Top 10 UConn Huskies

With college graduation season having just past, I started to reminisce of the good old days.  Sitting in the living room of my Hilltop apartment watching re-runs of King of Queens on a Friday afternoon, because well…I had nothing else to do.  Remember those days?  I miss those.  I miss Ted’s.  I miss 50 cent pitchers at Thirsty Dog.  Before I fall into a deep, dark depression thinking about the days of yore, let me get on with it.  This got me to thinking, naturally of course, about UConn basketball and the best that ever donned the jersey.  So without further ado, my Top 10 UConn Huskies of all-time.

Honorable mention:  Tate George; seems crazy to have a top-10 list without the guy who put UConn on the map across the country, but that shows how far the program has come since Tate hit “the shot” vs Clemson in the 1990 NCAA tourney.  The highlight will forever be a part of NCAA tournament montages.

10. Khalid El-Amin  –  The floor general and leader of the first NCAA title team.  He completely embodied the heart and soul of that team and made huge shots throughout his entire career.  I think even after 4 years, people were still surprised by his athleticism given his size (sorry Khalid – you’re not fat, you’re just “big-boned”).   He’ll always have a special place in my heart for being such a key part of that first title.  You were right on the money Khalid.  That night back in 1999, “WE SHOCKED THE WORLD”!!! (Oh and P.S. – Fuck Duke)

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9. Donyell Marshall  –  He was UConn’s first Consensus First Team All-American, and a finalist for the National Player of the Year.  Big time scorer who had a long, solid career in the NBA that was highlighted by trying an NBA record with 12 made 3-pointers back in 2005.  Yeah, that’s right, I said 12.  Want to stump one of your smart-ass friends?  Ask them who, besides Kobe, owns the NBA record for most 3-pointers made in a game.  Somehow I don’t think Donyell Marshall will be their first guess.

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8. Caron Butler  –  He only spent two years at Storrs, otherwise he’d be higher on this list.  Came in with a bad reputation after some off-court issues, but he did no wrong while he wore that jersey.  Tough competitor who could score and was the go-to-guy for a 2002 team that won the Big East but fell just shy of making the Final Four (Gordon and Okafor’s freshmen year).  Can you imagine how nasty that 2003 team would have been if Butler had stuck around one more year to see Ben and Emeka develop into superstars?  We’d be bragging about 5 NCAA titles instead of 4.

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7. Chris Smith  –  Not a flashy name, or one that necessarily all the young husky fans know, but when you’re the leading scorer in the history of the program you deserve recognition.  A hometown kid who helped Calhoun establish the foundation of the program, he also is the top UConn scorer in Big East history and WAS the leader in 3-pointers made in school history (yes, ahead of Ray Ray) until someone later on this list broke it (that’s a fancy thing called foreshadowing – trying to keep you all awake).

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6. Ben Gordon  –  The Robin to our Batman (Emeka), Gordon was one of the most prolific scorers in UConn history.  He was a smooth shooter with ice in his veins, and teamed up with Okafor to create the best tandem in school history and lead the 2004 team to the school’s 2nd championship (many, including myself, believe this was the best UConn team of all-time).  The school’s all-time leader in made 3-pointers and easily one of the cockiest players to ever wear a UConn jersey…but man could he back it up.

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5. Shabazz Napier  –  The only player in UConn history to win 2 National Championships, so you’d think he would rank a little higher on this list.  Honestly, I tried to justify slotting him higher and just couldn’t do it.  But with that said, Roxbury’s finest did himself and his mama proud.  An amazing career in Storrs that was book-ended by national championships.  He did his best Kemba Walker impression and carried a mediocre team that struggled all season, on another historic run through the NCAA tournament (as a #7 seed no less).  Factor in all the turmoil the program went through the year before with the 1-year postseason ban and transfers from starters like Alex Oriahki and Roscoe Smith, and this title meant a little more to everyone in the UConn family.

Plus, let’s not forget Bazz having the balls to say this after winning his second title…

Hungry Huskies!  Love you Shabazz

4. Richard Hamilton  – The lead dog on that 1999 championship team, and one of the smoothest scorers in program history.  Second in all-time scoring at UConn (behind C. Smith), Rip was a 1st team All-American, co-Big East Player of the Year and played his best when the lights were brightest (with 24 and 27 respectively in the two final four games vs. Ohio State and Duke).  That first title wouldn’t have been possible without him, and it told the rest of the college basketball world what we already knew…UConn was one of the premier programs in the country.

#!dcdisplay fp\b0\i0\fs10Code=BKC:Mens_College_Basketball; Date~30.03.1999; Slug=Final_Four; Source=AP; Time~01:52; Type=Picture; ÐÐÐÐÐÐÐÐÐÐÐÐÐÐÐÐÐÐÐÐÐÐÐÐÐÐÐÐÐÐÐÐ fs16\bHAMILTONfs12\b0 <> Connecticut's Richard Hamilton celebrates winning the national championship after defeating Duke 77-74 in the championship game of the NCAA Final Four, Monday, March 29, 1999, at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. Hamilton was the tournament's Most Outstanding Player. (AP Photo/Ed Reinke) fp\b0\i0\fs10ÐÐÐÐÐÐÐÐÐÐÐÐÐÐÐÐÐÐÐÐÐÐÐÐÐÐÐÐÐÐÐÐ fp\i0\b\fs16Digital Collections/IPTC fp\b0\i0\fs10CREDIT~AP; Category~S; Municipality=St._Petersburg; Photographer=Ed_Reinke; State~Florida; TransRef~SPD109;

3. Emeka Okafor  –  Hard to believe, but his only scholarship offers coming out of HS were UConn and Rice. Whoever the assistant coach was who told Calhoun “hey you gotta check out this kid Emeka Okafor in bum fuck Texas” deserves some major kudos.  His accomplishments at UConn are as good as it gets:  NCAA championship, MOP of the final four, 1st team All-American, National Player of the Year, Big East Player of the Year.  He even graduated in 3 years (with honors) with a degree in finance. A lot of my friends can tell you how impressive that is. The guy was a stud on and off the court.

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If my wife told me she was divorcing me so she could marry Okafor, I would totally understand (but please don’t tell her that).  P.S. – of course that relates to Emeka only because if my wife tried to leave me for Jahlil, she would end up face down in a ditch; because…FUCK DUKE

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Pretty sure Emeka was yelling “Fuck Duke!!”

2. Kemba Walker  –  My love for Kemba is so profound and deep that I don’t know where to start.  If I could, I’d name my first born child after him (boy or girl), but I don’t think my Portuguese family would be able to pronounce it.  No husky has ever led our fan base on a more amazing run than Kemba. 5 wins in 5 nights at Madison Square Garden when the Big East was still the Big East…and that included this unbelievable finish…

I just jumped out of my chair watching that highlight now…I could watch that all day long, it’ll never get old.  Somewhere out there Gary McGhee is still going through rehab for his broken ankles.  Then Kemba followed up that masterpiece with an improbable run through the NCAA tourney – carrying the team on his back to a title (he averaged 30ppg in the Big East and 29ppg in the NCAA).  It was the most amazing month of my life as a husky fan and UConn alum.  My only gripe is that is happened the year after I graduated.

1. Ray Allen  –  There’s just no way to argue against it…he is the greatest player ever to come out of UConn.  The NBA’s all-time 3-point leader (at least until Steph Curry breaks it) and one of the most prolific and clutch shooters in NBA history.  Only thing he didn’t accomplish in his 3 years at Storrs was a national championship, but his game-winner in the Big East tournament against Georgetown (led by some guy named Allen Iverson) will always be part of the UConn highlight reel, and go down as one of my earliest memories.  I’ll never forget huddling around a radio (yes an actual radio) with two of my cousins while we listened to the finish of that game (through static) as we hid from the rest of our family at a church function (yeah I’m not at all ashamed of that – it was actually foreshadowing of my priorities as an adolescent).

Ray was one of the first big-time recruits that Calhoun landed in Storrs and to top it off is the only husky to have a lead role in a Spike Lee film.  Disclaimer:  He Got Game was not exactly a blockbuster, but our boy Jesus Shuttlesworth did us proud. (by the way word has it they actually started talking about a sequel back in 2014)

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Let’s get Denzel and Rosario back for He Got Game 2
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Why I hate LeBron

After LeBron’s triple-double last night that put his Cavs (down Love and without Kyrie last night) within 1 game of the NBA finals, I thought it would be as good a time as any to reflect on my incredible level of detestation for LeBron Raymone James.

I’m the first person to admit that my hatred for LeBron James is probably a little irrational and unfair.  It’s in no way an indication of my personal opinion regarding his basketball abilities.  You saw what he did last night, and you can put me on the record:  LeBron is the most talented player in the world right now and when he hangs it up he will go down as one of the all-time greats…he’s THAT good.  He’s an impossible matchup with his size, strength and quickness.  He’s a tremendous passer, very underrated defender and has shown growth in his outside shooting over the years (the only real weakness in his game).  The basketball side will NEVER be my true criticism of LeBron.  He’s a great player and I respect the hell out of his game and how hard he competes on the hardwood.

This issues is:  he’s a total dickhead and every time he opens his mouth I want to leap through the television to punch him in the face.  It all started with “The Decision”…which will go down as the most absurd event EVER covered by ESPN.  Any normal person would just release an announcement through their agent indicating who they’ve agreed to sign with (like every other player has done in NBA history).  Instead, LeBron felt the need to hold a 1-hour special to tell the whole world that he was “taking his talents to South Beach”.  Arguably the six most douchey words ever uttered in sports.

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This wasn’t about the Boys and Girls Club…it was about all eyes on LeBron

It wasn’t just Cavalier fans and the entire state of Ohio that began their hatred for LeBron on that night (obviously they’ve now forgive him – but we’ll get around to that…) it was the entire country aside from the city of Miami.  As much as I respect his game, that moment marked the instance America lost respect for him as a human being.  He was (and I believe truly is) so egotistical that he felt he deserved that moment.  He had earned the spotlight and attention and boy did he eat that shit up.

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They felt stupid buying new jerseys 4 years later…but whatevs, they looked badass at the time

Maybe I would have gotten over that eventually, but he just kept piling it on.  Then there was the pep rally.  When the fuck has an NBA team EVER had a pep rally BEFORE they win a championship? WTF is this? High school?  Him, Wade and Bosh sat up on that stage like they were the next hot new boy band and did their whole “not 1, not 2, not 3, not 4, not 5, not 6, not 7” shtick.  As if the world didn’t hate them enough, well everyone rooted against them from that point on.

Dwyane Wade, left, Chris Bosh, center, and LeBron James, right ,greet fans during an event at the American Airlines Arena in Miami Friday, July 9, 2010. (AP Photo/Miami Herald, Al Diaz) ** KEY WEST OUT. MAGS OUT, TV OUT. NO SALES **   Original Filename: LeBrons_Decision_Basketball_FLMIH102.jpg
What is this? A Pitbull concert?

Now fast forward and Bron Bron is back in Cleveland trying to be the hero and finally bring a championship to the city of Cleveland.  This is the focal point of my actual continued hatred for him, because I could have forgiven him for his bullshit in Miami if it wasn’t for this…I think he’s completely full of shit and putting on a fake front now.  I would have at least respected LeBron if he just came out and admitted that he made a mistake after “The Decision” and accepted the fact that not everyone would love him from that point on.  Instead, he has tried ever since then to make up for it and I think the choice to come back to Cleveland, at its core, was all about Bronnie wanting to feel loved again by his hometown.  I don’t blame him for it, I think that’s actually a natural human feeling.  The issue I have is that when he speaks, he’s spouting out total crap.  This just in LeBron:  not everyone is fooled by your act; I see right through you!

My recommendation:  he should have just embraced the hate for him like Kobe does.  Kobe doesn’t care if people hate him, because he’s going to be himself and never going to censor himself or walk on eggshells.  Me personally, I can’t stand Kobe – I think he’s a selfish player and a total asshole, but at least I respect that he’s honest about it.  I don’t think any of us see the real LeBron on a recurring basis (I think the real him was orchestrating that spectacle in the summer of 2010).  He realized that everyone perceived him as the complete dickhead that he is and was like “damn, I fucked up”.  He tries to put up a good façade, but even that backfired.  In my eyes, he just cemented my perception of him by continually making idiotic and classless comments.  My personal favorite was after they lost to Dallas in the NBA finals:

LeBron on ‘whether it bothers him that so many people are happy to see him fail’:  “Absolutely not. Because at the end of the day, all the people that was rooting on me to fail, at the end of the day they have to wake up tomorrow and have the same life that they had before they woke up today. They have the same personal problems they had today. I’m going to continue to live the way I want to live and continue to do the things that I want to do with me and my family and be happy with that.”

Definitely not the words I would want to hear from a “world-class” athlete and competitor.  Just epitomizes the lack of class he constantly demonstrates.  Never gracious in victory or in defeat, and for that, he’ll never have my respect. At the end of the day, no matter the situation it’s all about LeBron. He may be an all-time great player, in the same class as Magic, Bird and even MJ.  But, he’ll never get that credit from me.  I’ll always consider him that incredibly talented player who acted like a spoiled punk.  Good luck getting a good night’s sleep with my judgment hanging over you LeBron.

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P.S. – that’s how you show class after a big win; take notes LeBron.  P.P.S – couldn’t resist the temptation to take a few parting shots at Bron Bron:

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The 5 Stages of Grief: Deflategate Style

With the release of the Wells report by the NFL today, my otherwise normal afternoon has now become one of ridicule and harassment from my friends (non Patriots fans that is).  So with that in mind, it’s time for some reflection on this matter.  No comedy this time…just the 5 stages of grief:

(1) Denial   (2) Anger   (3) Bargaining   (4) Depression and   (5) Acceptance (honestly not promising that there will be a step #5 at any point in my life, let alone this blog post).  Let’s get to it…

(1) Denial

This can’t be happening.  The NFL doesn’t have any concrete evidence to go off and that’s why all they can say is that the Patriots “probably” tampered with the footballs after they were inspected by the referees.   After all these months that’s all you can come up with?  What’s the burden of proof here? I know this isn’t a criminal proceeding, but you are talking about the result of this report causing public humiliation, potential fines and/or suspensions and irreparably tarnishing legacies.  To me, that should then require the highest burden of proof:  ’beyond a reasonable doubt’.  The NFL clearly doesn’t have any evidence to reach that type of decision.  If they did, they wouldn’t have released a report with a finding that is so wishy-washy it makes the handling of the Adrian Peterson situation look decisive.  Just ridiculous.

More importantly…Tom Brady would never, NEVER, do something like this.  C’mon…have you seen those baby blues?  He’s not capable of breaking our hearts like this.  It can’t be true; he had nothing to do with anything shady that went on with those footballs.  All Tommy boy does is throw missiles to Gronk with that golden arm of his and then go home to make sweet love to that gorgeous supermodel wife.  Plus, I’m pretty sure if he was involved in the Pats cheating and G found out, she would kick his ass.  Let’s be serious, she obviously runs shit in that house and there’s no way he’d risk getting on her bad side (just image how much being blue-balled by her would suck).  No way he’s risking that. Say what you want about that sketchy locker room attendant…throw him and the equipment manager under the bus.  But Thomas Edward Patrick Brady, Jr. (never knew his full name before) aka Tom Terrific, is INNOCENT!

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Look at those eyes…he can’t let us down like that
(2) Anger

This is bullshit!!!  My anger here is split in two directions:  1) at the NFL; 2) at the Patriots (if this is all true – my first instance of even considering that they could be culprits here).

The NFLWHAT THE FUCK?!? Without hard evidence you’re going to drag down arguably the greatest quarterback of all-time? I cannot fathom how that is good for the sport. Tom Brady will be enshrined in Canton someday and belongs on the Mt. Rushmore of greatest NFL quarterbacks, yet you’re ready to drag his reputation through the mud without any proof that he altered those footballs or specifically instructed the attendants to do so. There are major holes in that report, including a lack of any testimony from Brady himself.  Seems like the NFL knew what they wanted the findings to be and conveniently left out anything that didn’t help their agenda.

The Patriots – this can be sub-divided as well but almost all of my anger is directly at Belichick. If, and I say IF, the Patriots intentionally deflated those footballs, there is NO WAY that Belichick didn’t know about it. You’re telling me that the same coach who one week prior had utilized a major loophole in the NFL rulebook to trick the Ravens defense with a 4-man offensive line and barely legal formations, had NO IDEA what the rules or procedures were for the footballs? Nice try…not buying it. He might not have been standing over their shoulders while they deflated those bad boys, but you bet your ass he knew what was going on IF this was does intentionally. The other frustrating part of this is how Belichick through Brady under the bus here. It’s as if he said “You know what Tom, I took the hit for SpyGate and now it’s your turn. Good luck”. How do you leave him out to dry like that? And IF this is all true, then WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING?? You don’t need deflated footballs to beat the Colts. You had more talent, a better defense and a better quarterback. You beat the Seahawks in the Super Bowl with footballs that were obviously within the NFL guidelines.  So you embarrassed yourselves, the franchise and your entire fan base. Left a giant stain on your legacy and asterisk by your Super Bowl Title.  Why? So you could prove that you’re smarter than everyone else? Because you thought you would get away with it? WOW, maybe that’s why the Pats loved Aaron Hernandez so much…in the end they might have had the same moral compass.

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(3) Bargaining

Simply put, I would do just about anything to make this story go away.   You know that Family Guy episode where Peter buys the footy pajamas and hands the guy a blank check?

That’s where I’m at right now.  If I could hand Roger Goodell or Ted Wells a blank check, I would.  I think a blank check from Robert Kraft would ultimately be more effective…but I’d be more than willing to empty my savings account to make this all go away.  Name your price.  Want the naming rights to my first born child?  No problem – we all saw how that turned out in ‘The League’ and Chalupa Batman is an AWESOME name.  Seriously Roger, Ted, let’s talk.  We’re all somewhat reasonable men here, we can find an arrangement that works for everyone.

This also got me thinking…the only reason the Colts were able to make the accusation about the footballs is because they got their hands on one of them when D’Qwell Jackson intercepted Brady.  So maybe this IS all Brady’s fault.  DAMN IT!  If you hadn’t thrown that stupid INT none of this would have happened!  We would have gotten away with it!

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Damn you D’Qwell Jackson…you started all this
(4) Depression

This is the most accurate portrayal of my current emotional state.  I should be riding high.  I was counting on that Super Bowl victory carrying me through the summer.  Who cares if the Red Sox pitching is terrible?  Not this guy.  The Patriots are reigning Super Bowl champions and all is good in the world.  That’s how it SHOULD be.  I should be able to wear my Patriots jersey with pride and flaunt it in everyone’s face.

Hell, I sent two of my friends (a Giants and Cowboys fan respectively) pictures of the Malcolm Butler interception when I paid them their winnings for our NFL Pick’em pool.  Couldn’t pass up an opportunity to throw it in their faces.  And that was supposed to only be the beginning.  I was going to enjoy every minute of this offseason knowing full well that when I saw all my buddies for our fantasy football draft in late August, that I could stroll in with my Brady jersey and talk all I wanted.  I mean what’s the point of winning if you can’t gloat about it, right?

Well that’s all for naught now.  Instead I’m considering changing my cell phone number so I can avoid the constant text message barrage from that same group of guys.  I’m already tired of the “Deflatriot” jokes and jabs at another tainted title.  My summer of reveling in victory has instantaneously transformed into embarrassment.  I’m depressed to once again have to defend my team…after they just won a championship no less.  They achieved greatness, in what was one of the best Super Bowl games, and I can’t even enjoy it.  Don’t be surprised if you find me curled up in the fetal position crying myself to sleep.

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Possibly the biggest play in Super Bowl history and I can’t even brag about it now
(5) Acceptance

I warned you that this wasn’t likely to happen before I finished this post, and I wasn’t lying.  I’m still leaving the window slightly open for the remote possibility that this is premature and the Patriots will be exonerated.  Or the possibility that in the end they’ll at least say that Brady wasn’t involved, it was just the two equipment guys and they’re both canned and never working in the NFL again.

But in all likelihood the report is true and the Patriots did in fact alter those footballs to gain a competitive advantage.  In which case, I’m utterly embarrassed as a Patriots fan that this is what the organization is known for.  For being those sneaky bastards who always bend the rules and have to cheat to win a championship.  More than anything I hate that people have every right to say it because for most of my lifetime I’ve been blessed to watch arguably the best quarterback of all-time and arguably the best coach of all-time lead my favorite team.  It’s been an honor and a privilege to watch them on the field for the last 15 years, and in turn I should feel lucky to call myself a Patriots fan.  Instead, I feel ashamed.  I defended the Patriots with every ounce of energy ever since the SpyGate allegations came out.  The irrational fan in me will still defend them now.  But honestly, it’ll be less adamant, less steadfast.  I feel betrayed.  Fool me once, shame on you.  Fool me twice and well…I feel like a dumb jackass.  I want an apology from the Patriots…one I’m sure the fan base will never genuinely get.  I just feel like Patriots nation deserved better, which if you had asked me this morning I would have said was impossible.

1 month in, who are the 2015 Boston Red Sox?

Disclaimer for any Yankee fan dumb enough to click on this despite the article name: 

“We don’t care if you’re in first place.  Your team is garbage.  Go fuck yourself.”

– Love, every single Sox fan

We’re a little more than one month into the 2015 baseball season and it’s fair to start making judgments about this team.  Here are my assessments in no particular order:

1) Hanley Ramirez is a FUCKING MAN.  Don’t care if he can’t play left field, frankly I don’t care if he pulls a Manny and takes a piss in the Green Monstah between innings.  If he keeps bashing the ball like this he can do whatever the hell he wants…and I think John Farrell agrees.  With that said, if Major League Baseball has any brains whatsoever they’d be sending someone over to Landsdowne Street to give Hanley a “random” drug test.  I mean c’mon…the dude is jacked and he lives right next door to Manny in Miami during the offseason.  I don’t think he’s swinging by to borrow some sugar; if he’s not on steroids then the Red Sox strength and conditioning staff are massively underpaid.

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Hanley added some “muscle” this offseason….his motto: “not now chief, I’m in the fucking zone”

2) This whole “We have five #1 starters” spiel is complete and utter bullshit.  That’s not a newsflash to anyone.  That statement was pretty comical when Farrell first made it this spring, but WOW, even I didn’t expect it to be THIS bad.  What the Sox really have is four #5 starters and 1 starter who doesn’t even deserve to be pitching in AA Portland right now (sorry Justin Masterson).  I didn’t drink the kool aid when they tried to shove it down our throats all spring, but man…their pitching staff is a steaming pile of dog shit.  It’s one guy after another throwing up soft crap, afraid to challenge any hitters.  At this point I’m praying for Buchholz to get injured because if I have to watch him take the mound every 5th day with his douchey wet hair, I will gouge my eyes out with the closest pointy instrument I can find (currently a paper clip).

3) They need help in the bullpen.  Granted it’s not entirely fair to judge the bullpen after a stretch where the starters were hanging them out to dry by never making it through five innings, but still.  Aside from Tazawa and Koji there is not a single guy in that pen who you can have any confidence in handing the ball to in a key situation.  Bringing Edward Mujica into the game with men on base is just conceding those runs – I would honestly trade that guy for a bucket of balls (that would be considered trade rape by the Sox if a team agreed to it).

4) The defense is mediocre at best.  The Sox caught a bad break when they lost Christian Vasquez right before the season started, as he would have given them a big boost behind the plate and in limiting the running game by the opponents.  Add to that a fat ass panda playing third base, the aforementioned lazy bastard playing LF (again who smashes the cover off the ball – so he’s forgiven) and a general lack of athleticism across the rest of the diamond (with exception of Mookie Betts in CF).  The end result is mediocrity.

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To summarize, what does this team have to show for the 4th highest payroll in MLB?  A good offense that will need to score 6 or 7 runs every game to have a shot at winning, arguably the worst starting rotation in all of baseball, a bullpen currently anchored by a 41 year-old closer who barely hits 89mph on the radar gun, and a defense anchored (literally) by the Kung-Fu Panda at third base.  They better add some beer taps at the Cask n’ Flagon because it’s going to be another long summer of ugly baseball.

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Maintaining this body is a year-round commitment

If you look at the last four years for this franchise and ignore what was an amazing but absurdly fluky 2013 season, it’s like the Red Sox and Kansas City Royals swapped spots in the baseball universe.  It might be the first week of May, but I’m not expecting any meaningful baseball games this September.  That leaves me with just one question:  “When does Patriots mini camp start?”  Let’s go Pats.

Chip Kelly: Mad Genius or Just Mad?

For all the buzz that preceded round 1 of the NFL draft last night, it was a rather uneventful night.  But that wasn’t for lack of trying from Chip Kelly and the Eagles.  After offseason moves that left many in Philadelphia calling for Kelly’s head on a stake, and those across the nation thinking “WTF is this guy doing?” everyone was waiting for that last shoe to drop.  For Kelly to trade up and draft his golden boy…Marcus Mariota.  He denied it; we never believed him.  Secretly we all sort of wanted it to happen.  At least then he wouldn’t have any excuses if his “system” failed at the NFL level.

So after reports surfaced today about what Kelly offered to the Titans for the #2 pick, one can only be left thinking, “WTF was Tennessee thinking?” and “Wow, Ken Whisenhunt may have just saved Chip Kelly’s job“.

Now, let me start by disclosing my own personal bias.  I don’t believe in Mariota as an NFL quarterback.  I think he was a phenomenal collegiate athlete, is a tremendous young man and fantastic role model.  Unfortunately, none of that will help him run a traditional NFL offense or identify the correct hot read when the defense is showing A-gap pressure.  He’s a system quarterback who ran a gimmick offense; that works in the Pac-12, but ask Nick Foles and company how well that offense faired anytime they played a real NFL defense last season (spoiler – the answer is NOT VERY WELL).  Their flaws were hugely masked in 2014 by big play TDs from special teams and defense; plays that are not sustainable, but I digress.

The point is, the Eagles may have been the only landing spot for Mariota that actually fit his strengths.  So why then would the Titans turn down an offer that reportedly included:

Fletcher Cox (a 24-year old stud DE/DT), Mychal Kendricks (a solid starting ILB – also 24 years old), Brandon Boykin (a solid nickel/slot corner), Sam Bradford (former #1 overall pick with obvious injury history and upside), 2015 1st round pick, 2015 third round pick and 2016 1st round pick.

That’s a HUGE offer for a rookie QB coming out of a program that has zero history of QB success at the NFL-level.  Tennessee could have walked away with 3 of Philly’s best defensive players to add to a defensive group that yielded the third most points in the league during 2014, and is in desperate need for more playmakers (only 39 sacks and 12 INTs as a team last season). A starting QB to compete with Zack Mettenberger AND 3 DRAFT PICKS!!!  Hell, at 20 the Eagles took USC WR Nelson Agholor.  You know who else could use a big-play WR with speed, size and return ability….

Promise you it’s not a trick question – answer:  TENNESSEE TITANS

Maybe Marcus Mariota becomes a pro-bowl QB; a legit franchise signal-caller.  Maybe he fails miserably in an offense that’s best suited for a pocket-passer (feel like we’re watching the RGIII/Redskins experiment all over again).  Only time will tell.  But for now it seems like the Titans had Chip Kelly caught with his pants down, bent over a barrel and decided “Nah, we’re good.  Thanks anyway.” My guess is they’ll be playing the “what if” game in a few years while they’re on the clock ready to draft their next “Franchise Quarterback”.