The Oakland Raiders signed Aaron Brooks to a two-year contract. Obviously, everyone is happy about this - - for the moment. Compared to Kerry
Collins, Aaron Brooks is the 'Great Leap Sideways'; both are OK; neither is anything special. Raider coach Art Shell gave a hollow endorsement of
this deal saying, 'Aaron gives us great depth at the quarterback position and provides us with a veteran presence.' Excuse me? The other QBs on the
roster are Marques Tuiasosopo and Andrew Walter. If Brooks 'provides depth' to those two, then paying him $8M over two years is just plain
boneheaded. If Brooks can't start over those two jamokes, then the only solace Raider fans can take from all this is that the team did not try to
coax Ryan Leaf out of retirement.
Aaron Brooks will represent one major improvement over Kerry Collins in this situation. Brooks can scramble; Collins cannot. And the Raiders'
offensive line is - how to say this politely? - not overpopulated with All-Pro players. Collins was a sitting duck back there; at least Brooks will
have a puncher's chance to avoid the rush and try to make a play.
The Philadelphia Eagles quarterbacking tandem this year will be Donovan McNabb and Jeff Garcia. Look, the Eagles aren't going to the Super Bowl this
year, but imagine if they did for just a moment. Do you think that would shut Terrell Owens up for a week or so?
OK, I'm going to exercise my authority here to call for a surprise quiz. Put all your books and notes away and take out a pen and paper. You have 5
minutes to write on this topic:
Who committed the more definitive career suicide?
a. Sammy 'The Bull' Gravano for turning state's evidence,
b. Edgerrin James for signing with the Arizona Cardinals.
I am shocked that the Baltimore Ravens have not been active in signing or trading for another quarterback. I can't believe that the 'strategy going
forward' is to play Kyle Boller for 16 games next year. And unless I am misreading their roster, the only other QBs on that list are Anthony Wright
and Brian St. Pierre. So, maybe the Ravens will be the ones trying to coax Ryan Leaf out of retirement?
In the last paragraph, I used the phrase 'strategy going forward'. This seems to be the latest buzzword for General Managers and government
executives and it is time to put a halt to it. Here's the problem. Whenever someone uses that phrase, they are discussing a situation that is headed
in the wrong direction and what they are trying to do is convince the audience that this situation - that is obviously headed in the wrong direction -
will turn itself around because they have some 'grand plan'. Well, just how often does that work out? I recall hearing about 'strategies going
forward' to do things like resolve the conflict in Darfur, erase the Federal deficit and bring winning basketball to the NY Knickerbockers. Let's be
polite for just a moment here; those three 'strategies going forward' went backward.
Here's an important piece of NFL news that probably slipped past you in all the furor over the new collective bargaining agreement and the retirement
of Paul Tagliabue. Starting next year, the Pro Bowl will be played on the Saturday after the Super Bowl and not the Sunday after the Super Bowl. So,
as you make your plans to host those huge Pro Bowl parties at your house, be sure to make note of that change. You wouldn't want to prepare all those
goodies and have the gang come over on Sunday only to find out that the game had been played the day before so you'd be left watching ice dancing
Here's another comment from a coach that makes you stop and wonder what he could mean. Kippy Brown is the WR coach for the Lions and he has to deal
with the antisocial behaviors and underachieving performances of Charles Rogers. You may recall that Rodgers was taken with the second overall pick
in the draft a couple of years ago; and so far, he has had more run-ins with the law than he has had game winning TDs. Kippy has been working with
him and tried to express his evaluation and expectations for Charles Rogers in a positive tone:
'He's a good young talent. Hopefully, he'll continue to show up, work and stay healthy.'
Memo to Kippy Brown: If you set the bar for Rogers any lower, even an earthworm won't fit under it.
According to Sam Smith in the Chicago Tribune, both Mark Cuban and Isiah Thomas have 'endorsed' Randy Whitman as the person that Indiana University
should hire as their new basketball coach. I can understand why the university would pay attention to Cuban and his suggestions; he has to be on the
short list of 'Wealthiest IU Alums'; keeping his wallet open to the university matters a lot. However, Isiah Thomas' judgments regarding basketball -
other than his judgments during his playing career - have to be suspect at best. Remember Thomas' resume includes ownership of the Raptors (that
didn't work), ownership of the CBA (that went into bankruptcy), coaching the Pacers (that was mediocre), and being GM of the Knicks (that's not
I read that Serena Williams has withdrawn from a tennis tournament in Miami. She is currently ranked 58th in the world. I believe we can now
officially ignore Serena Williams as an athlete because she is clearly no longer an athlete; she is a celebrity. I have no quarrel with her desire to
attend the Oscars or to be on TV with Oprah or to design clothing and stage a fashion show. That's fine. That's not part of what it takes to be an
athlete. She was one of the best women's tennis players in the world a few years ago; now she is a celebrity and she need no longer be covered in the
sports pages of the newspapers nor on outlets like ESPN. At the moment, she is a more athletic version of Brittany Spears. There is absolutely no
reason to cover Brittany Spears in the sports sections. In fact, I really wonder why anyone is really interested in anything that people like
Brittany Spears (and Paris Hilton and ...) do or say or purport to think. But obviously, that's just me...
Finally, the NCAA Rifle Championships concluded recently. Army finished third. You may feel free to insert your own punch line here.
But don't get me wrong, I love sports... ... ...