Category Archives: nfl

Source: T.O., Witten cancel plans to attend opera

"I'm a sensitive human being. I still cry when Rudolph gets banished to the Island of Misfit Toys, and I love 'Die Fledermaus.' I don't know why Jason would do me this way."

Terrell Owens: "I'm a sensitive human being. I still cry when Rudolph gets banished to the Island of Misfit Toys, and I simply adore 'Die Fledermaus.' I don't know why Jason would do me this way."

As the Dallas Cowboys’ public relations machine worked overtime to dispel rumors of war between receiver Terrell Owens and tight end Jason Witten, the two offensive stars canceled plans to attend the Dallas Opera’s Saturday night performance of “Die Fledermaus,” the Fort Worth Star-Telegram first reported Saturday.

ESPN’s Chris Mortensen, citing team sources, confirmed that Witten and Owens exchanged words after practice Friday at the Cowboys training facility. One team employee, who requested anonymity because both Owens and Witten are capable of crushing him like a cockroach, said Owens was visibly upset after the altercation.

“I thought Terrell was going to weep when Witten looked at the floor with disgust, bit his lip and said, ‘I never liked Johan Strauss the Second and I have no interest in this weightless Viennese schmaltz you call art. I’m a man. Give me Sturm. Give me Drang. Give me Wagner. Leave me out of this. You can go by yourself.'”

The incident came in the wake of media reports that Owens believes Romo and Witten meet privately, go out for milkshakes, play pinochle and draw up plays without including Owens.

Owens later issued a statement on his Web site, terrellowens.com, saying, “I love and respect Jason as a teammate and a friend. I think Jason understands this. I’m a sensitive man. I still cry when Rudolph gets banished to the Island of Misfit Toys, and I simply adore ‘Die Fledermaus.’ And this is the last performance of the season.

“I don’t know why Jason would do me this way.”

Happy Birthday, Donovan McNabb!

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Donovan wants Andy to lose a little weight, remember to take out the trash, buy him flowers every once in a while and cherish the quiet moments together. Andy wants Donovan to stop fumbling the fucking ball and completing passes to the other goddamn team.

I know a lot of strange, once unimaginable things have occurred since I last posted on this weblog.

I considered opening with a phony mea culpa and trotting out a laundry list of excuses for not posting since August. But what’s the point?

The reason for the absence of activity is simple: The Rube is downright lazy.

Always has been.

Always will be.

The Rube is to laziness what Babe Ruth was to prodigious inebriation and epic home runs. What Wilt Chamberlain was to scoring with basketballs and bimbos. What George W. Bush is to – oh, well, you get the idea. Lazy.

A lot of people, from Bristol, Conn., to Philadelphia to various other points on the world media map too stupefying to contemplate, are analyzing the fallout that will consume the Philadelphia Eagles in the wake of Donovan McNabb’s halftime benching on Sunday. It’s a mini-media circus.

Yes, Donovan McNabb probably won’t be in Philadelphia next year, the Eagles probably won’t be relevant again until 2020, and Andy Reid probably will explode, unleashing a disgusting torrent of blood, viscera and partially digested Oreos on horrified bystanders.

This is all very important, but it troubles me. I worry that the omnivorous media, in the course of practicing due diligence and showing uncommon restraint, will nonetheless inflict great harm on Andy and Donovan by exploiting their professional problems at a such a delicate time in their personal relationship.

Everybody wants a piece of this story. Even the venerable Bill Conlin, no doubt stunned by the way his withering cynicism prodded the Phillies to their first World Series championship (World Fucking Champions!) in 25 years, brings his literary élan to bear on this subject.

Things like this have a way of getting messy and devolving in ways nobody intended or anticipated. ESPN.com’s James Walker already thinks there’s good reason to be worried about Donovan’s mental health, keenly detecting “disappointment, shock and loneliness” in McNabb’s body language Sunday. And he’s probably on to something. First there was the whole embarrassing episode where he didn’t know that NFL games could end in ties. Then this. So much pressure. A man might crack under the strain.

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Disappointment, shock, and yes, loneliness. So ronery.

Today, the Rube offers a birthday prayer: On Donovan McNabb’s 32nd birthday, I beg Ashley Fox and John Smallwood and Phil Sheridan and Bob Ford and Matt Moseley and Merril Hoge and the rest of our friends in the mainstream media to take a deep breath, extend Donovan best wishes and give Andy and Donovan some breathing room to work out their differences. Please halt the madness, if only for a moment.

Thank you!

P.S. Donovan and Andy will celebrate their 10th anniversary on April 17, the date the Eagles plucked the fledgling NFL quarterback with the second pick in the NFL draft. Traditionally, tin and aluminum are the discerning buyer’s choice for 10th anniversary, though in modern times, given as we are to gaudy excess, diamond jewelry has become popular. So says Wikipedia. All offerings should be sent to:

Donovan and Andy Forever
CO Philadelphia Eagles

NovaCare Complex
One NovaCare Way
Philadephia, PA 19145

Favre a J-E-T (reportedly)

There are reports! Finally, reports!

It’s allegedly official. Reports are coming in. Stuart Scott says so. ESPN just ran a full screen graphic saying “Breaking News!”

Write it on your calender. This is the moment: Wednesday August 6, 2008, 11:50 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time. It is being reported by some unnamed, unknown, unidentified, anonymous source that Brett Favre is reportedly headed to the New York Football Jets!

According to ESPN’s Neil Everett, “It’s the news that a nation has been waiting for – a sports nation!”

Really? Where the fuck is the damn sports nation and why am I somehow not affiliated. ‘Cause honestly Holmes, I don’t give a flying fuck where the stupid prima donna bitch is going. And, if I did, I would want a little more than a report. More than innuendo. I’d want fucking fact, yo. So get off the damn TV, go talk to some motherfuckers involved, and come back when you know a little more than an alleged report from FOX news. …

Oh wait: 12:03 a.m. EDT. Neil Everett interrupts his speculative discussion with Chris Carter (after Mark Schlereth weighed in on the news and before Rachel Nichols would sum up how she missed the damn story) to say that, “ESPN’s Michael Smith has confirmed that this trade will go through!”

Now it’s official! No more speculation. No more alleging. Just the true and spectacular conclusion of the Greatest Story Ever Told: The soap operalike selfishness of a 38-year-old quarterback, his ridiculous suitors and a swarm of media foaming at the mouth for both sides every move!

And now it’s done, allegedly, officially and somewhat confirmed. So what’s left? Well, what else but blow out the whole damn show talking to everybody they can think of who has no relation to anybody involved in the trade and absolutely no knowledge of how it occurred! Sweet! If you got their number boys, give ’em a call, yo: Sal Palantonio, Trent Dilfer, Merril Hoge, Trey Wingo, Chris Mortensen …

Wait! Chris Mortensen does the unthinkable. He says he talked to people involved and has uncovered that the deal is not officially official. “It still could be held up,” he says.

Apparently Favre’s not happy (yet again). The great No. 4 apparently wanted to go to Tampa Bay and the Packers did him yet another disservice by trading him to New York! He could still say no! He could sit out! He could RETIRE!!!

If there is a God up there somewhere. Hear me now please. Tell me what I can do to make amends. Tell me what I can do to make this happen! Almighty overseer of life, please, please let the narcissistic son of a bitch retire. Let him cry. Let him weep. Let him blame everyone on Earth for not loving him enough to want him back. Let him crawl back in his Mississippi hole forever!

But no. No. Of course we’re all not that lucky, 12:45 a.m. EDT: the Packers release a statement:

“Brett has had a long and storied career in Green Bay, and the Packers owe him a tremendous debt of gratitude for everything he accomplished on the field and for the impact he made in the state. It is with some sadness that we make this announcement, but also with the desire for certainty that will allow us to move the team and organization forward in the most positive way possible.

“We respect Brett’s decision that he could no longer remain here as a Packer. But there were certain things we were not willing to do because they were not in the best interest of the team. We were not going to release him nor trade him to a team within the division. When Brett ultimately decided that he still wanted to play football, but not in Green Bay, we told him that we would work to find the best solution for all parties involved. We wish Brett and his family well.

“We appreciate the tremendous passion shown by our fans. We, like them, always will see Brett Favre as a Green Bay Packer and our respect for him never will change. Moving forward, we are dedicated to delivering a successful 2008 season for all Packers fans.”

Well that’s just swell. I’m sure Brett and your fans are just as happy as I am that the motherfucking motherfucker is still in the league and on his way to New York. Sweet.

But wait. What’s ESPN going to do now? How are they gonna react to this historic development? Any more talking heads to roll out of the closet? Oh wait, they found the reel of Top Ten plays in Favre’s career that they put together when he cried like a bitch and retired (And every year for the last five in the offseason when he cried like a bitch at the mere thought of retirement)! Hey wait, they also found a retrospective of the All-Time Passing Leader’s career, (also cobbled together five months ago when the arrogant fuck quit). Dust ’em off! Queue ’em up! Roll ’em! The gunslinger is back! This stuff is gold all over again baby!

And, hey, after that, Linda Cohn and Steve Levy just arrived, get ’em on stage, ask ’em what they think. Who else you got laying around? Anybody?

Football season 2008: Welcome to the beginning – allegedly!

Hollywood’s Top 20 Gifts to Sports

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With the Hollywood writers strike coming to an end, we thought we’d give credit where it was due. Fair is fair. After bashing the hacks that gave us some of the worst moments in the history of the silver screen, it’s only right to deliver some praise and remember the good times.

20. BASEketball (1998): You had to know that Matt Stone and Trey Parker wouldn’t make a typical sports movie. But creating their own sport? Basketball played with baseball rules? Genius.

19. Tin Cup (1996): Hit and miss, Kevin Costner has made his fair share of sports movies. After surfacing twice on our list of Hollywood duds, his first appearance on our list of gems is thanks to his nonchalant effort as golf pro Roy McAvoy. Add Cheech as his caddy, Rene Russo as his girlfriend and Don Johnson as his no-balls rival and watch him go for it every time. You the man, Cup.

18. Ace Ventura: Pet Detective (1994): Besides turning Courteney Cox and Jim Carrey into household names, credit this oddball, slapstick film with introducing us to the deviance that can derive from the bitter pain of a lonely field goal kicker. And all because fuckin’ Marino couldn’t keep the damn laces out. “Would you look at that, there little footballs!”

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17. The Bad News Bears (1976): Finally, someone takes a close look at the ultra-competitive world of little league sports. The good news, Walter Matthau’s band of rag tag warriors resemble an E! True Hollywood Story more than a baseball team.

16. Karate Kid (1984): If painting the fence, waxing the car, painting the house, sanding the floor and learning the ultimate ’80s crane kick didn’t make Ralph Macchio the man, banging Elisabeth Shue sealed the deal.

15. Hoop Dreams (1994): This poignant look at childhood superstardom reminds us that for every KG, Kobe and King James there are millions of more stories that follow the path of William Gates and Arthur Agee.

14. Pride of the Yankees (1942): When Lou Gehrig’s famous quote about being the “luckiest man on Earth” is remembered, most often it’s being delivered by Gary Cooper. Outside of Marshal Will Kane, you couldn’t ask for a better role.

13. Million Dollar Baby (2004): Chick boxing? We know what your thinking … Where’s the mud? Where’s Tonya? Why would we watch this? All thoughts that ran through our heads as well. But we got to give Clint and Hillary their due. This is an uncompromising and astonishing piece of American filmmaking. Trust us, we didn’t want to believe it either.

12. Major League (1989): Before Kenny, Albert and Manny, America went Wahoo crazy for Jake, Willie and “Wild Thing” Rick Vaughn. With the help of Bob Uecker, the crazies in Cleveland got a pennant race on the big screen and the filmmakers sold a few American Express cards along the way.

11. He Got Game (1998): Spike Lee’s epic basketball joint has all the makings of a great sports movie. Jim Brown as a hardboiled cop. Denzel Washington as a hardened criminal. And Ray Allen as Jesus Shuttlesworth – the savior of modern day hoops. The only thing it doesn’t have is a reliable ending. Unfortunately, the mind-numbing metaphoric ball-toss from Jake to his boy is the only thing that took this film out of the top ten.

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10. A League of Their Own (1992): Call us sentimental. Call us pussies. We don’t care. There’s no crying in baseball dammit and Tom Hanks is the truth as the fictional manager of the Rockford Peaches. But why wouldn’t he be, his character is loosely based the late, great Philadelphia A’s slugger Double X.

9. When We Were Kings (1996): The Greatest of All Time reclaims what will always be rightfully his – the heavyweight belt. Poor George never saw it coming, but thanks to this Oscar-winning documentary, the rest of us will be able to over, and over, and over again.

8. Slap Shot (1977): Everyone remembers the Charlestown Chiefs and the Hanson brothers, but the heart of this hockey flick lies in its witty dialogue. How can you go wrong when you offer quotes like this: “Your son looks like a fag to me. You better get married again soon or he’ll have a cock in his mouth before you can say Jack Robinson.”

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7. The Natural (1984): Roy Hobbs set out to be the greatest ballplayer ever. His journey was long and winding for sure, but in one electrifying moment he achieved his goal. And the rest of us will always remember him as the best damn New York Knight of all time.

6. The Hustler (1961): Before he met the dimwitted Tom Cruise and Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio got her tits in his way, Paul Newman’s Fast Eddie Felson just wanted to beat the Fatman at his own game. Thankfully, he did. And we loved it.

5. Caddyshack (1980): If there’s ever been a movie quoted more often than Shakespeare, this would be it. Between Judge Smails, Ty Webb, Al Czervik, Danny Noonan and the immortal Carl Spackler there’s about a million snips of dialogue to choose from … which is nice.

4. Hoosiers (1986): Run the picket fence, give the ball to Jimmy Chitwood and don’t get caught watching the paint dry. In a simpler time, back when Bobby Knight was more legend than punchline, Gene Hackman dabbled in a little Indiana basketball of his own and theatergoers stood up and cheered.

3. Rocky (1976): When the whole thing began, it wasn’t about the belt. It wasn’t about money, notoriety or the tempting honey pot of five fucking sequels either. When the whole thing began, all Rock cared about was the girl at the pet store and going the distance. Paulie, Butkus, little Marie on the corner and pulverizing dead carcasses were all a close second.

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2. Bull Durham (1988): Is this movie about baseball or sex? Perhaps a little of both (or, I guess a whole lot of both). And why not? Sometimes the line gets blurred between the two favorite American pastimes, and if Annie’s opening monologue doesn’t get that across, Millie’s description of the young fireballer Ebby Calvin LaLoosh in the opening scene sets the tone early enough: “He fucks like he pitches, sort of all over the place.”

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1. Raging Bull (1980): Jake might not have been an Olivier, but the crazy son of a bitch fought Sugar Ray. And thankfully, Martin Scorsese gave him a stage and Robert De Niro made the bull rage. The rest of us, well we all just appreciated the entertainment.

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A Comcast Direct Political Crusade: Specter the Good Takes on Goodell, Big Bad NFL

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“No man’s life, liberty or property are safe while the Legislature is in session”

The quote is often misattributed to Mark Twain, and it’s easy to understand why. Pretty much anything subversively acerbic and deliciously sardonic that emerged from the 19th century is usually credited to Mr. Clemens.

Which brings us to Arlen J. Specter, the vigilant eyes of the United States Congress.

Our Arlen, he’s a regular Cincinnatus. Answered the call to public service, and he’ll leave as soon as the job is done. No sense loitering about and collecting the spoils of corruption. That would be indecent.

Is it Arlen’s fault that, after 27 years, the job remains to be done?

The casualties in Iraq continue to mount, the end nowhere in sight. Ditto Afghanistan. How will we fight the Iran War? The national debt is racing through the trillions careening headlong for the quadrillions. The economy is wobbling like a one-eyed, four-sheets-to-the-wind drunk wandering through potholed urban streets at dawn on two broken legs. Global warming? We’ll see.

And Arlen, he gonna to bring the big, bad robber baron NFL to heel. Arlen wants to know why NFL kingpin Roger Goodell destroyed those “Spygate” tapes, the ones that caught Bill Belichick and the Patriots cheating. First the CIA, now the NFL. Arlen couldn’t whip the CIA or the administration into shape, so he’s gonna discipline the NFL and put a smile on the face of the common man. Him and those $600 rebate checks!

Give him a nice little triumph at the end of his career to provide some symmetry to the singular genius of his Single Bullet Theory.

The cynics, Arlen, they say you want to sack the NFL because your sugar daddy is pissed.

They say you’re in bed with Comcast, and you’re a foot soldier in the corporate bully’s war with the big, bad NFL.

Screw them. So you’ve taken in more than $500,o00 in Comcast-related tribute, but a U.S. Senator gots to eat, right?

And let’s face it, you’ve been around since the days of Barry Goldwater. When you last a quarter-century, you’re going to feel the pangs of hunger every now and then. It’s only natural.
Mind you, nobody’s saying you overstayed your welcome. Hell, your fellow Pennsylvania Republican, that raging octogenarian Joe Paterno, he’s older than you. You won’t even turn 80 until your next election. So stick around.

Come to think of it, that’s a fine distinction to shoot for: Better the Joe Paterno of Pennsylvania politics than the hired gun of Comcast.

Just deliver a national championship before it’s too late, OK?

The Gods (Placido Domingo & Bill O’Reilly) Have Spoken: Ding-Dong, the Patriots are Dead

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A funny thing happened on the way to the forum perfect season.

Just when mad NFL scientist Bill Belichick and the sublime-to-the-point-of-nausea Patriots were poised to become the single greatest phenomenon to ever grace the sporting landscape, this happens.

Just as the Perfect Patriots were about to eclipse all challengers – all of them, everyone from Socrates and his brilliant conquest of young Plato in Athens’ man-boy wrestling championships of 410 B.C. through the 1927 Yankees, the ’72 Miami Dolphins, the 1996 Chicago Bulls and every individual, team and conglomerate in between – disaster hits them right in their collective testicles like a thunderbolt from the clear blue sky of a Shakesperean tragedy.

All that stood in their way was the unimposing Eli Manning and the New York Fucking Giants. New England, prohibitive, 12-point favorites, on the brink of 19-0. Immortality. Media Coronation. ESPN Wet Dream. Everything that ever was, they were gonna be better.

Ruth, Chamberlain, Jordan, Spitz, Woods, Mays, Brown, Montana, Gretzky, Bonds. Aristotle, Confucius, Shakespeare, Mozart, Tolstoy, Joyce, Beethoven, Nietzsche, Eliot, Affleck – no one would compare once the Patriots finished off the Giants on Sunday.

And than came two kindred spirits, two sui generis geniuses, Placido Domingo and Bill O’Reilly. Really, I’m not much into linguistics, etymology or anything that approximates respectable writing, so don’t expect me to explain how two separate but equal masters of the human experience could at the same time be sui generis.

They are unique in their own separate, wondrous ways. But both of them, one the singular operatic tenor of the modern era, the other the pre-eminent rhetorical colossus of his time, go their maverick ways and pick the underdog Giants to foil the Patriots’ quest for perfection in Scripps Howard’s annual celebrity poll.

It’s as if God himself (or herself, let’s not get all patriarchal and shit) is picking the Giants. A veritable NFL Gotterdammerung, for God’s sake.

Plaxico Burress is one thing. The twin towers of Placido and Bill are another altogether. It was an unmistakable omen, and sure enough, a day later, the football cognoscenti at ESP-FUCKING-N got in line with these twin gods.

Here’s just a sample of the roll of Giants backers; Mike Ditka (Giants 27, Patriots 21); Michael Wilbon (Giants 31, Patriots 30); Merrill Hoge (Giants 31, Patriots 29); Jeffri Chadiha (Giants, 24-23); Gregg Easterbrook (Giants 20, Patriots 19); Wright Thompson (Giants 35, Patriots 3). There’s more, but you get the idea. It’s sweeping the nation.

The Giants bandwagon overfloweth.

The Patriots are dead.

Dead. Dead. Dead.

Move over, Whitey!

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Clockwise from upper left, Frederick Douglass, W.E.B. DuBois, Marcus Garvey, Michael David Smith, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King have all taken up the cause of racial equality in America.

Frederick Douglass? Malcolm X? Martin Luther King?

Shit, them bitches got nothing on my man Michael!

Meet Michael David Smith, the latest in a proud and courageous lineage of Americans who have risked everything to fight for racial equality and diversity.

Henceforth let us refer to him simply as Michael X. He’s earned it.

Michael X writes for AOL’s Fanhouse. Don’t let the external whiteness and the nerdy countenance fool you. That’s just a mask to get over on Whitey. Michael’s one badass dude. In his penetrating deconstruction of the social milieu of that establishment shindig they call the Super Bowl, Michael X had the rare courage to tell it like it is:

When it comes to the troubled realm of sportswriting, one problem threatens the entire craft: Too much Whitey.

Michael X did a little census taking at a Super Bowl press conference and discovered, much to his shock, that about 140 of the 162 media types assembled were white men. Lame! And than he risked the opprobrium of his colleagues by reporting this horrifying news.

That, my friends, is the definition of courage.

Long live Michael X. Keep the faith, brother, and don’t let the man get you down.