Monday, January 01, 2007


Bill Simmons had this to say about the sixth and final (?) Rocky movie:

For instance, let's say you have an uncle who became involved with a former stripper who cheated on him, became addicted to crystal meth, kept stealing from him and eventually bankrupted him before she was arrested for trying to run him over with a car. It was such a bad experience that he didn't date anyone else for five years and he's been in therapy the entire time. Then he announces to the family that he's showing up for Christmas with his new girlfriend... and everyone in the family is completely terrified because he's had such horrible taste with women. What happens? He shows up with a nice enough girl who's friendly and really seems to like him. Maybe she's a C-plus under normal circumstances, but given your uncle's history, she feels like an A-minus and nobody can stop talking about how nice she is. And that's what happened with this last Rocky movie. If "Rocky V" was the crystal meth stripper, then "Rocky Balboa" was the C-plus girlfriend who felt like an A-minus.


Duke lacrosse - the case drifts away

With state bar ethics charges looming, Durham DA Mike Nifong may recuse himself from the weakening Duke lacrosse case. The rape charge is gone - will kidnapping and assault charges also vanish?

Emily Bazelon of Slate sums it up:

There is so much else wrong with this case—Nifong's withholding of the DNA test results from defense lawyers for months, his statements on the stand that he didn't know about the results when it's now clear that he did, the all-lacrosse-player photo lineup that the victim looked at when she identified her three alleged assailants. These are all reasons for Nifong to do himself a favor, as well as the former Duke students, by tossing this case.

Instead, he says he can't because of the woman he calls "my victim."
As long as she says she's sure that these men hurt her, Nifong is saying, he's prepared to believe her, and that means a jury may, too. So, it's up to her. But this sort of stubbornness is just as misguided, in its own away, as that of the prosecutor who refuses to investigate a rape charge because he can't take a woman's accusations seriously. "You can't make everybody back away from a fight," Nifong says. Well, actually, if you're the prosecutor, you can. In fact, it's your job.

Or someone else's job if Nifong continues down this path.

Albert Pujols - New Year's Resolution

To get a better translator, after last year's reports of whining after losing the NL MVP to the Phillies' Ryan Howard. Pujols allegedly bitched that the MVP should come from a team that made the playoffs. Of course, the Phils had a better regular-season record than the Cards, but who's counting?

On the NFL Hot Seat

On the hot seat:

Probably about six teams will need new coaches after they are fired or resign, including Bill Cowher of the Steelers, who will likely announce his retirement tomorrow; Joe Gibbs in Washington, whose post-retirement job has been a failure, and Nick Saban, who has reportedly grown frustrated with lack of control over his two years in Miami (and with a huge, long-term offer from Alabama likely pending). The likely firees:

Dennis Green, Arizona: 16-32, 3 years; 5-11 this year
You know, "They were what we expected them to be and we let 'em off the hook. If you're gonna crown their asses, crown 'em." The Edge, two great receivers and Kurt Warner/Matt Leinert weren't enough to make the playoffs this year in a bad year for the NFC.

Jim Mora, Atlanta: 26-22, 3 years; 7-9 this year
Coach Jim Mora's status already was tenuous before he angered owner Arthur Blank by telling a Seattle radio station he would be interested in the University of Washington job, even if the Falcons were in the playoffs - and without the position being open*.

Per the AP:
Blank has the final say, but Mora should worry if Vick's opinion is solicited. Vick said he liked Mora and worked well with him, but said if Blank asked him if his coach should return, Vick said he'd give the answer some serious thought."Honestly, I really couldn't tell you what I'd say right now," Vick said. "I'd have to give it some thought and really evaluate what went down and what happened."

It doesn't look good. Especially when Vick was still playing in the second half of a meaningless game against the Eagles and got injured. Why did Mora keep Vick in there? Philadelphia's Andy Reid pulled almost all his starters as soon as Dallas's loss handed the Eagles yet another NFC East title. Mora kept his starters in the game.

And why is Matt Millen still a GM? They've gone through multiple receivers, QBs, some point, it's the GM.

Kudos to:
The Philadelphia Eagles, who lost Donovan McNabb and were 5-6 after getting blown away by the Colts, then won five straight to win their division (again). Especially terrific was their three division road game sweep over Dallas, Washington and New York.

The San Francisco 49ers, who finished 7-9 and knocked Denver out of the AFC playoffs. Big steps for Alex Smith, Frank Gore & Co.

The New England Patriots, who survived losing most of Tom Brady's receiving corps, discovered they couldn't play four tight ends simultaneously, used a rookie kicker, and still finished at 12-4.

The San Diego Chargers, who overcame the loss of Drew Brees and finished with the NFL's best regular season record this year at 14-2. Rivers hands off to Tomlinson. Repeat.

The New Orleans Saints, who finished 10-6 and won their division. Brees passed and passed with his new team and Reggie Bush was everywhere. What an uplifting story to an area that needs it.

The Baltimore Ravens, who finally have a reliable QB in Steve McNair, quietly finished at 13-3.

*Speaking of Ty Willingham, he just can't get any props....

"Charlie Weis has brought hope, he's brought direction, he's brought a plan, he's brought vision, and he's brought credibility," former Notre Dame coach Lou Holtz said.

And this says exactly what about former Notre Dame coach Willingham?