“Billy” gets dissed

June 22, 2009 - Leave a Response

Marlins mascot “Billy the Marlin” told me something interesting this past Father’s Day. Fans, you’ll notice that Billy will be the one catching most of the ceremonial first pitches during the season. However, “Billy” told me that Marlins catchers over the years have relieved him of this duty when the first pitch thrower is either really famous or really hot—or both! So, if you ever hear that someone like Jennifer Aniston or Halle Berry is slated to throw out the c.f.p., feel free to loudly guffaw when the Marlins catcher takes Billy’s place behind the plate!

After you laugh, make sure you tell everybody where you got the information!

jhs

Name our stadium…PLEASE!!

May 13, 2009 - Leave a Response

You may have raised an eyebrow last week in the wake of the news that Dolphins Owner Stephen Ross bartered away the naming rights of his team’s football stadium to Jimmy Buffett’s Landshark Lager for a period of exactly….8 months! That’s right, by the time the Super Bowl and the Pro Bowl make their way to South Florida in January 2010, Landshark Stadium will once again be known as Dolphin Stadium. It may seem like madness, but it’ quite logical really.

As the economy has gotten worse, it’s become increasingly difficult for corporations to justify shelling out those multi-million dollar right’s fees. Case in point: Around 1999 and 2000, the stadiums occupied by the Houston Texans and the Washington Redskins sold their naming rights for between 9 and 10 million dollars per year over 10 years for the Texans and over 27 years for the Redskins. Fast forward to 2006, where the rights to the Tennessee Titans home sold for only 3 million dollars over 10 years. That decrease occurred largely BEFORE this recession! So, doling out naming rights for smaller fees and shorter terms is fast becoming a way for teams to make investing in naming right’s agreements seem more reasonable to cash strapped corporate investors. In the Dolphins’ case, it appears Ross eliminated the fee altogether by bartering the naming rights to Buffett in exchange for performances and appearances by Buffett.

So if the Dolphins have resorted to bartering naming rights away for less than a year, what’s the logical next step teams are likely to take? For that answer, we head to Peoria, Illinois where the Peoria Chiefs minor league baseball team is offering single game naming rights arrangements for $6,000 per game:

(http://web.minorleaguebaseball.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20090507&content_id=580411&vkey=news_milb&fext=.jsp)

Could the Dolphins one day soon offer $1 million dollar per game naming rights fees? I’m sure they’d tell you “no.” But, I’m equally sure that, 5 years ago, they would have also laughed at the idea bartering away their naming rights for less than a year!
Creative tactics like these are likely to disappear when the economy improves. However, depending on how long the economy stays depressed, professional sports stadium officials standing on their heads and jumping through hoops to sell their naming fees could become a real phenomenon over the next 5 to 10 years.

jhs

“DAY AFTER” GRADING OF DRAFT PERFORMANCE MAKES PERFECT SENSE

April 27, 2009 - Leave a Response

It’s popular these days for NFL executive and media types to talk about the silliness of assigning a grade to a draft class the day after the draft is done. Seattle Times Columnist Danny O’Neil penned the prevailing sentiment in the headline of his April 24, 2008 column:

“It takes years to evaluate an NFL team’s draft success”

The thought process being that just because nobody is impressed with a team’s 6th round pick doesn’t mean that pick can’t turn into…Tom Brady! And, of course, just because your first round pick has everyone anticipating a hall of fame career doesn’t mean that pick won’t turn into…Ryan Leaf! In other words, you can’t judge a draft until enough time has elapsed to find out if the players chosen can actually play NFL football. It all sounds logical. But upon further examination, it’s an argument that’s only partially correct.

While it is certainly true that no one knows on “the day after” how drafted players will actually perform, it is also true that most every pro and amateur “draftnik” has a good idea about the perceived value of the draft eligible players relative to each other. With that in mind, as good as Tom Brady turned out to be, New England would have rightly been eviscerated for using its’ top pick to select him in the 2000 NFL Draft. Now granted, the guy the Patriots did choose first—offensive tackle Adrian Klemm—turned out to be a bust. But that’s beside the point. Nobody in the NFL thought highly enough of Brady to draft him before round 6 in 2000! So, drafting him the first round would have been the equivalent of spending 1999 BMW money (Bluebook value $20,000) on a 1999 Chevrolet (Bluebook value $8,000) just to make sure no one on Ebay outbid you for the Caprice that you’re sure will outperform a 535i. Sure, on that one occasion, history would have justified the Patriots decision to spend a 2nd round pick on Tom Brady. But I guarantee you…if any team makes a yearly habit of spending its’ resources in that way, it will fail miserably far more than it succeeds spectacularly! (Are you listening, Al Davis?)

I’m not saying it doesn’t make sense to grade a draft after 3 or 4 years. I absolutely think it does. But years after the draft, teams should be graded first on the degree to which their draftees turn out to be legitimate NFL players. On the day after the draft, teams should be graded first on their ability to manage perceived value. Thus, a team may get a day after grade of “A” for the way it managed the draft, and a “C” four years later for how those players actually turned out. Not only would both grades be completely legitimate, they would also be a better measure considered together of a front office’s competency than either grade would be alone.

I mean really…do you honestly think the Patriots deserve THAT much credit years later for drafting their quarterback of the future AFTER they drafted tight end Dave Stachelski?

JUST BECAUSE ISIAH FLOPPED IN THE PROS DOESN’T MEAN HE’LL FLOP AT F.I.U.

April 21, 2009 - Leave a Response

What do John Calipari, Rick Pitino, Jerry Tarkanian, Leonard Hamilton, P.J. Carlesimo, and Tim Floyd have in common? These are guys who have failed as NBA coaches, despite very successful college basketball coaching careers. I bring this up for those of you who think that Isiah Thomas’s spotty track NBA coaching track record portends failure as F.I.U.’s new coach.

In the pros, Thomas seemed determined to bring in the guys he wanted at all costs. The problem is, if you don’t take “costs” into consideration in the NBA, you cripple your team’s ability to field a complete roster. In Isiah’s case, he tied up an inordinate amount of the Knick’s cap space in guys who didn’t come close to being worth that money, like Eddy Curry, Jared Jeffries and Jerome James.

In college, Isiah will no longer have to take salary cap implications into consideration when making his personnel moves. For a look at how he does in this type of situation, one need look no further than the NBA draft. Thomas’s performance in drafting players speaks to his eye for talent. Thomas used non-lottery picks to find double figure scorers David Lee, Nate Robinson*, and Wilson Chandler (*technically, Thomas traded for Robinson on draft night).

With Thomas’s eye for talent, he should be able to identify good players to bring to F.I.U. With his name and NBA contacts, he should be able to attract good players NBA aspirations to come to F.I.U. The bottom line: this Isiah Thomas thing at F.I.U. really has potential.

JHS

p.s.—Thomas says he’s already asked football coach Mario Cristobal how he feels about sharing star wide receiver (and star high school point guard) T.Y. Hilton with the basketball team.

Jacory Harris on the Canes time management issues: “We never had a problem…”

January 21, 2009 - Leave a Response

By popular demand, Canes quarterback Jacory Harris spoke with the media today. He offered us many interesting informational nuggets, but one stood out to me. I asked Harris about the Canes penchant last season for mismanaging their time at the end of halves. In case you’ve forgotten or didn’t watch many Canes games this past season, please reference my November 2, 2008 blog entry entitled “Time for Randy Shannon to start managing his time”. In this article, I reference time management gaffes in the games against Virginia and Wake Forest. And, of course, Canes fans are still steaming over the gross mismanagement at the end of Emerald Bowl. The bottom line is that the teams clock management issues were very real and very frustrating to watch.

When I asked Jacory about the clock issue, he immediately started talking about how he didn’t know what happened at the end of the Emerald Bowl. I told him there were clock issues in other games. Here was his reply:

“We never had a problem with any 2 minute situation throughout the whole season. We did in the Virginia game. We did it in the Duke game. We did it, like, a couple of games this season with no problems. So, it (the Emerald bowl game ending debacle) was just miscommunication and things of that sort.”

I like Jacory Harris. I find him refreshingly candid, and, usually, thoughtful. With that as a qualifier, I must say that I found his statement here stunning! Only 2 things could explain this:

a. He really doesn’t recognize the Canes clock management problems,

b. He doesn’t want to throw anyone (like former offensive coordinator Patrick
Nix) under the bus by admitting and explaining the problem.

If the correct answer is “a”, then I’m truly worried about the Canes immediate future. If you don’t see the problem, you can’t correct problem. If you can’t correct the problem, you will repeat the problem. If the Canes repeat this problem next year, they WILL lose winnable games.

I suspect, however, there’s a better than 50-50 chance that the answer is “b.” Harris spoke today about the high regard he has for now-fired offensive coordinator Patrick Nix. There are many who think Nix was primarily responsible for the Canes clock management issues. Harris appears to the type of classy person who would rather risk sounding a little foolish rather than saying anything hurtful about a man he respects.

Whichever is the case, I sure do hope the Canes learn to manage the clock much better by next season.

What is wrong with Pete Carroll?

January 18, 2009 - Leave a Response

How can USC Head Coach Pete Carroll say that soon to be ex-USC quarterback Mark Sanchez is making the wrong decision by making himself eligible for the NFL draft?  With big names such as Sam Bradford, Colt McCoy and Tim Tebow electing to stay in college, the timing could not be better for Sanchez to enter the draft.  He is now—at worst—the second ranked quarterback in the upcoming draft.  That means he will more than likely get over $1 million in guaranteed money when signs his first contract (probably WELL over $1 million!).  So Pete, you mean to tell me that Sanchez would be better served getting marginally better by playing at USC next season and then entering a draft where he might be the 4th or 5th highest rated quarterback?  That’s some mighty hard logic to follow.

Should Tebow take the money or finish school?

December 27, 2008 - Leave a Response

Recently during the “Faceoff” segment on our “Sports Saturday” show, Will Manso and I debated whether or not Florida Gators quarterback Tim Tebow should declare for the NFL draft before the end of his college eligibility. I said that I am always in favor football players taking the money when it’s available. That prompted this response from one of our viewers:

“Dear Mr. Smith,

You should be very ashamed of yourself to have said “I personally think he should take the money” referring to Tim Tebow. Advising a young man to not finish an educational career at a prestigious university (i.e. University of Florida) is exactly what’s wrong with our society. According to a statistic cited during an NBA Players’ Association meeting, 60% of NBA players go broke 5 years after retirement. Maybe if more of these pro athletes finished college, the sorry statistic could be drastically altered. Instead people on the news encourage young talent to go after money instead of the education that teaches them not only how to manage their finances but how to become a true professional (unlike the professional athletes that act like animals instead of businessman).

Next time think twice about your recommendations; you should be fired for what you said.”

Here was my response to this viewer:

“I am in no way encouraging people to go for the money instead of an education. With that said, there are plenty of examples of people who have succeeded in life without finishing college (Steve Jobs of Apple Computers, moviemaker Steven Spielberg, Microsoft’s Bill Gates, businessman Magic Johnson being jut a few). There are also plenty of examples of college graduates who are abject failures. However, do I personally believe that a college education is the best way mentally prepare one’s self to think critically about the world? Will I insist that my kids attend college? Absolutely! However, I could never advise someone, like Tim Tebow, who stands to make millions of dollars in a legal, honorable profession not to take that money while he still can. Football players, in particular, are constantly at risk for the type of catastrophic injury that could close that window of financial opportunity forever. The window to finish college is much wider and closes much more slowly–especially if you are financially secure enough to pay that high tuition! The list of rich pro athletes who have returned for their degrees is long and prestigious (Michael Jordan, Vince Carter, Emmitt Smith, Rocket Ismail, TJ Ford, Cory Redding, David Klingler, Troy Aikman, Isiah Thomas…I could go on, but you get the picture). Obviously, the NBA players I listed are not included in your “60% of NBA players go broke” statistic. In fact, can you tell me which portion of that “60%” did not have college degrees and which portion did?

And, what about that “professional athletes that act like animals” comment? Tell me, if you can, why the athletes I listed above didn’t “act like animals” BEFORE they returned for their degrees. After all, you seem to suggest that those without college degrees are predisposed to “animal” like behavior? And yet, these highly paid, degree-less athletes managed to keep themselves out of trouble. On the contrary, noted NFL miscreants like Jerramy Stevans and Frostee Rucker HAVE college degrees. As for the NBA, here are the findings of an Assistant Law Professor back in 2005:

“Update 7/28/05: I added an education-level comparison of arrested NBA players to all current NBA players. There are some rather striking results that appear to amplify the study’s findings. Most notably, although 41.1 percent of all NBA players went to college for 4 years, 57.1 percent of arrested NBA players went to college for 4 years–meaning that players with four years of college represent a proportionally higher percentage of arrested NBA players than all NBA players. In contrast, although 14.8 percent of NBA players either did not go to college or went for one year, only 9.6 percent of arrested NBA players share the same educational background–meaning that players with one or less years of college represent a proportionally lower percentage of arrested NBA players than all NBA players.” (For the complete study, go to http://sports-law.blogspot.com/2005/07/nba-players-that-get-in-trouble-with_20.html)
Again, with all due respect, I think you have wrongly characterized my position as “anti-education.” And with regard to your assertion that I should be fired, I find your wish to take food off my family’s table reckless and reactionary. I could almost understand your sentiment if I were advocating a racist or sexist position–or even an “anti-education” position. Those type of positions are rooted in ignorance. However, as I have shown, my position on Tim Tebow is well thought out and rooted in facts. If he has a high likelihood of getting drafted in the first or 2nd round this year, then he should avoid the risk of career ending injury and go pro this year–assuming football is the profession he’d like to pursue. If that likelihood of getting drafted in the top two rounds is not so high, he should stay in school another year in the hopes of improving his draft stock and getting closer to earning his degree–again assuming pro football is his chosen profession. If his heart is not in football, then I wouldn’t advocate that he play just for the money. I am in no way “ashamed” of this position for the all the reasons I have discussed. I have thought more than “twice” about my beliefs.

While I believe you were angry when you wrote to me, I in no way am. I’m writing this response to you in the wee hours of the morning because writing about and talking about issues like this is interesting to me! (I’m thinking seriously about including your email and this answer in my blog!) If you’re so inclined to email again, I’d love to hear if you think the points I have made herein are valid or completely off base.

Regards, John Henry Smith”

Here was the viewers’ response to my response:

“I appreciate the time you took to read my email and provide a thoughtful response.

I agree with you that there are various individuals who have succeeded without a college degree (like those you listed); however, these individuals tend to be intellectually superior to our American education system. I also support your statement on how there are persons who attend college but fail out or ultimately fail at their careers; however, those characters do not share the same traits as a Tim Tebow.

Tim Tebow has only one year left of college; too close to graduation for him not to finish. Without completion of a college degree your explanation on how professional athletes are at a constant risk for physical [and even lethal] injuries, supports my theory to complete college. Yes, an athlete could get injured their last year of college but they could also get injured their first year of their professional career.

The list of athletes you provided, that have returned to college and that do not act like animals, are among the elite group of professional athletes. I am sure that I do not have to provide a list of names for you to understand the number of athletes that do not act to code.

I do believe that for some, the superbly talented, should take the professional athletic tract versus the college route (e.g. Derek Jeter, Kobe Bryant); however, I feel even more strongly about finishing college once you have already begun and it appears you share some of my believes:

“ If he has a high likelihood of getting drafted in the first or 2nd round this year, then he should avoid the risk of career ending injury and go pro this year–assuming football is the profession he’d like to pursue. If that likelihood of getting drafted in the top two rounds is not so high, he should stay in school another year in the hopes of improving his draft stock and getting closer to earning his degree–again assuming pro football is his chosen profession.”

I believe the above is a solid and strong position and I believe it is what you should have said originally on the air, but I further push my position for Tim Tebow to finish college.”

And, finally, here was my response to her response..to—uh—her response:

“Thank for your reply. I do take issue with 4 of the points you made:

“I agree with you that there are various individuals who have succeeded without a college degree (like those you listed); however, these individuals tend to be intellectually superior to our American education system.”

Whereas I think the people I listed are all pretty smart people, I seriously doubt you could—in any way—prove that any of these people are “intellectually superior.” How do you know that these guys aren’t a product of superior ambition instead of superior intellect?

“Yes, an athlete could get injured their last year of college but they could also get injured their first year of their professional career.”

Every single NFL draft pick in the first 2 rounds last year received over 1 million dollars of guaranteed money. By “guaranteed”, I mean that if they blew out there knees the day after they signed their deals, they were still able to keep over $1 million. After paying 34% to the government and 3% to their agents , that leaves each of them with at least $630,000 thousand dollars to spend. When you consider that the University of Florida’s website lists the annual cost of attendance for Florida residents as $17,300, you can see that Tebow could go back and complete his education after hurting his knee and still have over $600,000 left over. That’s far more money to finish his education than he would have if had just kept his scholarship and finished his education with those scholarship proceeds. If he returns to school and hurts himself, he only gets the scholarship money, but he misses out on an easy half-a-million dollar-plus payday.

“But John” you say. “What if Tebow is not drafted in the first two rounds?” Well, Tebow and his family, being smart people, would do their due diligence before the draft as others have done. For example, last season, Clemson running back James Davis declared for the draft. In the week afterward, he called around to NFL general managers to survey them about his draft prospects. Not liking what he heard, he had the good sense to take himself out of the draft and return to school.

“The list of athletes you provided, that have returned to college and that do not act like animals, are among the elite group of professional athletes.

I would hardly place Cory Redding and David Klingler in “the elite group of professional athletes.” I’m not sure what significance “elite” status has on behavior anyway. Are you saying that Tim Tebow (or anyone else) would be more likely never to graduate and to commit misdeeds if he were one of the worst players on a pro roster instead of one of the best?

I am sure that I do not have to provide a list of names for you to understand the number of athletes that do not act to code.”

What about the study I provided for you that clearly states that college educated NBA athletes were MORE likely to commit illegal acts than non-college educated NBA athletes? In case you didn’t read this section of my email, here it is again:

“Update 7/28/05: I added an education-level comparison of arrested NBA players to all current NBA players. There are some rather striking results that appear to amplify the study’s findings. Most notably, although 41.1 percent of all NBA players went to college for 4 years, 57.1 percent of arrested NBA players went to college for 4 years–meaning that players with four years of college represent a proportionally higher percentage of arrested NBA players than all NBA players. In contrast, although 14.8 percent of NBA players either did not go to college or went for one year, only 9.6 percent of arrested NBA players share the same educational background–meaning that players with one or less years of college represent a proportionally lower percentage of arrested NBA players than all NBA players.” (For the complete study, go to http://sports-law.blogspot.com/2005/07/nba-players-that-get-in-trouble-with_20.html)”

What do you think, dear reader, about our little debate?

JHS

News and views

November 24, 2008 - Leave a Response

-DONOVAN MCNABB DIDN’T KNOW THAT NFL GAMES COULD END IN TIES

McNabb is turns 32 this week.  In his time on this earth, there have been 15 NFL ties—including 2 since he joined the league since 1999.  He absolutely should have known.  Most fans do. But his not knowing is further proof that just because you play football doesn’t mean you’re a fan of football.  To some, it’s just a demanding job that they get too focused on to notice a little thing like the outcome of games other than your own.

 

-SPARANO OR SHANNON – WHO’S DOING A BETTER JOB

Sparano—but both are thinking outside of the box to maximize their team’s strengths and hide their weaknesses.

 

-TIM TEBOW – SHOULD HE STAY IN SCHOOL OR SHOULD HE GO PRO?

The risk of injury is so great in football, I always vote for getting paid sooner than later.  And this year, after Georgia’s Matthew Stafford and Oklahoma’s Sam Bradford, no other qb’s are that well thought of by NFL scouts.  If Tebow finds out from NFL teams that he is sure to be picked within the first 50 picks of the draft, I say he should come out now.  Otherwise, stay in school for one more year of seasoning.

 

-A REF MISTAKENLY NULLIFY’S A LATE TOUCHDOWN IN THE PITTSBURGH/SAN DIEGO GAME.  DESPITE THE CALL NOT AFFECTING THE GAME’S OUTCOME, THE NFL WILL TRY TO CHANGE A RULE TO ALLOW SECOND CALL TO REPLAY BOOTH

There are lots of questionable, game altering calls every week, but the NFL doesn’t jump to make a midseason rule change in those cases.  What’s the difference here?  Gambling.  I think the NFL wants to avoid the appearance of refs directly influencing a game outcome for gambling purposes.  (By the way, $65 million dollars of legal betting was affected by the reversal of that Pittsburgh touchdown.)

 

TIME FOR RANDY SHANNON TO MANAGE HIS TIME

November 2, 2008 - Leave a Response

 

 

Let me first say that—overall—I like what Randy Shannon has done to turn the Canes Football Program around.  However, there’s one thing about his coaching that REALLY bothers me:  SHANNON DOES NOT MANAGE HIS TIME WELL AT THE END OF HALVES!

 

Take the Virginia game, for example.  At the end of the first half–at the :36 second mark—Javarris James rushes for 13 yards up to the Miami 28.  Miami only has one time out, but doesn’t use it. By the time Jacory Harris hits Aldarius Johnson for 24 yards on the next play, there’s only :03 seconds left.  Now granted, this play was negated by Orlando Franklin’s “illegal man downfield” penalty (I think he forgot the play..he blocked like it was a run up the middle).  But even without Franklin’s mistake, the Canes would have been at the Virginia 48 with only 3 seconds left and one useless timeout.  Their only option would have been to throw a hail mary to the end zone.  However, if Shannon had called his timeout at the end of Javarris’s run, the Canes would have had about :20 seconds left at the Virginia 48.  That would have been plenty of time to kill the clocking by spiking the football once or twice and to try and throw—at least once—for the 17 yards the Canes needed to give Matt Bosher a makeable field goal.

 

 

Then, at the end of the game, I understand why Shannon ran Cooper after Jacory’s 30 yard completion to Benjamin with :21 seconds to play.  Shannon was trying to be risk averse.  But a pass there would probably have resulted in either a longer gain—which they needed to give Bosher a few more yards for the FG try—or a clock stopping incomplete pass.  To me, even if the run went for big yardage, it was the wrong call.  As it was, Graig Cooper only gained 4 yards AND  the clock continued to run all the way down to 12-seconds.  Bosher was forced to try a 51 yard field goal for the win—which he missed.

 

This type of time mis-management has occurred before this season—including in the first half of the Wake Forest game.  Coach Shannon has done so many things right; it would be a shame for the chink in his coaching armor to cost him a game.  Unfortunately, I think his time mis-management ultimately WILL cost the Canes a win.

WHO MAKES BETTER QUARTERBACKS? “Charismatics”, “Tough-Guys”, OR “Up-Tights”?

October 8, 2008 - Leave a Response

 

 I’ve been covering sports in exchange for either a grade or a paycheck for 8 years now.  In that time, I’ve had a chance to regularly cover more than a few college and pro quarterbacks.  The way these guys have dealt with the media has told me a lot—I think—about their ability to succeed at football’s highest profile position. 

  

In my experience, you can separate the quarterbacks into 3 categories: 

 

1.  THE CHARISMATICS – Win or lose, these guys typically meet the press with a smile and answer our questions thoughtfully.  They’ll crack a  funny joke—frequently at their own expense. 

2.  THE TOUGH GUYS – These guys tend not to be shy about letting us know that they have very little use for us.   Their demeanor tends to be deadly serious.  They can offer very thoughtful answers if you ask them a question that they deem worthy.  If you ask a question that under whelms them, though, they may get sarcastic with you and/or look at you like you’re an idiot! 

3.  THE UP-TIGHTS – We–among other things–make these guys nervous.  The “Up-Tights”seem very afraid of saying the wrong thing.  A press conference to them is a walk through a den full of vipers to be survived. 

So, without further ado, here’s how some quarterback’s you might be familiar with fit into my little labeling system: 

 

THE CHARISMATICS:

            -Brock Berlin

            -Jacory Harris

            -Gus Frerotte

            -Sage Rosenfels

            -Joey Harrington

            -Chad Pennington

            -Philip Rivers

            -Donovan McNabb

 

 Omar Kelly of the Sun-Sentinel swears I’m wrong to put Brock Berlin in this category.  As the former Canes beat writer, he would know better than I.  All I can go by is what I saw.  As arguably, the most verbally abused, hung-in-effigy starting Canes QB in recent memory, I was always impressed that Brock came into those Monday press conferences walking and talking like a happy go lucky good ole’ boy. 

 

Harris seems to have a rare ability to stay unaffected by all the pressures of playing QB at Miami.  Frerotte was quick with the good-natured, self-deprecating remark.  Gus had already played for 5 teams before he came to Miami in 2005.  At each stop, he had to answer questions about the infamous 1997 incident where he sprained his neck by head-butting a wall as he celebrated a touchdown.  He could not have been more good-natured about answering any and all questions we had about that incident.  This was typical of my experience with him; Frerotte’s just an easygoing fella who’s “been there” and “done that.”    Rosenfels wasn’t a jokester, but he seemed to have a very calm demeanor.  And, if any of you saw how Sage handled himself after his epic 3 turnover meltdown in the final 4 minutes of his game with Houston last weekend, you also have to say that Sage is a “stand-up”, “face the music” kind of guy.  The two “tons”–Harrington and Pennington—may be the most charismatic of the bunch.  I could see why Detroit fans had called Harrington “Joey Sunshine.”  As for Pennington, he exhibits grace and humor—no matter what the final score reads.

 

 In previous jobs, I covered both Rivers and McNabb during their college careers.  They were well deserving of “charismatic” status!  McNabb, though, was prone to peppering his answers with cliché’s (aka “We’ve gotta take each game one game at a time, etc…).  However, the difference between McNabb and other cliché loving athletes is that it seemed McNabb used them in a conscious effort not to say anything that would get him or the team in trouble.  Many other cliché loving athletes seem to use clichés because they truly don’t have any other thoughts to express. 

 

THE TOUGH GUYS:

            -Jay Fiedler

            -Trent Green

            -Cleo Lemon

            -Chad Henne

            -Robert Marve

 

 In my experience, so far, Henne and Marve are the leaders in this category.  There’s an edge to them—a cockiness even.  But, it’s a cockiness that appears rooted in the self-knowldge these guys have that they’re good at what they do.  I can see how their confidence and no-nonsense demanors would play well in the huddle.  Green had a lot of “charismatic” in him.  But, I’ve put him here because he seemed to really bristle about being questioned about his mistakes. Lemon and Fielder also occasionally drifted into “charismatic” territory—particularly if you caught up with them in a non-football environment.   

 

THE UP TIGHTS:

            -Daunte Culpepper

            -Kyle Wright

            -AJ Feely

            -John Beck

            -Josh McCown

            -Kirby Freeman

 

 Culpepper occasionally veered into “Tough-Guy” territory.  But, I had to put him here with the “Up-Tights” because he seemed to get derailed when asked to analyze himself or his situation.  Daunte was the least analytical big-time quarterback I’ve ever dealt with.  As for Wright, you could tell he felt the weight of the world on his shoulders.  He never looked or sounded like he was having any fun.  Freeman was almost a “charismatic” in his junior year.  But that changed during his senior campaign.  In the wake of his “will he or wont he transfer”drama, Freeman became extremely nervous and wooden.  Feely and Beck occasionally have flashed a “charismatic” style sense of humor.  It almost feels incorrect to put Beck in this category.  In his time here, I’ve found him extremely professional, thoughtful and good-natured. I put him here because there is also a certain wooden-ness about him that I see manifested in his persona and in his play.  And—as we all could understand–the strain of his roller coaster ride up and down the Dolphin’s depth chart seems to have gotten to him in times.    McCown was completely humorless and robotic in the short time I was exposed to him. 

 

So what’s this all mean?  Maybe something.  Maybe nothing.  It seems self-evident that “The Charismatics” and “The Tough Guys” have enjoyed much more success than the “Up-Tights.”  However, the question is what came first:  the “Up-Tight”ness or the lack-of-success?  I think the former led to the latter.  You might disagree. 

 

jhs

 

 

 

 

 

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