Len Cosell's NFL Preview...(Horribly Late Unfortunately)
For the sake of arguing and such, I know it's Week 2. I wrote this just before Week 1, but never got around to posting it.
Len Cosell's back...not that I really went anywhere. So the lockout's over (in the NFL) and we've got football. A few Week 1 thoughts before I get to the brass tacks which all of you are reading for...my predictions. (Smile.)
A) I remain baffled at how Tony Sparano not only kept his job, but earned a two year extension he might not be around for after the scrimmage that was their Monday Night opener. Oh and cutting the guy who couldn't keep Wes Welker from going the length of the field...really not doing much when there's still 10 other guys from that All-Swiss Cheese Defense still around. (Swiss Cheese = Full of Holes)
B) Tom Brady's sick of hearing about Aaron Rodgers being the best in the league, when he's still packing more rings than Aaron. (One wedding band to Gisele, three Super Bowl rings.)
C) After Sunday night, I'm moderately more jacked about the Jets.
C2) I'm full blown set on the notion that until the Giants shitcan Coughlin, I'm through with em'. No way should they have let W-rex A Million kill their obsolete secondary with guys who other than perhaps Santana Moss, haven't been relevant since COLLEGE!!!
D) In spite of what Oakland did to Denver and have continued to do since last year against the AFC West...oh, let me hold this thought.
E) If you're a Colts fan, PANIC. PANIC NOW. Because short of that defense going absolutely LIGHTS OUT in a biblical sense, the Colts are finished. They will go from double digit wins to double digit LOSSES in a season and honestly, if they're out of it by the end of next month and Peyton's ready to come back...he cannot come back. Seriously. Indy's paying for not taking Peyton's heir in April's draft (honestly, they could've snatched Mallett and been SET...but New England aka 'What San Fran Should've Been Well Into The 90s But Weren't' did) and now, they're stuck.
So...let's get on with it shall we? This year, I'm doing a little something different. I'm going with division winners in the order by which I'm certain to that which I'm absolutely uncertain of or just am outright indifferent/apathetic about.
The Dirk Grande Finale? Or A Super-Finish? (Finals Overview)
I like to think of this as the "Len just eats his crow now and gets it over with" edition of my Finals preview. Normally, I wouldn't be writing this so soon. But between the boredom I'm presently faced with just before I head out the door for work and the fact that both of these Conference Final series have been absolute mismatches (it's a wonder they both weren't sweeps) made this easy on me. We've learned quite a lot during the postseason thus far have we not? For starters...
No Country For Old Champs
- The three teams which accounted for more than 75% of the titles won over the last decade (Spurs, Lakers, Celtics) were all gone before the Conference Finals. The Spurs were the only team that didn't get out of the first round, while the Celts and Lakers were exposed as too old and possibly in the case of the Lakers, not quite as intimidating as previously thought. Memphis more than made its case for a permanent seat at the table out West, while we're wondering if Westbrook and Durant are either The Next Great Thing together or if it's a "this team isn't big enough for the both of us" type of deal.
The Regular Season MVP Award Is Just That...A Regular Season Award.
- While this hasn't been a situation akin to 1995 where Olajuwon seemingly went out of his way to embarass, humiliate and eviscerate David Robinson...facts are facts. Derrick Rose got more out of his team than he was really meant to. Thibodeau to his credit, got more out of them than he was supposed to in his first year. But now it seems like against a Two Man Band from South Beach, they seem all kinds of out of sorts. They can't close games the way they did in the previous two rounds and Miami's closing out with frightening efficiency. If there's any disappointment on either Wade or LeBron for netting any legitimate MVP consideration, they seem to be taking it out on Chicago in this series. In any event, since I don't forsee a three game losing streak in Miami's immediate future, looks like D-Rose gets to join a very long list of MVPs that won't add NBA Champion to his resume in the same year.
The Rise of Dirkzilla
- Anyone who has read my stuff for a while, knows I haven't held Dirk Nowitzki in the highest regard. I believed that he wasn't a guy you could build a franchise around, definitely not a guy you could win a championship with. I reamed him when he won MVP in 2007 over Nash, even went as far as to say Nash was de facto MVP which was augmented by Dirk's egg that was laid against Nellie and his Warriors. (Ironic how the last two #1 seeds to lose in the first round are out of Texas.) I initially didn't have Dallas beating the Lake Show. But then Dirkzilla appeared, eviscerated the Lake Show's vaunted frontline and now he's making OKC look too young and too green to run with the former Western Conference Champions.
Dirkzilla is finally showing signs that he is without question, the toughest one on one matchup in the Association. Whenever he wants his shot, he'll get it. However he wants to do it, he'll get it done. He and Jason Terry are the only holdovers from 2006 & 2007 respectively. Which leads me to my final point...or more like equation so to speak...
Len's 2 Games In Playoff Primer (NBA Playoff Dealie)
I figured the song "No Country For Young Men" was the perfect track to base my "late as usual" Playoff Primer on. So far, there are at least four teams in 0-2 holes. Two of which are probably waiting on their last rites to be read, the other two could get new life going home. I'll let you figure out who's who. Now for some quick hits on the rest of these first round series and who will be in the Finals.
The Melo Halfway Column (NBA All-Star/Trade/2nd Half Outlook)
There are two tragedies in the world. Not getting what you want and getting it.
Its funny that Carmelo Anthony sparks my fire to start writing my first NBA column since the Preview and I give ye my word, this probably wont be very long. Three things to cover, Melo, The East & The West. First, Carmelo. Lets not get it twisted, Carmelos a Top 5 talent. He has not missed the playoffs in his career, he has 13 game winning shots with under 10 seconds left to play in his career. He has averaged at LEAST 20 a game in every season since 2003. He was all the Nuggets have and now, Denver joins Toronto and Cleveland as franchises that have been decimated by departures of their franchise player. For Denver, you get younger (Galinari and Felton figure to start right away, but theyre all but done for as a playoff threat out West) and not much better. (In their defense, they got a lot more for Melo than either city got for LBJ & Bosh combined.) New York gets another star, but essentially turns into a clone of the Heat, only with a slightly more formidable starting lineup (cause the Knicks actually had pieces around Amare that were starting to emerge, but most of those were sent to Nuggetland.). When a trade like this gets made, you have to ask the following questions
"Merry New Year!!!" - Eddie Murphy, Trading Places
Yeah, I'm back. New Year, same ole Len...sorta. I'm back to rant on a few things, first of which...
LeBron. Look, for anyone who really believs LeBron didn't deserve his two MVP trophies, look at the Cleveland Cavaliers now. They BLOW. No...that was my thought after LeBron walked in there and straight up eviscerated them 2010 Freddy style. They SUCK. No, I think that's been the Cavs since that game in which for the first time ever, the crowd had more balls to them than the players they were rooting for. Still, last night against the Lakers...I'm not sure if there's such a thing after the two things I mentioned to aptly describe what the Cavs really are. Swallow, almost seems like an insult to that particular word at this point. I have coined the "AAU" label for teams in the Association that have a fairly decent, young 25 and under core to them. Cleveland's a team I label as nothing more than a Practice Squad. Simply put. Other than maybe Jamison and Mo Williams, who in this team could you point to and say, "Yeah, they could be a legitimate starter for some team in the Association" about? Boobie Gibson? Varejao? I think those guys are pretty much reserves AT BEST. Sorry folks, but your team's done. Byron, sometimes waiting on a great job is better than taking a shit one. I give you three years max before you're shitcanned or just flat out QUIT.
Another fantasy football season has concluded here at SB, and here are the results:
Congratulations (and curses) go out to SB's own Ron, whose Mariotti's Pimp Hand snatched victory from the grasp of yours truly's Team Jademyst, who had dominated the season for the most part. My best FF season ever, I went into the playoffs with a 10-4 record. Unfortunately, my team chose the championship game of all games to sink into mediocrity.
I do take comfort in the fact that I completely surpassed my 19-year-old son, though; he had such a rough time that he changed his team name to The Losing Team, and with a 4-10 season, that pretty much summed it up.
1. Mariotti's Pimp Hand
2. Team Jademyst
4. Solidarity Failure
5. 15 Seconds of Shame
6. The Losing Team
The Later Than LeBron Wants To Be Playing NBA Preview Edition
Well, as it turns out, I actually had this written two weeks ago. No, really, I did. Then work got to me and for whatever the reason, I didn't get around to finishing it. Sometimes, stuff just works out for the best. I'll hit on a few things I feel worth noting and well, I guess we'll go from there. Oh and starting this year, Len Cosell's gonna start dedicating his columns to various women within the sports world. This year's NBA column goes out to my favorite ESPN female not named Beadle, namely Erin Andrews. :P (Hey, I'm single. I'm allotted the leeway to do this sort of thing until some woman snatches me up and domesticates me. Then I'll have to get creative on how I do it. :P)
Alright, I guess if Bill Simmons can slack off on his favorite column, I can mine, right? Don't worry, I'm going to make it well worth your wait, trust me. :) I find it's kinda funny that we are just weeks away from Thanksgiving and we're looking at just four unbeaten teams. Two from the "Traditional Power" part of the country, two from the "Affirmative Action" part of the country. Alright, yours truly is going to go through this one time for the great time. Give you each team, why they should be playing for the National Title and why they inevitably will or won't be. Fun, right? Oh, I feel the need to offer a solution to the present BCS quandry and it doesn't involve a "playoff" for this reason...
It doesn't need one. The regular season is playoff enough for teams. Why do you think teams like Ohio State are so petrified of scheduling the Broncos From The Blue Lagoon or Horny Toads From Texas Christian? Because they can't handle a possible loss from one of those teams, then have to deal with possibly running the table within their own conference. (Multiply this next year with newly rejuvenated Nebraska coming into the mix next season.) So...let's make with the solution, shall we? Top 10 teams, get BCS consideration. By that I'm talking from the Orange to the Rose, Sugar to Los Fiestas. Top two teams (in this instance, Oregon and Auburn), play for the title. Now if we factor in the "Plus One", the Boise State/TCU rematch would be for the right to play the winner of Oregon/Auburn. Just to put a UFC touch on it, the Boise/TCU winner would be deemed the "Interim National Champion" who would face Oregon/Auburn winner for the right to be crowned the BCS Naitonal Champion.
I know...I know...Len's never EARLY with any column. But this year, I am. I'm going to write the column which I hold above all others I write, but before I go there, I need to speak on something.
(Trust me, it'll segue rather nicely to the column at hand.)
Saturday afternoon in a game that very few, if any cared about, Rutgers beat Army in OT. The top story in that game however, was Rutgers DT Erick LeGrand being paralyzed from the neck down. Okay, no big deal, freak occurence. Turn the clock forward a little over 24 hours later to the game of football where its competitors are handsomely paid to do it before packed houses and such.
Body after body it seemed was getting carried off, due to some Super High Impact Football style "Somebody get a BODY BAG!!!" hits. At the center of this storm in terms of hits were Dunta Robinson of the Falcons (his hit took out his intended target and himself to boot), Brandon Meriweather (can't say this guy wasn't watching classic NFL shit, he was headhunting Todd Heap in a way that would've made Jack Tatum smile) and most notably of the bunch, former Defensive Player Of The Year James Harrison. Ask Mossaquoi and Cribbs how interacting with him went this past Sunday, if they can recollect it. Both left the game with concussions. In light of all this, the NFL decided enough's enough. Well, enough's enough if we intend on these guys living through an 18 game stretch plus playoffs starting next year.
Because if you're thinking there's anything beyond that motive behind this sudden "enforcement" of rules that I wonder if they were even on the books from the get-go...you're either delusional, stupid or working for the league offices. Not to get all John Witherspoon here, but the whole damn world's gone sissified on me.
WWE's taking a hard stance on chair shots to the noggin and blood in its matches. (Nothing to do with Linda McMahon running for Christopher Dodd's Senate seat, by the way. Wink wink.) Vince is even doing his best to help, asking folks to "Take A Stand For WWE". Really Vince? You expect us all to just MIB clear of you having your son-in-law feign screwing a corpse? (It's late and I'm too lazy to look up the technical term for such a grotesque act. :P) You expect us to forget that you actually booked an I Quit match where it was you against your daughter Stephanie, a match that ended with you choking her out with a lead pipe causing your wife to throw in the towel? Yeah, I wouldn't stand for that shit if I had stacks of hundred dollar bills under me. Your wife deserves to lose, if for no other reason, subjecting us to that Billy and Chuck bullshit.
NBA's getting even more sissified, even though their measures are probably more Draconian than the NFL. Starting this year in what can only be deemed "The Rasheed Wallace Rule", any NBA player that so much as bad eyes a referee is getting T'd up. I'm going over 4 playoff series that end up getting tilted the wrong way because of this rule and I'm probably going to be wrong there. "So Dave, your refs may be crooked and have their own agendas. What are you going to do to crack down on this?" "Well, I'm going to give them the power to turn games to their own personal agendas by calling technicals on any player that gets a little too demonstrative after a foul call."
Brilliant! Well done, Commish. Bud Selig thinks that's fucking moronic and he's the guy who thought the best way to get folks watching the All-Star game, was to put homefield in the World Series on the line. Basically rendering the 2nd half null and void for reasons other than to decipher homefield within each league. Equally as brilliant, Commissioner Goodell taxing men for giving the fans what they pay to see (as barbaric as it might be) MONTHS before a possible lockout. Yet, we want MORE GAMES going into the next CBA. Look, I'll cover each of these potential Billionaires vs. Millionaires deals as such...
Alright, I've been quiet long enough, hmm? Yeah, I'm going to get to the basketball side of things in due time. But first, it's time for the NFL. In years past I've gone rather deep into it, but this year...I dunno. The looming spectre of a work stoppage just leaves a very sour taste in my mouth. Sad, but true. Certain things, just jump out at me. The West divisions in both have a chance to be mildly surprising...or over before your kids head out for Halloween. If the Niners can't win the NFC West this season, Singletary should update his resume and quit. SERIOUSLY. The Eagles are essentially New England Lite when it comes to running a franchise. All the arrogance, none of the results. Trading McNabb within the division to a heated rival, makes as much sense as letting your best bud get a night with your wife. Or letting him in on a threesome with your loved one. Someone's gonna end up getting fucked and it won't be pretty at the end of the day. Bet your Philly Cheese Steak that McNabb's gonna be motivated to stick it to Philly twice a year, for the rest of his career.
Then of course, there's Da Jets. The Jets are essentially the offseason villains of the NFL. They made moves, they stole a month's worth of TV time on HBO via Hard Knocks and if it is at all possible...they upstaged the VH1 tandem of Ochocinco and T.O. in Cincy. So much ado about them, even I find myself worried they might not live up to the billing. Alright, I'm gonna keep this short and to the point. Or at least attempt to anyhow.
Wild Cards: Jets, Bengals, Giants & Falcons
Playoff Team From A Year Ago Most Likely To Slip (whether in wins or out of it entirely): Chargers & Vikings
Non-Playoff Team From Last Season Most Likely To Return This Year That I Didn't Name Above:
Steelers & 49ers
Mi-Mi-Mi-Miami World Order! 4 Life. (The Decision Wrap Up)
Call me Lenny "The Brain" Heenan, because I told y'all this day was coming. Oh, wait, let me go back.
For the first time in the history of my writing on this site, I'm going to write a column and intersplice two things that really are like oil and water. Namely wrestling and basketball. Yes, I'm going to pull it off and here's how. Wrestling fans, remember July 1996? Bash At The Beach? Yeah, y'all know where I'm going with this.
Time: Thursday Night, July 8th, 9 PM EST.
Location: Somewhere in Greenwich, Connecticut
Occasion: LeBron James announcing his decision to play ??? for the 2010-2011 season and beyond.
I'm done with the letters and honestly, I think I'm just about done with all of this. Because apparently now, what LeBron said post Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals is set to come to fruition. Oh and I've got news for ya Cleveland, I don't think this story ends well for you at all. I've quietly held the notion that in horror flicks, if you show tits and you're a female, you're pretty much a done deal. For the last three weeks or so, New York, New Jersey, Chicago, Miami, Cleveland and the Clips have shown their "tits" to LeBron and his corporate crew. Tomorrow night, a little after 9 PM EST, we're going to witness five teams get gutted in unceremonious fashion. Oh, did I forget to mention the guarantee that LeBron's going to win at least three titles within the next five years or so? No?
Yeah, I realize this is the second letter I've written in a little under a week, but I needed to get this off my chest. I've been writing for SportsBastards for about three years now, primarily on basketball because it's my love. I've been a basketball junkie since before you were a twinkle in your parents' eyes. You stand probably 48 hours or so away from making a decision that probably will for all intents and purposes impact the prime of your career. Allow me to break down for you exactly what this entails as it pertains to yourself and your legacy in retrospect...
These are the years in which you will physically, be at your absolute best. You'll be stronger, faster, better...to steal a pun from The Six Million Dollar Man or something. Do you really want to do it in Cleveland? Now, I've had a chance to glean from all that you've seen and heard, as well as what I feel they really said or showed you. So let me sort through it all for ya, because time's ticking...
"Can you turn back time? Can you bring the dead back to life? ANSWER ME!!!"
"Didn't fuckin' think so."
- Freddy with Jesse moments before slicing him. - A Nightmare On Elm Street (2010)
Well LeBron, it's all over. Or it will be for you, if you stay.
It's funny that I had this written in advance, or at least a few hours before I walked out the door to see Robin Hood back in May and didn't bother saving the document. But the exchange I have up top here, is what should be in your mind along with what KG conveyed to you at the end of Game 6. You can't get your youth back when it's gone. Trust me, I'm 29 going on 30 feeling like I'm older than that. But before I go on, let me say this...
Sports fans with an attitude, SportsBastards is a humorous take on the life-or-death struggle that is sports. It doesn't matter who wins or loses, but if they cover the spread.
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