Personal bias again slants the Coaches’ Poll


Tim Brando and Tony Barnhart on CBS Sports Network discussed the surprising lack of strength of undefeated Ohio State in the College Football Coach’s Poll.  They pointed to Urban Meyer being disliked by his fellow coaches.  Brando:  “How many in the coaches’ poll just don’t like Urban enough?”

The two analysts feel that too often personal bias trumps honest judgment.  Barnhart does not like to see coaches involved in a poll that’s one third of the BCS formula.  “It’s a direct conflict of interest.”



Gould better with family than with football


Chicago Bears kicker Robbie Gould provided a touching testimonial to the value of perspective in an eventful day.  While his teammates were in Minnesota on Saturday night, resting for Sunday’s game with the Vikings, Gould was in Chicago with his wife, who gave birth around midnight to their first child. Then Gould on Sunday morning took a flight to Minnesota, in time for the team breakfast.  That afternoon the Bears lost 23-20 when Gould missed a 47-yard field goal in overtime, his kick veering inches to the right.

Asked if lack of sleep could have been a factor, Gould smiled and said:  “Naw, there’s no excuse about it. My wife did awesome.  It was one of the greatest days in my life, and I’m happy for my wife and my little boy.

Sorry I couldn’t do it for my teammates like I could for my wife this morning.”

Then he appeared to be choking up as he said, “That game could have cost us the playoffs, and it’s on my shoulders.”

         Editorial Comment:  Perhaps more on the shoulders of coach Marc Trestman.


           On second down the Bears coach called for the field goal instead of a couple of run plays to give Gould a closer shot.

Although Matt Forte had gained 130 yards on 23 carries against Minnesota that day, Trestman defended his decision on grounds that  “there’s no guarantee we’d get any yards on second or third down.”



New York media jumps on Geno



New York Jets rookie QB Geno Smith has thrown 10 interceptions to 1 TD in the past six games and was benched at halftime of Sunday’s game against Miami.  He was replaced by Matt Simms, who did no better as the Jets crashed:  23-3.  The Daily News headlined“WELCOME MATT:  Dolphins stomp all over Simms as Geno goes to bench and Jets near brink.”


NFL Network’s Jeff Garcia said Smith “has not been productive by any means . . . but go to the management.  John Idzik, GM, building this team.  What sort of weapons does he have around him?  Doesn’t have receivers that anybody’s heard of.  . . .  Smith is getting beat up, torn down, ripped apart.”


The Atlantic’s Allen Barra: “To paraphrase Georges Clemenceau on Brazil, the New York Jets are the team of the future – and always will be. . . . Until the Jets learn to plan for the future, they’re never going to have a present.”

Arrington:  Keep Shanahan, but cut his salary


NFL Network’s LaVar Arrington, former Pro Bowl linebacker for the Washington Redskins, says the team does not need to change coaches but “they need to change the culture. . . . They need to make coaches as well as players accountable.”  He said the best way to do that is to “cut Shanahan’s salary.”

Antonio Smith:  Patriots in Spygate II?


When the New England Patriots turned a 10-point deficit at halftime into a win over the Houston Texans, Antonio Smith, defensive tackle of the Texans, said it was “fishy.” Bill Belichick, Tom Brady and the Patriots anticipated and adjusted to “some plays for the week that we’ve never used before.”

He suggested the Patriots might be “spying on us,” which brought to mind Spygate, when Belichick was fined $500,000 for surveillance on opponents that violated league rules in 2007-2008.

Smith’s innuendoes were not well received by Jim Rome (CBS Sports Network):   “Do you think the Patriots would have to spy on you to beat you? . . . Did the Raiders and the Jaguars have a mole in the Texans organization because they beat you in your house also?  I’m tired of talking about you.  Go get your fourteen losses and your number one pick and get out of our faces.”


Tomlin ‘wanders’ . . . Pats are Denver’s only worry . . .

Jim Rome excoriated, quite rightly, Steelers coach Mike Tomlin for “wandering out on the field during a kickoff.”

Indeed, replays showed Tomlin grinning as he seemingly nonchalantly steps a half foot over the white line, his back to the play, causing Jacoby Jones to change stride, slowing him just enough to be caught after a 78-yard gain.

Thanks to Tomlin’s oh so smooth dance move the Colts got a field goal instead of a touchdown.

“There’s no excuse for that,” Rome said.  “It just can’t happen.  But the only thing more absurd than IT happening is the NFL considering ripping a draft pick from the team because of it.  Ea-sy.   That punishment would not fit that crime.  Just slap Coach Straightfire with a straight fine.

      “Just because you look like you can still play doesn’t mean you get to try.  Stay off the field, Coach.”

Tomlin was in fact fined $100,000 by the NFL.


On NFL Monday QB (CBS Sports Network), Boomer Esiason said the Patriots are “the only team that can go into Denver and beat Denver in an AFC championship game.  In order to do that you’ve got to score 30 points or more . . . “


More Esiason:  “Russell Wilson or Cam Newton?  Both are really good young football players. With Wilson there’s no drama, though.  There’s no Superman, there’s no separating himself.  I don’t know if Cam realizes he does some of this sometimes, and it kind of turns me away a little bit.  Some other quarterbacks, like RG3 does some of this stuff.  Russell Wilson, all he does is win.”


On the same show, Steve Beuerlein noted that Andrew Luck “is playing frustrated.  He’s doing all he possibly can to keep it positive and upbeat, but Chuck Pagano’s frustrated.  I think going into Cincinnati in that environment . . .   I think it’s asking too much.  I’m picking Cincinnati.”


Ted Williams was a giver, DiMaggio a taker


Joe DiMaggio during his lifetime was far more popular than Ted Williams. The former was “Joltin Joe” and the “Yankee Clipper.”  The latter was the “Splendid Splinter” and “The Kid.”  You get the picture:  DiMaggio was powerful yet graceful.  He was mature.  Williams, who was habitually surly to the media, was gangly and immature.

But now that both of baseball’s postwar superheroes are dead, Williams’ legacy is rising, as DiMaggio’s falls

         Ben Bradlee, Jr., author of The Kid, a biography of Williams, said on MSNBC’s Morning Joe:  “Most athletes fade away.  Ted gained popularity after he retired.  DiMaggio seemed obsessed with the memorabilia market, always making money.  He never picked up a check.  He insisted on having coat holders and sycophants around him.  He considered Ted a lifelong rival.  For him the rivalry was unfriendly.  For Ted it was friendly.”

Baseball historians and fans will forever debate who was better.  But whenever DiMaggio made a public appearance his required introduction was “the greatest living ballplayer”  — an indirect dig at Williams.

While DiMaggio basked in self-induced adulation, Williams was off fishing or fighting as a Top Gun in Korea or raising millions of dollars for his Jimmy Fund to bring medical care to children.  He doled out his own wealth to help friends and family (some of whom were a bit ungrateful), and many of his gifts were done anonymously.

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