Sunday, December 30, 2007
Tonight's 22nd edition of THE FDH LOUNGE (8-11 PM EST) on SportsTalkNetwork.com will feature our first-ever Presidential Fantasy Draft based on the game design and draft board on FantasyDrafthelp.com. This will be the focus for most of our first two hours of the program as we select various candidates for president based on point tallies for various levels of campaign achievement and then argue vigorously over the state of the race!
After our presidential focus is done towards the end of Hour Two, we turn our attention to a thorn in the side of one of the candidates: dark-horse folk hero Ron Paul, congressman from Texas who like his Democrat equivalent Dennis Kucinich is threatened by a tough primary challenge for his House seat. We'll talk to Chris Peden, who hopes to take down 2008's trendiest presidential candidate on his home turf.
In Hour Three, we deliver our takes on the Mitchell Report fallout before turning to The FDH Lounge Pigskin Report for an early preview of the NFL playoff picture and an assessment of the major bowl games in college.
As always when you join us, it's the widest array of talk anywhere on God's Green Earth: The FDH Lounge, only on SportsTalkNetwork.com!
By Rick Morris
CERTAIN PLAYOFF TEAMS WITH A CHANCE FOR DEEP ADVANCEMENT
PLAYOFF TEAMS AND POTENTIAL PLAYOFF TEAMS
Saturday, December 22, 2007
CERTAIN PLAYOFF TEAMS WITH A CHANCE FOR DEEP ADVANCEMENT
LIKELY PLAYOFF TEAMS
LONGSHOT PLAYOFF TEAMS AND NEAR-MISSES
Sunday, December 16, 2007
^ It was pretty funny to see George W. Bush accepting the Mitchell Report pretty much without reservation -- not because of Dubya's former ownership of the Texas Rangers -- but because George Mitchell more than any other one man pretty much ran George H.W. Bush out of office. An insanely committed partisan, Mitchell constantly ran rings around the naive first President Bush, who was bipartisan to an extreme fault. Mitchell convinced Bush Senior to break the "no new taxes" pledge during budget negotiations, then used the capitulation as a battering ram to send the old man back to Maine in November of '92. So there was a lot of history between Mitchell and the Bush family that went unnoticed this week.
^ The idea of a "Rogues' Wing" at the Baseball Hall of Fame appears to be an idea whose time has come. Excluding Pete Rose, Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens and many others for their misdeeds seems a bit over the top inasmuch as we are likely to eventually find that a great many players transgressed against the game at one time or another. Put the players in a separate "shamed" part of the Hall of Fame and retroactively move Ty Cobb (for the scores of his antisocial acts), Cap Anson (for bearing such great responsibility for enforcing the "color line" in baseball), Gaylord Perry (proud admitted cheater) and other jerks and miscreants to this area. Problem solved.
^ The notion that the period from about 1994-2001 (give or take a bit on either end) is unique in the history of baseball -- with these numbers sticking out like a sore thumb in terms of the all-time record -- is historically illiterate. This period of time is much like the 1930s, the days of Jimmie Foxx, Al Simmons and the Phabulous Philadelphia As in terms of the offensive explosion. The game has also gone through periods of extreme pitching dominance. The superlative 1968 season for Bob Gibson and for pitchers as a whole helped to bring about the lowering of the pitchers' mound for the 1969 season and a period in baseball with more balance between pitching and offense. In short, something like "500 home runs" has never meant exactly the same thing in every era. Now, this is not to minimize the effects of PED cheating, merely to point out that the damage done to the game in this respect is not irreversible. We must simply view the numbers of this era through a different prism than for previous times in terms of ascertaining how players fit into the all-time history of the game.
^ Whatever else can be said about the failings of the Mitchell Report and Major League Baseball's handling of it (reliance on informants working for the federal government, acceptance of information with differing standards of accuracy), Major League Baseball is to be commended on a huge scale for embracing the need to thoroughly cover the story on their own website. We saw the opposite end of the spectrum recently, when we felt it necessary to chastise the NBA for initially squelching all mention on their website of the civil verdict against Isiah Thomas and the New York Knicks, and so our appreciation for MLB.com's coverage (including a blog completely devoted to all aspects of the story) is sincere.
Tonight's 22nd edition of THE FDH LOUNGE on SportsTalkNetwork.com has been postponed due to a weather emergency at our home base in Cleveland. Any of you who have seen clips of the Browns/Bills game this afternoon can see quite candidly what we are up against. Our studio is about three miles down the road from Cleveland Browns Stadium, also right up on the lakefront.
This program, which will still be headlined by our presidential politics fantasy draft, has been rescheduled for Sunday, December 30 at our usual time of 8-11 PM EDT. The Lounge airs on an every-other-week basis, but was to have been off for the holidays that Sunday night. Instead, we'll be coming your way with our big show just four days before the Iowa caucuses! The fur will be flying on The FDH Lounge on December 30!
Thursday, December 13, 2007
By Rick Morris
CERTAIN PLAYOFF TEAMS WITH A CHANCE FOR DEEP ADVANCEMENT
LIKELY PLAYOFF TEAMS
LONGSHOT PLAYOFF TEAMS
We've written about this part of the FDH media family before and we're providing a big update right now. The Depth Charts and Ultimate Links page on FantasyDrafthelp.com added 93 links this week and is now up to 452 in all. It is the greatest page anywhere on the Internet, and that statement is not an empty one on my part -- it is my home page on my browser.
The following categories had been present on the page previously and still are:
^ MLB Depth Charts
^ NFL Depth Charts
^ NBA Depth Charts
^ Baseball Media
^ Baseball Blogs
^ Football Media
^ Football Blogs
^ Hoops Media
^ Hoops Blogs
^ Hockey Media
^ Hockey Blogs
^ Racing Media
^ Niche Sports Media
^ Major Leagues
^ Other Leagues
^ Hall of Fame
^ Major Sports Media
^ New Sports Media
^ Blog/Search/Video Tools
^ Message Boards
^ SportsTalkNetwork.com Links
^ THE FDH LOUNGE (all of the best miscellaneous links from the sports world and beyond)
We have added 25 new links in one new category alone:
^ CBS Sports Home Pages & Scores By Sport -- This section takes you directly to any major link you choose on the new CBS Sports website, whether it be the baseball home page, the football scores page or anything else. This adds yet another dimension to the multiplicity of options we provide to sports fans and even those interested in matters outside of sport.
We are always combing the Internet for more material that we can link to for your convenience. Stay tuned, because we are likely to reach 500 links on this page sometime in 2008.
In addition to what is on the page, here is one more link from the I am Bored website (which is one of our 452 links, incidentally) demonstrating some of football's hardest hits.
EDIT: Updated to provide a link listing the players involved in the report without combing through the entirety of the Mitchell Report.
The Mitchell Report has been released (you can read it here) and one note of the conventional wisdom appears true: everyone was at fault in the steroid era.
^ The players engaged in a macabre arms race which will see many of them end up deceased at an early age from their self-destructive, short-term conniving.
^ The owners and the commissioner counted the dollar receipts from the home run happiness and turned a blind eye to the issue.
^ The union has a lot of blood on its hands since it was their fanatical enabling that allowed the players to poison themselves. The association had the most power in the situation, but the owners put more importance on almost every other issue that was being collectively bargained.
We have also seen what I have always suspected about those frauds known as Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds: there is no true fountain of youth. In the entire history of baseball, players have not shown the dramatic improvement that these two "icons" posted in their late thirties and early forties. Although he was not a good general manager, maybe now history will be a bit kinder to Dan Duquette for letting Clemens walk out of Beantown. Duquette suspected that Clemens was washed up. It turns out that his best days weren't behind him -- but his best honest days were behind him.
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
EDIT: For the benefit of those Stockholm Syndrome types in Cleveland who sympathize with the Dolans, here's the Forbes Magazine report showing the Indians fourth in baseball in operating income in their most recent rankings.
Being an Indians fan just got more depressing. Now even the Houston Astros are more serious about succeeding.
Listeners to The FDH Lounge program are aware that fellow Lounge Dignitaries Burrell Jackson and Chris Galloway are good friends of mine dating back to our days navigating the political sphere at Ohio University. The same can be said of Scott Pullins, Ohio's foremost lawyer/political advocate/lobbyist/etc.
Scott penned a short introduction to a piece on his site last month denouncing our government's practice of waterboarding on terrorist suspects. Frankly, this is a strange topic for me in that I don't have a fierce and unshakable take one way or another, as I almost always do on any subject. I know that our government has considered it torture in the past and that it is not wise or moral for our government to indulge in torture. Without wanting to resort to something as cliche as the "Jack Bauer exception," I would probably be in favor of desperate measures under the most extreme circumstances (i.e. a nuke about to be detonated), but I would not want it to be standard operating practice.
But just the fact that I am at least somewhat sympathetic to Scott's arguments would put me afoul of the absolutists he references in his post. Now, I know from many, many conversations that I am way more of a paleocon than any of my fellow members of "The OU Mafia," so I won't associate Scott or anyone else with what I'm about to argue.
What Scott references, the people who can't form a single cogent thought beyond "Support the president" or any other cliche -- they are the neocons who have taken over the conservative movement and the Republican party. Revisionism aside, unrestrained militarism was never a cornerstone of the conservative movement. How many hot wars did Ronald Reagan engage in on his way to bringing down the Soviet Union? He showed that he was prepared to commit the military where necessary (Grenada, the Libyan president's mansion), but used proxies in other instances (Central America, Afghanistan). In short, he used the full range of options for every situation, unlike today's hairy-chested tough-talkers like Bill Kristol -- whose response to the Israeli-Hezbollah War of '06 was to call for the United States to invade Iran!
Somewhere along the way, those of us on the right side of the spectrum have allowed the neocons, who have historically not placed a tremendous amount of importance on traditional conservative issues like the right to life, to hijack this ideology and to paint anyone with legitimate questions about any aspect of American military or foreign policy as un-American. I will note in the very same breath that many on the left deserve the vitriol of the neocons and are actually interested in undermining our nation's standing in the world. But for the main conservative organs in this country, such as National Review, to act as though neoconservatism is the only legitimate strain of thinking is a slap in the face to those of us who read it and cherished it for the decades prior to its decline into intellectual sloth. To disagree, from another vantage point on the right, from the doctrine of Jonah Goldberg or Hugh Hewitt is not to be lacking in patriotism, it is to live up to the definition of the word. And whether Scott Pullins and I agree on every last point on political or military policy, that is definitely a point of agreement for us both.
There you are. In the grocery store, staring and the eight MILLION different brands of macaroni and cheese. Which to choose? Out of name recognition, you automatically reach for the Kraft brand. But you have a cart full of groceries, and you need to save a little money so you can order that personalized Canadian Olympic curling jersey you’ve been eyeing up on the internet. Another brand catches your eye that is half the cost of the name brand. So, you toss it into you cart, thinking, “Oh well…I can suffer through some bad mac and cheese.”
But, when you get home and make said mac and cheese, you find that not only was it half the price of the name brand, but tasted just as good! How could this be possible?
I’ll tell you how. It’s the generic brand called GREAT VALUE.
There is a general, unwritten rule that says, “The cheaper the ice cream, the better it is.” Believe me, we’ve tested this theory and proven it time and again. So, my husband and I decided to apply this theory to other types of food.
We tried just a few items at first…Ice cream, mac and cheese, cereal. All just as good, if not – dare I say – BETTER than the name brand products. So, we took the testing to the next level.
As you all well know, Christmas is quickly approaching. This is my first Christmas away from home, so I thought I’d have a go at making my own Christmas cookies. One problem. No mixer. So, I just went to get those break apart and bake cookies. As I was reaching for the Pillsbury chocolate chip cookies, another package caught my eye. Yes, you guessed it…GREAT VALUE break apart and bake cookies. According to the theory, they should be awesome, so I picked up a package. Then it struck me. If GREAT VALUE has break apart and bake cookies, I bet you can get just about anything made by GREAT VALUE.
A half hour later, I had done all my grocery shopping with GREAT VALUE products. Even rice crispies and marshmallows for rice crispy treats and light corn syrup for candy making (like I said, Christmas is coming up…).
And so, dear reader, I challenge you to see how many different things you can get, made by GREAT VALUE. I can pretty much guarantee you can do all of your grocery shopping just by this brand. And, you’ll save a pantload of money. GREAT VALUE? I think so.
Saturday, December 8, 2007
The biggest political topics of the week have been the surge of Huck in Iowa and the Mitt Romney speech about religion in Texas. The two are, of course, joined at the hip, as the desperation of a sliding Romney campaign and fears from within the campaign that he is being maligned by bigots led to his decision to confront the "Mormon issue."
I have made my views on the subject perfectly clear on The FDH Lounge program previously. I think that religion is a perfectly valid subject on which to judge a candidate, as it frames the person's worldview in a way that nothing else does. I said on our most recent program that I want a candidate that comes from within the traditional Judeo-Christian framework that we have always had for the presidency, and in my estimation Romney does not. When questioned by my friend and colleague Burrell Jackson about the likes of a Joe Lieberman, I replied that I did of course see him as being within that tradition and I would not hesitate to vote for a Jewish individual for president -- just not him, as I don't agree with him on many policy issues. Is it too late to get a "Draft Dennis Prager" movement going? Eh, maybe for 2012.
I would not vote against Romney with the same relish that I would a satanist, atheist or agnostic, as I would reject those pathetically-oriented people with relish. I feel that the Mormon faith is misguided in several ways, but I believe most adherents of the religion to be good people trying their best to do what is right. But I do have many legitimate questions about the Mormon religion, some from relatively close range. The father of one of my closest friends was recently recruited by the church and I became aware of some disturbing policies and tendencies from the Mormon institution. Previously, I had known little about it and tended to regard its differences from traditional Christianity as quaint and unimportant. No more. I invite those who loosely throw around charges of religious bigotry to investigate this religion fully before they malign others.
And that is the very point of this issue. While there are certainly bigots in the world who discriminate on the basis of race or religion while knowing nothing (such as the Klansmen of the early 20th century who attacked my fellow Roman Catholics for reasons of complete ignorance), there are also a great many people who will use religion as a basis for forming legitimate opinions about one's fitness for office. While the likes of Hugh Hewitt will cross even further into the realm of self-parody than even I thought possible with hysterically orgasmic Romney praise about the speech, it cannot be judged as anything more than a mild success at the most under the circumstances. Hewitt's point about conservative opinion leaders saying nice things about Romney is an important one, as was his point about the admittedly dignified and eloquent nature of the effort, but it fails to take into account the fact that Romney's Mormonism is a non-negotiable issue for many of us.
Combined with his rampant flip-flopping on social issues, Romney is a tough, tough sell for the vast majority of the GOP electorate, to say nothing of the general election voters. And the very elitism of Hewitt's argument about how the Powers That Be like he, Rush Limbaugh, James Dobson and others are putting the seal of acceptance on Romney's backside misses the point in a completely hilarious way. There are a great many voters who feel as I do that the Conservative Establishment, as well as the Republican Establishment, is corrupt and not to be trusted given the policies they have either ignored or condoned over the last seven years. If the top-down model of royally anointing a candidate worked this time, like it usually has with disastrous results for the Republicans (think about it, really: aside from Reagan in '80, when has the GOP front-runner actually been the best candidate?), then Mike Huckabee wouldn't be turning the entire process upside-down at the moment. While I certainly have my problems with Huckabee on many issues, at least if he wins the nomination we can be freed from the oppressive grasp of the conservative "leaders" who have lost their way. What the United States needs most is for the conservative movement to purify and simplify, to get back to the roots of the Sharon Statement, and to cast off the leeches and Beltway sellouts who have led it down a primrose path.
For the benefit of anyone like myself who is interested in how ballparks and stadiums are built, we bring to your attention this blog posting from Engineering News Record that shows you how the new baseball park for the Washington Nationals has been progressing. Given a short timeframe by the ballclub and the municipal managing authority (for the record, I am still opposed to the corporate welfare that publicly managed stadium/arena firms represent, although that is not especially germane to the story of how this is proceeding), the various design and construction entities came up with a gameplan that can only be deemed revolutionary for its use of computer models (saving two months on the structural steel work alone) and other vastly efficient methods. Check out the account of how this park is coming together as it is a very interesting read.
On National Public Radio's Friday science show, the panel featured a young woman with an extraordinary story to tell. Her name is Anna Jaffe and she is a student at MIT who is part of a group called the Vehicle Design Summit. This consortium is a gathering of top students, professors and other experts in various engineering fields and they are endeavoring to feasibly build in the next few years a workable 200 mpg car that would revolutionize the automobile industry.
Anyone who knows me might find it somewhat odd that I would promote this project. I am not known as a huge environmentalist, as I am not a fan of what I consider to be some dubious science and scaremongering from the likes of Al Gore. I do acknowledge that there are credible threats to the Earth's environment (i.e. industrial pollution, which I think is a commonly accepted fact), but I may differ with many "green" people on what they may be and how they should be addressed. So my biggest impediment to endorsing environmentally-minded actions is the fact that they almost always act against the workings of the free markets and lead to "solutions" that further burden businesses and put people out of work.
But not this project.
Rather than whine about the environment, rather than petition the government for higher CAFE standards, these people are doing something about it -- indeed, if they succeed, the current debate in Congress about CAFE standards will be completely obsolete. These folks are not gnashing their teeth about the futility of persuading people and governments to adopt a set of environmental restrictions; they are eagerly grasping the shockingly bold goal of emulating the space race and completing a project that appears impossible from the outside perspective. In short, they are embracing the markets, demonstrating a profound confidence in their own skills and displaying the kind of entrepreneurial skills that have always made the world go round.
I was very impressed with the summation Anna was able to provide during the NPR roundtable and I also thought very highly of their website. We urge you to check it out as we certainly wish the Vehicle Design Summit all the best and we will be endeavoring to book Anna or another representative of their choosing to appear on The FDH Lounge program to explain the project to our audience.
Thursday, December 6, 2007
From time to time on the blog, we'll bring you a series of video clips on a given subject, such as we did with our Evel Knievel tribute. The FDH Lounge brand is now synonymous with Internet television through our webcasts and now blogging these past few months. We'll use this feature to tap into the wonder of video-on-demand that YouTube and the many sites it has spawned have brought to our lives these past three years.
For this first edition, we bring you clips from The Young Ones, a BBC program that MTV later rebroadcast in the United States. Those of us growing up in the late '80s can remember watching this show late on Sunday nights and laughing hysterically at the weird, subversive humor. The Young Ones was a sitcom about four university students living in a run-down flat in London. They were incredibly mismatched, with a punk rocker, a hippie, a spastic would-be anarchist and a slick, smooth-talking guy getting into constant misadventures. There has been nothing like it before or since on TV.
Here's some classic clips from the show:
^ The boys discover a treasure trove of oil underneath the basement.
^ Neil can't stop sneezing, no matter what the other guys try to do to him.
^ An ill-fated letter to a bank manager.
^ The exploding tea kettle.
^ One of the guys is pregnant???
^ How did a nuke end up in the kitchen?
^ Murder in the dark.
^ How to make an entrance.
^ Hassling Neil on the toilet.
^ Vyv is sick.
^ Is it a pig?
^ The Cliff Richard poem.
^ Teetering crockery.
^ Neil's speaker.
Here are 16 full-segment clips of the show, apparently the first 16 that aired in this order: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16
Wednesday, December 5, 2007
Gallant makes a move to firmly establish his franchise as the team to beat in the AL Central for the next few years, acquiring one of the top ten hitters in the game to augment a good lineup.
Goofus is content to sit on his rear and field another squad in 2008 with a rancid collection of journeymen, unproven youngsters, winos and anyone else willing to play for pennies at the power positions of third base, left field and right field.
But when Goofus has such credulous spinmeisters willing to peddle bogus propaganda on his behalf, he might be right to figure he can fool enough of the public enough of the time. This Baghdad Bob thinks the Tigers mortgaged their future, when they acquired two players with a combined age below 50!
Chuck Norris may think he's tough, but let's see him spend serious time as an Indians fan. 59 years since a World Series championship and the end of the drought is nowhere in sight ...
EDIT: Updated to add US National roster and schedule and the Canadian preliminary roster.
Media coverage is always unforgivably scarce in the United States when it comes to the world junior hockey championships. There is no television presence to speak of, at least in terms of easy availability, and the overall presence in the American consciousness is zero.
But for hockey fans interested in taking a look at the future of their sport, there are resources, one of which is the site run by our good friend Russ Cohen, Sportsology. Russ has added a really good preview of the event and his excellent coverage of hockey overall indicates that this site will continue to be a good place to check as this important annual event approaches and gets underway.
Tuesday, December 4, 2007
The most notable accomplishment in the life of Evel Knievel is that he basically created an entire industry. Few would know or care about the occupation of daredevil were it not for him and its bastard stepchild known as extreme sports would not have been spawned. So he was quite a difference-maker in American popular culture over the last half-century.
Most of his biggest stunts occurred either before I was born or when I was too young to have seen them. But he was still a huge influence in my very early childhood years in the '70s, with Evel being a big hero to so many kids at school. We at The FDH Lounge send our thoughts and prayers to Evel and his friends and family.
Wishing to pay tribute in the way he would probably deem most appropriate, we're bringing you some of his greatest hits on video.
Here's a tribute that has clips of many of his classic moments.
Here's the Caesar's Palace fountain jump.
Here's the Snake River Canyon jump.
Here's some rare 8mm footage of Evel doing a promotional stunt in Ohio back in the '70s.
Here's Evel jumping many vehicles at a stop in Portland.
Monday, December 3, 2007
In life, there are a great deal of certainties. One of my favorites, “A person can be very smart but people are very very stupid”, applies very literally to All-Star voting. Some people may say, “It’s an All-Star game, who cares”? This is a common line of thinking. It really comes down to, like most aspects of sports, getting it right. Being voted in to an All-Star game is not just a privilege or an honor; it is justification for statistical production. This is the way it should be, not the way it actually is. Case in point, back in the mid 90’s Anfernee Hardaway was voted in as a starter for the NBA All-Star game. That year Anfernee Hardaway didn’t play his first game until one week before the All-Star break. A large portion of people who take the time to vote for All-Star games, do so by way of name recognition or base their decision from last season’s performance. The basis of this post revolves around the idea that people vote on All-Star games. Those people vote irresponsibly. Those people vote the wrong players in. Thus, said All-Star game is represented partially by players who don’t deserve to be there with the deserving watching at home. For this exercise I will be using the NFL and their Pro Bowl. Currently, we are about to enter week 13 of the regular season. There are still 3 games for each player to pad their stats. The numbers are not complete but the point remains. First, a Pro Bowl ballot whose result is an average of 5 ballots filled out by 5 different people not affiliated with Fantasy Draft Help.com
QB---Tom Brady----------------Tony Romo
------Peyton Manning-----------Brett Favre
------Derek Anderson-----------Drew Brees
RB---LaDanian Tomlinson-------Adrian Peterson
------Larry Johnson-------------Stephen Jackson
------Joseph Addai--------------Brian Westbrook
WR--Randy Moss---------------Terrell Owens
------Marvin Harrison----------Torry Holt
------Hines Ward---------------Steve Smith
------Chad Johnson-------------Plaxico Burress
FB---Lorenzo Neal--------------Tony Richardson
TE---Antonio Gates-------------Jason Witten
------Todd Heap----------------Jeremy Shockey
OT---Jonathan Ogden----------Walter Jones
------Levi Jones----------------Flozell Adams
------Marvel Smith-------------Chris Samuels
OG---Alan Faneca--------------Steve Hutchinson
------Cooper Carlisle-----------Todd Stuessie
------Logan Mankins-----------Leonard Davis
C-----Kevin Mawae-------------Jamaal Jackson
------Jeff Saturday-------------Olin Kreutz
DE---Dwight Freeney----------Julius Peppers
------Jason Taylor--------------Osi Umenyiora
------Justin Smith--------------Michael Strahan
DT---Casey Hampton----------Tommy Harris
------Albert Haynesworth------Darnell Dockett
------Vince Wilfork-------------Bryant Young
OLB-Shawne Merriman--------Lance Briggs
------Joey Porter---------------A.J. Hawk
------Terrell Suggs-------------Julian Peterson
MLB-Ray Lewis----------------Patrick Willis
------Adalius Thomas----------Brian Urlacher
CB---Champ Bailey------------DeAngelo Hall
------Chris McAlister----------Charles Woodson
------Asante Samuel-----------Shaun Springs
SS----Troy Polamalu-----------Roy Williams
------Bob Sanders--------------Adrian Wilson
FS---Ed Reed------------------Brian Dawkins
------John Lynch--------------Sean Taylor*
K----Stephan Gostkowski-----Robbie Gould
------Nate Kaeding------------Jason Hanson
P----Dave Zastadil-------------Jeff Feagles
------Matt Turk---------------Andy Lee
KR---Josh Cribbs--------------Devin Hester
As previously mentioned, this Roster reflects the result 5 different Pro Bowl ballots averaged together to arrive at one master roster. I do not think anyone would disagree that these two teams are loaded with talent. Over the last 3-5 years, this game would reflect the best of best. This exercise is not a five year period; it is to prove a point for this season. The following is what the ballot would look like if each voter followed statistical production and not name recognition.
QB---Tom Brady--------------Tony Romo
------Peyton Manning---------Brett Favre
------Derek Anderson---------Drew Brees
RB---Willie Parker------------Adrian Peterson
------LaDanian Tomlinson-----Brian Westbrook
------Joseph Addai------------Clinton Portis
WR--Randy Moss-------------Terrell Owens
------Braylon Edwards--------Larry Fitzgerald
------Chad Johnson-----------Donald Driver
------Reggie Wayne-----------Marques Colston
FB---Lorenzo Neal------------Tony Richardson
TE---Kellen Winslow----------Jason Witten
------Antonio Gates-----------Jeremy Shockey
OT---Matt Light--------------Walter Jones
------Joe Thomas-------------Chris Samuels
------Shane Olivea------------Chad Clifton
OG---Alan Faneca-------------Steve Hutchinson
------Logan Mankins----------Leonard Davis
------Eric Steinbach-----------Roberto Garza
C-----Jeff Saturday-----------Olin Kreutz
------Kevin Mawae-----------Matt Birk
DE---Jared Allen-------------Andy Kampman
------Jason Taylor------------Patrick Kerney
------Kyle Vanden Bosch-----Osi Umenyiora
DT---Albert Haynesworth----Darnell Dockett
------Amobi Okoye-----------Tommy Harris
------Vince Wilfork-----------Bryant Young
OLB-James Harrison---------Greg Ellis
------Mike Vrabel------------DeMarcus Ware
------Shawne Merriman------Julian Peterson
MLB-Ray Lewis--------------Patrick Willis
------DeMeco Ryans----------Nick Barnett
CB---Antonio Cromartie------Anthony Henry
------Asante Samuel----------Terrence Newman
------Leigh Bodden-----------Charles Woodson
SS---Sean Jones--------------Sean Taylor*
------Sammy Knight----------Dwight Smith
FS---Ed Reed-----------------Ken Hamlin
------Marlon McCree---------Oshiomogho Atogwe
K----Stephen Gostkowski-----Nick Folk
------Phil Dawson-------------Mason Crosby
P----Shane Lechler-----------Andy Lee
------Todd Sauerbrun--------Donnie Jones
KR---Josh Cribbs-------------Devin Hester
Once you’ve read through the two different rosters, two things should become very obvious. 1) Almost all of the names of the first roster are household football names. 2) The second roster has a lot of player’s names in bold print whose names may be of a lesser known variety. This almost proves my point single handedly. The second roster is made up of names completely by statistical production. If the Pro Bowl is a reward for excellence in performance, then performance should be the only criteria. Granted, some discrepancies should be expected. Plus or minus 10-15 % would be acceptable. If you do the math based on the previous example, there is a discrepancy is 50%. Granting half of the players on this list who don’t deserve an invite is without a doubt unacceptable. This is a moderately flawed sample size due to the fact that the season has not concluded yet.
When one looks at the names involved from a far, there is no doubt these names are quality players:
Larry Johnson, Stephen Jackson, Marvin Harrison, Steve Smith, Todd Heap, Jonathan Ogden, Flozell Adams, Chris Samuels, Dwight Freeney, Julius Peppers, Casey Hampton, Joey Porter, Adalius Thomas, Brian Urlacher, Champ Bailey, Troy Polamalu, Brian Dawkins, and John Lynch are at the least all pro and potentially hall of fame caliber players. The point to be made is that they should not get an invite to Honolulu based on previous seasons or a combination of career performances.
It may seem contrived to analyze something so small and unimportant, but it is relevant to the larger scheme of things to understand why. Most people only acknowledge the surface information or what is basically convenient. It is convenient to believe that player A, B, and C have been on top, stands the reason they would continue to be on top until their skills begin to diminish. That simply is not always the case. Randy Moss had a terrible season in ’06, but to think he is done professionally is asinine. The converse is also true. In ’06 Frank Gore had almost 2,200 yards from scrimmage and was a top three running back regardless of conference. This season, he has not even amassed half of last year’s production. Frank Gore was a Pro Bowler last season and Randy Moss was not, to assume that production just continues and is loosely based on last year is irresponsible as a fan.
It is a nice gesture from the National Football League (or any other professional sports league) to give the fans control or power over who gets into the All-Star festivities. Unlike coaches, owners, players, sports writers, or sports talk show hosts, not all fans give these decisions the thought and analysis they deserve. It is not necessarily anyone’s fault. Chances are, a financial adviser father of three living the American dream complete with a mortgage and home improvement chores on the weekends doesn’t really have the time to devote to getting it right. What I am suggesting is not a matter of punishment. Taking the responsibility to get the All-Star participants correct out of the hands and minds of the fans is not a punishment. It is merely a matter of getting it right. Some will say that these games are designed for the fans. This is apparently true when dealing with the NBA, since clearly they don’t care that their All-Star game is not a game. It’s more like goof off time after winter practice. If entertainment value is the crux of the argument, then why not let the people who know or are willing to do the research decide who would make the best all star game. Besides, unless you are a resident of the commonwealth of HAWAII!!! Who is really watching this game for its entertainment value? In most cases, the Pro Bowl is a last ditch effort for husbands to get out of Sunday chores for one last weekend. Just like replay, challenges, officiating committee, competition committee, etc are all instituted for one reason and one reason only. TO GET IT RIGHT. Fans should not decide All-Star Games, we should leave those decisions to the experts, then let the fans do what they do best…WATCH THE GAME.
Sunday, December 2, 2007
Last Laugh '07 started off with a pretty tasteless cartoon open that touched on the following subjects....
-Senator Larry Craig
-George W. Bush
-George W. Bush wiping his ass with the Bill of Rights
-Osama Bin Laden
-The Soprano's Finale
The whole open centered around "what's up the president's ass". It was all just one huge gross poop joke. Now, I like poop jokes as much as the next guy, but this was just bad.
Lewis Black did a little opening bit, mostly about the president. He did talk about the disabled veterans not getting their checks, which is were you get the "I can download 13 million vagina's in a minute, but they can't get their checks" joke from the promo.
Cue first commercial break.
The online pole question, "Who is the biggest failure of 2007" was posted by Lewis Black. The choices - Britney Spears, Michael Vick, President Bush, and the Soprano's Finale. My vote? All of the above.
Dave Attell was up next. His subjects of choice were the following:
-Dog the Bounty Hunter saying the N-word
-Al Gore receiving the Nobel Prize
-Vanessa Hudgens nude photo
After that, he went into his usual gross stuff, talking about porn and such.
I like Dave Attell. Insomniac used to be one of my favorite shows. He did have a funny moment here and there, but nothing you'll want to quote around the water cooler. This time around, he wasn't really that funny.
Cue second commercial break.
DL Hughley was up next with.....
-How much white people love dogs
-the Presidential race
-How kids are soft and weak these days
-Teachers having sex with kids
-Star Jones having gastric bypass surgery
Holy crap did he run through a lot of material. It was hard to keep up with how fast he talked. Again...nothing that funny.
Cue third commercial break.
And now, the man I was waiting for...Lewis Black...
-Senator Larry Craig
They broke up his set with the fourth commercial break.
Aaaaaaand....we're back with more Lewis Black...
-The 2008 Elections, where he said we should vote for Santa
-We need one headline on the front page of the newspaper that makes you "laugh until coffee shoots out of your nose". A headline like "Hippo eats Dwarf".
Lewis Black then dedicated the show to the men and women of the armed forces in an unusual serious moment.
Fifth commercial break...
And the biggest failure was.....George W. Bush. Big surprise.
Back from break, they had podiums set up for a question and answer session. I didn't even bother writing down the questions because most of them were stupid and the answers were not funny.
I'm very disappointed in this year's Last Laugh. Previous years have been really funny, but this year was just awkward. Dave Attell was the drunk perverted guy, D.L. Hughley was the rich black guy who thinks he's still in the hood, and Lewis Black was the angry smart guy. Lewis Black was the the only person that actually made me laugh was Lewis Black. But then again, he could read the phone book and make me laugh.
Overall, the show isn't worth watching.
See you next year!
We've made this topic a segment on The FDH Lounge program previously, and we will again on December 2. Whether real or imagined, many people are under the impression that celebrity deaths tend to come in groups of three and that they can be quite eclectic. We at The FDH Lounge feel that this topic is a fun and interesting one and in no way disrespectful to the deceased celebrities. The utter randomness of some of the names being mixed together can be, frankly, entertaining. I'd wager that some of the celebrities themselves might have gotten a chuckled had they known with whom they'd be sharing obituary space!
Here are the ones we've featured on the program previously:
May 2002 – Dan Devine, Joseph Bonnano,
December 2006 – James Brown, Gerald Ford, Saddam Hussein
August 2005 – Barbara Bel Geddes, Peter Jennings, King Faud
* February 2000 – Tom Landry, Jim Varney, Charles Schulz (also Screamin’ Jay Hawkins and Derrick Thomas, who we had not noted at the time of our broadcast)
March 1999 – Dusty
June 2001 – Carroll O’Connor, John Lee Hooker, Jack Lemmon
August 2007 – Merv Griffin, Phil Rizzuto, Brian “Crush” Adams
And here's our the new additions to the list:
April 1992 – Sam Walton, Sam Kinison, Benny Hill
January/February 1992 – Audrey Hepburn, Arthur Ashe, Andre the Giant
October 1993 – Vincent Price, Federico Fellini, River
May 1994 – George Peppard, John Wayne Gacy, Jacqueline Onassis
April 1995 – Burl Ives, Howard Cosell, Ginger Rogers
July 1995 – Wolfman Jack, Eva Gabor, Bob Ross
July 1997 – Robert Mitchum, James Stewart, Charles Kuralt
April 1998 – Wendy O. Williams, Tammy Wynette, Pol Pot
April 2002 – Robert Urich, Wahoo McDaniel, Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes
February 2003 – Curt Hennig, Johnny Paycheck, Dolly the Sheep
August 2004 – Rick James, Fay Wray, Julia Child
January 2007 – Benny Parsons, Art Buchwald, Bam Bam Bigelow
July 2007 – Tom Snyder, Ingmar Bergmann, Bill Walsh
October/November 2007 – Robert Goulet, Norman Mailer, The Fabulous MoolahThe past week has had several candidates as well: Evel Knievel, Sean Taylor, Major League Baseball pitcher Joe Kennedy, Quiet Riot lead singer Kevin Dubrow and former head of the KGB Vladimir Kryuchkov (hat tip to the FDH New York Bureau for this latest bunch). One comment I have received from friends who've seen our list is that it contains a lot of pro wrestlers. My sad reply? "They've got to stop dropping dead prematurely in such numbers, then they won't be represented here in such quantity."
Saturday, December 1, 2007
|2||Matt Ryan||Boston College||6'5||218|
|6||John David Booty||USC||6'3||210|
|9||Josh Johnson||San Diego||6'3||195|
|11||Ricky Santos||New Hampshire||6'2||215|
|14||Jeremy Young||Southern Miss||6'3||215|
|15||Anthony Morelli||Penn St||6'4||222|
|17||Luke Drone||Illinois St||6'2||210|
|19||Blake Mitchell||South Carolina||6'3||211|
|3||Steve Slaton||West Virginia||5'10||195|
|6||Kevin Smith||Central Florida||6'1||211|
|9||Cory Boyd||South Carolina||6'1||214|
|10||Tanard Choice||Georgia Tech||6'1||205|
|12||Ian Johnson||Boise St||5'11||194|
|13||Chris Johnson||East Carolina||5'11||200|
|15||Kalvin McRae||Ohio University||5'11||208|
|17||Yvenson Bernard||Oregon St||5'9||202|
|19||Brandon Ore||Virginia Tech||5'11||202|
|5||Adarius Bowman||Oregon St||6'4||215|
|16||Eddie Royal||Virginia Tech||5'10||184|
|18||Jordy Nelson||Kansas St||6'3||217|
|2||John Carlson||Notre Dame||6'5||255|
|6||Martellus Bennett||Texas A&M||6'7||248|
|9||Shawn Nelson||Southern Miss||6'5||238|
|10||Kory Sperry||Colorado St||6'6||260|
|3||Ryan Clady||Boise St||6'6||319|
|4||Gosder Cherilus||Boston College||6'7||318|
|5||Alex Boone||Ohio St||6'8||325|
|6||Michael Oher||Ole Miss||6'6||325|
|9||Kirk Barton||Ohio St||6'6||310|
|16||Chad Rinehart||Northern Iowa||6'5||308|
|1||Roy Scheuning||Oregon St||6'4||317|
|7||Kirk Elder||Texas A&M||6'5||305|
|8||Brandon Rodd||Arizona St||6'4||303|
|15||Tad Miller||Boise St||6'4||304|
|16||Brandyn Dombrowski||San Diego St||6'6||335|
|18||Kerry Brown||Appalachian St||6'6||310|
|19||Ryan Poles||Boston College||6'4||295|
|2||Steve Justice||Wake Forest||6'4||280|
|3||Mike Pollack||Arizona St||6'4||295|
|5||Kory Lichtensteiger||Bowling Green||6'3||300|
|8||Cody Wallace||Texas A&M||6'4||294|
|9||John Sullivan||Notre Dame||6'4||290|
|1||NYJ (trade)||Darren McFadden||RB||ARK||#1 RB, LT meets Larry Johnson|
|2||STL||Chris Long||DE||UVA||Most analysts say he will rival his father on the field|
|3||MIA (trade)||Glenn Dorsey||DT||LSU||Best DT in recent memory, true run stuffer/pass rusher|
|4||NE (SF)||Dan Connor||OLB||PENN ST||Prototype LB from Linebacker U.|
|5||OAK||Jake Long||OT||MICH||Best OT, and a real "meanie", ask B. Carpenter|
|6||CIN||Calais Campbell||DE||MIAMI||The best pass rusher, even if most don’t know him 6-8 Julius eppers|
|7||ATL||Brian Brohm||QB||LOUISVILLE||When he took the job, Petrino knew he was taking Brohm with this pick.|
|8||MIN||Matt Ryan||QB||BC||Follow the plan, peterson, ryan, + elite WR=prolific offense|
|9||ARI||James Laurinaitis||ILB||OHIO ST||Early for ILB, LB is the only place not addressed recently on def.|
|10||NO||Keith Rivers||OLB||USC||Rivers could prove to be the best DEF player on this team inside of 2 years|
|11||BAL||DeSean Jackson||WR||CAL||BAL still needs a WR. Imagine T.Ginn with M.Harrison's route running and hands|
|12||KC||Andre Woodson||QB||KENTUCY||Bottom line, never should've picked B.Croyle, there is no worthy QB after Woodson|
|13||HOU||Malcolm Jenkins||CB||OHIO ST||Young studs @ DT, DE, LB, S. This is next logical pick. The best cover corner|
|14||CAR||Sam Baker||OT||USC||CAR needed Woodson to fall, next best option is an elite LT|
|15||DEN||Vernon Gholston||DE/OLB||OHIO ST||After the Denver Browns front seven, they have to taket the best DEF for a couple yrs|
|16||CHI||Chad Henne||QB||MICH||CHI needs a franchise QB. Henne isnt top tier, but he's better than what CHI has|
|17||PHI||Mario Manningham||WR||MICH||If McNabb hopes to ever win again, he needs a #1 WR. Signed Eagles with T.Owens|
|18||SEA||Jonathan Stewart||RB||OREGON||Clearly SEA needs to consider replacing Shaun. Stewart has moved to #2 RB everywhere|
|19||DAL (CLE)||Early Doucet||WR||LSU||With Owens a mainstay, Doucet replaces T.Glenn and is better than Crayton|
|20||TB||Adarius Bowman||WR||OKLA ST||Regardless of QB, Galloway is old and Clayton is still Clayton.|
|21||BUF||Sedrick Ellis||DT||USC||A steal at this point. The sexy pick is a WR, but they NEED to address DEF|
|22||SD||Antione Cason||CB||ARIZONA||A top 15 pick last season falls to a team who refuses to pick an elite WR|
|23||WAS||Alex Boone||OT||OHIO ST||Could start yesterday over Todd Wade and will eventually replace Chris Samuels…effectively|
|24||TEN||Limus Sweed||WR||TEXAS||Clearly TEN learned a lesson from last draft. 5 TD passes from Young-he needs off weapons|
|25||NYG||Malcom Kelly||WR||OKLAHOMA||Toomer is getting old and they need to justify Eli. Kelly makes Burress look small and slow|
|26||JAX||Derrick Harvey||DE||FLORIDA||JAX should go WR, but they won't, they are too in love with DEF and #2/#3 WR's.|
|27||DET||Terrell Thomas||CB||USC||DET is good on OFF, we can leave it alone for a while. Time to stop winning games 42-39|
|28||PIT||Rey Maualuga||ILB||USC||PIT will always love SMASHMOUTH OFF. Farrior is getting old.|
|29||SF (f/IND)||Quentin Groves||DE||Auburn||Groves opposite B.Young is impressive, especially with no OFF playmakers for A.Smith available|
|30||GB||Steve Slaton||RB||WVU||McCarthy knows they can win by throwing. Slaton is the best pass catching RB. Poor mans Faulk|
|31||DAL||Felix Jones||RB||ARK||Julius Jones may be gone. Felix Jones lived in McFaddens shadow and will do the same for Barber|
|32||NE||PICK FORFEITED FROM SPY GATE|
|STL||Xavier Adibi||OLB||Virginia Tech|
|NYJ||Kirk Barton||OT (RT)||Ohio St|
|BAL||Chris Ellis||OLB (DE)||Virginia Tech|
|KC||Ryan Clady||OT||Boise St|
|HOU||Justin King||CB||Penn St|
|NO||Lawrence Jackson||OLB (DE)||USC|
|NYG||Tanard Choice||RB||Georgia Tech|
|GB||Marcus Freeman||OLB||Ohio St|
|NE||Red Bryant||DT||Texas A&M|
|MIA||Ian Johnson||RB||Boise St|
|OAK||Roy Schuening||OG||Oregon St|
|BAL||John David Booty||QB||USC|
|CAR||Titus Brown||DE||Miss St|
|MIN||Vince Hall||ILB||Virginia Tech|
|BUF||John Carlson||TE||Notre Dame|
|DEN||Phillip Wheeler||OLB||Georgia Tech|
|DET||Ben Moffitt||ILB||S. Florida|
|SEA||Kirk Elder||OG||Texas A&M|