Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Breaking news: Seahawks' van struck by gate, lightning

As the Seahawks' were heading downtown to a news conference, their van was struck by an automated parking gate. (There was no lightning, but from the magnitude of this story on the local news, there may as well have been). Matt Hasselbeck, Shaun Alexander and Walter Jones were the biggest stars in the car. Everybody was fine, nobody was hurt, and Matt Hasselbeck is still bald.

Perhaps a ploy to generate more news during this boring fucking week? We think so too.

Favre contemplates thinking about retirement

Backwoods, Miss. -- Green Bay quarterback Brett Favre said Sunday from his home in Mississippi that he was considering retiring. He told ESPN's Chris Mortensen in an interview that, "If I had to pick right now and make a decision, I would say I'm not coming back."

But making decisions is not Favre' strong point. He's known for making poor decisions in key games and he's characterized as not good at making decisions at all.

"I think I want to retire because I'm getting older," said Favre, 67. "But then again, I think I wanted to retire three years ago and here I am. I think I'll probably wake up tomorrow and decide I want to be the fucking president."

Favre has played 37 seasons in the NFL and the Packers were 4-12 last season, his worst ever.

"We were fuckin' terrible last year," said Favre. "It didn't help losing Ahman (Packers' running back Ahman Green), but I just couldn't get it together. I think I was too caught up in trying to decide what I was going to eat for dinner on game nights."

Favre threw 20 TDs against 29 INTs in the 2005 campaign and had meatloaf for dinner three nights a week.

There was lots of speculation about how Favre would react to the firing of former head coach Mike Sherman, but Favre made his feelings clear.

"Sure, Shermie blew last year." he said, "He certainly needed to go. But this new guy the front office brought in? I mean, who the fuck do they think I am? I especially don't want to play for this dickhead."

The "dickhead" whom Favre spoke of was new Packers' coach Mike McCarthy who previously was the offensive coordinator for the 49ers. It is unclear at this time if McCarthy actually has a penis attached to his head, but sources are looking into it.

According to an AP wire story, Favre suggested to Mortensen it was not his physical shape that was complicating his decision, instead acknowledging a host of factors, such as his daughter's upcoming high school graduation.

"If she's anything like me," Favre said of his daughter, "she'll decide on what college she wants to attend when she's 26. But it better be Southern Miss. Go Eagles!"

Asked what he'd miss most if he were to retire, Favre said, "It'd have to be the road trips. I'd love to go into a hostile city, kick the shit out their team, and then fine some hot, young broads to nail back in the hotel."

It's likely that Favre will stay in football even after his retirement, which could be anywhere from tomorrow to 2071. Favre said he would consider coaching or perhaps broadcasting, but he said, "It may take me a while to decide. I'll get back to you in a couple of years."

In other news: The Denver Broncos are speaking with Terrell Owens about the possibility of him being their head cheerleader next season.

Monday, January 30, 2006

All the right questions for Media Day

While you’ve been trying to digest the news that Jerome Bettis is from Detroit and that ketchup is a big deal in Pittsburgh for the past week, the clock toward Super Bowl XL is winding down, albeit very slowly. The media is in Detroit, the players are in Detroit and the fans are probably checking out the sites of Flint, Mich.

While we don’t exactly have the credentials to make it to the big game, we figured that we could at least draw up some questions to ask the players and coaches on Media Day. You know, for practice. And because these questions will never get answered, we thought it would be best to write some questions that are probably better unanswered.

Here’s what we would ask:

Shaun Alexander, running back, Seattle:

-So Shaun, being from Kentucky and all, do you find yourself especially close with your mother/sister/cousin?

-We noticed you have a gap in your teeth. Does that pretty much defeat the purpose of flossing?

-Does having two first names ever bother you?

Matt Hasselbeck, quarterback, Seattle:

-Matt, you seem to constantly be wearing a hat – in fact you are right now. Just for looks, right? Not like you’d be trying to cover anything up or anything.

-What’s the deal with your brother, Tim? Isn’t he married to that chick from Survivor? How’s that going?

Sean Locklear, offensive tackle, Seattle:

-How’s your girlfriend’s neck?

-Are you friendly at all with Jason Kidd or Kobe Bryant? Apparently you guys have some stuff in common.

Mike Holmgren, head coach, Seattle:

-You have this moustache. Can you please elaborate?

-Do you feel that you take better care of your facial hair, than say, Adam Morrison?

Ken Hamlin, safety, Seattle:

Been to Pioneer Square lately, Ken?

Ben Roethlisberger, quarterback, Pittsburgh:

-So they call you “Big Ben.” Did you give yourself that nickname or did like some girl give it to you or something?

-About “Big Ben.” Does your mother call you that? ‘Cause that would be a little weird.

-Pick your brand: Schick, Gillette, Bic, Norelco, or Braun?

Hines Ward, wide receiver, Pittsburgh:

-Does “Hines” mean something or were your parents just out to get you?

-Do you find any irony that your name is that of a ketchup company in, none other than Pittsburgh?

Jerome Bettis, running back, Pittsburgh:

-We keep hearing how you grew up in Detroit. As a teenager, would you and your friends ever get loaded and go to Ford Headquarters and yell something like, “Ford sucks, Toyota rules”?

-Jerome, they call you “The Bus.” Does it help with the ladies?

Troy Polamalu, strong safety, Pittsburgh:

-Are you trying to make some sort of point with your hair or is just ugly as hell on purpose?

-Have you ever considered donating your locks? We know at least one guy on the opposing team who could use it.

Bill Cowher, head coach, Pittsburgh:

-Coach, we’ve noticed that you’ve looked the exact same since 1992. What’s your secret?

-Hypothetically speaking, if you were to win on Sunday, do you think you may smile?

Perhaps it’s better that these questions won’t be asked on Media Day.

This column was published in the University of Washington's The Daily.

In other news: The Minnesota T-Wolves beat the Indiana Hoosiers 61-42 Sunday.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

They're ALL seniors. I get it. Clever name.

While you were still trying to digest the news that Jerome Bettis is from Detroit, the next wave of NFLers were being showcased in Mobile, Ala. during Saturday's Senior Bowl.

The game itself -- a 31-14 North romp -- was pretty uneventful. The top prospects at the skill positions were Vanderbilt QB Jay Cutler and Memphis RB DeAngelo Williams, and neither did much. The MVP was Miami wideout Sinorice Moss who had like 40 yards receiving and a TD. I'm certain he was awarded the MVP for having the name Sinorice, not the jaw-dropping stats. (And being related to Redskins' WR Santana Moss probably helped a bit).

But there were all sorts of other stories that made the game rather interesting (and pretty fucking confusing). For example, despite the campuses of USC and UCLA being no more than 10 miles apart, the Trojans were on the North squad while the Bruins were placed on the South squad. Not sure what to think about that. Somebody either doesn't know much about geography or this was some sort of social statement.

I nearly fell out of my proverbial seat when I saw who was roaming the sidelines for the South: Norv Turner! He was part of the 49ers' coaching staff that was in charge the Southern boys. I'm glad he's still employed after a week as the Niners' offensive coordinator, though he may not be for long. The South team racked up a whopping 179 yards of total offense. That's not surprising coming from a team coached by either Norv Turner or Mike Nolan. Kudos on a job well done. Looking forward to next season!

ESPN NFL Draft guru, Mel Kiper Jr., made a sterling performance as always. He made good comments, had quick reads and shook defenders like flies. But scouts are concerned whether his hair will fit under a helmet, so he's expected to be a second-day pick -- fifth-round at best.

So who helped their stock? Penn State QB Michael Robinson sure looked good running the ball, but he most definitely won't being playing quarterback on Sundays. Virginia offensive lineman D'Brickashaw Ferguson never has a bad game (likely because his name is D'Brickashaw), and this Sinorice kid did all right.

Who didn't look good? Well Jay Cutler looked iffy. He's projected as a top-10 pick and the third QB taken (behind Leinart and Young). I'm skeptical about him though because he played at Vanderbilt. The fact that they had a football team was news to me. Derek Hagan, wideout from Arizona State, dropped some balls which isn't good if you're a receiver. If football doesn't work out for him, I'm sure he could fall back on that ASU education. On second thought...

And at the end of the day, there were even cheerleaders at the Senior Bowl. What they were cheering is unclear to us. Maybe they were rooting for the city of Mobile. It could probably use all the help it can get.

In other news: The Boston Red Sox acquired outfielder Coco Crisp from the Indians for a big-name prospect and some Corn Pops.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Proof that man evolved from ape

Andre the Giant don't have shit on this guy.

Not a good day for the role models of America

You hear it all the time how athletes are these awesome role models and all. Well, yesterday's events may make kids anywhere and everywhere reconsider their heroes.

Washington Redskins' safety Sean Taylor is looking at a potential of 46 years for spitting in the face of Michael Pittman, while former UNLV standout and NBA dunk contest winner, Isaiah Rider, was arrested on charges of kidnapping. Fucking kidnapping!

Taylor, who allegedly threatened three people with a gun in an armed confrontation over -- get this -- an all-terrain vehicle on June 1, had two more assault charges filed against him yesterday. The 22-year-old faces three counts of aggravated assault, which, if convicted, could mean a lot of time being someone's bitch in the clink. (The spitting won't merit jail time, but he may want to consider not ever doing that again).

But let's back up a second. What the fuck was Taylor doing pulling a gun over a confrontation over some ATV? Did they skip his turn getting a ride on the sand dunes? As for 46 years...whoa. The chances of him serving those years are minimal. He's a star athlete and star athletes don't go to jail and especially don't drop the soap in the prison shower if they happen to end up there. I mean, Ray Lewis killed a guy and they gave him a slap on the wrist and a pack of Twizzlers for his wrongdoing.

As for Rider...kidnapping! Really? That's pretty messed up. He always had a troubled career, really adding to the whole Jail Blazers thing while in Portland. He's been busted before for being late to practice, spitting at fans (Sean Taylor-esque coincidentally) and smoking weed. But this takes the cake. He better have a really good lawyer and really good excuse (like that he was high as shit or something) to move on from this blunder. Bail's been set at $2 million, so he better get selling those drugs.

In other news: In a PR-move to sound even tougher, The Anaheim Mighty Ducks have decided to drop the "Mighty" from their name and just be called "The sissy-ass dudes in teal."

Friday, January 27, 2006

Like she's a Seahawks' fan

Welcome to Fairweather, USA, home of your Super Seahawks. The word is out that Fairweather, USA (also known in some social circles as Seattle) is home to, well, fairweather fans.

I live in this wonderful city filled with (enter your favorite caffeine, grunge music and shitty weather cliché here). Missing from the bunch is just terrible, terrible fans.

You could feel the excitement here in the city last Sunday when the 'Hawks clinched their first Super Bowl since the existence of birds. But this town is loaded with bandwagon jumpers, fairweather fans, and people who cheer, but don't know what the fuck a sea hawk is.

Exhibit A:

Gearing up to watch the NFC Championship game, my roommate (naturally a girl -- sorry to those readers who are women, but on second thought, I probably don't have any of those) asked where I was watching the game. I explained that I preferred to watch alone or with one or two buddies, so we could actually watch the game. She said she was going to a bar and I asked why. She said to watch the game because she was sooooo excited. And on que, she proceeds to ask who is playing. I nearly pulled a Sean Locklear and strangled her ass. And she's not the only one in this town. People have come out of the woodworks to show their support. I like that people are excited, but I would prefer if they knew why they were excited.

Exhibit B:

Where the fuck are the flags? So they're flying a 12th Man flag atop the Space Needle, but aside from that, I've seen none. What happened to folks hanging flags in the window of their home, or small ones from their cars? The support extends to an occasional conversation about the Super Bowl. That's about it. It's only a big deal around here if it's a part of some social scene.

Exhibit C:

(If you think of something good, leave a comment, and it will be added here).

Sure the fans at the games are loud, but outside Qwest Field, they are few and far between. If the Seahawks win XL, I want to see people crying with joy. If they lose, I want to see the same fucking tears.

In other news: Sources have announced that the "K" in Coach Krzyzewski is, in fact, silent.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Ron Mexico angry at Virginia Tech

Ron Mexico (alias Michael Vick) isn't very happy.

After stomping on Elvis Dumervil's leg, brandishing a gun in a McDonald's parking lot, speeding on a suspended license, nailing underage girls, smoking weed, probably smoking crack, harboring illegal immigrants, robbing jewelry stores for $175 in cash, and pouring gasoline on workers on his ranch, his lil' bro, Lil' Mexico, was booted off the Virginia Tech football team earlier this month.

But Big Mexico thinks his brother was wrongly dismissed from the team.

"Sometimes your emotions just take over," Big Mexico told the Associated Press during halftime Wednesday night of the Atlanta Hawks' game against the Cleveland Cavaliers. "I know Marcus. He's not the kind of kid that's going to do something like that on purpose. That's just something he's got to live with, and now it's just time to move on."

Lil' Mexico's emotions likely took over at a Virginia McDonald's too. The toy in his Happy Meal sucked, so he pulled a gun on three teenagers and probably said something clever like, "Super size this, bitch."

Big Mexico continued, "He didn't do anything wrong. The world will all know when the truth comes out."

Well, according to the legal system, pulling a gun on kids and smoking weed is doing something wrong. But who's counting anyway?

(Thanks to Deadspin for the photo.)

Micah Downs misses home, leaves KU

Micah Downs, who played at seven high schools and his senior year at Juanita in the Seattle suburb of Kirkland, Wash., will look to play at more than one college as well.

Downs has left the Kansas Jayhawks to "resolve some personal issues," Jayhawks' coach Bill Self said in a statement.

That, and the fact that he kind of sucks. The 6-8 freshman forward was scoring 4.3 points per game at Kansas and scoring with about .002 girls there as well.

There was brief talk about the University of Washington being interested in Downs, but Coach Lorenzo Romar soon discovered that he was a tall, lanky white dude.

Downs also appears to have Down Syndrome, despite sources saying he doesn't. But, as they say, a picture is worth a thousand words.

Norv Turner update: Late Wednesday night and our homeboy Norv is still employed!

Ron Arest to fight in Sacramento

So our favorite NBA star, Ron Artest, is coming to Northern California. We haven't been this excited since the Niners hired Norv Turner.

After going back and forth about whether or not he would play for the Kings (did someone say A-Rod and World Baseball Classic? Thought so.) Artest was traded for Peja Stodkdlgdjolkjvic and a bag of Cheetos.

Artest brings his badass attitude to Northern California, which quickly is becoming a thuggish area. The Raiders got Randy Moss last year, and the Oakland A's went out and got Milton Bradley and Frank Thomas this offseason -- both who are huge G's!

Speaking of the baggage that Ronnie brings to the Kings, Artest filled suitcases with personal possessions including 500 copies of his hit CD and a pair of boxing gloves. You know, to fight with.

This deal, which was thought to have gone through a few days ago, was held up when Artest briefly called off the trade. He had to consider all of the elements, such as what was best for his family. Like Indianapolis is the cultural center of the world or something. Hey, and Sacramento's not half bad. It has a river at least.

Artest, back in the news, only reminds us of the Basketbrawl that happened last season in Detroit. That brawl/riot, in our opinion, was one of the best things to ever happen to the NBA. Never have people been more glued to the TV watching something related to that league.

Fans in Sacramento should welcome Artest with open arms. He is, after all, a pretty decent player...but a better fighter. I fully support heckling and throwing shit in order to inflict another riot -- this time in Sacto. Hey, anything's possible when Artest is on the floor (or in the stands).

In other news: Marshall upset West Virginia in college hoops after the Mountaineers discovered that "Pittsnogle" is not a verb.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

LeBron's mother charged with DWI

AKRON, Ohio -- Gloria James, mother of Cleveland Cavaliers' star LeBron James, was arrested last week for driving while intoxicated, disorderly conduct and other charges, police said.

"I was high as shit too!" said James, 37, of suburban Green, Ohio.

James reeked of alcohol and appeared to be disoriented. She was going 50 MPH in a 30-MPH zone.

"I woulda been going faster, but it's tough to drink and drive at the same time," James said. "You think I can multi-task?"

Apparently James was multi tasking, though. According to sources, police searched her vehicle and found a bottle of Jack Daniel's, three empty cans of whipped cream and a 6'8" bong that was in the shape of her son, LeBron.

"'Bron turned me onto the whippits," said James. "He also got me into refrigerator fumes. That shit is the fucking chronic!"

James didn't go down without a fight. According to an AP story, she kicked a window of the police cruiser she was being taken away in, but didn't break the glass.

"You'd think she would've been stronger," said an unnamed Akron police officer. "I mean, she gave birth to a fucking beast and her weak ass can't even break a window?"

James posted a $2,500 bond and was released from jail. She appeared in an Akron court Monday and pleaded innocent to several charges, which included drunk driving and disorderly conduct. She will have a pretrial hearing early next month.

LeBron James was unavailable for comment by phone, but sources speculated that he was at the local supermarket stocking up on whipped cream.

In other news: The Sacramento Kings are pursuing Ron Artest to ignite their offense and to beat the hell out of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger next time he's in Arco Arena.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Hating Fox Sports, Part 4: Joe Buck

Let's face it: Joseph Buck is a daddy's boy. His father, longtime great commentator, Jack, was legendary. And son, Joseph, is anything but.

Craig Barker, commenting on bravesbeat.com, suggested that Joseph, "Will sell anything Fox tells him to sell. He'll promote anything. He's a pathetic corporate 'yes' man riding his no talent ass on his father's coattails."

That seems just about right. He resembles a puppet (or one of those dudes from "Team America") and seems to be a puppet for Fox Sports as well.

We've ripped on good ol' Joe pretty good here at The Big Picture. We've compared him to a brick wall, stuffed animal and an asshole. Stating the obvious, he's all of the above.

It's not so much that Joseph says stupid things from time to time. I can look past that. It's how he calls the game. He can make the most exciting game, play or moment as dull as his love life. For example, after the Chicago White Sox won their first World Series in 300 years, he said something monumental and profound like, "And the White Sox have won the World Series" in a monotone voice that public speaking teachers will tell you to never, ever use.

It's safe to say that if ESPN's Mike Patrick (one of my favorites) was calling that game, he may have had a fucking heart attack in pure jubilation and excitement. There's nothing exciting about Joseph.

Football is no better. Hearing him call a playoff game is agonizing. Buck's ignorance, and gift for making things boring, makes his partner in crime (and perhaps in bed), Troy Aikman, sound far better than he actually is.

According to Wikipedia, an online encyclopedia, Joseph has won numerous Sports Emmy Awards, which apparently get handed out to anybody who has access to a microphone.

Joseph is bad for sports, bad for fans and bad for society. The Big Picture certainly does not salute you and prefers that you take no part in calling anything that people actually plan to watch.

Read more about how Fox Sports sucks here, here and here.

Is Detroit that bad?

If you’ve been lying under a rock the last few days, well, that probably wasn’t very fun. But if you haven’t, you’ll know that the Seahawks, yes, our Seattle Super Seahawks are in the Super Bowl!

The ‘Hawks have never made the Super Bowl, which makes this feat even more remarkable. It still seems surreal to many.

But for how wonderful going to Super Bowl XL is for the team, the fans and the city, the Super Seahawks really picked the wrong year to go.

Why? Because they now have to go to Detroit.

I don’t intend to rip into Detroit (too much). I’ve never been and I’m sure there are some wonderful qualities about it.

But if you’re going to make it to the Super Bowl XL (which, by the way, stands for 40, not extra large – despite it feeling extra-large for Seahawks’ fans), how ‘bout playing in Miami, New Orleans or San Diego. Those are the most common spots for the Super Bowl, and frankly, there’s a good reason why.

Those cities are warm, festive and perfect for rich tourists who are pretty much the only people who can afford actually going to the Super Bowl.

And Detroit, yeah, not so much. The weather this week calls for possible rain and temperatures ranging from the mid-20s to the high-30s, Motown isn’t too big anymore, and instead of South Beach or the French Quarter, there’s, well, probably an assembly line or two.

But who knows. There must be something to do in the Motor City for the players (really, more like their wives and kids) and the fans (again, rich, corporate execs who could tell you the names of some good stocks, but not the names of the players in the Seahawks’ backfield).

For example, folks looking to kill some time before the game could go see a car show or visit the Henry Ford Museum.

Cars aren’t your thing, huh?

How ‘bout catching a basketball game? The Pistons play in nearby Auburn Hills. Maybe you’ll make it to the game on a good night and get your ass kicked by Ron Artest.

Don’t want to get too sported-out before the big game?

Maybe entertainment is more up your alley. They once made a movie that took place in Flint, Mich. Perhaps Michael Moore will be around filming a sequel to “Roger and Me.” You could be in a movie!

Not sounding too wild? There must be bars. I would recommend spending a while in one of those. Yeah, definitely hit the bars.

The Super Bowl being played in Detroit is the second time the game has been in Michigan and only the third time the National Holiday has taken place in a cold-weather city. (Minneapolis hosted in ’92).

Speaking of Minnesota, that wouldn’t have been a bad spot to go this year, despite the crummy weather. Tourists could have looked into renting a private cruise on Lake Minnetonka, à la the Minnesota Vikings. And former Vikings’ head coach, Mike Tice, probably would have had no trouble at all scalping tickets to the big game in his own backyard.

Too bad.

Following Super Bowls will be held in Miami (next year), Glendale (Phoenix), Ariz., Tampa, then back to Miami in 2010.

So, as you can see, for how wonderful this season has been for the Super Seahawks and the fans and the city and the local bars and the scalpers, aside from going to the Super Bowl XL, there’s not too much happening in Detroit.

This column was published in the University of Washington's The Daily.

In other news: Kobe Bryant scored 81 points Sunday night against Fairfax High School.

Monday, January 23, 2006

On to Motown

I'm back! Two boring games, two correct picks. I'm, as some played-out Sportscenter anchor would say, "En Fuego." I'll give you some fire...

Steelers 34, Broncos 17:

-Riddle me this: What's uglier? Jake Plummer or the way he played? Despite his three devastating turnovers, Plummer looks like he has been living in some cave in the Rockies for the past three years. I got physically nauseous looking at him.

-But you can't place the loss solely on Plummer, even though I'd like to. Pittsburgh played a helluva game.

-Big Ben Roethlisberger, opposing QB and cave man, had a fantastic game. I think my whole calling him out thing got him all pumped up. Yeah, something like that.

-I really like Bill Cowher. I mean, the guy is just cool. And I'm glad he keeps winning because, with that look on his face, I'd be scared to see what he's like when they lose. Perhaps he'd do something crazy like rob a jewlery store for $175 or brandish a gun at a local McDonald's. Or not.

-The officiating wasn't bad. A shocker.

-Two weeks before Super Bowl XL and I'm telling you now, the Steelers will be tough to beat.

Seahawks 34, Panthers 14:


-This was supposed to be an exciting, intense game. Even in Seattle, people didn't seem especially entertained.

-I'm glad that Joe Buck dwelled on the fact that their was no Gatorade bath for Mike Holmgren. Great commentating, Joseph.

-Jake Delhomme came into the playoffs as the highest rated passer in playoff history. 15-35 for 196 yards, a TD and 3 INTS won't help that number.

-Despite not having the rapist/porn star beard, Delhomme and his terrible passes looked awfully like Jake Plummer yesterday.

-And some of those throws Delhomme made. I mean, what the fuck? Young Alex Smith could've done better than that.

-Seattle makes its first ever trip to the Super Bowl. Bet they're glad it came the year it's being held in Detroit. Big whoop there. Maybe they'll make a tourist stop in Flint, Mich.

-And at the end of the day, we're looking at Pittsburgh and Seattle in Super Bowl XL with the Steelers an early 3.5-point favorite. Get ready for constant coverage of a game that won't be played until next month. I know I'm ready.

In other news: After speeding while driving drunk, sources have confirmed that LeBron James' mother, Gloria, was kicked off of the Virginia Tech football team.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Oh yeah, football

I often see eye to eye with the Mighty MJD, but he's 6-2 -- picking just the winners (no spread). I'm 6-2 also. But our boy MJD is calling himself "awesome," while I'm going heavy on the whiskey to forget about my two wrong picks. Well, two conference championship games give me the chance for two more wins. 8-2. I'd take that. Let's dance, shall we?

Panthers at Seahawks:

I can say that I am genuinely looking forward to this game. To hear Joe Buck's voice? Certainly not. Mr. Buck will call the game as if he were staring at a brick wall. Speaking of brick walls...that must be what Buck is like in person. He's probably great conversation at a party.

Folks up here in Seattle are pretty excited about this one because the Seahawks actually have a chance to make the Super Bowl and teams in this city don't win championships much. (Unless we're talking about the WNBA and the Seattle Storm who are reigning champs [2 points for the pun!] and would just kick the shit out of the Sonics if they were to play). Also, I'd say about 95% of this fairweather city (not talking about the real weather, which, by the way, is nothing near "fair") has hopped on the Seahawks' bandwagon headed for Detroit. I'd be in the minority, in case you were wondering.

In terms of the game, you should be thinking Seahawks' offense versus Panthers defense (I think). For the 'Hawks there's this Alexander guy who won an MVP award and somehow hasn't yet been referred to as "Alexander the Great." Strange. They also have Matt Hasselbeck at quarterback who could really benefit from some Rogaine. The Panthers are banged up, which often isn't a good thing. Julius Peppers is hurt and he's this kinda ok player.

And Carolina is hurting on offense too. DeShaun Foster is out with a busted ankle he got from fighting with Ray Allen (not really, of course), so Carolina will have to turn to Nick Goings who is, well, not very good. There's been all sorts of talk this week about how Jake Delhomme is the best QB in the playoffs, which he may just be. But in the rain, cold and noise that will be present at Qwest Field, it will be tough for Delhomme and Steve Smith to do it alone.

The Big Picture pick:
Seattle 24, Carolina 17

Steelers at Broncos:

There is more facial hair in this game than there is in the Red Sox dugout. Big Ben Roethlisberger is going with this hippie, shagged-out look, while Jake Plummer looks like he just raped somebody or shot a porno scene. (Or perhaps did both).

I'm trying to get in the spirit of the playoffs by growing a beard myself. My five o'clock shadow is nearing nine o'clock. Booyah!

This game is really tricky to call. I've been ragging on Big Ben a lot lately for not being a good QB, but he's making me look pretty bad (while simultaneously looking fucking terrible with those pubes on his face). His numbers have really been pretty good and they have two dudes who can run the ball down your throat and around the corner in Parker and Bettis. Their defense is relentless and Troy Polamalu puts the "G" back into the Steel City. Oh, and they have a guy named Hines and Kimo. That's just cool.

Meanwhile, Denver has been underwhelming and really only beat New England because the Pats turned it over 18 times. Their running game hasn't been as good as it should be and Jake Plummer, as stated above, may be more wrapped up in memorizing his lines for "Backdoor Mountain" than he is in trying to go to the Super Bowl.

The Big Picture pick: Pittsburgh 21, Denver 13

In other news: Turns out that after losing their ninth-straight game, the St. Louis Blues are feeling blue.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Morelli: 'Damn straight it was a conspiracy'

INDIANAPOLIS -- The NFL acknowledged this past Monday that referee Pete Morelli made a mistake when he overturned Troy Polamalu's interception in Sunday's Divisional Playoff game.

But the apology was premature.

"Of course it was a bad call," Morelli told sources. "What the fuck you do you think I was trying to do? Let Pittsburgh win? C'mon."

After the game, Steelers' linebacker Joey Porter told the media that he thought that the refs were, "cheating us," and that the poor call was a conspiracy to get Peyton Manning and the Colts into the AFC Championship game.

Turns out that Porter was right.

"Damn straight it was a conspiracy," Morelli said. "We (all of the refs) talked before the game how it was essential that Indianapolis won. If I had to see Ben Roethlisberger and his fucking hippie-ass beard for another game, I was gonna puke."

When Mike Vanderjagt missed the game-tying field goal, Morelli was seen on the field, albeit by few, mouthing the words, "He missed it."

Asked why he was so intent on the Colts winning, Morelli said, "Because I like Peyton Manning. I find his southern drag sexy."

Manning has not addressed Morelli's comments, but Manning, trying to be a "good teammate," plans to thank Morelli for giving the Colts a chance to win by taking him to dinner and a movie next week.

Sources say that Brokeback Mountain is playing in select Indianapolis theaters.

In other news: Seahawks' lineman Sean Locklear was cleared to play in Sunday's game after being released from jail for beating Jason Kidd's wife.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Welcome back to Norv (and the Norv Turner update)

This is a great day for us here at The Big Picture.

Loving to constantly rip on former Raiders' coach Norv Turner, we again will be able to rip and rip away.

Turner was hired yesterday to be the offensive coordinator of...wait for it...the Niners!

My hometown team. Winners of their last two games. The team with Young Alex Smith at the helm. Everything is looking super for the red and gold.

Turner, despite being a fucking terrible head coach, is thought to be a better offensive coordinator. His best years came in Dallas when he (or Aikman, Emmitt and Irvin) led the Cowboys' to two Super Bowl victories.

San Francisco had the worst offense in the league last year, which led to their offensive coordinator, Mike McCarthy landing a head coaching job in Green Bay. The Packers' rationale? Well, we're not too sure.

Norv Turner will be expected to succeed and to succeed fast with such talent already in place in San Francisco. Alex Smith, according to Vegas odds makers, is expected to throw a touchdown this season.

With Norv in place, perhaps Young Smith will throw two.

And to revert to old ways here...

Norv Turner update: 8:11 p.m. Tuesday night and Norv Turner is employed!

New meaning to "diehard fan"

We're not making this up. Promise.

While watching the thrilling playoff game between Pittsburgh and Indianapolis that nearly gave casual fans a heart attack, Steelers' fan Terry O'Neill, 50, actually suffered a heart attack at a Pittsburgh bar when Jerome Bettis fumbled.

"I wasn't upset that the Steelers might lose," O'Neill told the Assosciated Press. "I was upset because I didn't want to see him end his career like that. A guy like that deserves better. I guess it was a little too much for me to handle."

After the fumble, O'Neill went into cardiac arrest and was revived by two fireman who happened to be watching the game at the same bar. It's probably a good thing that the fire fighters were only drinking beer and not trading tequila shots.

Bettis, the cause of the near-death experience, spoke with O'Neill on the Dan Patrick Show yesterday. Their talk, while pretty uneventful, can be found here.

This brings new meaning to "diehard fan," "heart of gold," and "lives and dies with the team."

Mr. O'Neill, The Big Picture, and Steelers' fans everywhere, salute you.

(Thanks to Deadspin for the picture).

In other news: Alex Rodriguez, torn between playing for the Dominican Republic and the U.S in World Baseball Classic, has opted to play for the Baskin Robins' 31-Flavors All-Stars instead.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

All wet roads lead to Detroit

One win down, two to go.

The Seattle Super Seahawks (they stole the “Super” from the Sonics who no longer deserve that word in their name) are one home win away from going to the Super Bowl in Detroit.

Yes, the Super Bowl!

And while Seattle did their part, knocking off the Washington Redskins and their non-existent offense last Saturday, the rest of the NFL seemed to have opened the metaphorical door for the Hawks as well.

While it’s true that Seahawks fans were likely rooting for the Chicago Bears, with the thought of an easier NFC Championship game in mind, they are still in good shape.

Seattle will host Carolina next Sunday at Qwest Field and the key word there is host. Seattle is pretty good at home. The fans are loud, the field is wet and the air is cold.

The forecast for Sunday calls for -- get this – rain. A shocker, I know. It hasn’t rained in Seattle since, well, yesterday. I think it’s rained for like 178 straight days, but weather folks will tell you that it’s only been three. (Apparently it didn’t rain on Sunday, so there went a four-week stretch of rainy days -- which was approaching some sort of record).

The Seahawks benefit by playing in the rain and cold and all that other crap that gives people Seasonal Affect Disorder. If Seattle can’t outright beat the Panthers with a good scheme and better players, maybe they can use the crummy weather to make Carolina sad or something.

Anyways, Carolina is no freebie-win – even at home. The Panthers play well on the road and have this dude Steve Smith who may just score 17 touchdowns against a good Seahawks’ defense. But out is RB DeShaun Foster who broke his ankle last weekend when he got in a fight outside of a bar in Pioneer Square (not really, of course).

The biggest help the Hawks got, indirectly anyway, was from the AFC. The Indianapolis Colts and New England Patriots – thought to be the two favorites to win the Super Bowl this year – got bounced from the playoffs prematurely, much like Seahawks’ teams we’re used to.

Pittsburgh beat the Colts in one of those games that make you both question reality and consider if there is anything better than a good football game. After a series of blown calls, incomprehensible turnovers, and a missed field goal that screams Florida State vs. Miami, the Steelers somehow escaped the state of Indiana with a win and some sanity still intact.

Big Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh’s star linebacker (actually quarterback, but is toying with a switch to defense after his game saving tackle against the Colts) will now lead the Steelers to Denver, which just knocked off New England.

Tired yet? Me too.

So what does this mean for Seattle? Well, nothing yet. They have to do something they aren’t particularly good at this time of the year, and that’s winning. But they got a monkey, gorilla and orangutan off their back by beating the Skins last Saturday.

I’m not exactly in the business of making predictions, but let’s just say, for the sake of me needing to fill five more inches of space in this column, the Hawks will win Sunday.

That will then put them in the Super Bowl for the first time since 1816, well before there were Super Bowls, football or sea hawks. They would play either Denver or Pittsburgh and would have a very good shot at beating either team. They stack up well on both sides of the ball and, hey, it isn’t Indianapolis or New England.

So Sunday afternoon, watch the Seahawks game. Don’t pay too much attention to the broadcasters because it will likely be Fox’s “A” team of Joe Buck and Troy Aikman, who collectively know as much about football as the orangutans that were hanging out with the Seahawks.

If the Seahawks are to win Sunday, they will be in the Super Bowl (that’s your cue to get excited) and will be playing a beatable team. So root and root hard. And if you make it to Qwest Field Sunday, bring your voice and an umbrella, because, after all, it rains here from time to time.

This column was published in the University of Washington's The Daily.

In other news: Peyton Manning is in critical, but stable condition, after being sat on by his offensive linemen.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Sunday NFL roundup

Hey, you don't win them all. (Nor does Indianapolis apparently). After having a remarkable run at perfection, The Big Picture, much like the Colts, went down hard. 4-0 in the Wild Card round, I close out the Divisional Round a mediocre 2-2 -- and I don't deal well with mediocrity.

Some thoughts about yesterday:

Steelers 21 at Colts 18:

-I can't remember a time I was this into a game. That phrase, "on the edge of your seat"...well, it finally made sense.

-As a Peyton Manning fan, I was pulling for the Colts today. I was surprised to see their offense struggle so much at times, but in the end, I'm happy Pittsburgh won.

-Jerome Bettis' fumble on the goal line, that nearly cost the Steelers the game, could've been his last carry ever. I'm certainly glad it's not.

-As for the interception that wasn't: Perhaps the worst call I've ever seen. If I was a Steelers' fan, I probably would have thrown my TV out the window right then. (Good thing I'm not a Steelers' fan).

-Mike Vanderjagt, tsk, tsk, tsk. Peyton (and The Bus) gave you a shot to win, and your arrogance pushed the ball wide right. I hear Florida State could use a new kicker.

-Speaking of Vanderjagt and Bettis, think The Bus got cozy with him after the game? He did bail him out and all.

-So I kept hearing the term "Blitzburgh" today because the Steelers often blitz and are from the city of Pittsburgh. Someone got a gold star for coming up with that. Pure genius.

-Often The Big Picture has thrown insults in the direction of Big Ben Roethlisberger. I'm still not sold on his quarterbacking abilities, but he'd be a helluva linebacker. His tackle saved the season for Pittsburgh (and tagged me with a second incorrect pick -- that bastard).

-I got very good at reading lips today. They kept saying for some reason, "He missed it."

-ESPN's poll currently has Pittsburgh the favorite to win the Super Bowl. No argument here.

Panthers 29 at Bears 21:

-Wow! Who woulda thunk they would've scored this many points?! I thought 50 -- the combined amount of points -- would have been Chicago's first half yardage.

-The final score of this game, say if USC were playing Texas in it, would equate to 299 to 221.

-As I mentioned yesterday, Joe Buck had the call today for Fox. I just love him. I dreamt about him last night, in fact.

-Here's Fox's knowledgeable announcers at their best: In the first quarter, Chris Gamble stripped Justin Gage after a short completion, and Julius Peppers returned it for a TD. The play was reviewed and overturned because Gage's knee was down when he was hit, thus down-by-contact. Well, good ol' Buck and Aikman did not even fathom that down-by-contact was an option. Hats off Fox!

-I continually and relentlessly rip into Rex Grossman and usually for good reason. But today he nearly won the game for the Bears. Then, much to my pleasure, with a chance to tie the game in the final minutes, what does Grossman do? He throws a perfect pass to Ken Lucas for a gain of 15 -- no wait, Lucas plays for Carolina. Way to go, Rex.

-DeShaun Foster breaks his ankle and half of Seattle has one of those sympathy sighs, smiles and high fives.

-Steve Smith: 12 catches, 218 yards, 2 td; 3 rushes, 26 yards. That equals 24 points in my fantasy league! If only fantasy leagues were still going...

-Where was Chicago's defense today? They surrendered 29 points, 434 total yards, six goals and 11 runs.

-Home field advantage? Yeah, not too important Sunday.

And while you were watching grown men grope eachother:

-Make it a good day all around for Pittsburgh. The 11th-ranked Pitt Panthers -- behind five dudes you've never heard of -- remain undefeated, beating #10 Louisville 61-57.

-It had the feeling of March Madness in Columbus, Ohio thanks to CBS' Gus Johnson and a thrilling double overtime game between #16 Ohio State and #15 Michigan State. The Spartans won by three, 62-59. (Yes, it was double-OT and a team won with a mere 62 points. The Bears and Panthers played basketball today too).

-#21 Maryland beat Wake Forest 90-86 and Terps' coach Gary Williams only popped three blood vessels in his forehead!

In other news: There's some tennis tournament being played in Australia. Thought you may like to know.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

The Playoffs are coming! The playoffs are coming! Day Two.

I'm in denial. New England, who I considered a virtual lock this week, lost to Denver, ending my run at perfection. My confidence/self esteem/ego took a big hit with this one. Maybe the ship will right itself Sunday and I'll finish the Divisional Round at 7-1 overall.

Steelers at Colts:

First off, what are they thinking about playing this game at 1 p.m.? That equates to ten o'clock here on the West Coast and that is far too early for a Sunday morning. Shit, I was just trying to sleep in and now I have to wake up early...darn.

How will Indianapolis react to not playing a meaningful game in weeks? Well, probably pretty well. Because after all, they were, hands down, the best team in the regular season.

This dude Peyton Manning (heard of him?) is pretty good and will probably throw like five touchdowns. I'm sold on Pittsburgh's running game and that Willie Parker is a solid runner. But Big Ben Roethlisberger? Still can't take him seriously. (And he doesn't even look big -- or like a man, nevertheless -- in that picture). Even after a good game in Cincinnati, his best attribute is still that he just doesn't fuck it up for his team.

Bill Cowher, Steelers' coach and king of the "game face," has been here before and likes the pressure. But if he loses, well, let's just say you don't want to run into him in a dark alley.

The Big Picture pick: Indianapolis 35, Pittsburgh 24

Carolina at Chicago:

Ooh, can't wait for this one. But before we get into the game, I made a mistake yesterday. I wrote that I was really looking forward to hearing the sound of Joe Buck's voice first thing in the morning yesterday during the Seattle game. Well, it wasn't him. So Sunday, it will be Buck's voice I hear in the afternoon. Goody!

Buck made a historic World Series this past year as exciting as a trip to the dentist, so imagine what he'll do for this game. There's a chance that there will be a first down in the opening quarter, but don't be shocked if there isn't.

This game features two good defenses and half of an offense. Bears' quarterback Rex Grossman is a high school quarterback in a college quarterback's body. I'll set Chicago's over/under for first downs at six and points at three. Bet at your own will.

Meanwhile, Carolina has this Steve Smith guy who plays wide receiver (not the basketball player, the USC wideout or the obnoxious NBA analyst who switches it up by putting an "A" in the middle of his name). He's really pretty good and was the sole reason my fantasy football team was only bad and not absolutely fucking terrible. Carolina should be looking for Smith on every play and may consider using him on defense too. Just cuz.

I really don't think Chicago is very good unless they're coached by Mike Ditka and Jim McMahon is at the helm. Rex Grossman? Please. His name is Rex, after all.

The Big Picture pick: Carolina 10, Chicago -7

In other news: Tampa Bay traded relievers Danys Baez and Lance Carter to the Los Angeles Dodgers yesterday for iron, fur and three bushels of wheat.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Thoughts from the early game

Final score: Seattle 20, Washington 10

-That may have been the most boring game since Washington beat Tampa Bay in the playoffs. Oh wait, that was just last week.

-Somehow it doesn't seem to matter that Shaun Alexander got hurt. Don't think he would've run too far against that Skins' defense today.

-Darrell Jackson, goes out with a back injury, is listed as questionable, then has more receiving yards than Washington has total yards (not true, by the way, but exaggeration leads to a more compelling argument or something).

-Anyone else get a glimpse of Alexander after Hasselbeck ran in his third quarter touchdown? The MVP looked giddy as a school boy! Maybe he won some sort of spelling bee on the sidelines.

-As you read here in my previous post, weather would be a factor. It appeared to hurt the home team more than the visitors, but perhaps the Redskins get sad when it rains.

-Someone forgot to tell Seahawks' special team returners that when it is wet, the ball gets slippery. Novel concept, I know.

-Washington took some momentum into a John Hall field goal attempt to try to make it a seven-point game, but Joe Gibbs made a call to the bench and brought in Kris Brown to shank it.

-To freshen your memory: When a team puts together a couple of first downs, it's called a "drive."

-I got mildly excited when the Redskins got a first down in the third quarter, but quickly realized it was just the adrenaline from a thrilling Husky b-ball victory over UCLA.

-And at the end of the day (well, more like at the end of the first game) my record remains flawless at 5-0.

The playoffs are coming! The playoffs are coming!

After going 4-0 with my picks last week, my confidence is at an all-time high. We have two games Saturday, with Washington and Seattle starting us off in the wee hours of the morning (12:30 p.m. PST) and then New England at Denver. Unfortunately, the Seattle game is televised on Fox. Can't wait to hear Joe Buck first thing in the morning.

Redskins at Seahawks:

You heard it here first: the weather will be a factor. It's rained here in Seattle for 198 straight days (really more like 27 -- which, by the way, is approaching some sort of record) and the Seahawks like the rain and cold and all that other shit that gives people Seasonal Affect Disorder. Washington looked pretty good last week, proving that Tampa Bay's Chris Simms is no better than a high school quarterback, by forcing all sorts of turnovers that led to scores. Washington's offense didn't look so hot though and it likely won't Saturday either. Shaun Alexander, MVP and huge G (just look at the picture), will probably run for about 350 yards and seven touchdowns. This one should be a sleeper folks...so I may just stay in bed until the New England game. (Well, that's not true because the Huskies take on UCLA at 1 p.m. I'll likely be watching that instead).

The Big Picture pick: Seattle 178, Washington 20

(Somewhat-random aside: I would love to see this game go into overtime so our boy Matt Hasselbeck can say something after the coin toss like, "We want the ball and we're gonna score!" Remember, he said that after the Hawks won the coin toss against Green Bay in the 2004 playoffs. The Packers' Al Harris then proceeded to pick off Hasselbeck, return it for the winning touchdown, and nail Hasselbeck's wife after the game).

Patriots at Broncos:

There are about three people outside of Colorado pulling for the Broncos. People are eagerly awaiting an AFC Championship game between Indy and New England. Hate to tell ya, but that would require that the Colts win as well.

Anyway, this really should be a pretty good game. I'm almost excited for it.


Funny story. During Denver's bye week, I was contacted by Mike Shanahan (because of my excellent picks last week) and he asked if I wanted to be their featured running back for Saturday's game. I told him that I was flattered, but would rather just sit on my ass. Instead of me, Denver will platoon Tatum Bell, Mike Anderson and some cheerleaders. It's safe to say, that the trio will run for 900+ yards -- yes, even against a solid New England defense.

But Jake Plummer, midway through the first half, will realize he needs a haircut, shave and entire fucking makeover, and that's when New England will make their surge. Tom Brady doesn't lose playoff games and I don't mess up picks.

The Big Picture pick: New England 27, Denver 17

(Sunday's picks to come later...)

In other news: Kobe Bryant beat the Cleveland Cavaliers Thursday night 99-98.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Hating Fox Sports, Part 3: Best Damn Sports Show, Period

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but the numbers are in, and it turns out that Fox's Best Damn Sports Show, Period is not actually the best damn sports show period.

It's not even close.

There are many sports shows that trump Fox's late-night, sports disaster. Officials have said that ABC's Sports Night -- a fictional show about a sports TV station, which lasted for about 27 minutes -- was far better than the Sixth or Seventh Best Damn Sports Show, Semicolon.

"We really blew it with that one," admitted tyrannosaurus rex, Rupert Murdoch. "I don't know what the fuck I was thinking putting those douche bags on air."

The "douche bags" Murdoch spoke of were hosts Chris Rose, John Salley, Rodney Peete and Rob Dibble.

Chris Rose, like most Fox-style broadcasters, adds as much to the program as a stuffed animal. John Salley, aside from being good at being very tall, isn't very good at anything. Rob Dibble is more 'roided than the Bay Area and Rodney Peete is more washed up than a bar of soap.

The show originally featured Tom Arnold as the host. Turns out that Arnold knew about as much about sports as Arnold Schwarzenegger does about governing. Ironically, Arnold's best performance was as Gov. Schwarzenegger's sidekick in the movie True Lies.

Hot chick Lisa Guerrero was on the show for a brief time and occasionally makes guest appearances. She's really the only good thing about the show. Because she's knowledgeable and contributes to the discussion? Of course not. It's because she's way hot.

Fortunately for sports fans of all ages, this catastrophe airs at 10:30 p.m., so most people should either be asleep or getting hammered at a local bar instead of watching Fox Sports Net.

Because, after all, we hate Fox Sports and everything about it.

In other news: USC's Reggie Bush has announced he will run for president while George W. Bush has said he will turn pro.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

They're not 'strippers', they're 'dancers'

Reports have surfaced that in January 2003, Stanford University football players entertained recruits by taking them twice to a strip club in San Francisco -- and both trips were paid for with athletic-department money.

"I ain't gonna pay for that shit," said Stanford spokesman and quarterback Trent Edwards, who did not take part in either outing. "Even if I was there, you think I'd drop my own money? You know how much it costs to get a good dance?"

According to a stripper, prices range from club to club, but one can expect to pay upwards of $100, "if they want the real deal."

(At this time we are unsure what "the real deal" means, but will investigate further).

No NCAA rules were violated, but Stanford officials were not happy about the incident.

"I'm really disappointed," said former Cardinal coach Buddy Teevens. "A strip club? What the fuck are they thinking? They could get some pretty decent hookers for only a few more bucks."

Perhaps hookers may have been a better idea for the sake of the team. Stanford went 5-6 this season and missed a bowl game. It turns out, ironically, that many of those potential recruits ended up at the University of Colorado, where player-hosts were smarter and got the recruits drunk and laid.

Stanford basketball coach Trent Johnson, who coached at the University of Nevada Reno before coming to the Bay Area, had a similar reaction.

"Yeah, they would have been better off picking up a ho," he said. "They got some good ones in Reno. But that shit's legal there, so I guess it's different."

The NCAA does have rules against hookers, though. So does the state of California.

No action has yet been taken against Stanford University, but the athletic department is thought to be courting ex-Colorado coach Gary Barnett so that recruits can get more than just a lap dance next time in Palo Alto.

Barnett was unavailable for comment because he was in a Denver strip-club getting "the real deal."

In other news: The Oakland Raiders are finalizing contracts with The Black Hole to co-coach the team next season.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Paterno: 'It ain't old hat'

DALLAS -- Penn State's Joe Paterno was named coach of they year by the American Coaches Association yesterday -- the fifth time he has received the honor from his peers.

"I'm fuckin' stoked!" said a clearly elated Paterno, 112. "This may be my last chance to win the award, and I'm happy to go out on top by beating the shit out of those other dudes."

The Nittany Lions went 11-1 this season, capped off by a thrilling triple-overtime win over Florida State in the Orange Bowl. A classic coaching matchup against fellow elderly coach, Bobby Bowden, some have said that it was a remarkable game and that it was remarkable that neither coach died during it.

"To win for the fifth time, you think it's old hat, but it ain't old hat," Paterno told the Associated Press. Coincidentally, Joe Pa was wearing a hat from 1873 when he received notice of his award.

Paterno won a close race to win the honor. He beat out other regional winners Texas' Mack Brown, USC's Pete Carroll, Mike Shula of Alabama and Miami's Larry Coker.

Paterno also was honored in 1968, '72, '82 and '86. He began coaching at Penn State in 1899.

Brown, who some thought would win based on his Rose Bowl victory, did not take losing well.

"You better believe I'm pissed," said Brown. "We beat USC and then I lose to a fucking dinosaur?"

Paterno has not commented on Brown's choice words, but some suspect that Paterno, thought to have mob ties, has contacted Tony Soprano about putting a hit on Brown.

But on this day, it was all smiles for Joe Pa.

"I haven't been this happy since they came out with Viagra!" said Paterno. "I'm grateful just to be able to take a piss standing up these days and now to win this! I could die tomorrow and be a happy man."

Sources say Paterno is, in fact, still alive.

In other news: Rich "Goose" Gossage was mistakenly left out of the Hall of Fame when HOF officials confused the former reliever for an actual goose.

(Read more columns like this here, here and here).

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Now Marcus, that wasn’t very nice

For those of you who were still nursing your New Year’s Eve hangover on Jan. 2, you may have missed the ever-so-popular Gator Bowl and Marcus Vick highlights. Younger brother of Atlanta Falcons’ QB, Michael, L’il Vick is thought to have as big of an upside as his big bro.

Well, we’ll find out soon. Because after many legal problems and poor sportsmanship in the Gator Bowl (he stomped on the calf of Louisville defensive end Elvis Dumervil – the NCAA sacks leader) Vick has been kicked off the Virginia Tech football team.

“It’s not a big deal. I’ll just move on to the next level, baby,” Vick told The Virginian-Pilot.

Many will disagree and suggest that it was a big deal. For instance
the university, his coach and the Virginia Tech fans.

As for the “next level,” we’ll assume that he’s talking about the NFL, despite NFL Europe being a likelier option.

This is L’il Vick at his best: playing down the importance of a major screw up. And his unsportsmanlike behavior in the Gator Bowl is the least of his problems. Here’s a timeline of some of his low-lights:

Feb. 17, 2004
Arrested without incident and charged with four misdemeanors — three for allegedly allowing underage girls to have alcohol and one for allegedly having sex with a 15-year-old at a January party.
(He was found innocent of having sex with the 15-year-old. Phew!).

July 3, 2004
Charged with reckless driving and possession of marijuana.
(Think the pot caused him to drive badly? Meh, probably not).

Aug. 3, 2004
Suspended from the university for the 2004 season.
(But he got really good at NCAA 2005 for PS2).

Jan. 2, 2006
The leg stomping thing…yada yada yada.

Jan. 6, 2006
Dismissed from the Virginia Tech football team.
(Plenty of time now to get loaded and watch “Half Baked”).

Jan. 9, 2006
Turned himself in to the police after pointing a gun at three people in a McDonald’s parking lot.
(Hey, the guy was just trying to get a Big Mac.)

It’s clear that L’il Vick is missing some screws in his head and it seems that he may be tarnishing his older brother’s reputation as well as destroying his. Michael Vick, who is one of the most marketable players in the NFL, is no angel himself.

Though not well publicized, last spring Mike Vick found himself in the middle of an embarrassing legal mess.

Vick was slapped with a lawsuit by a woman who claimed that he gave her herpes. The woman tried to sue because she said that Vick hadn’t told her about his condition. Meanwhile, he was receiving treatment for the STD and tried to hide it from the public by using the alias, Ron Mexico.

Catchy, huh?

This story went under the radar and saved face for Mexico. But L’il Mexico is doing his darnedest now to bring down the family name. These constant mishaps reflect badly on his school, his character and the entire Mexico family.

One can assume though that L’il Mexico could bring the same explosiveness (that was not a gun joke, I swear) to an NFL team that Big Mexico does. While the Falcons went a disappointing 8-8 this season and appeared not to play football the last two weeks of the season, Ron Mexico is still among the most exciting players in the league. He adds a fire to the Atlanta offense that is not replicated (yet) in the NFL.

L’il Mexico, if he avoids jail, is expected to be, at best, a late-round pick in the upcoming NFL Draft. Despite being an unproven college player, it’s thought that he too could burn defenses with his blazing speed and agility.

I’m disappointed how L’il Mexico, a guy with such a large upside, could have it all unravel in the span of just a few years. He has put a bad name to Virginia Tech football and the Mexico/Vick family. I think we’re all rooting for him to turn it around and join his big bro playing on Sundays.

As an Atlanta Falcon? Perhaps someday. First he may have a visit to NFL Europe. Though Amsterdam is probably not the best option for him.

In other news: Washington safety Sean Taylor was fined $17,000 for spitting in Michael Pittman's face and for calling him mean names.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Wild Card Weekend

After nailing all four Wild Card games, I have been contacted by ESPN to be one of their "experts" who make bold predictions. I also may move to Vegas to commence my gambling addiction, which needs to start now. I'm hotter than Lisa Guerrero!

Some thoughts about today's games:

-How much worse could it have gotten for the Bengals? Lose Carson Palmer on the opening drive to a blown out knee and then blow a 10-0 lead to lose at home. I have sympathy for you and encourage all folks in Cincinnati to get completely loaded right now.

-The New York Football Giants didn't seem like they were playing much football today.

-Eli Manning makes The Big Picture look incredible by getting picked off 16 times.

-After bashing Ben Roethlisberger earlier, I still hold true the belief that Big Ben sucks. Wait for the Indy defense, buddy.

-I admire and idolize Chad Johnson. That guy tailgated before the game to make fans more comfortable. Think he faded some beers so that he would be more comfortable too?

-By the numbers: DeShaun Foster 151 yards, Eli Manning 113 yards. Yowzers!

So next week we'll see the Steelers travel to Indy, New England take on Denver, Carolina will play (and certainly beat -- you have The Big Picture guarantee on that one) Da Bears, and Seattle hosts the Redskins.

More to come next week...

Playoffs? Yes, playoffs. Day Two

After nailing the two games yesterday, my ego has been inflated to that of Terrell Owens'. Here's The Big Picture's take on today's Wild Card matchups.

Panthers at Giants:

Young Eli Manning has come back to Earth after his early season success. Lately he's been getting picked off more frequently than he's getting laid. Tiki Barber, though, is running through defenses like a turnstile and may rush for 700 yards tomorrow.

But that's not likely against an underrated Carolina defense. Those boys in teal (yeah, minus two points for wearing fucking teal) play solid defense and have a weapon on offense named Jerry Rice. (Actually, it's Steve Smith, but he's playing just as well as that dude who used to catch balls, but now just dances in ballrooms).

All the ESPN "experts" (quick side note: Sean Salisbury has only mastered two things: average quarterbacking and being a jackass) except Ron Jaworski are picking Carolina on the road. And those who saw "Jaws" know that the shark was blown up in the end. ESPN's Jaws may blow himself up after making a terrible choice.

The Big Picture pick: Carolina 31, New York 20

Pittsburgh at Cincinnati:

Who put the muzzle on Chad Johnson? Because I'm begging you to take it off. He's the most entertaining thing in sports and he needs his voice heard. (And don't give me that shit about how he should let his actions on the field do the talking).

This game is a bad draw for the Bengals. Pittsburgh is one of those teams that nobody wants to face in the playoffs. Their stellar defense, led by Troy Polamalu -- who, by the way, is awesome! -- may be too much for the Bengals.

Loyal readers will know that I can't, won't, and shouldn't say nice things about Big Ben Roethlisberger. He isn't a very good player. Sorry to break the news.

But this Willie Parker dude is pretty tight and I've liked Hines Ward since his Georgia days when the guy played wide receiver and quarterback! How fucking cool is that?

I think the combination of the solid ground game (with that guy known as "The Bus," as well) and a formidable (two points for the big word) defense will be too much for Chad, Carson and the rest of the cast from "Whose line is it anyway?"

All the ESPN guys, minus Chris Mortensen, are going with the Steelers. I will too.

The Big Picture pick:
Pittsburgh 24, Cincinnati 17

In other news:
Iowa knocked Illinois from the land of the unbeatens, proving that teams with a bald guy can win.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Playoffs? Don't talk about playoffs. You kidding me? Playoffs?

Well Jim Mora Sr., I will talk about the playoffs and I'll do my best to kid you.

With the NFL playoffs starting tomorrow, maybe people can finally get off Vince Young's nuts and talk about professional football and its genuine playoff system.

Washington plays at Tampa in the early game, while Jacksonville goes to chilly New England in the nightcap. Thankfully, neither game is on Fox. Whoopee!

Redskins at Bucs:

Tampa Bay beat Washington 36-35 in November before Clinton Portis and his alter egos became public (and before they started playing well). I have a hard time taking the Bucs seriously because Chris Simms, no, not Phil, is the Tampa QB. Putting it frankly and accurately, he's a pretty lousy quarterback. He's had some decent games, but so did Trent Dilfer...and neither is or will ever be a good player.

I like Carnell Williams because his nickname is Cadillac and his real name is, well, Carnell. Both names are savage and thuggish and a guy like him should be on a harder team than Tampa -- like the Raiders or something. The guy is awesome, but he won't be enough for Tampa.

Portis will have a big day on the ground and the way Santana Moss is playing, he may score six touchdowns even if Chris Simms was throwing to him. I like the Skins to make it six straight.

The Big Picture pick: Washington 21, Tampa Bay 17 (Clinton Portis egos 4).

Jaguars at Patriots:

Bad draw for Jacksonville, which at 12-4 is forced to go play on the road against the 10-6 Patriots. Jacksonville is the team I'm pulling for in this year's postseason because they are loaded with tight players like Byron Leftwich and my boy, Reggie Williams, straight outta Tacoma, Wash.

But the Jags have to go to Foxborough where about no visiting team wins in the playoffs. New England is better than the No. 4 seed indicates and they have this dude Brady or something who some say is kinda good. (I just thought he was a GQ model).

Jacksonville, which certainly would've been a trendy pick had they been able to go to, say, Cincinnati instead of Bean Town, will instead be a trendy pick to be sippin' on Keystone tallboys from the privacy of their own homes next weekend.

The Big Picture pick: New England 28, Jacksonville 13

In other news: Officials say that the NHL is, in fact, being played this season.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Hating Fox Sports, Part 2: Terry Bradshaw

Terry Bradshaw, former Steelers' QB and now one of Fox's NFL analysts, is much like an attic. The light rarely works and everything is covered in dust. The same can be said for Mr. Bradshaw's brain.

Bradshaw brings the word "stupid" to a much lower level than normal. On game days, he sits in the studio with some guys, like James Brown and Howie Long, who are actually literate and somewhat articulate. Terry isn't either. He's loud and obnoxious, which for him, is probably a compliment.

Bradshaw is a good example of Fox putting anybody who played professional sports on TV. (Much like Fox's baseball analyst, Tim McCarver). One can speculate that Bradshaw took too many big hits (on the field and off the bong) to be able to form complete sentences now.

Living on the West Coast, I'm fortunate to wake up late enough so that I only have to put up with Bradshaw's antics during halftime, when he tells me how shitty my fantasy players are doing.

Not only is it clear to everybody who watches him that his IQ is equivalent to a chalk board, but he even admits his lack of intelligence.

“I may be dumb, but I'm not stupid," he famously said.

Hate to break it to ya buddy, but you're both.

In other news: Manny Ramirez says he's staying in Boston and has made arrangements to star in the movie, "Identity 2: I still can't find it."

Thursday, January 05, 2006

More rosy thoughts

The Rose Bowl just ended and it lived up to all, and I really mean all, of the hype.

The game featured incredible performances by three Heisman finalists, a big comeback and a last minute, game-winning touchdown.

Whew! I'm exhausted. For those of you who watched, it was a game that will be talked about for a long time.

For those of you who didn't, first of all, shame on you. Second of all, Texas won 41-38 on a Vince Young 9-yard TD run with 19 seconds left. Thought you'd like to know.

Some more thoughts:

-Pete Carroll is maybe the classiest guy in college football. After a gut-wrenching loss, where the Trojans blew a 12-point lead with under seven minutes in the game, Carroll quickly gave ABC an interview where he was not sore about the loss at all. He even gave kudos to Mack Brown. (That part I probably wouldn't have done).

-Vince Young should go straight to the pros. Now! The guy is incredible and would likely be the second overall pick. The Saints may shit themselves if he announces he's turning pro.

-Matthew McConaughey was shown on the field taking part in the Longhorns' celebration. Last time I checked he was a mediocre-to-bad actor and doesn't have a damn thing to do with football.

-For how good of a coach Carroll is, he had some questionable, calls. He went for it twice on fourth down and missed. And on the second missed fourth down play-- with a first down all but sealing the win for USC -- Reggie Bush was on the sidelines! Wow.

-But, on second and third and fourth thought, maybe they weren't such questionable calls. Some would say that on 4th and 2 in Texas territory with a first down clinching the win, going for it was the right thing to do. And giving the ball to White, rather than Bush? Well, he's the big, short-yardage runner.

-Some final stats:

Vince Young: 30/40 passing, 267 yards, 0 TD/INT; 19 carries, 200 yards, 3 TDs.
(Are you kidding? His pro stock is higher than Nate Newton!)

Matt Leinart: 29/40, 365 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT
(Hey, at least he may avoid the Saints if Young enters the draft.)

LenDale White: 20 carries, 124 yards, 3 TDs
(Remember me?)

Reggie Bush: 13 carries, 82 yards, 1 TD; 6 catches, 95 yards.
(Houston, you no longer have a problem.)

Keith Jackson: 6 hotdogs, 3 red ropes, 4 bags of peanuts, 2 soft pretzels, 1 ice cream, a bloomin' onion, and a six-pack of Mickey's grenades.

Dan Fouts: 3 profound comments; 16 strokes of the beard.

In other news: Lynn Swann announced he is running for the Pennsylvania governor, while Jessica Alba says she will take a stab at the U.S. Senate.