The New York Sports Rant 02.06.04

The Carolina Panthers put 29 points up on New England. The team that shut down the highest high-octane offense in the league got twenty-friggin’-nine hung on them by a team that allegedly (by myself among others) would be lucky to put ANY points on the board. More surprising? They LOST!!!! So, instead of a real long winded few paragraphs…here’s some shorter winded thought bubbles from Super Bowl XXXVIII.

John Kasay kicks one out of bounds with a minute to go. He’s getting off light. NOBODY kicks the ball out of bounds, and he should be put just below Scott Norwood and just above Jackie Smith on the Goat List.

Adam Vinatieri hates the turf at Reliant Stadium. Either he just felt like setting the stage (always possible, he’s probably bored unless winning a super bowl with his foot), or he got lucky on the last kick.

Tom Brady…..ummmm…..he’s STILL not Joe Montana. But he’s getting REAL close. The only thing I think he needs is a defining drive. Montana had Super Bowl XXIII, and carving up the Bengals in 92 seconds. Brady doesn’t have that drive….yet. But if he gets it, and keeps winning when it counts, he’s on the REAL short list of great QB’s.

So this game didn’t have any stars…oh well. This is THE team sport. One man can’t win a championship on his own, if you doubt me, ask Dan Marino or Barry Sanders.

John Fox went for 2 instead of one…twice…and didn’t get either. But it’s easy to say he made a mistake now. If they get those conversions we’re all here talking about how John Fox’s gutsy play calling beat Bill Belichick’s meticulous planning. To Quote Herm Edwards….You PLAY to WIN THE GAME!!!!

So did Carolina catch the Pats on a bad day…or did they expose a chink in the armor? Fact is the last 2 powerhouse defensive teams to win a Super Bowl (The 2000 Ravens and to 2002 Buccaneers) spent their next year playing good, but not shut down defense, and that’s because teams figured them out. Next year, don’t be shocked is the Pats look a step slow on D.

The best player on the field last Sunday was NOT Tom Brady, though he was excellent. Jake Delhomme refused to allow his team to quit, and I have to admit it now…Jake Delhomme is a Super Bowl caliber quarterback. That 85 yard bomb to Muhammad to keep them alive, followed by chewing out a Pats player for bumping him after the play, showed more heart and fire than most guys would even wish to muster.

Ricky Proehl, Mr. Underrated himself, ties the game with a minute to play, only to watch Adam Vinatieri kick the game winner as the game ticks away. Sound familiar? Well, it has happened twice. What are the odds? And more importantly…how much does Proehl hate Vinatieri? I mean, would you be shocked to hear in a month that Vinatieri is missing, only to have a demented Proehl send the press a videotape showing himself at the end of sanity and Vinatieri locked in a dog cage, starved half to death, forced to watch those kicks over and over? Proehl’s got Ray Finkle-type potential here.

Apparently there was a streaker before the kickoff after halftime. Good for CBS to ignore the whole incident. I’m sick of guys like this, or the jackasses who jumped Tom Gamboa in Chicago at a Royals-White Sox game once. People who do things like that don’t deserve more than a stiff beating and some jail time. Besides…streaking’s not fun to watch unless playboy bunnies do it. And if they do, everything I say they deserve is automatically null and void.

While I’m on it, another thing I don’t need while watching football is ads for erectile medication. Levita, Cialis…stop it. Just stop, I don’t need suggestive commercials featuring people collecting from AARP. I think congress should make a law about this, really. The following products should be the ONLY ones who get Super bowl air time. Beer, snack foods, soda (gotta have something for the kids), cars, and movies. That’s it. Every dot-com ad (unless we do one….of course), medical ad, and any other company or cause who wants time should hit the bricks. Well, maybe that MLB Commercial could stay, that wasn’t bad. Maybe we could make situational exceptions. But I feel this should be legislated, is all I’m saying.

Lots of people thought Houston wasn’t a good Super Bowl host, just because the weather wasn’t that good and the night life wasn’t tremendous. Jacksonville faces similar speculation as just not being fun enough, and NOBODY wants to go to Detroit, where it’s below zero and you’ll probably get shot. So I have a solution-

(By the way, I think I can fix any sport or event, and I furthermore think I should make that my job. Anyway…)

-Vegas baby….Vegas. Have Las Vegas build an uber-stadium that holds like 100,000 people and have the Super Bowl there EVERY year. People will flock, weather’s great, I think the nightlife speaks for itself, the gate could be tremendous, you could have a gajillion luxury boxes, and it only needs to be used once a year. I’m a genius.

The Pats just won 15 in a row, and it’s the second longest one season streak ever, only the undefeated ’72 Dolphins had a longer one, and they’re streak wasn’t as impressive, winning most games against teams with losing records. So where do they rank in the grand scheme of greatest teams ever? I say 3rd, behind the ’85 Bears, who just slaughtered people, and the Steel Curtain in the 70’s, who just rose to greatness year after year. Every other champion in history doesn’t measure up to what this team did, without any “marquee” players, besides their quarterback, who didn’t get into the pro bowl.

Also, some people called this the greatest Super Bowl ever. I say slow down. I got my top 5, and of course this is in there, but it’s not the best. Here we go…

Super Bowl XXV- Remember, this is the NEW YORK Sports Rant. The underdog Giants slow down the unstoppable K-Gun offense of the Bills (thanks to Bill Belichick) and find a way to be up by ONE point as the final drive commences. One more play, Scott Norwood gets a 47 yard shot at glory…and misses. Biggest (at that time) upset in Super Bowl History, and the Bills best shot at a championship sails wide right. By the way, as much pressure as Vinatieri had on those 2 kicks to win, Norwood had more than both of those COMBINED. Vinatieri misses…we go to overtime. Norwood missed…and that was it.

Super Bowl XXIII- Joe Montana goes 92 yards in under 2 minutes, hitting John Taylor in the endzone for the win. Allegedly he pointed out John Candy in the huddle while everyone else was ready to puke from the pressure. Montana became the best big game QB in the league, maybe ever, at that moment, and the Niners because THE team of the 80’s

Super Bowl XXXIV- For 2 and a half quarters it was a snorefest. Rams beating up on the Titans, who can’t get it going on offense. Then the Titans blow up on offense, tie the game at 16, only to watch the rams take a 23-16 lead and have one final drive. The game’s final 2 plays are cemented as maybe the best finish to fall short in history, as Steve McNair simply wills a tackle off of him and gets the ball to the 10, only to watch Kevin Dyson fall 1 yard short on a tackle from Mike Jones. In the 3rd quarter everyone watching with me contemplated a channel change. By the end nobody was sitting.

Super Bowl XXXVIII-I think we covered this above.

Super Bowl XXXII- John Elway climbs the mountain, beating a defending champion Packers team to carry Elway from “choke artist” to “great player”. Terrell Davis helps make it happen, and the defining play of the game is still Elway diving for the first down, getting turned inside out on the hit. Outstanding.

Phew….ok, that’s the game…now…onto the week.

Real quick, football wrap up….

First off, if Kurt Warner wants to get traded, that’s fine. But if Kurt Warner ends up playing on a team without the weapons that the Rams had for him, he’s gonna be bagging groceries again in a week.

Maurice Clarett is eligible for the draft. Great. He wasn’t fast enough or strong enough before, and now he missed an entire year and injured his shoulder. I can’t wait for the Ki-Jana Clarett column in a couple years, I might start it right now.

Clinton Portis wants more money. Most times it seems greedy, but when you consider he’ll only make $800,000, it seems reasonable. When you consider that money is coming over the next TWO SEASONS!!!!???? He better hold out, then fire his agent.

NBA Wrap up

Shaq decided to curse on a live post game interview. When told he was on live, he decided to curse again. I know the heat of battle can make guys forget where they are sometimes, and I’m the first to admit I hate sports clichés and love when guys get fired up and speak their minds, but he went too far. You make tons of money to play a game that I play on the weekends for free. Settle down. Besides, if the refs gave you all the calls too, there wouldn’t be a point in even playing the games.

Allen Iverson said his teammates aren’t playing with heart. Then I heard rumors that Iverson might be TRADED? Isn’t he the team “leader’, and when his team isn’t playing as well as they can, shouldn’t he call them out on it? Good for AI, who wants to win, and won’t accept losing if his team is capable of more.

LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony won’t be in the all-star game. Do they deserve spots? Yes they do. But I can understand why they didn’t get them. If fans really wanted to see them, they’d be voted on, but they weren’t. not to mention that the NBA Rookie-Sophomore game gets them to team up…wouldn’t YOU want to watch that?

The Champ Bows Out

Lennox Lewis is retiring. He goes out on a win, and recognized as the World Heavyweight Champion. I don’t know what’s a better debate, how Lewis will be remembered, or how far boxing has fallen considering the WORLD CHAMPION IS RETIRING and it’s wrapping up the column instead of heading it. Since the boxing in general convo could take up a whole column, let’s focus on Lewis. He’s the best Boxer of his time, no doubt. He only lost 2 title matches, and won the belt back from the man who beat him both times. The problem is that those losses came to Oliver McCall and Hasim Rahman. Great fighters don’t lose those fights in the first place. But he’s beaten every contemporary that he could, including outclassing Mike Tyson once and Evander Holyfield twice. I think years from now, when he’s just a name, he’s basically Larry Holmes version 2.0, very good fighter, just didn’t garner the fans respect and suffered from simply not having a rival in his class during his prime. Bowe wouldn’t fight him (throwing the WBC title in the trash instead), and Tyson was a circus act by the time Lewis got him. He’s on the list of great heavyweights, just not the short list.

Thanks for reading, back next Friday with more ranting…

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