Monday, July 21, 2008

Sports' Most Tragic Figure?

OK, "Tragic" is a strong word. But in a sports sense....and not in a Barbaro, Dale Earnhardt, life and death type tragic, Greg Norman may be sports' most tragic figure. Oh, I get the big picture; Norman finishing 3rd at the Open is an incredible achievement...but....leading going into the final round...again....tied for the lead with 6 holes to play...and finish 6 strokes back! Thankfully, Paddy Harrington fired a 69 to WIN it, not a 73 to slide in, but I truly felt the golf gods owed Norman one here. This was going to be payback for all the grace and class he had shown in so many failures. He hadn't led going into the final day of a major since the Masters...the one where he....blew...a...6 stroke lead on the final day. Yet, for all the drama and fairytale this win would be...it wasn't meant to be. For us, and ABC, this was much better than him shooting 80-80 and getting ready for the Senior British next week, but I wonder how the Shark feels about that? Classy as always, he'll never say...

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Frozen Out?

Never have I seen an athlete who has given so much to his team and his sport treated with such disrespect. The same thing that made Brett Favre such a sporting icon, drove him to tears at that podium when he (prematurely) announced his retirement. Football is a game that, played right, is played with the utmost passion. "Leave it all on the field" is more than a trite coaching cliche. Favre left it all on the field. And just like the throwbacks we liken him to, he wasn't ready to go again in March...or April, or June.
OTAs and Mini Camps are valuable tools for acclimating newbies to the NFL...but they are more for the coaches than the players. So now it's July, and Favre's internal clock, and that huge heart, may be telling him it's time to play again. Yet the fans, and apparently the Packers all want to say..."No, no, no Brett...you moved on, and so have we!" Moved on to what? A bunch of classroom time and some field time playing flag football? "But Aaron Rodgers is ready!!!" Yeah, so was Scott Mitchell, Rob Johnson and Frank Reich. Rodgers may end up being a fine player; in fact, I like his chances...but this is BRETT FAVRE off one of his best season's ever. This isn't Johnny U with the Chargers or Joe Namath with the Rams.
Some of you folks in Green Bay have been out in the cold a bit to long....



Monday, July 7, 2008

How Good is Good?

As the old saying goes...the devil is in the details. In reviewing Phil Fulmer's new contract extension with UT, we find that an 8 win season results in an automatic extension of one year. The contract also has handsome bonuses for SEC and National Championships, which is great...but an automatic extension for 8 wins? Any 8 wins? Not 8 wins, including Alabama and Florida? The rationale behind the 8 wins is that the 8-4 season is relevant to UT's all-time winning percentage. Now I'm not suggesting that 8-4 should get you canned...but an extension? Most UT fans I talk to tell me 8-4 would result in turning up the wick in the seat warmer, not add years to the current deal. Phil Fulmer will go down as one of the legendary coaches in UT and college football.
Mike Hamilton said, "In my opinion, there aren't going to be a lot of Joe Paternos and Bobby Bowdens in the future of college football." The question is, does his overall record in general and his record in the last 6-8 years in particular put him in the Bobby Bowden, Joe Paterno club of guys who basically will call there own shot on when they retire. For UT fans, the hope is that the 8-4 scenario is not one that has to be discussed...