The word is that Mike Martz is going to sign on as the offensive coordinator of the Detroit Lions. Martz may have been quirky and insufferable as the
head coach in St. Louis but he does seem to know how to put together a team that can move the ball. And he has developed some raw recruits into
successful quarterbacks. Kurt Warner was an Arena League graduate who had been bagging groceries; Marc Bulger was a late-round draft pick (sixth or
seventh round as I recall); Trent Green was unheralded at first until Martz took him under his wing back in Washington. All three of them turned out
OK. Now he has Joey Harrington to work with and Jeff Garcia to work with; the Lions certainly have bodies to play wide receiver and they have a
respectable running back. Maybe this is the best hiring decision to come out of Detroit since Lee Iacocca took over Chrysler...
The Oakland Raiders are still looking for a head coach. Al Davis has said that the team 'doesn't want a disciplinarian'. OK, that's fine with me but
something doesn't ring true. Norv Turner - the guy the Raiders just canned - was certainly not a disciplinarian and the team was hardly successful in
that mode. So I wonder why Davis thinks that is a sufficiently important criterion for him to mention. Actually, I suspect that Davis is sublimating
some of his feelings here because in reality I think he is himself a very strict disciplinarian when it comes to dealing with his coaches. I even
read somewhere that the new coach in Oakland will not have a free hand in selecting the coaching staff - but that he and Davis would sit down and work
out which of the current coaches on the staff to retain and which to replace. Geez, I wonder why that job hasn't been filled yet?
Speaking of Norv Turner, either he couldn't figure out how to get the ball to Randy Moss last year or he thought getting the ball to Doug Gabriel or
Alvis Whitted was a higher priority issue. Moss only caught 60 passes in 16 games; that's lower than for any full season in his career. Now Turner
is moving across the bay to be the offensive coordinator for the 49ers where the lead receiver is Brandon Lloyd. If he couldn't/wouldn't get the ball
to Randy Moss last year, why would he bother to implement any kind of passing attack with San Francisco? Oh, maybe because he did have a decent RB in
Oakland and with SF he has ...
Charlie Walters reported in the St. Paul Pioneer-Press that Duante Culpepper was in Minnesota recently looking to restructure his contract. Culpepper
has ditched the agent that had crassly called for Culpepper to get a new contract that he 'so richly deserves'. Evidently, Culpepper is seeking some
more guaranteed money as he goes through major knee rehab work and the Vikes haven't fallen all over themselves to give it to him. In his report,
Charlie Walters says, 'Culpepper flew back to Florida in a chartered jet, and indications are he wasn't pleased.'
Memo to Duante Culpepper: If you're worried about your economics and need more financial certainty in your life, maybe you should be flying
commercial air these days?
Culpepper is one of a group of players who is at the center of lots of trade rumors. Since the advent of the salary cap and free agency, player
trades have not been frequent. But this year might be different when you look at what teams need and what players might be available. Don't focus on
Terrell Owens; he is on the market and there can't be any doubt about that. But there are some interesting quarterbacks who might be available and
while player trades are rare, trades for quarterbacks are even rarer. In addition to Culpepper, Patrick Ramsey could be available from the Redskins;
Steve McNair's cap number for next season is monstrous if he stays in Tennessee so he could move along; David Garrard probably got a lot of positive
attention around the league last season; Phillip Rivers/Drew Brees is a tandem that won't stay hitched to each other forever; Jon Kitna is a free
agent. And if you are to believe the Internet rumors, the Titans have already had enough of 'Pacman' Jones' act and might be happy to ship him off to
anywhere that bars his entry into their facilities. This could be an interesting off-season.
John Mabry signed on to play for the Chicago Cubs after several stints with the archrival St. Louis Cardinals. He's making a bit more money in
Chicago than he was offered in St. Louis and that's the reason he made the decision he did. But as is the case with most athletes, he couldn't bring
himself to just say what drove his decision. He said that his family played a large part in the decision because they would stay in St. Louis but
that Chicago is close by and that he expects more playing time in Chicago and he thinks he has a chance to win in Chicago. Geez, I hope his agent
told him that he signed on with the Cubbies and not the White Sox...
The NY Daily News had a story about a young lady who scored 113 points in a high school basketball game. The final score was 137-32. She shot 54-60
from the floor in that effort. Evidently, Epiphanny Prince had gone to her coach earlier that day saying she wanted to quit the team because she was
tired of playing against weak competition. He told her just focus her efforts and to play her best game every time out. And this game was the result
of that exhortation. However, it does raise one humongous question:
What the hell was she doing in the game long enough to score that many points when this game had obviously been decided in the first quarter?
And speaking of basketball futility, Cal Tech is a place where people go to become physicists and mathematicians and professions of that ilk. To say
that Cal Tech is not a basketball powerhouse would be an understatement of gargantuan proportion. They play in the Southern California
Intercollegiate Athletic Conference and their last conference win was in the 1984-85 season; they've lost more than 235 consecutive conference games.
Their last win over an NCAA Division III school was in 1994-95. They have seven more games on the schedule this year; they are all conference games;
all of their upcoming opponents have already beaten the Techers. However, one of the upcoming opponents, Pomona-Pitzer, only won by nine in the first
The Atlanta Hawks beat the Charlotte Bobcats last night. Atlanta, Toronto, Charlotte and Portland represent high order basketball futility so why is
the Hawks' victory important? Well, with that victory, that improves the Hawks record to 1-6 against these other monuments to futility. Toronto,
Charlotte and Portland are 44-93 for the year; that's pathetic. And the Hawks can't beat them...
Finally, a comment on the firing of US Olympic skeleton coach, Tim Nardiello, by Scott Ostler in the San Francisco Chronicle:
'The skeleton team has a coach?'
But don't get me wrong, I love sports... .... ...