"What? You said that I can save a lot of money by switching my insurance to Geico? OK!"
12 Men On The Field - Every Monday, Ed The Sports Fan brings you the 12 biggest names over the past week so that you can be thoroughly entertained like when Ray Lewis destroys the fullback and his face falls off.
1. Mr. Underappreciated - Donovan McNabb and the Eagles Defense – If you've been reading ETSF long enough, you'll know a couple of things. Ed & Ken are huge McNabb backers. I called Ken late in the 3rd quarter and here was the conversation after McNabb threw the TD pass to Cincinnati's own Brent Celek...
Ken: I know man, I don't want to say anything. Not trying to jinx it...
Ed: But Ken, I haven't seen Mac-5 play like this in 2-3 years.
Ken: You right, but you never know...
Ed: I feel you but...
(Manning is stuffed on 4th & 1)
Ken: I...I...gotta call you back.
That game was priceless and vindicating for so many reasons. Philly's defense was on 10-mode, and they gave the Giants fits. Think about this, in the last 3 games the Giants have not sacked Donovan McNabb one time. Yes, you read that correctly. Not once. The Eagles have now been in the NFC Championship in 5 of the last 8 years. They are on the brink of leaving Buffalo Bills territory and entering Atlanta Braves territory. Mac-Five and Co. are a game away from a ticket to Tampa.
2. Tony Dungy steps down as head coach – I might get in trouble for what I'm about to say so let me say this first, there isn't a better personification of a coach than Tony Dungy. As good of a role model as there is in the NFL. But you have to wonder, did Tony Dungy under-achieve as head coach of the Indianapolis Colts? I mean, you came into the job with the best QB in football and a ready-made offense. He didn't have to touch the offense. He was a defensive coach, and he did mold that defense into an elite pass-rushing defense who makes plays in the secondary (Dungy was a DB for the Steel Curtain Steelers of the 70s) yet, they only won ONE championship? The defense was always vulnerable unless Bobby Sanders was in the game. I might come back to this one...
3. Tim Tebow returns for his senior year at Florida - As an Oklahoma Sooner football fan, I wish this man would just go away, but I'm bigger than that. I'm a man first, and as a man I can respect Tebow's gangsta to the fullest. He's the role-model that all student-athletes should be judged by. I'm not saying you've got to do it this way, but his dedication and spirit are second to none. And lets be real to a degree, would you rather have the media pump out constant news about the hood athletes who carry guns (Plaxico) get shot (Sean Taylor) and get caught with drugs (everyone else) or have a God-fearing Christian, born leader of a Quarterback who does it the right way? I'd rather have Tebow than Lawrence Phillips.
4. Jeff Teague & The Wake Forest Demon Deacons - Folks, get to know Jeff Teague. I know this man because he cost me my 5-game streak on ESPN's Streak for the Cash (more on this later) as UNC succumbed to the Demon Deacons last night 92-89. Teague has been special this season, scoring 34 points against Roy Williams' vaunted defense. He got his shots when he wanted, drove to the lane, got fouled (hitting 13-of-15 from the line) and played nearly every minute (39). UNC's Ty Lawson and Tyler Hansbrough both struggled, and we have to now reconsider Hansbrough being a lock for player of the year and All-American (Ed's choice for PoY - Blake Griffin) as he's gone 9-27 in his last two games. He's a big man people and that ain't gonna cut it.
5. Larry Fitzgerald could be a 99 in Madden next year – Anquan Boldin, I wouldn't be surprised if Arizona doesn't re-up your deal for 2009 (not saying they shouldn't, they should resign him immediately) after seeing Larry Fitzgerald get his Herman Moore on against the Panthers. After we highlighted him last week for his play against Atlanta he outdid his performance with a 8 catch, 166 yard performance highlighted by his touchdown catch and run into the endzone when he stretched for the pylon. Bill Cowher says that Andre Johnson is better, I dunno. Maybe Andre's the next T.O. but Fitzgerald looked like a young Randy Moss out there in the playoffs. Arizona vs. Philly this Sunday, choose up!
6. Plaxico Burress, where art thou? - Trust me, Eli Manning wants to know. If #17 was in that game yesterday, I'm almost sure they make that game much, much closer. You could see it in a lot of the deep throws Eli made, he's never been the most accurate, and the largest, big-play receiver not named Moss or Fitzgerald would be Burress. He makes those catches. I said it before, no #17, no fear on Philly's behalf. Giants GM Jerry Reese has made it clear that if the legal proceedings go well, #17 will be back in action for the G-Men in '09.
7. Chris Johnson, what happened bruh? – We found out later, but Johnson, left Saturday's playoff loss to the Ravens with his right ankle wrapped late in the first half, finished the game with 11 carries for 72 yards and a touchdown. He also added a catch for 28 yards. Tennessee's offense didn't look the same, and everyone knows I'm a big LenDale White game, but he's ill-suited to go up against a stout Baltimore defense. Didn't they have another back? Where's Chris Henry? The Ravens front 7 is very instinctive, but you can burn them with shiftiness and speed on occasion (watch this from Fast Willie in the AFC Championship) and that's what Johnson brought. Tough day for Titan-ville, interesting to see what happens with Vince and Kerry Collins.
8. The Pimpification of Obama's Induction - (Scratching head) Okay, so I understand this is a HUGE moment in American history, but people are really trying to make this an actual holiday, and throwing happy hours and club events with "Inauguration Celebrations" and such. I do not have a problem with that, because conversation, celebration, and libation come together and that's a beautiful thing. However, I hope these promoters, club owners, and such contribute some of that money back to Obama and the political parties that they support. Same with the t-shirts with Obama, hope you "street vendors" tossed a portion of that money to the campaign. Okay, I'm done. Like I said, I'm probably gonna get in trouble for what I say. Whatever. Its about being truthful with yourself and others in '09. That's Ed's campaign.
#9. Rickey Henderson enters Baseball's Hall-of-Fame - If you don't know about Rickey Henderson then you need to re-evaluate your love for sports. Henderson stands, maybe forever, as the greatest leadoff hitter of all-time. Maybe even one of the top 10-15 players of all-time. Orioles manager Frank Robinson determined that his pitcher and catcher were incapable of stopping Henderson from stealing, so they didn't attempt a throw as he stole second and third. "We might have thrown the ball into center field, or down the left field line," Robinson said. "We couldn't stop him. He is just too good." That's how good Henderson was: He was too good. He was one of the greatest players of all time, the greatest leadoff man ever, one of the best left fielders, and a physical freak whose combination of speed and power was basically unmatched in major league history. He is the career leader in stolen bases (1,406) and runs scored (2,295), ranks second in walks (2,190), finished with 3,055 hits and won the American League MVP in 1992. Plus, for all his speed, Henderson's 297 home runs are in the top 125 all time. In Henderson's first full year in the major leagues in 1980, he stole 100 bases, the third player in history to do that. He has three of the top eight stolen bases seasons in history, including a record 130 in 1982. Oh, and he talked sh*t too and had a major ego, just my type of player. Example? Rickey framed, but didn't cash, a $100,000 signing-bonus check because, he said, "I was waiting for the interest rate to go up." Just my type of player.
10. Eric Weddle & The Chargers can't catch a break - I say this to be as fair as possible, but don't let that score fool and the pub for the Steelers fool you. Yes, Pittsburgh is very good, but come on...San Diego's first play comes off a pass that hits off a helmet and the Steelers drive down the field but can't score. Then, they get the Steelers to punt and the ball hits off Weddle's head. They ran one play in the 3rd Quarter. They didn't have a chance after that. I still think San Diego needs a new coach, but lets see what a healthy Tomlinson, Merriman, Shaun Phillips, and Antonio Gates brings to a talented Chargers team.
11. The Inventor of ESPN's Streak for the Cash Ok, this is due props to the inventor for this game on ESPN. It seems like the easiest thing in the world, pick 25 games in a row for ONE MILLION DOLLARS. Dude in NYC who was a FedEx truck driver won it. Seems easy enough. Yeah, until you think UNC is a lock to beat Wake Forest and it ends my measly 5-game winning streak. Dammit! I suggest everyone test they're meddle and who knows you could win $1M, and when you do, can Ed get $20?
12. Unsportsmanlike Conduct, Killing the hopes and dreams of young men across the nation, 15-yard penalty...Pregnant Superstar Candace Parker – Got damn. My boy Jarrell is infatuated over the XX-Chromosome CP3, and for good measure. Except for the fact you realize that she's marrying Shelden Williams. I mean, I ain't hating on Shelden, he's an Oklahoma kid (Midwest City in the building) and he tried to dunk on me back in the day (I got out the way, that article is coming, with pictures...) but come on, before I heard he was getting at Candace, I'd swear he couldn't pull a better chick than me even with millions from the NBA. Boy was I wrong. This dude gets to let Candace post him up whenever he/she feels like it. Really need to re-evaluate my life at this point...sigh. By the way, does this mean that the WNBA is essentially dead? Who knows...
Did I forget anything? You mad at me? Let me know!