Which team will disgrace itself most?

With the weak undercard of college football almost over and another glorious NFL Sunday almost upon us, I will make a bold prediction as to which team will make the worst showing tomorrow.

We have some excellent candidates. The Rams and Lions are both taking on vastly superior teams in the Saints and Vikings, respectively. The Rams are probably in for a dreadful beating, but neither of these teams is my selection.

The Redskins are usually good for a hideous performance, and squaring off with the Broncos is not a great match-up for Washington. While I expect the 'Skins to get whooped, they are not my choice either.

One could easily make the argument that the loser of the Oakland-Kansas City game is the automatic choice here. Both teams are awful, so the loser must be the bottom of the barrel. But no, I'm going elsewhere.

My choice is the Cleveland Browns. The Browns play Monday night, so they won't have the benefit of a full slate of games to hide their woeful play. The team might be on the brink of mutiny over Eric Man-genius' intense practice schedule, and Cleveland's offense sets football back 10 years every time it takes the field.

The Browns are named after the legendary Paul Brown. Lately though, brown is the best color to describe Cleveland's play for other reasons.

Oh joy, another Big 10 title for Ohio State

Ohio State just survived an overtime tilt with Iowa, 27-24. Yawn.

The Buckeyes have now won five straight Big 10 titles, and in January I fully expect they'll lose their fourth straight BCS bowl game. I don't like Jim Tressel, I don't think the Big 10 is particularly good (is any conference other than the SEC?) and I find Ohio State to be incredibly boring to watch.

Terrelle Pryor was billed as the Lebron James of football coming out of high school, and honestly I'm not at all impressed. Pretty sure if Lebron James had played basketball in the Big 10 he would have made a slightly bigger impact than Pryor.

I'm just really sick of Ohio State. I'm only interested in watching them play Michigan because it's an historic rivalry, but Michigan has to get back to respectability for that rivalry to be fully ignited again.


Dan Snyder, man of the people

A new guest correspondent, the great Dickie Stabone, checks in with an opus on Redskins owner Dan Snyder. Enjoy:

Oh, Dan Snyder, could you be any more out of touch? To think that Redskin fans are as clueless about your authenticity as you are about running a football team is not just an insult to them, but an insult to fans everywhere. Did you really think they'd buy into your ruse when you said:

"We are really trying very, very hard, everyone at Redskins Park, the coaches, the players. The organization's quite frankly held together well, and I think we've got an opportunity the rest of the season to hopefully get it going.”

Is it not enough that your team is 2-6 this season (2-5 at the time of your quote), including a loss to the Detroit “We haven’t won a game since Ford turned a profit” Lions, and has a losing record since you took over? Is it not enough that you’ve had six head coaches since 2000 and actually helped convince an entire generation of Redskin fans that Joe Gibbs couldn’t coach his way out of a paper bag?

No. It’s not enough. Because there’s more. With a man like Snyder there's always more.

You'd think someone who throws money at overpriced free agents (Hi, Adam Archuleta and $30 million over six years) like it’s the only way he’ll find love would be a little lenient with his fans and their financial situations. Think again.

With Snyder at the helm, the Redskins sued season ticket owners who have fallen on tough times and asked out of their season ticket contracts. Mind you, they weren’t trying to take the tickets and not pay. They wanted their tickets to be freed so someone else could buy them. Doesn’t seem like such a terrible idea, especially with our economy the way it is. But Danny S. didn’t see it that way. He felt a 73-year-old woman taking in $400/month on social security should still be forced to pay up.

So don’t insult us with your garbage lines like, “I feel bad for the fans. I feel sorry for the fans, and we're very, very appreciative of our loyal fan base,” when it’s obvious you feel bad for them the same way you wipe your bottom with razor wire.

No sympathy here

Perhaps my amused attitude to the news that three Tennessee freshman football players had been arrested for an alleged armed robbery was a sad statement about my inability to have an appropriate reaction to a disturbing situation. Frankly though, I'd imagine my feelings were pretty similar to most sports fans across the country.

My take went something like this: How you doin' Lane Kiffin? What do you have to say now you obnoxious jerk? Look at what your players did. The players YOU recruited.

I had nothing against Kiffin prior to him taking over at Tennessee. His tiff with Al Davis last year really didn't make me feel negatively toward him. It's impossible to even judge a fight with Davis because Davis is basically insane. Now that I'm thinking back to that bizarre he said-she said between the two last year, in some ways it reminds me of the fight between Jeff Greene and Bam Bam Funkhouser from Curb Your Enthusiasm.

(For the uninitiated, Greene, a married man, had sex with Funkhouser, a mental patient who was the sister of Greene's good friend. When Funkhouser blurted out what had happened to a bunch of family friends, Greene denied the whole thing and said a crazy woman was making up a ridiculous story, and everyone basically accepted his word.)

Funkhouser (Al Davis) seemed like she was telling the truth, but Greene (Lane Kiffin) was considered mentally stable, so his BS denial was more convincing.

My intense dislike toward Kiffin began after I read a fascinating article by John Ed Bradley in the Feb. 16, 2009 issue of Sports Illustrated. Kiffin comes across unbelievably pompous and mean-spirited.

Among the nuggets in the story:
  • Kiffin boasted of "stealing" (his words) the best assistant coaches from fellow SEC schools.
  • Kiffin wrongly accused Florida coach Urban Meyer (by the way, how incredible is it that Meyer could play the victim role?) of violating an NCAA recruiting rule.
  • Kiffin bragged about firing a driver who was 25 minutes late to picking him up at the airport.
  • Kiffin offered this delightful quote: "You can't count the number of people we've run off because they couldn't keep up, and I'm including secretaries."
And then there was the story that he told a recruit from South Carolina that he'd end up pumping gas for the rest of his life if he went to University of South Carolina.

He's continued to be just as insensitive and arrogant in the subsequent months, acting like he's some proven winner and offering a generally obnoxious attitude.

What made yesterday's news even more interesting was the fact that two of the arrested suspects were Nu'Keese Richardson and Janzen Jackson, two of Kiffin's most prized recruits. In fact, Richardson was the player Kiffin accused Meyer of calling on his official visit to Tennessee, claiming that was a violation of recruiting rules even though it wasn't.

Look, no one is suggesting that Kiffin was an accomplice to this alleged crime. I'm not here to say he should be lose his job or even be suspended over the fact that a few of his players are being accused of felonies.

What is true, however, is that players that he boasted about recruiting, the players who would be at the forefront of the Kiffin regime at Tennessee, are potentially in very serious trouble.

Maybe Kiffin will tone his act down just a bit. Somehow, I doubt it.

The Worst 5 Franchises in Sports

Sports are cyclical. Teams that are bad usually get good again, and vice versa. But a few teams seem to be good every year, while others seem destined to be bottom feeders forever. Here's the worst of the worst:

5. Detroit Lions: The Lions aren't higher on this list because they actually seem to be heading in the right direction with some young talent. Still, it was only last year they became the first 0-16 team in NFL history. Tough to escape this list with that on your resume.

4.Pittsburgh Pirates: Every day is a fire sale in Pittsburgh. The Pirates haven't made the playoffs since the Ice Age and their go-to move is trading players just as they're on the cusp of being solid major-leaguers.

3. Kansas City Royals: The Pirates haven't made the playoffs since the Ice Age, but dinosaurs roamed the earth the last time the Royals played in the postseason. It's not a good sign when people use you as the argument for a salary cap in baseball. Ex. "We need a cap. Kansas City Royals fans know at the beginning of the season their team has no chance."

2.Oakland Raiders: Well pretty much everything they do is wrong, so it's pretty easy to put them near the top of this list. The only reason they're not ranked a spot higher is...

1. Los Angeles Clippers - Not only has the team been totally inept for years, the owner recently agreed to settle a case where he was basically being sued for racism and discrimination. Al Davis, you're lucky Donald Sterling is around to make you look good. OK, maybe not good, but less bad.

Honorable mention: Cleveland Browns, NY Islanders.


This Cut's a mess

OK folks, forget about that stupid arm. It's time to lop Jay Cutler off the list of the NFL's top quarterbacks.

Five more picks by the double-chinned gunslinger cost the Bears a key road win tonight in their 10-6 loss at the 49ers. Cutler's fifth and final mistake came with under 10 seconds to play when he scrambled forward and threw on the run for Greg Olsen in the end zone. Had Cutler and Olsen connected, the Bears would have won the game. Instead, the pass ended up so deep in the heart of Michael Lewis' red jersey, the safety is lucky he didn't burst a chamber.

So enough already about Cutler's arm. Football is not a skills competition. If so, Jeff George would be remembered as a stud rather than a dud.

Right now Cutler's more Kerry Wood than Nolan Ryan, showing random flashes of brilliance that are too often clouded by unabashed wildness. After more than one interception tonight, Cutler was seen either barking or brooding, but never it seemed were the harsher emotions directed at himself.

Where else to lay blame? It's about time someone pointed at the man in white. He sulked his way out of Denver; now all the Broncos do is win. Cutler? After his woeful Thursday Night Football effort, No. 6 dropped to 21-25 for his career. No winning seasons and no playoff games, forget about playoff wins. What has Chicago so excited exactly?

When Super Bowls are decided by radar guns, call Cutler. Until then, just call Cutler what he is: one of the most overrated, overhyped players in the league.

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Yet another indignity

The New York Mets hierarchy is so lost it would be hilarious if I wasn't a fan of the team. Alas, I can find no humor in this franchise's ineptitude, only sadness and depression.

Reports are surfacing of season-ticket holders getting a very slight decrease in their bill for next season
after ownership promised wholesale cuts.

The Mets promised across the board reductions, saying the average ticket would be cut about 10 percent and some tickets would be reduced as much as 20 percent. Some fans, however, have seen only a one or two percent decrease.

In defense, the Mets are claiming that they said the "average" would be 10 percent, and that meant some decreases would be lower and some would be higher. While this is technically a valid point, anyone who's heard Jeff Wilpon talk about these price reductions knows he made it sound like every fan would be getting at least a 10 percent cut.

If ownership was interested in being truthful and avoiding more bad press, it would have simply stated when it announced this plan that some cuts wouldn't be anywhere near 10 percent. That way no one would have been surprised or angry when the bills arrived. But this ownership doesn't think ahead, and as much as I think the Wilpons actually try to do right by their fans, they rarely do, because for whatever reason they're totally out of touch.

The past blunders are plentiful. The lack of Mets history depicted at Citi Field, the mishandling of injuries, on and on and on. And at a time when ownership can least afford to alienate fans, it has done just that.

Is anyone surprised?

A Scoop of Bull

W.F. Slinger has recently emerged from the Dark Ages with an iPhone and a gmail account. He will be posting on his own shortly. For now, A Ruthian Rip from W.F.

A fellow ripper pointed out this latest Scoop Jackson gem. I have to say, Mr. Jackson has outdone himself this time.

If you don't want to bother reading it, I'll spare you the details. Basically, Scooper says that Carmelo Anthony has joined the list of the truly elite players in the NBA: LeBron, Kobe and Dwyane Wade. The main reason? Because he had time to reflect this off-season.

A. This is incorrect. Those three guys are actually great players.

B. Huh?

Melo tells Scooper, "This is the first summer I've really had since I've been in the league to get my body right and let my mind just ... wander a bit." So we're supposed to believe that somewhere in there, that thinking made him one of the top players in the NBA. But then a few sentences later there's a long quote (that includes a reference to Scoop -- what joker would actually keep that in when transcribing? Scoop!) that talks about how Melo's supposed greatness started by playing with Team USA in previous summers.

So which is it? Actually, confusion from this rambling column aside, the answer is technically neither. Melo doesn't deserve to be categorized with those three players. There are also plenty of other players I wouldn't hesitate to take ahead of Anthony in an open draft, including Chris Paul and Dwight Howard (two players who deserve to be in that conversation, at least with Wade).

I guess Scooper forgot about the fact that Melo hadn't won a playoff series until Chauncey Billups was traded to Denver for Allen Iver-lost during last year. I guess he swept all those failed postseason series under the rug, including the three that he shot .364 from the field or worse. Not very meaty.

But Anthony was able to "get my body right" in the offseason, speaking of meaty. Or beefy I should say. Ever seen that commercial where he runs down the street with his shirt off jiggling? Maybe if he had gotten his body right at some point during his six-year NBA career, he would have achieved things more like what was predicted when he came out of Syracuse.

But back to Scoop, check out what longtime Kansas City Star columnist Jason Whitlock had to say about him in an interview with The Big Lead. Pretty brutal.

So, let's recap. Carmelo Anthony is an All-Star level player, but not, to use Scoop's lingo, in the running for best baller in da league. As for Scoop, he's still a complete clown.


My fav 5...people to hate

5. Tony Romo: Has anyone ever received more attention without winning a playoff game? Even the criminals, the overexposed and the egomaniacs like Michael Vick, Terrell Owens, Peyton and Eli Manning, Tom Brady, Jerry Jones, Bill Parcells, etc. have won something — most of them oodles of playoff games and Super Bowls, Vick included. So why has this Cowboy quarterback been cast as a star right alongside them? Because he dated a hot babe who was famous? Last time I checked, Giselle was neither ugly nor obscure.

Look, Romo has produced at the level of a top 10 regular season quarterback. Fair, but big whoop. Show his mug after an accomplishment, ESPN, not after a weekend in Cancun.

I also greatly dislike his face.

4. Chris Berman: Hey, I have a nickname there guy: Chris "STFU" Berman.

So please stay away from the U.S. Open and the MLB playoffs. They are legitimate events. And burn that stupid hat.

3. Joe Buck: Besides the fact that his cavernous cleft could sleep a family of four comfortably, Buck is a truly perplexing figure. Let's consider other sports broadcasters who have dominated the sports landscape over the last generation: Marv Albert (NBA/NFL), Bob Costas (MLB/NBA/Sunday Night Football/Olympics), Jim Nantz (NFL/PGA), and Al Michaels (Monday Night Football/MLB/NBA/Hockey). Those four men would consist of the sports broadcasting Mount Rushmore from the last 25 years.

So question: Who among this group does the vast majority of the American public actively despise? Their only faults are the following — Nantz is a little rehearsed, Costas a little smug, Michaels a little GPS (see Rip-tionary) on the rules, and Marv a little... well... promiscuous. But have we ever really hated them? No.

Personally, I find Buck detestable. Many agree. 

2. Isiah Thomas: Because anyone with his history of transgressions deserves nothing but a rip! He has, in rough order: bankrupt the CBA; destroyed the rosters of the Raptors and Pacers; decimated and humiliated the Knicks, all while sapping their fan base of whatever remained of its pride; sexually harassed a co-worker; possibly threw his daughter under the bus; and somehow came out smelling at least a little like a rose.

Seriously though, FIU hiring Isiah as its coach is the sports equivalent of giving Bernie Madoff a job as a stock broker if he was ever discharged from jail. 

And I think that's what why Zeke is so easy to hate. His punishments/banishments/disgrace-aments never last long. Ol' No. 11 woos more people than Ben Franklin in his prime.

1. Roger Clemens: Nothing repulses an honest sports fan more than someone who is: A) self-
obsessed; B) has no understanding of his current place in his sport (see: Iverson, Allen); and C) is a filthy liar. Clemens manages to combine A, B and C, and somehow still maintain enough in his deep reserve of gall to attach his wife's name to steroid use.

How crazy is Clemens? This crazy: I don't think the best way to dagger him is to keep him out of Cooperstown. Instead, here's my idea...

How about the voters select him. Then, on his big day in rural New York, with Debbie and the K-clan watching, they consistently mispronounce his name at the ceremony. Then, once the time comes, the Hall misspells his name on his plaque.

With someone so undeniably vain and deranged, nothing would sting him more.

The 5 people currently annoying me most

This list is always subject to change, and it's hard to narrow it to just 5, but I did my best:

5. Skip Bayless, ESPN - When did having a contrarian view on every single topic become a talent? If I walk outside in the pouring rain, turn to my friend and say how much I enjoy being out in the sun, will I be famous? Bayless called Lebron James overrated, defended Andy Reid's decision that Mr. Woo addressed, and once even called Tom Brady a more dominant athlete than Tiger Woods (no, I'm not kidding). Literally nobody likes this guy, but I guess stirring feelings of unbridled hate in people is a talent.

4. Joba Chamberlain, NY Yankees - He's really gotten on my nerves from the day he came up. I can't stand his post-strikeout routine, his dirty hat or his face in general. Add that he plays for the Yankees and that I've heard rumblings that he's an arrogant guy and Joba snakes to No. 4.

3. Tony LaRussa, St. Louis Cardinals - This overmanaging blowhard gets my blood boiling. Tony, batting the pitcher 8th doesn't make you a genius. I was at a Mets-Cards game this season when LaRussa used five pitchers in the 6th inning of a game he was losing 4-0 in the middle of the summer. No one loves to get his fingerprints on the game more than Tony, and no one has received more undue credit for a team's success. Pitching coach Dave Duncan is the brains behind the operation.

2. Allen Iverson, TBD - I know I already posted about A.I., but with each passing day he annoys me more. He just can't let go of the image he has of himself as an all-time great player (which I don't think he ever was)and makes a mess wherever he goes. Iverson should retire and join up with a men's league somewhere, I'm sure the team from Joe's Hardware won't mind if he hoists 40 shots a game.

1. Brett Favre, Minnesota Vikings - Mr. Buckner always gets on me for this, but I'm sorry, I root against this guy harder than anyone. The sad thing is he used to be one of my favorite athletes. Part of what drives me nuts about Favre is the ridiculous obsession ESPN has with him, but I think Favre plays into that by confiding in guys like Chris Mortensen. ESPN treats Favre like he's Michael Jordan or Tiger Woods, but I'm not sure he's even one of the top 10 QBs of all-time. The retirement nonsense, the way he slyly threw the Jets under the bus shortly after signing with the Vikings and his need for attention puts him at the top of my list.

Trade Votto? Oh, no.

Call it a hot stove rumor gone wild, or maybe some fun speculation run rampant. But please, call it irresponsible journalism.

We're looking at you Ed Price and Jeff Fletcher of Fanhouse, who, in their otherwise informative and timely piece on how money woes will force the Reds to cut payroll, suggested Cincinnati has "a decision to make at first base, where Joey Votto hit .322 but prospect Yonder Alonso (.838 OPS in the minors last season) seems close to being ready."

I'm sorry. My eyes momentarily incinerated after reading every other erroneous statement scrawled onto the web during the GM meetings. But did you suggest Alonso replace Votto? Hey, while we're at it, why don't we shelve HD for black-and-white TVs ?

Here's how absurd this is: Alonso could mature into a 10-year All-Star and never become a hitter of Votto's caliber.

In 2009, at 25, Votto battled depression, yet still found the strength (and obvious skill) to post the following: .322/.414/.567. That's good for a meaty .981 OPS, the third-best in the National League behind some overrated clowns named Pujols and Fielder. And lest you believe Votto compiled numbers in a hitters' park, he ranked fourth in the NL in OPS+, slipping behind only Adrian Gonzalez. Guys like Hanley Ramirez, Ryan Braun, Ryan Howard, David Wright and Manny Ramirez wished they were Votto the Magnificent in '09.

A guess here, but could the boys at Fanhouse have floated Votto's name to inject some sauce into an otherwise worthwhile Reds' piece? Only two other reasons are remotely possible: 1) Price and Fletcher know not what they do (cover baseball); or 2) GM Walt Jocketty survived the ice age.

Safin adds to the insanity

Martina Navratilova's ludicrous reaction to Andre Agassi's admission that he used crystal meth repeatedly in 1997 set the standard high for what tennis player could muster the most idiotic take when asked for his or her feelings about the acknowledgment.

I didn't think anyone could outdo her. But Marat Safin has now chimed in and boy did he blow her away with new found heights of stupidity. Congrats Martina, you're off the hook.

First Navratilova compared Agassi to Roger Clemens, a comparison that makes about as much sense as comparing a starving homeless man stealing a few ketchup packets from McDonalds to Bernie Madoff. Drugs are drugs and stealing is stealing. All the same.

Wait, that makes no sense whatsoever.

Agassi used a drug that absolutely ruined his performance; Clemens gave his career a rebirth artificially.

And now Safin has said that Agassi should give back all his money and his titles. In 1997, Agassi played 24 matches. TOTAL. The only grand slam he played was the US Open (l, 4th round, Rafter). At one point in 1997, he lost eight of nine matches, including five defeats to players not even in the top 75. So exactly which titles and what prize money should he be giving back from his incredible 1997?

As for all the money and tournaments Agassi won from 1998 and beyond, does Safin honestly think Agassi should give those back? Let me get this straight...an athlete tests positive for a recreational drug in 1997, lies about it to avoid suspension, gets clean, and goes on to achieve greatness. But because he once used drugs -- which did nothing but ruin his performance -- and lied about using them, everything he accomplishes after that is illegitimate?


Criticize Agassi for the following: The admission came when he's releasing a book. Totally lame. The championships, however, remain.


Vanishing act

After he was torched for a touchdown that might go a long way towards ending the Giants' season, CB Corey Webster stood in front of his locker and answered questions. Webster would probably have rather been anywhere other than where he was, but he acted like an adult, took ownership of his role in the loss and was accountable.

Antonio Pierce did none of those things.

Pierce ran his mouth again all week leading up to the game with San Diego. He called the match-up a 'Super Bowl' for his team, blah blah blah. Naturally, after the Giants looked like the French trying to hold off Germany on the last drive, Pierce got out of Dodge before the media could get to him.

Guys who duck the media always bother me, but this is particularly bad, because A.P. holds himself up as some kind of defensive leader. Leaders don't leave teammates to deal with the fallout of a bad loss.

We always hear about how important 'intangibles' are in sports, almost always in the context of assigning added value to an aging player whose skills are diminishing.

On Sunday, Pierce couldn't even muster up those crucial intangibles.

A bogus rep

One of the primary reasons we started this site was to point out how much of sports commentary is based on outdated and often flat-wrong information.

This weekend was a perfect case-in-point. When you think of what defines the Chicago Bears, what do you think? What do analysts usually talk about? Above all else, the Bears are usually associated with great defense.

When the Bears acquired Jay Cutler before this season, I heard a lot of pundits talking about how the Bears always have a top defense. Now they have a top QB as well, so the league should be on notice.

One problem. The Bears haven't had a good defense in years.

Through eight games this year, the Bears are 15th in the league in yardage allowed, 22nd in points allowed. Last year they were 21st in yardage allowed and 16th in points allowed, and in '07 they were an impressive 28th in yardage allowed and 16th in points allowed.

Earlier this year, Merrill Hoge stated on ESPN that the Bears losing Brian Urlacher to injury this year was like the Pats losing Tom Brady last year. Urlacher played the last two seasons, and the defense was barely average. He's not playing this year, and the defense is.....barely average.

For Hoge's comment to hold water, wouldn't the Bears have to have been an elite defense before Urlacher got hurt? If the defense was mediocre with Urlacher, how could losing him be the equivalent of losing Brady?

Someone give these 'experts' a calendar and a stat sheet and let them know what year it is.

Big Bully

What an achievement by Jim Boeheim winning his 800th career game.

And nothing could have been more fitting than leading his Orange to yet another massacre of juggernaut SUNY Albany, 75-43. Just how did they do it?

Has there ever been a coach who has racked up more wins against ridiculously overmatched opponents?

Schedule a few gimmes to pad your record and get your team going in the early season. Fine. But Boeheim and Syracuse take it to absurd levels. There are so many cupcakes on this schedule it should be sponsored by Hostess.

The following is Syracuse's non-conference schedule this season: Albany (home), Robert Morris (home), Cal (neutral site), UNC/Ohio State (neutral site), Cornell (home), Columbia (home), Colgate (home), Maine (home), St. Francis (home), St. Bonaventure (home), Oakland (home), Memphis (home).

This year is no different from any of the 34 years that he's been in charge. Don't challenge yourself too much Jim.

He's a slave to his 2-3 zone and doesn't teach any of his players any defensive fundamentals. Carmelo Anthony may have gift-wrapped a national championship for him, but he's been a totally overrated coach for years and one who is known for being incredibly sensitive to criticism.

What he should be, however, is embarrassed by this schedule.


He's never wrong

Perhaps there is a clause in every NFL coach's contract that he simply can't admit to a mistake. The bumbling, inane responses take place every week trying to defend the indefensible. The latest one is courtesy of Tom Coughlin.

Why would the Giants play for a field goal when leading by three points with 3:01 left from the 14-yard line? Why call two running plays when a touchdown can win the game and a field goal only puts you up six?

"We didn't want to turn the ball over, obviously. We didn't want to be in a position like that," Coughlin said. "You can second guess it all you want. Field goal at that point in time forced them to have a touchdown and score a touchdown. There was plenty of time, over two minutes. But, we just had a couple of really good series defensively. We forced them into bad situations and we had a lot of momentum with our touchdown. We felt good about the situation we were in. We let them off the hook."

The Giants ended up with a field goal and a 20-14 lead before a two-minute TD drive by the Chargers won the game 21-20.

It's clever -- and in some cases fair -- for coaches to always fall back on the "You can second-guess it all you want" and "You're being a Monday morning quarterback" line as a defense when a decision turns out to be wrong. It's an understandable tactic to defend themselves against too many results-oriented fans (and media members) who only look at the outcome rather than the decision.

But it can't fly when the decision truly is abominable. The conservative playcalling in that situation was entirely misguided for one reason above all others: the field goal was a chip shot even with two incompletions.

Coughlin spent time in his press conference explaining that a six-point lead forced San Diego to score a touchdown rather than tie with a field goal. Thanks for the insight. A lot of people needed that information.

Had the Giants been somewhere around the 35-yard line, where every yard would have made a field goal more likely, running plays on 2nd-and-14 and 3rd-and-10 would have had some merit. But the extra yardage was meaningless in making the field goal more likely.

And the quote "We didn't want to turn the ball over, obviously" is exactly that: obvious. That wasn't a time to go into a shell and be petrified of an interception. It was a prevent offense and cost the Giants a chance to end the game.

One more elephant in the room

Allow me to cover the one game Tony didn't: The Sunday nighter.

Turns out ol' Andy Reid yet again forgot the basic principles of professional sports in yet another fourth quarter. "What," you ask? Oh, just the little matter of giving his team an honest chance to win. Yeah, that.

The Philly coach — the man with the quickest trigger in the City of Brotherly Love — cracked again in the second half, getting rid of the challenge flag from his pocket like it was a garden salad.

Of course, Reid challenged two plays, lost both, and burned two timeouts in the process. What he didn't seem to realize is what he never seems to realize: You need your timeouts in the fourth quarter to win close games. Hmm. Novel concept.

But let's say we cut the guy a break. He already took criticism here on the chin like a glob of mayo two weeks ago. And maybe his coaches saw something on replay we didn't. Maybe he blacked out momentarily and daydreamed that throwing the flag ordered him two helpings of General Tso's. Either way, fine. But down seven points, Reid opted to kick a 52-yard field goal with 4:27 left, leaving his team down four and with NO TIMEOUTS.

Should I tell you the Eagles never sniffed the ball again? Did you even need the heads up?

Here's what Reid passed up: fourth-and-11 at the Dallas 34. Go for it and Philly gives itself a chance to tie. Worst-case scenario and the Cowboys take over at the 34. Instead, they had the ball at 23 after the kickoff, an insignificant 11-yard difference. In fact, had David Akers — less than 50 percent for his career from 50-plus — missed the field goal, Reid would've looked even more foolish.

The result of the kick shouldn't change that. Dallas picked up a pair of first downs (not exactly a stunner) and the Eagles were history. Of course, Reid, who may as well own the team at this point, turned snippy when asked about the decision.

"Listen, I thought we could hold them with four minutes left and come back and win the game, but it didn't work out that way," he said.

Listen, it never does, Andy. It never does. But you keep tossing that flag.


Rips from around the league

Sunday nights are a wonderful time for reflection. Starting tonight, I will be posting a summary of rip-worthy events from around the NFL every Sunday night. I'll leave out the Giants since I've ripped them enough. Here we go:

Falcons 31, Redskins 17: I'm not quite sure what else there is to say about Washington. The owner stinks, the coach stinks, the team stinks. We may be looking at the NFC's answer to the Raiders.

Cardinals 41, Bears 21: The Bears and Ravens don't actually have to play well on defense to be considered good defensive teams. They've had good defenses in the past, so they must be good now, right? Kurt Warner's five TDs say otherwise.

Bengals 17, Ravens 7: The Ravens might have been the only team more overrated than the Giants earlier in the season.

Colts 20, Texans 17: Is there anyone in sports with an easier job than Colts offensive coordinator Tom Moore?

Patriots 27, Dolphins 17: The Wildcat offense is great. Having Randy Moss on your team is better.

Saints 30, Panthers 20: The Panthers jumped out to a lead but couldn't deliver the Saints' first loss. I still count it as a victory for Carolina though, because Jake Delhomme didn't throw any picks.

Jaguars 24, Chiefs 21: I'm going to take this opportunity to rip the Redskins again. Washington lost to Kansas City. That's a pretty meaty rip in itself.

Seahawks 32, Lions 20: Does anyone care?

Bucs 38, Packers 28: Tampa Bay, congrats on breaking that pesky 11-game losing streak. Green Bay...dagger.

Titans 34, 49ers 27: This definitely deserves another strip show from Mike Singletary.

Get this guy out now!

If I have to watch Lawrence Tynes botch another field goal I really may have to be put in a padded room. This guy STINKS!


I don't know what happened at the end of the Giants' first drive today - it looked like Tynes just froze up - and I really don't care. I think Coughlin should have gone for it on 4th and a foot, but he didn't, so the Giants have to make that field goal.

Enough already. He misses chip shots but somehow the Giants always seem to give him a chance to make a game-winner and so everyone forgets about his blunders. Ex: NFC Championship game at Green Bay, second week of this season at Dallas.

Well Larry, I haven't forgotten. Find another job.


Personally I believe defensive coordinator Bill Sheridan should be on the hot seat if his defense gets torched again. I understand they've has had some injuries, but there are still too many good players to be giving up 40 points like it's nothing. Sheridan has big shoes to fill replacing Steve Spagnuolo. Right now he looks to be wearing about a kids size 4.

Sometime after 7 o' clock tonight Giants fans will have a pretty good idea of where this season is headed.

Should the Chargers extend the Giants' losing streak to four, Big Blue will have a tough time making the playoffs let alone going deep into the postseason as many expected when the team was 5-0.

If the Giants prevail, they will be 6-3 heading into a bye week where some important players will get a chance to nurse some injuries.

San Diego brings the No. 4 passing attack into Giants Stadium today, and because the weather is quite mild today, the Giants won't have the elements to help stop Philip Rivers from carving up the secondary like one of John Madden's Turduckens (however you spell it).

The offense has to do a better job too, but really I can't judge them as I normally would because the last few weeks they've been playing with the pressure of knowing the other team is scoring on every possession.

Misguided Anger

I respect Jose Canseco for being the Bob Woodward of steroid reporting.

Scratch that. I don't respect him at all. He's an absolute clown. And he has completely selfish motives. It's not like he's trying to clean up the game by blowing the whistle on other cheaters.

But I will say that I'm somewhat interested in who he's calling out because thus far most of what he has said has proved to be right and I can't help but want to know who else used PEDs.

What I don't get is why he's so angry at other baseball players who also used steroids. Perhaps he feels like he's the person most associated with the steroid era because he's openly admitted to his extensive use and thinks he's being scapegoated. But the reality is, his reputation hasn't taken nearly as big a hit as Bonds, Clemens, ARod, Manny, Sosa or McGwire. Not even close. Those were lock first-ballot Hall of Famers who now may never get in.

Canseco was at it again this week, bashing ARod. During his promotional tour for some celebrity boxing nonsense, he was asked what current player he'd most like to fight.

His response: "Alex Rodriguez, get your ass into the ring. I'll beat you to a pulp. That lying little idiot. I'd like to get him in the ring."

Ok, first of all, it's a funny quote, and if they ever fight count me in. (Unfortunately, there is a better chance of Bernie Madoff throwing out the first pitch on Opening Day at Citi Field next year.)

But here's where Canseco is completely lost. His venom toward other steroid users makes no sense. They aren't busying giving on the record interviews saying Canseco is making stuff up, that he was a cheater, etc. And if they want to lie and deny their own use, why does Canseco care? Nothing should be more irrelevant to him.

(Yes, I realize that Canseco hates ARod for other reasons, including an accusation that ARod went after his wife. But it still seems like Canseco hates ALL the steroid users.)

For the most part, they don't say anything until they have no choice and then they give a half-hearted admission and try to get on with their careers and hope we just forget. (Exhibit A: Andy Pettitte)

If Canseco should be mad at anyone, it should be the media and the fans. We're the people judging him and all the other users. The writers are going to keep these guys out of the Hall of Fame, which is part of what Canseco is so upset about. He thinks he should be in Cooperstown. (Funny, but true.)

No player who ever tested positive had to give back any of his past earnings or awards. All he lost was the respect of the media and fans, and likely some of his contemporaries.