Friday, February 12, 2010

The Post-Super Bowl Andy Barch Interview
A chat with my good friend, NFL expert Andy Barch.

1. Will the pick-6 Peyton Manning threw have a lasting negative impact on his legacy as one of the greats?

AB:Not in my mind. Manning's pick-6 will be looked at as the icing on the cake, the final straw that broke the camel's back, but it was the onside kick that really turned the game around. That was one of the gutsiest (if thats actually a word) calls I've seen in a long time, and it lit a fire under the Saints. I can't say enough about that call, and how Sean Payton really changed the game by pulling the trigger on it. It was also very well executed. Manning will always be viewed as one of the best, I'll never see him as anything different. Just because he was on the losing team in a Super Bowl, and threw a pick-6 in the fourth quarter, doesn't mean he's any less immortal than he was before.

2. Where do you rank the Saints among the teams that won Super Bowls this decade?

AB: This has been an unusual decade for Super Bowl teams, with so many underdogs and wild card teams emerging. I'd say they are right up there with some of the best, only because they could score with anybody, and while their defense wasn't the best, they were very opportunistic, and they made some HUGE plays. I think that this is the best STORY of any Super Bowl Champion this decade. It's not as big of an upset as the Giants-Patriots, but the fact that the Saints, and that entire city that was destroyed four and a half years ago has something to celebrate again, is what makes this such an incredibly uplifting story. Unless you live in Indy, or if you root for another team in the NFC South, there has to be at least a small part of you that is happy for a city like that, which now has something to celebrate, after rebuilding from the ground up after Katrina.

3. Where will Donte Stallworth go from here?
Who knows? He's extremely overrated, he always has been. For some reason, teams keep throwing money at him. Not only does he have this legal issue, but the guy ALWAYS seems to be hurt. He's made little to no impact ANYWHERE along the way in his NFL career. As far as I'm concerned, he's no longer relevant in the NFL.

4. Right now, do you see a lockout in the near future?
It's really hard for me to see that happening. The players union, the owners, and the other parties involved need to understand that the appetite for this league is at an all-time high, and it could really come crashing down if there is some sort of work stoppage. This kind of work stoppage could be as destructive to this league, as the '94 strike was to baseball. It took a while for baseball to get back, and even when it did, the NFL had taken over as the "Don Mega" in the realm of sports in american enterprise. Take the Super Bowl for was the HIGHEST RATED TELEVISION PROGRAM OF ALL TIME!!! These guys couldn't possibly be that stupid. This league is a goldmine right now, and you're an idiot if you own one of these teams and you lose money. Owners have the fans on their side, in that, people dont care how much these players make, until they start to complain about how much they make, especially when their paychecks dwarf that of the average american. Something will be done, even though right now, people are panicking and they are saying it won't happen.

5. Favorite SB commercial?
I didnt find the commercials to be all that entertaining. There were two that stood out to me. The first was the Doritos one where the little kid says "Two things, first, don't touch my mama, and second, keep your hands of my doritos!!" The second was that Budweiser commercial where the folks in the bar had to lay down and build a bridge so that the Bud truck could get across. Perhaps I could get with you next year, and we can put together the best 3.5 million dollar commercial in the history of the Super Bowl for the blog???

Z: At this point I'm lucky if I get 3.5 readers a day.


Sunday, February 07, 2010

The Indians 2010
It's hard to admit this, but after the Indians dealt away Cliff Lee, Victor Martinez, Ryan Garko, Rafael Betancourt and probably a few more I have since forgotten, I pretty much stopped paying attention to the Indians.

There was a seven year period in my life when I thought about hardly anything else. Ask my friends in high school. Every conversation that didn't involve how poorly I was doing in math and science (usually started by my parents, and/or teacher) was about how the team was doing, what it was doing and why it was doing it.

That focus had a lot to do with why I write about sports for a living. I not only accepted that tunnel vision that kept me from falling in love and falling into trouble, I relished it and honed it.

But a decade later, I had trouble remembering what players would fit where in Manny Acta's first season as Tribe skipper. Don't get me wrong. Firing Eric Wedge was the right move, and hiring Acta was a strong a decision as the Tribe could have made given their situation.

So what will the lineup look like? No idea. I hope Acta scraps Grady Sizemore from the leadoff spot, since he's probably the only Indian capable of hitting 40 homers, and needs to be put in a position to drive in other runners doing it.

Assuming the Indians don't bring back Russell Branyan for the eighth time, here's the lineup I want to see.

1. Michael Brantley, left field: He's the best option the Tribe has, and has the most potential. Put him there and leave him there.

2. Asdrubal Cabrera, shortstop: An all-star caliber player, I would resist the urge to hit him third.

3. Grady Sizemore, centerfield: Put him in coach, he's ready to play. He should have been batting third for the last three years, but Wedge was married to concepts that worked once.

4. Shin Soo-Choo, right field: A proven run-producer, and the Indians have two healthy ones.

5. Travis Hafner/Andy Marte/Austin Kearns, designated hitter: Let's be realistic. If Hafner plays 90 games before his shoulder falls off again, the Indians will be lucky. Or maybe unlucky, since it means insurance won't pick up the tab if he's off the DL.

6. Jhonny Peralta, third base: Dead weight. Should have started at third at the beginning of last year, but, see No. 3. Would love to see him anywhere else (not position, but city), but hopefully he'll be motivated for two months and the Indians can trade him for another injured 19 year old.

7. Luis Valbuena, second base: Impressed me with his defense, but I'm not sure if he can hit. But there's 20 guys in the Indians system who fit that bill.

8. Matt LaPorta, first base: Start him here until he produces, then move him up. Remember, Grady started as a No. 9 hitter.

9. Carlos Santana, catcher: Sandy's here. I want him near Sandy.

Fausto Carmona, Jake Westbrook, and three other guys I don't care about.


Saturday, February 06, 2010

10 things I think
1. The Colts will beat the Saints in the Super Bowl. Pointless to give a score since I have only seen one person guess correctly in the history of my watching football. That was back in 1994, when Joe Gibbs picked the Browns to beat the Colts 21-14 on and NBC pregame show, and then the Browns did. I know the idea of the Browns beating the Colts sounds more shocking than anything.

2. Best Super Bowl? Giants-Patriots, 2007 season.

3. Worst Super Bowl ever? Tie between the last two Steelers' wins and the Ravens winning for 2000.

4. Art Modell didn't make the Hall again. I've forgiven Art for the move, since it isn't healthy to hold grudges in general, let alone sports. But I will always ask this question to those who want him in: If he wasn't good enough before the move, why would he be after?

5. Two of the four members of The Who does not constitute a Who halftime performance.

6. Paul McCartney, Tom Petty and Prince were the best halftime performances.

7. Bob Dylan's Don't Think Twice might be my favorite recording of his.

8. Not really believing that Global Warming thing anymore. I never really did, actually.

9. Burn Notice is a great show I only recently discovered.

10. Everyone needs to watch Chuck.

Labels: , , ,

Song Quote of the Day
You went your way and I stayed behind
we both knew it was just a matter of time--Stevie Ray Vaughan


Monday, February 01, 2010

Pro Bowl
They moved it up two weeks. They put it in the continental United States. They insisted players who are involved in next week's Super Bowl at least show up.

And you know what? The Pro Bowl was still a gigantic, boring waste of time.

The score was close, but the game was boring. The truth is, you can't make this game exciting. No one wants to go all out, and no one can blame them. Football is dangerous enough to add a meaningless game. At least in the preseason, guys are playing for spots.

My advice? Have a Pro Bowl roster, but no game. Put on the AFL documentary instead.