I have not been kind to the fair city of Jacksonville as the site for this year's Super Bowl and now that we are in the two-week drought between
conference championships and the Super Bowl game itself, you will begin to read other folks who think Jacksonville is hardly a posh resort environment
for the festivities.
Today, Tony Kornheiser checked in with such a column in the Washington Post. I commend it to you and offer this tidbit as an appetizer:
"Imagine how [Peyton] Manning would have felt having to play all year in Indianapolis and then landing in Jacksonville. Which gods would he have
offended to get that killer quinella?"
Like Tony Kornheiser, I saw the signs that the Eagles' fans held up last weekend saying things like "Jacksonville Here We Come". I can't wait for some
guy from South Philly who is used to eating the cheesesteaks and great pizza there to arrive in Jacksonville and find out that the McDonald's Philly
Cheesesteak is about as close as he is going to come to comfort food. And for a major celebration, he can go to the local 4-star eatery known as
Outback Steak House. Folks, Jacksonville is not an undiscovered Xanadu. The whole area has a fetid smell from all the nearby paper mills so nothing
the NFL does in the next two weeks is going to cure that.
Here is an adage the league should remember when thinking about any return trips to Jacksonville for a Super Bowl:
No matter how you disguise a hippo, it still smells just as bad.
Oh, in case you're interested, the face value of Super Bowl tickets this year is $500.
Let me say two more things about last Sunday's games. First of all, the media was all over the wrong story. There was no jinx on the Philadelphia
Eagles in conference championship games; it only looked that way until you observed the data more closely. The real problem was not Donovan McNabb or
Andy Reid or the team; it was Duce Staley. Duce was in Philly for all three championship losses and this year he was in Pittsburgh for a championship
game - - which the Steelers lost. Ergo, the problem is not the Eagles; it is Duce Staley. Clearly, he gets teams to the championship games and then
they lose. To test that theory, the NFL ought to assign his rights to the 49ers next year; if he can get that crew of sad sacks to the championship
game next year, we'll know that there is some kind of preternatural vibe at work here.
Second, at this moment Michael Vick is half a quarterback. I acknowledge that he is a magnificent athlete and is clearly the best scrambling QB I've
ever seen. But his passing accuracy is inadequate. If he could not run as well as he does, Michael Vick would be lucky to be carrying a clipboard
somewhere in the league because when he throws the ball, it arrives in the vicinity of the receiver on a random basis. And I use the word "vicinity"
here advisedly because sometimes the ball is not in the same zip code as the intended receiver. I believe that Michael Vick is all of 25 years old
which means he has more than enough time to develop his pocket mechanics and his passing accuracy; he will be a fine QB one of these days. Right now,
he makes a really good running back who would be a huge threat to throw the option pass on every sweep left...
Jerry Greene reported in the Orlando Sentinel that the Vikings have nominated Randy Moss to be the December recipient of the "NFL Extra Effort Award".
The nomination recognizes players who do community service and evidently Moss does a lot of that in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area. But given the name
of the award and Moss' leaving the field early in the loss to the Redskins and his admission that he takes plays off, this had to be a joke by someone
in the Vikings' organization, no?
The US Doping Agency has handed down a two-year suspension to Mitchell Marks because Marks refused to take a drug test. That's not news; athletes have
been suspended before for test refusals. Here is the news. Mitchell Marks is on the curling team. I checked the Agency's website for the list of
suspensions handed out back through CY 2001. Yes, Mitchell Marks is the first curler ever suspended by the Agency. I wonder if he was worried he might
test over the top for caffeine because that is what he needed to stay awake during a curling match?
Temple University decided last week that it will continue to play Division 1-A football. Temple has been kicked out of the Big East. Since Temple
plays its home games in Lincoln Financial Field in Philly, it is certainly not because of sub-standard game facilities. The reasons are simple. The
team is not competitive and so it draws no one to the games. The Linc holds 60,000 folks - in round numbers. Temple games that draw 10,000 are major
reasons to celebrate. So, Temple will look to find another conference that will take them and the MAC is one option except that Temple would be the
far eastern outpost of that conference. The real answer is that Temple should not be a Division 1-A team, but try to tell that to a school
administration that once proclaimed that Temple would soon be playing in the Sugar Bowl for a national championship. As I recall, that was in the
1980s and unless I spent several years in a coma since then, I don't recall anything close to that actually happening.
Finally, here is a great comment from Jim Reeves in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram on a topic that has found its way into these rants more than a couple
"What? Texas' P.J. Tucker flunks out because he couldn't complete six semester hours? With those minimum standards, shouldn't they be called
'athlete-students' instead of the other way around?"
Mr. Reeves, yes they should.
But don't get me wrong, I love sports...
Copyright The Sports Curmudgeon