in scoring behind Carmelo Anthony. He scored 60 points against the Los Angeles Lakers last month and topped 50 on two other occasions in the past five weeks. He ranks among the league leaders in minutes, steals, assists and overall efficiency and has led the Wizards to the second-best record in the Eastern Conference."

So if you like a smooth, respectable and mature delivery of your sports news, then give Jason a try. Don't get me wrong, I'm not a prude who believes sports radio should be censored. I do find some of the pranks on sports radio funny, but there comes a point in the day when you want your sports radio raw. Jason's show seems to give it to you raw, with flavor.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Former Raiders Coach Tom Flores Was The First

Do the NFL powers that be have selective memory loss when it comes to celebrating Minority Coaches in the Superbowl? Maybe because its our beloved Raiders that the league is keeping quiet about this bit of historic football trivia.

Tom Flores, a Mexican-American, not only coached in a Superbowl but won it. As a matter of fact, he didn't win one he won two. And.....he did it with a Mexican-American QB in Jim Plunkett. Conspiracy? You decide.

The question posed by Frank Irizarry in his blog post "What About Hispanic/Latino Coaching Representation in the NFL?" is a very interesting and valid one. Aren't Latino's considered minorities in the NFL?

Come on Black and White Folks, you gotta recognize. Here's an excerpt from Frank's blog:

While we spend the next two weeks recognizing and applauding the accomplishments of Lovie Smith and Tony Dungy let's not forget that although they are the first Black Head Coaches to coach in the Super Bowl, they are not the first "minority" coaches to coach in the Super Bowl. Tom Flores holds that distinction. For those of you who don't know who Tom Flores is, he was the coach that replaced John Madden as coach of the Raiders after Madden's retirement. He lead the Raiders to victory in 1980 (Super Bowl XV) and 1983 (Super Bowl XVIII ). Tom Flores was also a Mexican-American. After leaving the Raiders, Flores had a short stint with the Seahawks and then never received another coaching opportunity. Unlike other coaches that can parlay two Super Bowl wins into many more coaching oppoprtunities (Bill Parcells), Flores was out of coaching after his Seahawks stint. There aren't many coaches that win one Super Bowl and the fact that Flores won two puts him in pretty elite company.

I wonder when the next Tom Flores is going to come along?

And as for African-American coaches in the NFL, fans should read about Fritz Pollard who was finally inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame in 2005.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Colts Comeback!

AFC Championship Game a Thrilla!

If you saw it you saw history being made. Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts come back from 21-6 at the halftime to beat the Tom Brady led New England Patriots 38-34, and advance to SuperBowl XLI.

No team has ever come back from so far down in a Championship game to win it. The Colts did it against a tough opponent and old nemesis in the Patriots. With 24 seconds left and QB Tom Brady throwing his way pass midfield and seemingly another comeback win, the Colts defense stepped up and made a drive killing play.

2005 first round draft pick CB Marlin Jackson (Michigan) of the Colts stepped in front of a Brady pass intended for receiver Troy Brown and wisely slid down to seal the victory. No Colt could have felt more relieved than QB Peyton Manning who made some big throws under tremendous defensive pressure. The game was a sports drama for the ages showcasing two of today's best quarterbacks. It was a boxing match where the last man standing wins. Simply put, it was a "Thrilla."

As a Raiders fan I love seeing the New England Patriots lose. I hope the hearts of New England fans cry through this evening and bleed in frustration at what could have been while watching the Indianapolis Colts take on the Chicago Bears in Superbowl XLI. My guess is this loss will hurt Patriots fans so bad that they won't watch the Superbowl. They won't be missed.

History was also made today with the first and second African-American NFL head coaches to reach a Superbowl, one will be historically remembered as the first to win it. Congratulations Lovie Smith and Tony Dungy as Great Coaches who happen to be African-American.

Congratulations AFC Champion Indianapolis Colts!

Chicago Muscle!

The Chicago Bears muscle their way past the New Orleans Saints to win the NFC Championship 39-14 and represent the conference in SuperBowl XLI.

The Chicago Defense and QB Rex Grossman’s mistake-free play was the difference in the game. With Deuce McCallister and Reggie Bush running for minimal gains, the Saints went to the air and Chicago’s defense attacked hard and often.

Saints QB Dree Brees couldn’t overcome a championship effort by the Chicago defense. And though Reggie Bush romped for an 80 yard touchdown via a pass, the Saints couldn’t duplicate any more big plays to keep them in the game. Instead it was Chicago and QB Rex Grossman who wowed soldier field fans with offensive fireworks.

But don’t CROWN Da'Bears yet, the New England Patriots are leading the Colts 21-6 at half-time and look unstoppable on offense.

Congratulations Chicago Bears on your NFC Championship!

Thursday, January 18, 2007

The Adventures of Ron Mexico

Trouble at the airport for our hero Ron Mexico. Caught smuggling a water bottle with a false bottom compartment turned up a suspicious marijuana smelling substance. Authorities have sent the substance off to their secret lab for analysis.

Meanwhile, Ron Mexico is not available for comment and has not been charged with any wrong doing.

Lucky for Miami police they didn't take Ron into custody.
With all the fans of Ron Mexico's out there, I wouldn't be suprised to see a boycott of Miami International airport. Picture thousands of No. 7 Jersey wearing fans spread eagle (falcon) across the runway in defiance of the FCC's handling of their hero. Imagine busloads of Ron Mexico fans piling into buses across the country to March On Miami in protest of what they consider a violation of their hero's rights.

In fans minds, Ron Mexico is a legend and exceptions are made for legends.

They've crowned him Mr. Untouchable and that means hands-off FCC. If the courts couldn't get him for allegedly spreading toxic germs what makes Miami International think they have a ghost of a chance at nailing the hero for contraband? Sure the bottle had a hidden compartment, sure the stuff inside smelled like Afghani 69, but Ron Mexico has justifiable reasons for his suspicious actions and hidden aromic substances.

The substance is a cure-all for our hero. Its our hero's "Antidote." With all the toxic germs he's exposed to in his line of heroism, he's finally found an antidote to keep his body safe from further damage. But ladies, be careful, while our Mr. Mexico has finally found protection for himself, he ain't promising it'll work on his partner of choice.

Good Luck!

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Will Coach For Food

"Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me.
I lift my lamp beside the golden door."

Sound familiar? No its not the banner above McAfee Coliseum in Oakland, but if it were it would fit like a glove, for fans and coaches alike.

Here we go again with the Oakland Raiders seasonal Head Coaching search. They've met their obligation of interviewing a minority in the likes of James Lofton, wide-receivers coach of the Chargers. Now it seems they're just buying time to interview an assistant from one of the four teams still competing in the playoffs.

But as a Raiders fan I have to be honest with myself, experienced, successful coaches just aren't interested in coming to Oakland. Why? Could be Al, could be the players, could even be a league office conspiracy. I only wish I knew exactly what goes into negotiating a head coaching contract. Maybe the Raiders aren't willing to spend top dollar to get a top coach. Whatever it is that's turning winning coaches away from the helm of the Silver and Black ship, it doesen't seem to be going away any time soon.

So with that said, maybe defensive coordinator Rob Ryan is the best bet. If he stays on with the Raiders, because I'm sure he's receiving offers elsewhere, it shows his loyalty to the team and commitment to get the Raiders back on the winning track.

Others may want a shot at being a first time head coach, but I believe Ryan just wants to Win Baby! So bring us your fired head coaches, poor college coaches and those huddled masses of assistant coaches yearning the fee of an NFL Head Coaching job.

And if Marty Shottenheimer is brought in for an interview, we know Al has given up the good fight.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Divisional Playoff Weekend

To the:

Philadelphia Eagles
Seattle Seahawks
Baltimore Ravens
San Diego Chargers

Thank you for participating in the 2006 NFL Divisional Playoffs. You can pick up your parting gifts in the losers locker room.

Congratulations to the:

Chicago Bears
New Orleans Saints
Indianapolis Colts
New England Patriots

We look forward to seeing these four teams compete next weekend for the chance to participate in Superbowl XLl.

The beauty of these four teams is that on any given Sunday, either of them could win a championship. Experience says go with the Patriots; If its true that defense wins championships then go with the Bears; If any one team and its players are finally due a title then maybe the Colts with Peyton Manning and Marvin Harrison are the bet; And if you wanna go with a heartfelt headline storybook ending where a team and city triumph over tragedy then you must go with the New Orleans Saints.

I'd like to see the Saints win it all. To see a team overcome what they have shows the committment level of their entire organization. If the Colts can get past their nemesis the Patriots, then they also have a good shot at winning it all. Seeing Tom Brady lead his team to a comeback victory yet again makes any fan envious of having such a quarterback. As for Da Chicago Bears, they've got Lovie's Luck riding with them. And with that quarterback of there's they'll need every bit of it.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Why Rob Ryan Should Be Next Raiders HC.

#1 reason why Rob Ryan (pictured above with dad and former NFL coach Buddy Ryan) should be the next Oakland Raiders head coach: He has an uncany resemblence to Ken Stabler seen in the picture below.

Sure Ryan looks like a throwback Raider, but then again wasn't Art Shell just that? The difference in the two can be seen in their relation to the players and today's style of play. Art wanted to return to the glory days of going deep and running between the tackles. He wanted the players to blindly follow a style of play that's seen only on old NFL Films footage these days. And if you didn't march to his drumbeat like lemmings being led to their doom, you were excommunicated.

Rob Ryan appears to have what young players respond to, a passion to win and a plan players can believe in. I don't know if he's ever played the game but he sure appears to have a lock on how to stop opposing offenses. Whether Ryan as head coach can inspire the offense the way he has the defense is the million dollar question. Is he familiar enough with the Raiders offensive strengths and weaknesses to put together a gameplan that the players will believe in and execute to the best of their abilities? We won't get the answer to this question until Big Al wraps up his talks with other potential head coaching candidates. If Al Davis does what he's done historically, he'll give the young Ryan a shot at leading the Raiders. My only concern is once he gives the car keys to Ryan will he sit in the back seat and keep his mouth shut or will he be that meddling, interfering back seat driver who doesn't know how to enjoy the ride? Again, only time will tell.

In the meantime there's one cliche that rings true when it comes to winning; "Defense Wins Championships." Al, if your listening, we've got a decent defense, help us get someone to lead our offense back to respectability and back to glory. If Rob Ryan has the leadership qualities you saw in Madden, Flores and Gruden, then hand over the keys and let him drive us to a championship. If you don't feel he's ready yet, at least listen to his input on what the team needs in leadership.

I don't believe we're as bad a team as we looked in 2006. We were just badly led and the players gave up on the leadership.

I vote for Rob Ryan as the new Raiders Head Coach. Who else looks like a cross between "The Snake" and a Hell's Angels member, and is willing to take the keys and drive like a bat out of hell as if his life depended on it? And believe me Raider fans, going 2-14 in a season is pure Hell.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Florida Gators NCAA Football Champions

Yes, the Gators of Florida "chomped down" on the Ohio State Buckeyes in a 41-14 victory, winning the 2006 NCAA Footbal Championship for only the second time in school history.

If you saw the first play of the game and thought #1 ranked Ohio State would win outright you probably weren't alone. Ohio State kick returner Ted Ginn Jr. opened the game with a flashing 93 yard kickoff return. Unfortunately for the Buckeyes Ginn sprained his ankle while celebrating and was on the sideline sporting a pair of crutches for the remainder of the game.

Some say Ginn's absence may have contributed to the loss. But if you saw the game I saw it was clear that the Florida offense was unstoppable and their swarming defense gave Ohio State's Heisman Trophy winning QB Troy Smith headaches all game. OSU was limited to a total of 82 yards, 8 first downs, 19:12 time of possession. They came into the game as the #1 favorite and left it with one of the worst butt-kickings in National Championship history.

Personally I think OSU was not only out played but also out coached. It reminded me of the Super Bowl between the Raiders and Tampa Bay Bucs. It was as if Florida State knew every play OSU was going to run before they ran it and attacked on the snap of the ball. The coaching smarts was evident in the way Florida spread the field and utilized their quickness. The two quarterback rotation the gators imploy made the Florida coaches look like football geniuses. Maybe they are just that.

Gator QB Chris Leak had a night to remember and seemed as if he could do nothing wrong. Leak led the Gators to victory in such a convincing way that you wonder if what you saw was a fluke. But its no fluke sports fans, the Florida Gators are a deserving Champion, just as their Basketball team was back in April 2006. This may be a first for the NCAA, having one school win both the Basketball and Football Championship in the same season. It couldn't have happened to a better bunch of raptors.

Gator-Meat! Gator-Meat! Gator-Meat!

Congratulations Florida Gators

Monday, January 08, 2007

Tony Romo Incites Jet Blue Passengers

Where were you when Dallas Cowboys QB-FG Holder, Tony Romo, fumbled away sure victory? I was flying Jet Blue, the airline with little televisions on the back of each seat for rider viewing pleasure. When the idiot, I mean when Romo mishandled the snap I and about five other travelers screamed as if the plane were about to go down. Our reaction to the play some 34,000 ft above sea level unnerved some passengers until word got out about the idiot on channel 2. By the 10th replay of the Cowboys heartbreak play 90% of passenger televisions had tuned into channel 2 to see what all the hype and holler had been about. My apologies to Jet Blue and its non-sports passengers for jumping a foot out of my seat and causing unnecessary stress to innocent travelers. I should have been wearing my seatbelt I suppose. Who Knew? But as a sports fan it was a play that ranks right up there with the Bill Buckner bonehead moment. One guy actually held his hands over his eyes or on his head for the remainder of the trip, a Dallas fan no doubt. Even through the no-more-tears post game Tony Romo interview, passengers flipped back and fourth to see if the QB would breakdown and cry, he didn't, but he sure sounded pretty choked up about it, who wouldn't.

Here is the best write-up I found about Tony Romo. In the infamous words of Denny Green, "You can crown him if you wanna" but it seems Tony Romo is just another young football player who we may have thought too much of. And as one sporting columnist commented: Its a play that'll live in sports-tv infamy.

Chris Baldwin
Watching Dallas Cowboys blow one as Tony Romo pulls a Bill Buckner better than even a
Sunday January 7, 2007 | 00:21:57 283 words, 1192 views

There are fewer pure pleasures as a sports fan today - with steroids in and out of the shadows, hype lording over substance and many multi-millionaire athletes who simply don't care nearly as much as the fans. But then, every once in a while sports gives you something great.

Like Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo going Bill Buckner on a perfect snap on a gimmie field goal that would have sent the second most annoying fan base in sports history into playoff win celebration.

Sometimes sports justice is served. The unfathomable blunder could not have happened to a more deserving group of blowhard fans. Or overrated quarterback.

Don't shed no tears for Tony Romo. This guy is one of the most overhyped figures in sports outside of Michelle Wie. Romo has a few good games in a row and suddenly he's being compared to Peyton Manning and getting named to the Pro Bowl?

That's as much of a joke as Romo's hands are slippery in the clutch. Could the guy have been any more smug when those dating Jessica Simpson rumors broke too?

If you want to ache for a Cowboy, hurt for Terrell Owens, who gutted it out nearly the whole season with a busted up hand that requires surgery. TO's the rare modern athlete who truly cares. No tears for Tony Romo. No matter how good he sounds in the postblunder conference.

Yes, sometimes sports is still good.

The only thing that could make this sports weekend any more complete is if Vijay Singh somehow blows another big lead at the Mercedes Championship.

Sleep tight Cowboy fans. Especially the ones who've never even been to Dallas and yet worship a blue star.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Art, you are who we thought you were. So Long!

What is this I hear, Art Shell fired and possibly staying on in some other capacity? I wonder just what capacity that might be? At this stage I wouldn't want Art to take over Run Run Jones's duties, God rest his soul.

Art Shell did nothing this season to show that he can lead the Raiders back to greatness. In fact, he may have been the reason the team didn't produce wins. We all saw Art on the sideline during games, poker faced and looking as if he wanted to cut bait and bail out. I can only imagine the different sides of Art the players may or may not have witnessed. How can you inspire a team, a NFL 2007 football team, by ole skool pride and poise without showing some passion or emotional spunk or what you're trying to accomplish? Good coaches don't take losing lightly. Why even Dennis Green after trying to hold in his emotions after losing to the prematurely "Crowned" NFC Champion Chicago Bears, lost his cool and showed his frustration. I remember seeing Denny's infamous, "You can crown'em if you wanna, but they are who we thought they were" speech, and thinking maybe coach Art Shell would break out and pull a "Denny" of his own. But Art continued to plod along week in and week out with the same old theme "I have no answers as to why we can't win."

Well Art, I believe the Raiders are who we think they are (Contenders) and not the players but the coaching was the problem in 2006. In all the years I've been watching the Raiders I've never seen them look as if they didn't believe in the coaches gameplan. This team, at least the offense, couldn't do what the coaches designed them for, pass protect to throw the ball deep. And the result was disastrous. To make matters worse the coaches realized they couldn't protect their quarterback but couldn't make the proper adjustments to make a difference.

I only hope that whoever replaces Art brings with him a Silver and Black Attitude. What might that attitude be you may ask? Well, ask Denny Green. When the team or coaches are not performing to peak level get angry. Curse, spit in their faces, challenge their manhood, throw something across the room, whatever it takes to get their attention. But don't stand like a statue stonefaced saying I have no answer for their performance. Act! Act like someone who really cares about winning and hates the hell out of losing. Act like a damn American for christ sakes.