Since I am an advocate for a college football playoff, let me begin today by offering congratulations to the University of Richmond for winning the Division 1-AA football playoff. I saw most of the final game against Montana and some of one of the previous games involving Richmond. There is a defensive end for Richmond, Lawrence Sidbury, that I believe can play outside linebacker in the NFL. I do not know if he is eligible to enter the draft but I will keep an eye out to see if he goes to the NFL Combine in a couple of months. Before anyone shrugs their shoulders and wonders if he played against sufficient competition to make the transition to the NFL, consider these two words:
Joe … Flacco.
After catching some of the Arizona Cardinals/New England Patriots debacle yesterday, may I ask please for silence from everyone who wants to name Kurt Warner as the NFL MVP this year? Yesterday’s performance was abysmal at best and when you look at the “body of work” for the season, Kurt Warner dominated the NFC West. Whoop-de-damned-do!! Six games against the Seahawks, Niners and Rams would inflate anyone’s stats. Kurt Warner is a good person and an athlete who takes responsibility for his screw-ups; I have no quarrels with him as a role model or a competitor; he is indeed a good NFL QB. What he is not is the MVP for 2008.
If you ever tune into sports radio for even a few moments a day, I am sure you have heard of Stub Hub, the online ticket broker. As the time approaches for major sporting events, I like to go to their website to check on the availability and the price of tickets for those events. Now given the economic climate, I figured it would be worth seeing what’s out there as compared to more typical years. The results are very surprising.
I have already said that this year’s Orange Bowl game (Cincinnati versus Va Tech) is a game of minimal interest outside the alumni communities for both schools. Well, if you check out Stub Hub, you will find that you can buy tickets to the Orange Bowl for $10.00. That is not a typographical error; go to the website and browse around and you’ll see for yourself. There are more than a few tix at this price.
So, I then decided to check around to see if other major bowl games had tickets in the same range. Here are some results:
Rose Bowl – USC/Penn State: Cheapest seats available are $97.50; as of this morning, there are only 5 tickets in the stadium priced under $100.
Sugar Bowl – Alabama/Utah: Cheapest seats available are $65; as of this morning, there are only 14 seats in the stadium priced under $100.
This piqued my curiosity about some of the minor bowl games – - particularly the Humanitarian Bowl given the link I provided last week to an article saying that the two schools had sold only a couple of dozen tickets to that game as of 15 December.
Humanitarian Bowl – Maryland/Nevada: Cheapest seats available are $25; as of this morning, only 2 seats in the entire stadium have an asking price in excess of $100.
Hawaii Bowl – Norte Dame/Hawaii: Cheapest tickets available are General Admission tix at $6.00.
Alamo Bowl – Northwestern/Missouri: Cheapest seats are $8.00 and there are hundreds [plural] of seats available for less than $15.00.
I can certainly understand how Detroit Lions fans can be more than upset with the team and the coaching staff and the front office and just about anything related to the franchise. However, a reporter in Detroit yesterday got a bit too personal in his snarkiness. The Lions’ defensive coordinator is the son-in-law of head coach, Rod Marinelli. After yesterday’s crushing loss, the reporter asked Marinelli if he ever wished his daughter had married a better defensive coach. That is not a quote but that is the sense of what he asked.
I think that is over the line. Look at the stats and the results and you can easily conclude that the Lions’ defense is woefully inadequate; assign even half of the blame for that to the coaching of the defensive unit and you have reason to be critical. You can rail against the nepotism there but you do not have to ask a “have-you-stopped-beating-your-mother” question when the team is 0-15. I think that is unprofessional.
Since I mentioned it, why do head coaches hire relatives for positions of significant responsibility on their teams in the first place? I have no problem if a coach hires his son as a “quality control assistant” or as a scout. However, hiring a relative is a dangerous thing to do. If things go wrong, the head coach will face two unpleasant alternatives:
1. Fire the relative
2. Allow the relative’s lack of success to get the head coach fired.
Since Marinelli hired his son-in-law in 2007, the Lions’ defense has finished last in the NFL in 2007 and currently ranks 31st in the NFL for 2008. Just a guess here but I believe the second of the unpleasant alternatives above is going to apply in this instance.
Finally, here is Mike Bianchi of the Orlando Sentinel commenting on Auburn firing Tommy Tuberville and hiring Gene Chizik:
“Auburn fired Tommy Tuberville to hire, um, Gene Chizik? Isn’t that a little like divorcing Jessica Alba to marry Janet Reno?”
But don’t get me wrong, I love sports…