Mar 30, 2008

The Miami Meat

I was scanning the daily NBA box scores when one game jumped out at me: Boston 88, Miami 62. 62? 62! To be honest, I didn't even blink about this "game" resulting in a blowout win for the C's.... but 62 points for Miami? From now on, I'm calling the 2007-08 Miami squad the "Miami Meat." It would be a perfect way of commemorating the countless slaughterings that have taken place in recent months.

I don't remember the last time I saw this type of ineptitude displayed on a basketball court, and in the NBA nonetheless. Upon further review, I noted the Meat didn't manage 20 points in any quarter of Sunday's game. I don't care how good the Celtics' defense is -- and it is very good -- 62 points is just plain inexcusable. Two years ago, Kobe scored that much (or more) on two different occasions! MJ dropped 63 on the Bird-led Celtics in a playoff game in the Garden.

Did Pat Riley waive the white flag on the season? Okay, so that was a rhetorical question... of course he did. I dare you to name 4 current players on the Meat's active roster. Tick... tock... tick... tock... okay, I'm guessing you couldn't do it. Outside of Ricky Davis, there really isn't a single recognizable name logging minutes for the Meat these days. The second-highest profile player donning the red & black on Sunday was Mark Blount. Rounding out the starting lineup was Chris Quinn, Kasib Powell, & Earl Barron. The reserves? Even worse: Joel Anthony, Stephane Lasme, Blake Ahearn, & Alexander Johnson. Who are these guys? I'd be willing to bet the casual NBA fan would recognize more names on most D-League rosters right now.

Dead Meat

Look down the Meat's bench these days, and you might think you are staring at a night club entrance line. The problem with that analogy is that there is undoubtedly more game being laid down in Miami night clubs than there is on the basketball court this year. Stern must be beaming at the sight of his dress code in full force: Wade, Williams, Haslem, Marion, Dorell Wright, Daquan Cook, all decked out in three piece suits. Riley's proverbial white flag was raised when Wade was given a shower pass for the remainder of the season, and apparently the rest of the team is getting the same treatment.

Riley is playing for lottery balls at this point, and doing a horrible job of disguising his motives. For a coach of Riley's stature, there is no such thing as a "moral victory." He's going through the motions, drawing up x's & o's during timeouts, but it's not hard to see what he's doing. He's putting together lineups that he knows cannot succeed. After each loss, he knows his Meat are one step closer to securing the best probability of landing the top pick in June. Meanwhile, the Sonics, Grizzlies, and T-Wolves (equally disgraceful) are putting out their best 5 every night, for better or for worse.

He is just salivating at the possibility of nabbing Michael Beasley, and justifiably so. It's not that I'm particularly disgusted with Riley's ever-growing infatuation with Beasley, it's just the way he's going about it that disturbs me. These guys (his players) are making some serious money sitting on the bench and getting soft tissue massages after the games. If I were a season ticket holder, I'd be furious. I'd be demanding a refund for all that coin I shelled out to watch this joke of a season unravel. If I'm an Eastern Conference contender, I'm even more furious. What happens if a team gets into the playoffs because they beat Miami's C squad in the 82nd game?

Riley is compromising the integrity of the game with his scheming and careless disregard for competitiveness. His future as a coach is not in jeopardy, so he is doing everything short of throwing games to improve his 2008 roster. Carlesimo, Iavaroni, and Wittman don't have that luxury. For the sake of justice, I hope the 2008 lottery defies probability and the Meat don't get a top-5 pick...

Mar 19, 2008

The Five Most Overrated Players in the NBA

All it takes is one good playoff series, a single spectacular game, even one buzzer-beater for a player to boost his status among the NBA's elite. Before long, he is being praised with the game's all-time greats and all but guaranteeing his spot in Springfield. A reputation can sometimes be a tough thing to gain, but is usually an even tougher thing to lose. Reputations, right or wrong, lead to the notion that a player is either underrated or overrated.

Both sides of the coin are often debated, but I find it more interesting to talk about why a player is overrated than why he is underrated. Without further ado, here is my list of the five most overrated players in the NBA:

5. Dwyane Wade, Heat: Some may scoff at this ranking, pointing to the NBA Championship he won after being in the league just three seasons. I've even heard such absurd comments as "Wade won a title before Lebron, so he is a better player in my book." My response: has Lebron ever played with Shaq, or any player for that matter, that was a viable scoring option? No. The Cavs have never had a better second option than a slow, soft, and certainly goofy Zydrunas Illgauskas.

One of the most frequent sights in pro sports these days

I'll admit, I was on the Wade bandwagon -- until this year. I realize Wade was struggling with injuries, but have you watched any Heat games this year? Silly me -- they are on TNT every week, so how could you not have watched them play? Without Wade, they are pitiful. With Wade, they weren't much better. When Wade hung up the sneakers for the season, the Heat had an NBA-worst 11-54 record highlighted by a stint where they went 1-26. Can you honestly imagine KG, Lebron, Kobe, or Duncan - even paired with eleven of the league's worst players - starting a season 11-54? I sure can't. In fact, I think Wade is surrounded by just as much talent as Lebron and the Cavs are 4th in the East. So why does Wade get mentioned in the same breath as the superstars I mentioned above? I rest my case.

4. Robert Horry, Spurs: I know he doesn't get a whole lot of mention during the regular season, but when the playoffs come around he is getting more publicity than the Beckhams. I swear Marv Albert is going to spontaneously combust every time he utters the phrase "Aw-ry, for three!"

I realize big names are born in the playoffs, and Horry has hit numerous game winners, but let's examine his career stats: 7.0 pts & 4.8 rebs. "Yeah, but he saves his game for the playoffs when it counts..." Horry's career playoff averages? 8.4 pts & 5.8 rebs. He shoots 42% in the regular season and 43% in the playoffs.

Those shots in the final minute have been clutch, no doubt, but what about the other 47 minutes in the game? Is he more valuable than the guys who put up 20+ during the game purely because he has a propensity for hitting the "big one" at the end? Apparently so, because I've heard more than one broadcaster plead Horry's case for the Hall of Fame. If that prophecy ever came true, he would have beat out hundreds, if not thousands, of current and former players who have contributed more to their team's success over the course of an entire 48-minute game.

3. Yao Ming, Rockets: I really hesitated on this one, because I think Yao has all the tools to be one of the most dominant forces this league has ever seen. He is 7'6", yet shoots free throws better than most guards (85%+). It's not that I think Yao has underachieved per say, I just think he has been the victim of unparalleled hype. The first player to come to the NBA from the World's most populous region, this hype was probably inevitable.

That said, he is grossly overrated. I measure a player's worth by the overall impact he has on his team's winning. Correct me if I'm wrong, but haven't the Rockets played their best ball while Yao has been out of the lineup? I'm not saying he makes the team worse, I'm merely pointing out his team has continued to improve despite his absense. I hate to bring up King James again, but every time he is out of the lineup, the Cavs play miserably. Same goes for the Suns when Nash is out, and the Spurs when Duncan isn't playing. At this point, Yao is an offensive force who is incredibly injury-prone, a defensive liability, and picks up stupid fouls. Sure, he is capable of putting up 30 & 15 any given night, but does he really make the Rockets much better as a team? If this past month has shown us anything, it's that the Rockets can be an elite team -- with or without Yao.

Part of my claim that Yao is overrated stems from my beef with McGrady-haters. T-Mac has taken most of the heat for the Rockets' underachievement in the postseason, while Yao has escaped criticism for the most part. If you watched the Rockets-Jazz series last year (like I did), you saw McGrady at his best, putting up 25 pts, 7 asts, & 6 rebs per game in the series. By no means did his play lead to the Rockets' demise. The Rockets lost that series because Yao couldn't contain a smaller, quicker Carlos Boozer, giving up 35 pts and 14 rebounds to the Jazz big man in the decisive game 7 (Boozer scored 41 in game 2 of that series, as well).

2. Shawn Marion, Heat: This selection probably has a few of you scratching your heads, and I think I know why. This may be counterintuitive, but Marion is a rare player that has been called underrated so much over his career that he has actually become overrated.

Marion's pouting in Phoenix these past few years has been well-documented, as he has called himself undervalued (despite being paid $16.4M per year) and asked to have more plays called his way. Either D'Antoni totally missed the ball, or Marion just isn't the type of player you can run an offense through. I tend to believe D'Antoni in this case, as he is an offensive mastermind.

Marion will fill up the stat sheet, but he cannot create his own shot. He may be the best "garbage" player in the league, but his team will only be successful if he is surrounded by capable offensive threats and he doesn't have to be a primary option. Case in point: the Heat got no better after acquiring the Matrix and I'll bet his efficiency dips with Wade out. For this reason, I don't think he's deserving of that gaudy contract. If a player's contract is reflective of his perceived worth, I think he is one of the most overvalued players in the league.

Shane has everyone fooled...

1. Shane Battier, Rockets: I know a lot of you Dukies are going to be butt-hurt over this selection. Coach K's golden boy could never do wrong if you're a true fan of the white and blue. His heroics guided Duke to a National Title and his intellect warranted Billy Packer's bona fide man-crush during March Madness.

I know, I know, Shane is "Mr. Efficient." He's as consistent as winter rain in the Northwest. If by consistent you mean consistently mediocre, I agree. Despite playing nearly 37 mpg, he has only managed to average 9 pts and 5 rb per contest this season. For a player who's consistency and fundamentals are constantly praised, I was surpised to find he was shooting a miserable 43% from the field and a below-average 72% from the charity stripe.

It's not that Shane is a bad NBA player, it's just that he is very average. For whatever reason, though, USA Basketball (mainly Coach K) felt inclined to include him on the National Team. I know that the staff is looking for the best "team," not necessarily the best "players." Using that criteria, what makes Battier a better fit than Ime Udoka or Luke Walton? Because he is Shane Battier, "Mr. Efficient," "Mr. Intangibles," or whatever other adorable nickname he earned in college.

In my opinion, Shane Battier has been a bigger beneficiary of his past reputation than any other player in the league. The fact that he was asked to represent our country as one of our best fifteen players is reason enough to call him the most overrated player in the game.

Disagree with any of these opinions? If so, leave some feedback... maybe even your own list of the league's most overrated players.

Mar 15, 2008

Sonics' moving East makes perfect sense

Sonics' ownership finally reached a preliminary agreement to lease an arena in Oklahoma City. I guess the writing was on the wall. The franchise has been going downhill - fast - ever since the Glove left town. There was that feel-good year when Shard and RayRay won a playoff series a few seasons back, but the storybook closed as soon as McMillan took his underrated schemes 200 miles south on I-5.

When Clay Bennett took ownership of the club, he said all the right things to keep hometown fans on his side. He even went so far as to unveil an arena proposal that would have kept the team in Seattle. But did anyone really believe him? Bennett is an Oklahoma City native, and he came over just after the Hornets moved back to New Orleans. Seattle was on the verge of relocation when he arrived -- so why would he choose the Sonics as a purchase target if he didn't want to take them to OKC?

Now Bennett has exactly what he wanted all along -- a crop of young talent, a ton of cap room on the horizon, and a city's, his city's, full support as there are no other professional sports teams in town. Mr. Bennett had no problem selling the farm on the franchise and looking to the future, leaving a helpless city and its basketball fans in his wake. What does he care? It was all part of his master plan. I gotta say, the whole thing smells funny. I am a Northwest native, and the Sonics' departure leaves a basketball-shaped hole in the third largest market on the Left Coast.

I'm sorry, but the "Oklahoma City Supersonics" just doesn't have a great ring to it, either. The Space Needle can no longer be affixed to the Sonic emblem, so what will be its replacement? I searched the internet for "Oklahoma City tourist attractions," and this came up #3:;_ylt=AsDc6Xogtvf55wcLf301ghCpFmoL. Wow, #3 in the whole city? #1, you ask? A memorial to the 168 people who died in that tragic bombing in 1995. I don't want to sound cynical and I would certainly never make light of such a horrific event, but I just don't see it meeting standard protocal for NBA logos. Moreover, the Oklahoma City metropolitan area population is ~1.2M, compared to Seattle's metropolitan population of ~3.2M. I know Seattle fans have been fickle at times, but its looking more like a sentimental move than a wise business decision on the part of our boy Clay.

Alright, alright, I'll stop my griping. In fact, I'll buy this move on one condition -- the Sonics are moved to the Eastern Conference. I realize that absent a move to New England, Stern wouldn't spend his precious time re-shuffling the makeup of the conferences -- especially when he could be spending that time face down at a beach in Cancun (have you seen that glorious tan?). Just hear me out, though, as I think my proposal makes logical sense.

Seattle/Oklahoma City, Minnesota, and Memphis should play in the East with the rest of the NBA's JV squads. This would improve greatly improve these franchises' chances to be competitive. It would also spare us West Coast fans the frequent matchups with these miserable opponents. To further brighten the line between the two conferences, Boston, Detroit, and Cleveland should play in the West. After all, these are the only three teams that could compete this year in a crowded Western Conference.

Please, spare me your Orlando Magic sentiments. The Magic, an astounding 31-11 in the East, are a pedestrian 14-13 against Western Conference opponents. They will finish 3rd in the East but it would be an uphill battle for them to make the playoffs in the West. To put things into perspective, Phoenix is #5 in the West and has a 22-4 record against the East this year. As far as overall records go, Portland is #10 in the West but would be #5 in the East.

The stats don't lie: the East is absolute garbage this season. Since a two-tiered system will never be employed, at least spare the West's worst from further embarrassment and give them a fighting chance in the East. Give the East powers some real competition night-in and night-out by moving them to the West. The two conferences could have their own playoff systems, and the winner in the East could score a best-of-seven series against the champions of the D-League.

I'll keep dreaming...

Mar 11, 2008

I hate "homer" announcers

Is there anything as painful as listening to a home crew of announcers who don't even attempt to hide their bias during the broadcast? Or even worse, they are so delusional about their hometown heroes that they think they are giving an unbiased account while level-headed fans cringe at their every word.

Living in Portland, I have been exposed to quite possibly the worst announcer on the face of the planet in Mike Rice. He is without a doubt the worst announcer in the NBA. For awhile, his analogies were so off point they were borderline amusing. I didn't mind listening to Blazer telecasts because they provided such comic relief. This season, I have literally gotten to the point that I watch all broadcasts on mute to spare myself of the man's idiotic commentary.

Rice lives off of player comparisons, namely comparing role players to former and current superstars. Here are a few that quickly come to mind:

Sergio Rodriguez as the next Steve Nash: this is a favorite point of Rice's that has been iterated during garbage time of multiple games. Undoubtedly, Rodriguez is a wonderful passer. Unfortunately, this is where the comparison stops. For those who haven't seen Rodriguez play, he invariably creates sheer chaos (for his own team) every time he steps on the floor. Picture Steve Nash, minus the court vision, minus the leadership, minus two inches and 15 lbs, minus any semblance of an outside shot, minus the clutch factor, and of course, minus the acne scars.

Greg Oden as the next Tim Duncan: This is probably the comparison that puzzles me more than any of the others. Aside from being 7 feet tall and #1 picks, these players are nothing alike. Let's start with their personalities -- Oden: Mr. Personality, goofy, and outgoing; Duncan: Mr. Monotone, soft-spoken and private. Now let's look at their games -- Oden: more power, less finesse, untamed brawn on the court; Duncan: less power, more finesse, sweetest 15-foot bank shot in the game. Oden will make a living cleaning the glass and playing with his back to the basket on offense. Duncan makes a living facing up his defender and is always a triple threat on offense. I'm sorry, but I just can't picture Oden opting for a baby-hook or face-up jumper over a drop step and throw down.

Brandon Roy as the third best player in the NBA: I didn't actually hear these words come out of Rice's mouth, but the comment was relayed to me by a friend I consider trustworthy. When I heard this one, I about gagged. Believe me, I'm as big of a Roy fan as the next Portlander. I thought his All-Star selection may have cut out a few more deserving players (ahem, Baron Davis), but by no means did I think it was absurd. Roy would be a top-5 guard in the East this season, but not in the loaded West. Take it a step, no, a leap, further and say third best in NBA? Not funny. Rice must be referring to Kobe and Lebron as #'s 1 and 2, with Roy biting at their heels. Is he implying Roy is better than Nash, Garnett, Duncan, Iverson, Wade (when healthy), Paul, and Stoudemire? Need I say more?

Travis Outlaw, Martell Webster, and various other Blazers as Jerry West: Listen to Blazer games, and you really get a feel for how much the league has expanded since the 60's. You get the feeling Rice played half of his NBA games against the Lakers based on how much he drops West's name during broadcasts. Jerry West's silhouette is still the NBA logo. I feel like I need to remind Rice of this fact every time he nonchalantly says a mediocre player "looks like Jerry West" if he scores on consecutive trips down the court. I'm sure "the Logo" would be apalled if he knew that his legacy was being abused to this degree. The seemingly weekly Jerry West comparisons were the straw that broke the camel's back for me and caused me to watch the remainder of the season on mute.

As a fan of Sports in general, all I'm asking is that hometown announcers are reasonable during their broadcasts. I understand their target audience is predominantly hometown fans, but some of these guys just get out of hand. Am I alone in this opinion?

For comic relief, listen to the Bucks announcers debate whether Mo Williams shaves his shoulders while live in the booth:

Mar 10, 2008

Kevin Love as an NBA prospect

If the NBA draft were held tomorrow, Kevin Love would probably be picked somewhere between 15th and 20th. He might even slip further in favor of more athletic, higher "upside" players (see DeVon Hardin of Cal). Teams like Atlanta, New York, & New Jersey just couldn't pass up the chance at "once-in-a-lifetime" talents like Hasheem Thabeet, Darrell Arthur, or Anthony Randolph. Even Jay Bilas (Love's biggest fan) would praise these perenially poor evaluators of talent for their ingenious selections.

The Spurs would steal him with a pick in the mid-twenties, and draft analysts would call it a perfect fit for the predictable, efficient, if not boring Champs. After all, those are the adjectives best fit for describing Love's game, no? Love's game is "pedestrian," "heady." He's "overrated," "physically limited." He plays "slow" and "below the rim."

What's so wrong with predictable and efficient? Why are we so enamored with the unknown? Year after year, teams drool over athletic specimens like Hakim Warrick, Tyrus Thomas, and Stromile Swift. It turns into a vicious cycle for the league's bottom-feeders: trade a proven veteran to land a "specimen," spend 2-3 years trying to break these players of their bad habits, and then ship them off for less than they paid in the first place. All they have to show for it is a depleted fan base and poor team chemistry.

Kevin Love will be the next... Bill Laimbeer? Brad Miller? These seem to be the most common comparisons. Of course they are -- he's a big man who can throw the bounce pass and hit the nineteen-footer. More than anything else, he's white. We are in love with comparing white guys to white guys. If Love could jump into a time machine, he would fit in perfectly with the Celtics teams of the early 80's. He'd look great in knee socks and short shorts, coming off the bench to replace McHale as the team's designated human elbow.

To me, the Laimbeer/Miller comparisons are laughable. He has the passing ability and shooting touch of those guys, but also crashes the boards with the reckless abandon. He has excellent footwork in the low post, and his ability to create inside looks or draw fouls against taller defenders shows the maturity of his game. In short, his brand of basketball is much more diverse than Miller's or Laimbeer's.

I foresee an NBA career that includes 4-5 all star appearances and numerous deep playoff runs. Those accomplishments would be pretty impressive for a late first-round pick.

Follow this link to read a hilarious & well-written blog about Love and his well-documented outlet passes:

Mar 9, 2008

Why are there so many Kobe haters?

I went to college for four years in L.A., and two of those years followed the Kobe-Shaq divorce. If you recall, that monumental melee made more headlines than Nick & Jessica's breakup (if you can believe that). Outside of L.A., the coverage was excessive. Prime example: there is an actual topic on titled "Shaq-Kobe Feud" ( Living in L.A., the coverage was way beyond over-the-top.

As big as Kobe Bryant had become, Shaq was the NBA's unofficial spokesman of sorts. He embraced this role wholeheartedly, and numerous up-and-coming stars went to Shaq for advice. His endearing personality had won over millions of fans and made him the media's sweetheart. Meanwhile, Kobe remained in the shadows as much as possible given his blossoming stardom. Kobe was and is much more of a private figure, not unlike MJ.

Before long, whispers of "Kobe's selfish" turned into newspaper headlines. It made a lot of sense: Kobe played the shooting guard position, fired up close to 30 shots per game, and had that swagger only before seen by MJ. What was often forgotten during all the drama was that it was Shaq who asked for a trade when Phil's contract was not renewed. Kobe met with the Clippers, but he re-signed with the Lakers before the feud was resolved. The fact of the matter remains: these were two young stars, playing different positions on the same court. They were both arguably the best in the league at their respective positions, and there weren't enough shots to go around. It had all the makings of an envy-fueled feud from the get-go.

I'll be the first to admit Kobe has alienated himself from many fans and parts of the media through his numerous public criticisms of teammates and management. At times, his public statements have been downright immature. However, he was not the only one to blame for the nasty breakup. I don't think it's coincidence that Shaq also feuded with another young star guard when he was in Orlando. Granted, Penny disappeared from the spotlight faster than Shawn Kemp at a child support hearing, but the parallel can still be made. Shaq has never been able to share the spotlight, and probably would have had beef with Dwyane Wade if they didn't play together during the twilight years of Shaq's career.

I still believe Kobe has been the target of unwarranted criticism throughout his career. He is greeted by more "boos" in opposing arenas than anyone else in the league. Why is this? What inspires fans to boo Kobe in, say, Atlanta? He's never faced them in the playoffs, has never shunned the franchise during trade talks, or made negative comments about the city -- all typical reasons for the "boo birds" to come out. It's not even an arguable point -- Kobe is clearly the most hated player in the NBA.

Here's my take on why so many fans hate Kobe Bryant: he reminds people too much of Michael Jordan. The jump shot, the acrobatic dunks, the size (both 6'6"), the knack for making impossible shots in the clutch, and even the way he speaks in interviews. Phil Jackson coached both of these players, and he has said that Kobe is even more competitive than Jordan (if that's possible) and that both players were always the first and last at the gym. Kobe's game and personality are eerily reminiscent of Jordan, and no Jordan fan wants to accept it.

Let's be honest, Jordan did all of this first. Every other superstar has made his own niche, been the first to play the way he plays. Shaq-Wilt and Lebron-Elgin are the only other comparisons that even come close, but those duos played eras apart, so most fans (myself included) weren't really around to recognize the similarities. Jordan was making a comeback with the Wizards when Kobe hit center stage, so it was nearly impossible to avoid the comparison.

In the mid-nineties, Jordan was almost universally recognized as the greatest player ever. He won six championships, all those scoring titles, and revolutionized the game while doing it. He was the first athlete to take endorsements to another level (see Wheaties, Hanes, Gatorade, and his own personal branch of Nike). Ask anyone between the ages of 20 and 40 who their favorite all-time player is, and there is a 50/50 chance they will say His Airness.

Watch Kobe talk, run, jump, shoot, and dunk, and you get the feeling he modeled his entire game after Jordan. It's actually incredibly annoying. Why couldn't he just do his own thing, take all of that God-given ability and channel it into something we have never seen on the basketball court? The answer: if he had, he wouldn't be so successful. Most shooting guards in the league grew up with coaches teaching them to shoot "like Mike," to play defense "like Mike," to chew gum "like Mike." The only difference is that Kobe was the only one who could actually pull it off. I don't blame him one bit -- if you are going to model your game after another player (everyone does), why not model it after the best who ever played?

Recently, I've been starting to see fans' opinions change. A few nights ago, playing AT hated rival Sacramento, chants of "MVP! MVP!" echoed from the rafters as Kobe stepped up to the foul line. Even last year, this would have been unthinkable. As time passes, people are growing to love him. While he is still the most hated player, he is also the most loved player in the league today. Now that he has a formidable supporting cast, his star is shining brighter than ever. Generation Y is replacing "MJ" with "Kobe" as its favorite all-time player, much to the dismay of the Baby Boomers and Generation X.

So how will Kobe be remembered in 20 years, long retired, two or three rings richer (three would be most fitting)? I think there's a very good chance he is mentioned in the same breath as Russell, Bird, Magic, and Jordan. Am I way off-base? What are your thoughts?

Some great Kobe links to read up on:

Remembering the 81-point night --

Why Kobe is the best (and worst) ever --

"Kobe Bryant blog day" --

Rewind: why Kobe was more wrong than Shaq --

Mar 8, 2008

Brett Favre is just like you and me

I'm beginning to recover from the catastrophic news that broke early this week. The initial shock has passed, and I'm coming to grips with the retirement of my best friend I've never met.

After announcing his retirement via voice mail on Chris Mortensen's cell phone (who does that?), a media frenzy ensued. Talk radio, news stations, websites, and blogs have spent the last four days examining the man and his contributions to the game of football and the world of sports. This retirement has dominated sports media in a way we have never seen, to the point I was borderline relieved when I clicked on this morning to find Marion Jones' jail arrival as the top story. Sheesh.

This said, all of the publicity is probably warranted. Brett Favre is an icon, and played America's favorite position in America's favorite sport (apologies to NASCAR and MLB). He has captured the hearts of more American sports fans than probably anyone else in his generation, Michael Jordan included. It's a shame that it took his retirement to make me realize all of this.

His stats speak for themselves: 253 consecutive starts, 442 career touchdown passes, and 61,655 career passing yards are all records that will not be touched anytime soon. These achievements are not what sets him apart from the other quarterbacks of his generation, however.

So what does set Favre apart from Montana, Marino, Brady, Young, and Elway (to name a few)? I've read countless articles and listened to hours of analysis, but I think one statement from Wright Thompson's article sums it up best: "If Tom Brady is what America is, then Favre is what America was and, sometimes, I think we wish we could have that America back" (great article BTW, read the full version at

Favre is a man's man, and that appeals to the common fan. We don't see him dating supermodels or walking the red carpet at Hollywood events. He is a spokesperson for Wrangler jeans, the same company that sells its products at Wal-Mart. He probably wears the jeans from those commercials and a Carhart jacket on his days off. Brett would probably choose to eat at the local Home Town Buffet over Geisha House.

These are the types of things that set Brett Favre apart from the other quarterbacks of his era.
We didn't ostracize him when he admitted to his addiction to pain medication or his alcoholism. These confessions only made him more lovable. Everyone has their own struggles, so his vulnerability bridged the gap between the pedestal athletes are placed upon and our own lives. Brett Favre has the flaws of your older brother or firstborn son -- the flaws you will vehemently defend if someone wants to be critical.

Where does he rank amongst the all-time greats? I don't know. Some will argue that a quarterback's greatness can be measured by the number of Super Bowl rings he has won. If so, Brady and Montana, among others, can be called better quarterbacks than Favre. Does this mean Trent Dilfer had a better career than Dan Marino? I think not. Great players elevate the play of their teammates and come up big in the clutch. Icons change the landscape of the sport by growing its fan base.

Favre grew the fan base of the NFL by appealing to the coal miner and the housewife. This cannot be said for any other quarterback in recent memory. And that is exactly why he will be so missed.

See Favre's "goodbye" press conference at


I was watching Rome is Burning the other day and two thoughts crossed my mind: 1) for being such a great radio personality, Jim Rome sucks at TV, and 2) Jim Rome probably has one of the best jobs in the world.

Honestly, the dude makes cash money interviewing athletes and opining on the current happenings of the sports world. Aside from actually being one of the athletes he is interviewing, I can't think of a better occupation. Do the talking heads of sports seriously get paid to debate who would win between the '85 Bears and '07 Patriots? Or whether the Celtics would have won all those titles if they had had Chamberlain instead of Russell?

There is no definitive answer to these questions, but I love to argue about them all the same. For whatever reason, I'm passionate about this stuff. I don't have a degree in media relations or broadcasting and I'll never be a retired professional athlete or a gorgeous, articulate sideline reporter. I'm just your average Joe who played sports in high school and now works for "the man." For these reasons, my opinions will forever remain in sports bars, on message boards, and the occassional dial-in to the local ESPN affiliate radio station.

That's why I'm adding a blog to the mix. I'm not sure if anyone will read it, and it feels a bit awkward typing into the cyber abyss as if I'm having a conversation with a human being. I don't even know what this is going to look like, so any feedback would be greatly appreciated. For now, I'll post a few topics each week that can be commented upon, and see where it goes.