Sports Outside the Beltway

Tiger Woods to Skip PGA Tour’s Season Opener

This will mark the second consecutive year Tiger skips the year opening Mercedes-Benz Championship.

KAPALUA, Maui. – Tiger Woods decided Friday to skip the season-opening Mercedes-Benz Championship, meaning the PGA Tour’s “new era in golf” will begin next week amid old questions about the absence of its biggest star.

Woods, who was skiing with his family last week in Colorado, said he did not have time to get his game ready and he wanted to spend more time with his family.

He has won six consecutive PGA Tour events, a streak that will remain on hold until Jan. 25 at the Buick Invitational in San Diego, where Woods is the two-time defending champion.

Woods said on his Web site that he has spent the last 12 days skiing and relaxing with family and friends, “but I’ve basically been away from golf since winning the Target World Challenge” on Dec. 17.

“I considered playing in next week’s Mercedes-Benz Championship, the official launch of the new FedExCup, but I just haven’t been able to prepare,” Woods said. “I usually spend at least one week working on my game before a tournament, and have been unable to do that this year.”

It was the second straight year Woods will not play the winners-only tournament. He missed last year to spend time with his father, whose health was rapidly deteriorating from cancer. Earl Woods died May 3. The only other time Woods did not go to Kapalua was in 2003, when he was recovering from knee surgery.

PGA Tour players are indepenedent contractors and therefore Tiger can set his own schedule. Still Tiger can be criticized for his lack of commitment to the PGA Tour. Last year he skipped the Tour Championship claiming he was tired but played the three following weeks in Asia or Hawaii. Was Tiger tired or was it the lack of appearance money on PGA Tour?

Phil Mickelson isn’t playing next week either. I have never liked Tim Finchem’s FedeX Cup and with Woods and Mickelson setting their own schedules, I predict the FedeX will be the way of the dodo bird within five years. No fan interest and no star players equals one big dud.


Wie backs Korean 2014 Games bid

Michelle has been named honorary ambassador in the ROK’s bid to host the Winter Olympics in 8 years.

Teenage golf star Michelle Wie is to become an honorary ambassador for the 2014 Winter Olympics bid of South Korean ski resort Pyeongchang.

The 17-year-old, who has had finished third in two majors to date, grew up in Hawaii but has Korean parents.

“I’m proud of my Korean heritage and also a big fan of winter sports,” said the American.

“If the 2014 Winter Games are held in Pyeongchang I’m sure they will be a fantastic and memorable experience.”

Pyeongchang narrowly lost out to Vancouver in the race to host the 2010 Winter Olympics and Paralympics.

It will learn its fate on 4 July 2007 when the International Olympic Committee will choose between Pyeongchang, Salzburg in Austria and Sochi in Russia.

I’d vote for Salzburg myself. I’ve been to both countries and I’ll take Wiener Schnitzel over Kimchi any day.(Note my wife is Asian) Besides, has anyone consulted Kim Jong-IL about his plans for Korea in 2014?

I didn’t think so.


Ravens 2006 Postseason Outlook

Well the Baltimore Sun is as excited about any fan about the Ravens’ prospects for this year. Columnist John Eisenberg measures this year’s team vs. the 2000 version and finds them pretty similar in Comparison to 2000 no stretch.

Not surprisingly …

Their passing game is much more productive under quarterback Steve McNair, averaging 38.7 more yards per game than the Super Bowl team and featuring three receivers with at least 60 catches, as opposed to one. Although the overall scoring and yardage totals of the two offenses are surprisingly comparable, this season’s unit is tougher to defend, more capable of big plays, less plodding.

Not as obvious …

And defensively, though some may consider it heresy to compare any unit with the one that dominated the Super Bowl and is considered among the best in NFL history, this season’s Ravens defense increasingly bears a resemblance.

It isn’t quite as physically overpowering, but it is faster and more athletic, less predictable tactically with its array of blitzes and, in the end, just as dominating. The Super Bowl winners yielded 10.3 points per game. This season’s Ravens are allowing 12.9.

and …

The impregnable run defense (with linemen Trevor Pryce, Haloti Ngata and Kelly Gregg reprising the roles of behemoth run-stoppers Siragusa and Sam Adams) puts pressure on opposing quarterbacks to invent plays, which inevitably leads to turnovers. The Super Bowl defense forced 49 during the 2000 regular season. The Ravens have forced 37 this season. (But they have recorded 57 sacks this season as opposed to 35 by the Super Bowl team.)

So I guess what they lost (in comparison) in turnovers, they gained in field position (with those extra sacks).

I guess what’s missing though, is the feeling that there’s one guy who can change the complexion of a game. In 2000, I finally realized how a defensive player could be an MVP. Ray Lewis was everywhere, it seemed. Whether he was making a crucial tackle or deflecting a pass or intercepting, in the late season and post-season, he seemed to be in the middle of every play.

Eisenberg also left out the special teams. In 2000 Jermaine Lewis had a number of really nice returns including a record breaker in the Super Bowl.

And the Ravens this year don’t seem to have a runner as strong as Jamal Lewis was six years ago.

But if 2000 the Ravens won based on the play of special teams and defense, this year, they’re winning with offense contributing a bit more. I guess that’s what you’d call balance.

But will it be enough to win it all?

A number of analysts don’t think that they’ll overcome the Chargers – even though they beat them earlier this year.

Ravens-Chargers Super Bowl?
With no great team emerging from the NFC, many fans and writers think the AFC Championship game could be the real Super Bowl this year. Sports Illustrated’s King is among those buying into that idea:

Watching as much football as I have for the last couple of months, I’m starting to think that the shame of this playoff season will be that the two best teams won’t meet in the Super Bowl. San Diego and Baltimore clearly are superior to every other team. They’re a combined 17-1 over the last nine weeks.

So which team will have the edge if they do meet in the AFC Championship? poses that question to analysts and former players Eric Allen and Joe Theismann. Allen says the Chargers would come out on top:

I gotta go with the Chargers. This team plays passionate, hungry football just like the Ravens, but the biggest difference is the balance the Chargers possess. The Chargers can beat you with the defense, through the air or on the ground and that’s how you beat the Ravens. You can’t beat that team with just one facet of the game. You have to do it with every facet of the game.

Theismann agrees:

The Chargers look unstoppable out there. They are playing excellent football and are my favorite to represent the AFC in the Super Bowl. What other team has every phase working like the Chargers?

In a chat with fans, Ed Bouchette from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette is asked who the favorites are from the AFC:

I too like San Diego and Baltimore. Not many people talk about Baltimore, which beat the Chargers this year in Baltimore. Also, no one’s talking about Brian Billick as coach of the year and I think he deserves at least a mention.

(Is this a reason for optimism, McNair lately has been moving up the QB ratings and Rivers has going downstream?)

And talk about a championship wouldn’t be complete if it didn’t also identify stars among the coaches. This year ( obligatory Lewis reference: in 2000 it was Marvin Lewis who was tapped as head coaching material as a reward for his performance that year. He’s made the Cincinatti Bengals respectable, even if the team’s fallen back a little this year) the guy getting talked about is Rex Ryan – coming from a fine defensive pedigree who might be heading for a top job. It would appear that there may be no shortage of opportunities for him next year either.

The list of potential openings at the end of the season could include: the Cleveland Browns (Romeo Crennel has 10 wins in two seasons), Miami Dolphins (constant rumors of Nick Saban leaving), Oakland Raiders (team hasn’t responded to Art Shell), New York Giants (late-season collapse could be costly for Tom Coughlin), Atlanta Falcons (continue to regress under Jim Mora) and Arizona Cardinals (Dennis Green has not lived up to expectations).

His father, Buddy, though, didn’t just have a defensive reputation, he had an offensive one too: ask Kevin Gilbride.

Rex, though, seems to have a more relaxed temperment.

Buddy Ryan had a brash, in-your-face approach that sometimes rubbed people the wrong way. Rex Ryan is the exact opposite, an affable coach who is considered one of the most popular people on the Ravens’ staff.

“He’s the ultimate players’ coach,” Lewis said.

Ryan frequently laughs and jokes with players during practice. He even allows them to have input on game plans, discussing which calls work best with them throughout the week.

The article also points out one of the strengths of the Ravens: their defensive coaches:

Billick’s first defensive coordinator, Marvin Lewis, has turned around the Cincinnati Bengals. His second one, Mike Nolan, has improved the San Francisco 49ers in his second season. And former Ravens linebackers coach Jack Del Rio has led the Jacksonville Jaguars to the playoffs.

Clearly, they’re doing something right as an organization.

Finally, I have no idea how this is impacting the Ravens’ preparation but they’ve got a fancy new toy to see X’s and O’s in 3D.

Created with a new technology called Play Visualizer, the pictures that Roman’s charges see in these strategy sessions show plays from a variety of viewpoints – behind the offense, even through the eyes of the quarterback – rather than from the limited angles available through traditional video.

The technology, developed by Hunt Valley-based sports technology company 3D MVP, will officially launch next month. But the Ravens, headed to the playoffs in January after winning 12 of their first 15 regular season games, have been testing it since inception two years ago.

“There’s no question that as a teaching tool it’s far superior to anything we’ve gotten or used,” Ravens head coach Brian Billick said of Play Visualizer. “It’s taken what we do to another level.”

And this is interesting too:

Dave Nash, a video technician for the Oakland Raiders, also has access to the technology, Taylor said. Mike Working, who is quarterbacks coach and passing game coordinator for the Canadian Football League’s Winnipeg Blue Bombers, owns a piece of 3D MVP and also uses the technology.

Right now it’s fun. Nothing’s pre-ordained. If the Ravens’ season ends with a loss, all these good feelings will pass – quickly. Still with the frustration Baltimore fans over the serial mismanagement of the Orioles it’s nice to have something to root for.

Crossposted on Soccer Dad.


Arrest Warrant Out for Jeff Allison

The story just keeps getting worse for the Marlins prospect (if he is still considered that anymore)

Back in May 2003 Jackie MacMullan of the Boston Globe wrote an article about this top talent

“You look at him five years down the line, and you like his chances,” said the scout. “He throws hard, he has a decent curveball, and he’s got good baseball smarts. He looks like a kid you can teach.”

“He is,” said a second scout, “the best prospect from this area in 15 years.”

In the article Theo Epstein seemed to have some concern over talents like Allison

“The history of the draft demonstrates taking a righthanded pitcher out of high school in the first round is a risky venture,” said Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein. “It’s an extremely long road from high school to the minor leagues to the big leagues. There’s a lot of attrition, mostly because of injuries.

“It’s hard to keep pitchers healthy for a long period of time. These young guys have so many adjustments to make, from mechanics, to facing better hitters, to dealing with bigger crowds. Some make it, and some don’t. And, even those that do tend to make it with a team other than the one that drafted them.

And if you read the December 2004 Sports Illustrated Article you will know that Allison’s coach seemed to blinders on about the situation

“I know what they say about high school pitchers getting drafted, but I’ve been around 34 years, and this kid is the exception to the rule,” said Nizwantowski. “He has his wits about him. None of this stuff has gone to his head. He acts like any other kid we’ve got, but when he gets behind the stripes, you can’t believe how focused he is.”

This is a story that I have followed from the time Allison was in high school. While this is a very tragic story, based on what I read this was a kid who seemed to think he was invincible.

His chance and MLB stardom might have passed, but I hope it is not too late for him to turn his life around. I would think there are thousands of high school athletes who fail because of the pressures to succeed at the next level. If Allison can overcome his problems he might have the opportunity to teach young people (not just athletes) how to make the best of their opportunities. IMO that accomplishments would be more rewarding than anything he could have accomplished on the field.

Best of luck Jeff


Steelers Kicker Jeff Reed D*ck Photos

Remember Mike Vanderjagt, the Colts’ idiot, liquored up kicker? He’s a frackin’ genius compared to Jeff Reed, his Steelers counterpart.

Deadspin has the story, which he reported on Christmas Eve:

The story goes that Reed was hitting on these two ladies, was eventually shot down, and then Jeff Reed did what any of us would have done: he stood in front of a mirror, pushed his pants down, and took a picture of the top of his junk.

He then sent said picture to the ladies to let them know what they were missing out on. Since then, the ladies went into a deep depression, began to cut their arms, and are now both currently having sex with David Akers.

Now, I can’t promise you that any of that is true. I can’t even tell you for sure that that’s Jeff Reed. If it is, though… I seriously doubt that Jeff Reed’s the type of guy who will be the least bit embarrassed about this.

I’ve always thought Reed was a pretty good kicker, and I’ll tell you what–that guy knows his way around a razor, too.

What is it about kickers, anyway?

Via ASL’s J. Harvey.

The photos in question are below the fold, in more senses than one.


Less Than Five Minutes with Cuban, Johnson, and Nelson

Just about every team in the NBA was rumored to be interested in Allen Iverson before he was traded to the Denver Nuggets last week. The Mavericks got mentioned a few times simply because the Mavericks, based on their high profile owner and national cache, are becoming the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees of the NBA (“being mentioned in big deals is almost as important as being in the middle of big deals”). According to local reports, the Mavericks brain trust of Mark Cuban, Anthony Johnson, and Donnie Nelson spent less than five minutes discussing whether or not Iverson would be a good fit for the team. Their decision, obviously, was to not pursue any deal for the Sixers, now Nugget, guard.

This got me thinking of other decisions concerning the Mavericks that took less than five minutes to discuss. Here is the list:

Whether the team should send Bennett Salvatore a Christmas card?

After the retirement of Shawn Bradley and Keith Van Horn back to back, should the team be more tolerant of people from Utah.

Just how many assistant coaches do we have?

Whether the purchase of YouTube by Google was a wise deal? (Cuban wanted to discuss but Nelson and Johnson were not interested)

Extending the contract of MavsMan

If anyone would notice if the team tried to sell printed but never worn “NBA Champions” shirts in the gift shop?

Piping lost episodes of the The Benefactor into the visiting locker room.

Developing a new stat that correlates the number of head shots of Cuban during games with the success on the court. (Does Cuban get more airtime when the Mavs are winning or when they are losing?)

Determining how to start 0-4 in the playoffs and then win the next 12 games. Just like they started the season.

Making a trade of George (Devean)-Washington (Darius, preseason free agent) for Thomas (Tim) and Jefferson (Richard).

Letting Terrell Owens try out for the team after the NFL season.


GM Doug Melvin interviewed, recap

From Doug Melvin’s interview on Milwaukee radio station WSSP, and my comments follow:

—Very happy to get Suppan, added depth, sold him on the city, park, and team. Created a comfort level with the meeting in LA, decided to give him a 4th year because of this, gave them a “soft” deadline, but needed to know an answer. Because of the Dave Roberts thing, told them the team needed to know. $2M buyout and option year sealed the deal.

I’m surprised the Crew was thinking of going with “just” a 3 year offer in this environment. I also fail to see how the $2M buyout is much of an incentive when you’re signing a contract worth $40M.

—”Stretched” on payroll to make this happen. OF’s will probably be reduced at some point, but not because of the payroll.

Doug walking the line beautifully, basically saying they can’t add much payroll, but that at some point, Mench or Jenkins will be gone, so they do have some wiggle room.

—Worked out very well to have meeting at Mark A’s house, showed him video of young players, even dug out a DVD of Suppan as a HS pitcher from scouting video that Jack Z found. Doug said it’s hard to believe that you have to recruit players with the money involved, but you do. Jeff wanted to call some teammates and others and let them know before the announcement was made.

It’s just like college football and basketball, sometimes decisions are made because of seemingly absurd reasons. You can either play the game, or you can lose.

Jeff said he learned more from Mike Maddux as a teammate than anyone else in his career.

If they knew this before, I think Maddux would have been in LA as well.

—Rickie Weeks will be the 2B. Looks like Billy Hall will be the CF, no CF’s left that will keep Hall from being the CF. Hart will be an everyday player for the most part, so the other guys will have to work themselves out. Will probably happen when someone gets hurt or isn’t looking good in spring training.

Between the lines, it is apparent Doug really liked Dave Roberts for his speed and defense.

—Feels Hall and Weeks will be above average at CF and 2B offensively, just hope to be average at each spot, and above that at a few spots.

By the sounds of it, Doug hopes to be 8th or 9th in offense, or maybe a tad higher.

—Trying to add another LH reliever and a long reliever, a Rick Helling veteran type, in case a starter goes down. Carlos V is probably the 6th starter, and it will be tough to keep him off the 25 man roster. Always looking for more pitching, to add a pitcher that’s a little better than a guy you have. Yo Gallardo may be up sometime in ’07, he’ll get a look in the Spring, but he won’t make the team in April. Huge talent, led all of minor league baseball in K’s last year.

Surprised to hear him mention Carlos V as a bullpen possibility, as I would think he’d go down to AAA and throw 90 pitches every 5th day. Inconsistent innings may keep Carlos from developing as much…but maybe all that is secondary. Yo, Carlos, and Zach Jackson is a fine trio to have at Nashville in reserve, that’s for sure. I would imagine a veteran or two will be signed to fill out the AAA rotation.

Suppan gives the rotation depth, keeps them from knocking on wood that everyone stays healthy.

That’s exactly what I’ve been saying.

Interview with Adam McCalvy, beat writer for the Brewers’ site on WSSP radio:

—Adam was in church Xmas Eve when he heard of the Suppan signing, missed the conference call, had to hurry up and put it together for the site.

Adam sounded rather unhappy with the timing.

—Feels the team looks at Suppan as that one missing piece, a durable SP that will take the ball every 5th day. Brewers look like the only team in division with 5 starters written in ink, most clubs are counting on prospects and the like.

Yep, the Crew and San Diego, and maybe LA.

—Carlos V and the others will be there if needed, but not counted on to win 10-12 games. Needed that depth last year, and this year, they look to have it. Stretched out the bullpen as well, they had to pitch more than usual, because the replacements for Ohka and Sheets were not only weak, but they didn’t go more than a few innings.

Over .500 in games started by the Opening Day rotation, 83-78 won the division for the Cardinals. A 6th starter in ’06 might have won the division for the Crew.

—Not many holes on team right now, need to get OF figured out, maybe who is the last reliever. Plenty of people will be picking the Brewers to win, and more will make them a “sleeper” pick.

As of this second, SL has 3 starting pitchers, and I think the Cubs have 2 SP’s that would make the Brewers’ top 5…I think many will pick the Brewers based on that rotation alone.

—Jenkins or Mench will probably be traded, as they look to have the most value, based on the winter meetings. Nix is intriguing, if he could stay healthy, and Gross is a nice reserve, hits some, plays all 3 spots. Gwynn looks to be back to AAA. Feels it would be difficult for Geoff to come back after last season ended.

With Gross as one reserve, I don’t see Nix making the 25 man. I think a platoon of Jenkins and Clark would be the best bet to begin the year in LF, with Hart settling into RF everyday.

Cross posted at Al’s Ramblings

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Haudricourt’s Idea of Character Is Bunk

Tom Haudricourt’s December 25th article in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel is both biased and naîve on the topic of character.

In discussing both the contract details and the motivation on the Brewers’ end, Haudricourt mentions, as a point in favor of Suppan’s character, that he will donate $100,000 annually to Brewers Charities Inc. That’s a good thing, yes — though many of the big contracts signed in this off-season and in seasons past have included such agreements. I’m assuming this money is at least tax-deductible, and considering that’s it’s less than one one-hundredth of his salary, we could really say, “Big deal.” This is really more of a contract detail, and perhaps a bit of wooing the public on Suppan’s part.

Still, my real issue here is not with this but rather that Haudricourt lauds Suppan for appearing in television ads that urged viewers to vote against an amendment supporting embryonic stem-cell research. First off, this is a very morally gray area, or at least people are split on the issue. That Haudricourt even mentions this as evidence for Suppan’s “moral character” is irresponsible. If Suppan had appeared along side of Michael J. Fox on the other side of the issue, would he be as good a guy to Haudricourt? Would it be worth mentioning? Or would he have to dig up some other stuff, perhaps about how Suppan doesn’t wash spiders down the drain hole, to support the accolades of Attanasio and Yost? Carlos Delgado is “notorious” for not standing at the national anthem, even though he did so because of how strongly he believed in certain things. I hardly think this is a reason to sign him, or not to sign him. The same goes for Suppan. If the Brewers actually considered this in their analysis of his character or in any way during the contract negotiations, I’d be far more disappointed in Doug Melvin and Co. than I am presently with Tom Haudricourt for even heralding it in his article.

That fact is that the issue at hand is very divisive, very partisan even, and that one can be a good person (i.e. “have character”) no matter where they fall on this issue. Haudricourt makes the mistake of associating particular political stances for character, and tries to hide it by saying that it is representative of his passion (“Suppan doesn’t do anything halfway.”)

I’m not saying that Jeff Suppan isn’t a good guy, or that he won’t help the team, both on the field and in the clubhouse. But the evidence that Haudricourt provides here does little to convince me of his character.

Not that I care, about this whole character thing anyway, because “character” is overrated at best, and probably generally meaningless. I mean, would you honestly not want Manny Ramirez on your team? Would you really want Neifi Perez or Royce Clayton on your team, getting regular playing time because they are “good with the young guys” or spends time with at-risk kids? Granted, you’d like your guys to be handsome and charming and charitable and generous and amiable and passionate about life and all that, but if they post a .950 OPS in 650 PAs, that’s got to be the first thing you worry about, right? The other stuff is secondary at best.

I have to admit that this whole thing caught my eye because I am on the other side of the spectrum as Suppan on this issue. But I have come to realize that there are very few professional athletes who fall left of center, and very few with whom I’d like to make friends, and that regardless of this, I am a sports fan anyway. The lot of them are, of course, over-paid (all of them are this, without doubt), spoiled, conceited, uninformed, disconnected, superficial, idiotic jerks. But I love to watch them play baseball, and I love to analyze how they do that afterwards, and I pay to do both, and I will never stop doing either. I accept all these issues and look past them for the sake of my own enjoyment. Maybe that makes me a bad person, I don’t know. Since I do that, I guess it makes me shallow. (We are, after all, merely the sum of our actions in the world.)

I think that I’ve gotten over the idea of “favorite” players — of truly idolizing a guy for largely irrational reasons. I now think of players as 2-win players or league average starters or 1.000 OPS guys; I think of them as overrated and underrated; I think of how many runs they create per salary dollar. It’s takes some of that “magic” out of the game, but I’ve learned to embrace the cold hard facts, and they are now what I love most about the game. But I’m no robot. Every bit of me was emotionally invested in the Red Sox’s 2004 post-season, and in them signing Matsuzaka this year. Everyday I long to see my young Brewers in action, long to see them win, and know that I will be disappointed if they do not take that next step in 2007.

Still, just once I wish I could find a baseball player that makes mixtapes for his friends and lovers, or really connected with the work of Alexander Payne, or really wishes that Russ Feingold would run for president. Give me the guy who takes a taxicab to the game and rides up front with the driver. Give me the guy who listens to NPR in the clubhouse. Give me the guy who obsessively checks the political blogs every night after the game, or watches CNN for hours. Give me the guy who likes both Jane Jacobs and Patton Oswalt. Unless, of course, he can’t hit.

Thing is, I guess I haven’t stopped wanting to idolize ballplayers. I just realized that none of them are really worth idolizing. Maybe that’s why I turned to the numbers . . .

Brewers must coax Fernando Venezuela out of retirement.


Zito Moves Across the Bay

According to numerous sources, Barry Zito has agreed to a deal with the San Francisco Giants. He’ll get $126 million over 7 years to pitch for the San Francisco Geriatrics, the 6th richest deal in MLB history.

Zito’s main selling point was his durability. He hasn’t had much success since winning the Cy Young in 2002. His control issues haven’t gone away, as he walked the second most hitters of any pitcher in baseball last season. His BB/9 rate has steadily climbed since 2002, and his SO/9 rate has dropped almost every year.

Nevertheless, I’m sorry to see Zito go. I knew it was inevitable that he’d hang up the white shoes, but now that he’s agreed to a deal, it’s sinking in.

There was something special about watching Zito’s famous curveball dive in a graceful arc, even if it ended up in the dirt in front of home plate. Zito seemed to personify the attitude of the A’s for so long, that once he’s gone, there will be a glaring hole. Folks like Nick Swisher and Dan Haren will step up, but it will be different to not see Zito sprawled on the outfield grass before his start, doing his yoga-like stretches.

For a player that claimed it wasn’t about the money; that he wanted to sign with a team that was in the hunt for World Series rings, this is a questionable move. The Giants are objectively further away from even making the playoffs than the A’s are, and can’t surround Zito with the kind of talent he needs to win games.

It’s always about the money. I’m OK with that, I just wish players would stop trying to pretend that it’s not.


Parcells has Hope

May the man be right (via ESPN) Parcells: All’s well with Cowboys:

Parcells was pushing the theory that all is fine because the Cowboys already are in the playoffs, which means they have a chance to win the Super Bowl.

Plus, he optimistically noted, the NFC is as wide open as it’s ever been.

“No one knows what’s going to happen here,” Parcells said, offering to take a blind poll and predicting that all five teams that are in would get votes — and that as soon as the sixth team is decided, “somebody would vote for them.”

“The team that plays the best from here on out has the best chance. That’s the way I look at it,” Parcells added.

And he was only getting warmed up.

“What is the objective of the season? Tell me what the objective is,” Parcells said later.

Upon hearing the answer he wanted (win the Super Bowl, of course), he continued: “Now, are we going to have the opportunity to do that? How about 20 of the other teams that are sitting home. Are they going to have that opportunity? How about the other 20?”

Parcells essentially admitted he was adopting a new approach with this statement: “If I don’t have hope, then who has it?”

It is actually a reasonable attitude. However, something has to be done about the defense if his optimism is to have any significance. There is no doubt that the inability of the D to force more punts was the key problem in the last three games.

Cross-posted at PoliBlog: Deportes


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