Monthly Archives: August 2007

Ten Things I Think I Think

Every Monday morning, on Sports Illustrated’s website, Peter King writes a column called Monday Morning Quarterback. In it he includes a section called “Ten Things I Think I Think.” Typically, they’re about the NFL and how he thinks certain players will perform or teams will do. I started actually listening to the thoughts I have on a daily basis and actually analyzing them only to realize that I have my own set of things I think I think.

And, Erin, I promise these are not all about sports…a good number of them are, but not all of them.

  1. I think I’m ready for the Fall TV season to begin like yesterday. While I value not having to figure out which show I’m going to DVR versus watch live every night, and I value being able to go to bed early if I so choose, I’m ready to know what happens next, darn it! Are Mer and Der really over? Part of me actually hopes so. How are Sam and Dean going to fight off all those demons let loose and will Dean really have to give up his soul at the end of the season? For Eric Kripke’s sake, he better make me happy. Will The CW, nee The WB, ever be the same again now that Gilmore Girls is gone? I’ve shown a major reduction in the number of shows I watch on that network, so we’ll see. And seriously…Did Tony know who Jeanne’s father was or was he genuinely surprised? For intrigue purposes and continuing to screw up Tony’s relationships, I’m gonna go with he knew.
  2. I think I have even more respect for Bridget Moynahan since she named her baby (fathered by Patriots QB Tom Brady). John Edward Thomas Moynahan was born last week. Not only did she NOT give him Brady for a last name, but she gave the boy initials that spell JET…one of the Patriots’ conference rivals. ROCK IT, sister! That may have been unintentional on Bridget’s part, but I’m giving her credit for it anyway.
  3. I think I’m getting old based solely on the fact that I’m going to more and more baby showers for my friends and less and less wedding showers for them. I’m not really sure how I feel about that.
  4. I think Pre-season games are a necessary evil in the NFL. They are the most significant way to evaluate the players on the roster in real time game situations before the final cut down to 53. Training camp and practice aren’t good enough unless they can start really hitting people. However, I do not think franchises should charge full ticket price for the games. That’s ridiculous. Speaking of Pre-Season…If money-grubbing, power-hungry Dan Snyder (owner of the Redskins) can afford a generator the size of Rhode Island to back up the power on his mansion in the Virginia suburbs, you’d think he could afford such a thing for Fed-Ex Field so the lights don’t go out during those Pre-Season games he’s charging full price for.
  5. I think I’m coming dangerously close to moving. And by moving I mean another city/state/region. I’ve become an increasingly angry person over the last 6 years that I’ve lived here, and am starting to understand what “a product of your surroundings” really means. Of course any action would be a year or two or three years out because I never move unless I have a job. I’m kind of unspontaneous that way. Cities on my radar: Tuscaloosa, Indianapolis, Savannah, Bristol (CT…not TN). Of course, the list grows daily.
  6. I think I’ve started treating the football off season (thru to the end of Pre-Season play) like a person who grew up on a farm. You don’t name the animals because on certain farms, those animals aren’t around very long. So I think I’ve started not learning too much about the players on the roster until the 53 man team is finalized. It saves me in heartache in the long run if I don’t know too much about them because I love my boys, and I hate to see any of them go. I’m still trying to recuperate from the free agency loss of Cato June. I loved that kid.
  7. I think this is my favorite part of Michael Vick’s plea agreement: Under terms of the agreement, Vick has to pay for all the costs associated with the 53 dogs living on his property and now being housed at a Virginia animal shelter. If the dogs are euthanized (most, if not all, have been trained in a manner that they cannot be house pets), Vick will have to pay for the cost of putting them to sleep. This shouldn’t be too hard for Vick to handle since he’s been paying for killing these dogs for the past 6 years just in far less humane ways.
  8. I think this whole ordeal between Tiki Barber and Eli Manning should just die a quick and painless death at this point. There is no objective opinion that can be made on the subject. The majority of football players will stick up for other players when they are attacked by the media, and the majority of the media will stick up for other reporters when they are attacked by the players. I do, however, want to hear Tiki’s take on say any other team besides the Giants because it seems to me at this point that that is all he knows about. If he was hired to work with NBC’s Sunday Night Football crew then he’s gonna have to know a little bit about the other 31 teams in the league. Also, I think Eli needs to let his actions speak volumes. Prove to everyone who is siding with Tiki that he was wrong and be the quarterback Eli was hired to be. Leave it all on the field.
  9. I think I may explode before the end of the NASCAR season. My sweet Jeff Gordon has been in the #1 spot in the chase for much of the season, and the fact that Tony Stewart passed Denny Hamlin for the #2 spot after last week’s race completely unnerves me. I don’t care for many of the driver’s on the Nextel Cup circuit, and Tony Stewart is probably the one I dislike the most. There are way too many races left for this girl to handle. Somehow I need to get on the bus with Jeff who keeps saying that even if he doesn’t win, this year will mean so much more to him because this was the year he became a father to precious Ella Sophia.
  10. I think JaMarcus Russell should have stayed at LSU for his senior season. If he was going to be this greedy (he wants more than half of his total contract value in guaranteed money) and not sign a contract with the Raiders, he should have stayed put in college. At least there, he would have his full ride paid for (and being in the SEC…much more than his full ride paid for) and he’d be on a WINNING team.
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Brilliant

This is quite possibly the best piece of modern written word that I have read in a LONG time. Today Michael Vick formally, and in person, plead guilty to the dogfighting charges against him. He will be sentenced on December 10th, but the letter (parts of which are quoted below) that arrived in his agent’s mailbox last week, really just made me smile. This kind of reprimand NEVER would have happened under Paul Tagliabue. Roger Goodell has more than earned his keep as the NFL Commissioner, and I look forward to seeing what the final punishment will be both in the courts and the NFL (whether an end date to the suspension or a lifetime ban). To read Commissioner Goodell’s full letter click here.

Your admitted conduct is not only illegal, but also cruel and reprehensible. The conduct your co-defendants have admitted to, in which you are directly implicated, simply reinforces that conclusion. Your team, fans and the NFL have all been hurt by your actions. You have lied to your teammates and coaches, to the Falcons’ owner and management, and also to me.

Your plea agreement and the plea agreements of your co-defendants also demonstrate your significant involvement in illegal gambling. Even if you personally did not place bets, as you contend, your actions in funding the betting, and your association with illegal gambling both violate the terms of your NFL Player Contract, and expose you to corrupting influences in derogation of one of the most fundamental responsibilities of an NFL player.

Quite apart from whatever sentence is ultimately imposed upon you by the federal court in Virginia, your conduct plainly merits a significant sanction by the NFL. You have engaged in conduct detrimental to the welfare of the NFL and have violated the League’s Personal Conduct Policy.

Pursuant to my authority under Article VIII of the NFL Constitution and By-Laws and Article XI of the NFL – NFLPA Collective Bargaining Agreement, I have decided to suspend you indefinitely without pay, effective immediately. Your period of excused absence from the Falcons’ training camp, as set forth in my letter to you of July 23,2007, has now ended. Similarly, I have advised the Falcons that, with my decision today, they are no longer prohibited from acting, and are now free to assert any claims or remedies available to them under the Collective Bargaining Agreement or your NFL Player Contract.

I will review the status of your suspension following the conclusion of the legal proceedings. As part of that review, I will take into account a number of factors, including the resolution of any other charges that may be brought against you, whether in Surry County, Virginia, or other jurisdictions, your conduct going forward, the specifics of the sentence imposed by Judge Hudson and any related findings he might make, and the extent to which you are truthful and cooperative with law enforcement and league staff who are investigating these matters. I urge you to give these individuals your full cooperation.

Pursuant to the Collective Bargaining Agreement, you may appeal this suspension by advising me in writing of your desire to do so. If you do appeal, I will schedule a hearing at which you may appear with counsel, and at which you may present any evidence that you believe bears on this matter.

You are now justifiably facing the consequences for the decisions you made and the conduct in which you engaged. Your career, freedom, and public standing are now in the most serious jeopardy. I hope that you will be able to learn from this difficult experience and emerge from it better prepared to act responsibly and to make the kinds of choices that are expected of a conscientious and law abiding citizen.

Football Pads + Heat = RIDICULOUS

That’s the temperature gauge for Tuesday afternoon in Orlando, FL. That doesn’t include the humidity factor. Word on the street is that it was 109 degrees just in the shade. I knew there was a reason I moved.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers hold training camp in Orlando at Disney’s Wide World of Sports, but occasionally weather does not permit them to stay outside for their practices. Here’s how they beat the heat courtesy of the International Ballroom of the Orlando Omni Hotel.


And this guy, Cato June, totally looked better in Speed Blue, White, and Gray.

The Questionnaire

I’m an avid viewer of Inside the Actors Studio with James Lipton. I know his monotone demeanor and penchant for 1,000s of blue cards on everything about his guests down to the part they played in the 2nd grade play have made him an easy target for spoofing on shows like SNL, MadTV, The Simpsons, and The Chappelle Show, but I LOVE his interviews with some of the greatest entertainers of our time. They are the most in depth, raw interviews you’ll find of these people because they’re in their own words. My favorite part of every interview though is the questionnaire at the end. Lipton says it was made famous by Bernard Pivot (pronounced Bear-Nard Pea-Vo cause he’s French), himself an interviewer of celebrities…mostly authors.

Last night as I was watching the Michelle Pfeiffer interview, I wondered what my answers to the questionnaire would be, and then I wondered what other people’s answers might be. So, here are my answers. Feel free to answer these questions yourself on your own blog or in the comments section of my blog…or don’t. I’m not requiring it or “tagging” anyone to do this. Just do it if you feel like it.

  1. What is your favorite word? friend (Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious a close second)
  2. What is your least favorite word? cancer
  3. What turns you on [creatively, spiritually or emotionally]? Sadly because I wish it were something different than this, but my favorite sports teams and athletes winning.
  4. What turns you off? cruelty/bigotry/racism AND opinionated people who think their way is the only way (there’s more than one way to skin a cat, people)
  5. What sound or noise do you love? Nelson calling me Ann-Nee AND the sound of the cars zooming by around the turn to the straightaway on a NASCAR race
  6. What sound or noise do you hate? nails on a chalkboard AND trucks beeping when they back up
  7. What is your favorite curse word? this one is tough because I don’t really curse, but I do say Dang It a lot
  8. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt? NFL Commissioner OR Bakery Owner
  9. What profession would you not like to do? Anything where you have to be outdoors all day long, i.e., construction worker, landscaper, etc. I’m an air conditioning and heating kind of girl.
  10. If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates? It does, and I want Him to say, “well done, my child. Come on in…I can explain.”

Let’s Go, Let’s Get Two

I realize the title of this blog usually refers to a double play in baseball or softball, but I’m using it for football anyway.

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I’ll admit it. This was my test…my test to see if I was just pulling for them until Peyton won the Super Bowl or if I was really in it for the long haul. I mean I’d waited a few years for it to happen anyway and invested so much time and energy into pulling for them that I wondered if I’d just take a break…a breather…a time-out. I was worried. I wondered about my own desire, my own hope, my own cheering section. Would I be as hungry for them to win it again? Would I cheer as hard and as loudly as I had every year before? Would I care as deeply about all of my boys working their behinds off week in and week out? And then, July 29th came, they reported to training camp, and all my worries seized to exist. Well at least worries about how much I would care now that they’ve won a Super Bowl. The fire in my belly was still there. My concern about their health and fear of injuries came creeping right back in when they took the field for their first training camp practice. And I’m already sweating that first regular season game against the Saints. I can’t leave my boys behind. The desire to win a Super Bowl is renewed every year when they regroup and all 32 teams have a 0-0 record.
I still want them to win every game they play, and I still believe they can win the Super Bowl every year. Sports Illustrated‘s Peter King reported after his visit to Colts Training Camp that Peyton returned to camp so hungry, it was sick. YEAH, BABY! Bring it on! Peyton wants to be a better quarterback than he was the previous season, EVERY YEAR. He never stops learning, reviewing, working to stay consistent, but better and more fine tuned. And he expects that from his teammates as well.

Something I learned about Peyton’s offseason routine that shouldn’t surprise me one bit, but actually made my jaw drop: He meets four times a week with offensive coordinator Tom Moore and quarterbacks coach Jim Caldwell at 7:30 a.m., beginning in early April. They scrutinized each of the 710 passes he tossed in the regular season and playoffs. They watched tapes that involved only his interceptions, touchdowns, and sacks. Seriously! 4 times a week! 7:30am! All 710 passes! Now of course I know he’s the king of the film room and can sit in there for hours on end scrutinizing every team in the NFL. He’s got binders on every team that he keeps under lock and key even though his notes are written in some kind of code that only Peyton knows. He takes nearly every rep in practice and only stops when his coaches force him to, which has led to him being restricted to a pass count the last few years. Seriously…can any NFL player possibly prepare more than him?

Other Training Camp Observations

Rookie wide receiver, Anthony Gonzalez, told his agent to rush through his contract negotiations because he didn’t want to miss a second of training camp. Come, again? He did what? And then, he arrived first at training camp before anyone else because he didn’t want to be late. Who is this guy? Yeah…I love him already and can’t wait to see him play.

Rookie offensive lineman, Tony Ugoh, is taking reps at the left tackle position vacated by retiring LT, Tarik Glenn. Last night on the NFL Network’s training camp special from Colts Traning Camp, I wasn’t completely impressed, yet. I think he’s allowing Dwight Freeney too much room and not pushing back. Of course I also take comfort in that because if Tony Ugoh has to practice against Dwight Freeney all the time, then perhaps the NON-DWIGHT’s in the NFL will be a piece of cake.

The backup running backs in camp are quite impressive. The Colts are trying to solidify which player will be the other half of the tandem with Addai, and from what I saw, that’s going to be a tough decision. DeDe Dorsey didn’t impress me as much as Clifton Dawson (a rookie from Harvard!). We’ll see…

And so you’ll say…the season following a Super Bowl win has a tradition of going poorly for the champion, but I’m holding out hope that the Colts will go against the grain and prove that their multiple post season years are no fluke and that they are a perennially good team.

Because they’re my team, win or lose. So, let’s go, let’s get two.

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On a baseball note…this is for Kelli…I’m not a baseball fan. I have to be at the ballpark in order to actually enjoy a game (unless it’s the college world series, and then I can’t get enough). But I know good players and people when I see them. So congratulations to both Cal Ripken, Jr. and Tony Gwynn on their induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame last weekend. I’ve actually been a fan of Ripken’s for a while based solely on his preparation and work ethic. Tony Gwynn exemplified similar qualities during his career with the Padres. They are both part of a dying breed, and well worth their 1st ballot election into the Hall.