Monday, December 21, 2009

Sports Round-Up, Volume 7

You Think They'd Learn: While Georgetown plays most of his home basketball games at the Verizon Center, the Hoyas play one game a year at the tiny McDonough Arena -- usually against a team Georgetown thinks it can handily defeat. In 2006, Georgetown played Old Dominion in McDonough Arena -- and the Monarchs, who admitted they took the scheduling personally, walked away with a convincing win. This past Saturday, ODU and Georgetown, the No. 11 team in the country, met in McDonough again, and again ODU came away with the victory. ODU, the preseason favorite in the Colonial Athletic Association (and, in the interest of full disclosure, my alma mater), is 3-0 all-time against Georgetown at McDonough, which makes me wonder ... when do the Hoyas stop scheduling the Monarchs there?

NFL -- No Heart League: Had Chad OchoCinco decided to wear the No. 15 in Sunday's loss at San Diego to honor his fallen friend and teammate Chris Henry, the NFL would've fined him for breaking its uniform policy. Far be it for me to be an OchoCinco apologist, but in this instance, I would've been firmly in his corner. I understand the NFL has rules, and its strict adherance to those rules plays some part in the league's success, but to fine OchoCinco for honoring his late friend? Could the NFL have really been that cold and heartless? Thankfully, we didn't have to find out. Even though the Bengals lost after a rough week, I'd like to think their collective effort honored Henry just fine.

Time to Panic?: Are the Minnesota Vikings getting bored in the lead-up to the playoffs, or are they actually regressing? After having their butts handed to them by the Arizona Cardinals three weeks back, the Vikings never got going in Sunday night's loss at Carolina. With two losses in their last three games, the Vikings don't seem to be in the running anymore for the NFC's top seed -- and if they're not careful, they might lose the No. 2 seed to the Eagles. Minnesota obviously misses E.J. Henderson -- who broke his leg against Arizona -- on defense, and there's something missing on offense. Brett Favre looks pedestrian again -- and he's fighting with coach Brad Childress -- and Adrian Peterson rushed for 19 yards against Arizona and 32 against Carolina. Panic time in Minnesota? Not sure, but Vikings fans might want to have their fingers on the panic button, just in case.

My Tiger Thought: I don't really care what Tiger Woods did or didn't do; he never really marketed himself as a stellar family guy. He marketed himself as the world's best golfer, which he was and is. The reports of his flings just bore me, and I don't need an apology from him. He doesn't need to grovel at my feet, nor those of the fans or the media. Woods has just one person to answer to -- his wife -- and she's apparently going to respond with a divorce filing. That's as far as this thing should go, but with our media the way it is these days, with the TMZs and New York Posts of the world, we take entirely too much pride in tearing down someone we put on the highest of pedestals. Guess what? Tiger's human, and he's just as capable of huge blunders and mistakes the same way we are. Please, back off ... I'd rather hear more Brett Favre retirement talk.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Redskins Musings

When Jim Zorn was stripped of his play-calling duties earlier this season, it was expected that he would be fired at the end of the season -- if not sooner. When former Vice President of Football Operations Vinny Cerrato mentioned on his radio show that Zorn would not get the axe during the season, it was pretty much assumed he'd be gone once the Redskins' campaign mercifully ended.

The only question was: who would take his place? Owner Daniel Snyder would theoretically find it hard to resist the big-name hire, and there are plenty of big names out there. Bill Cowher ... Mike Shanahan ... Mike Holmgren ... Jon Gruden ... Tony Dungy.

Reports Friday suggested Shanahan might be the guy Snyder wants, which makes sense when compared to the other names I mentioned. Cowher apparently loves his gig with CBS; Gruden likewise with Monday Night Football (so much so, he signed a contract extension last month). Holmgren is in deep talks with the Cleveland Browns, and Dungy seems to be at peace with his role as NBC analyst and mentor for troubled athletes.

But would Shanahan be the right fit in Washington? If Snyder lets him and new general manager Bruce Allen do their jobs, it just might. Don't forget, Shanahan's got a pair of Super Bowl rings -- and he won them a lot more recently than the Redskins won their last Lombardi Trophy. Allen is a well-respected figure throughout the NFL, having found success with the Oakland Raiders and Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

His associations with Gruden make those rumors tempting, but I'm not sure ESPN would let Gruden go that easily after getting him to ink a longer TV deal.

Allen has a reputation of building teams through the draft -- something the Redskins have done little of under the collective direction of Snyder and Cerrato. A team can't rely on free agency to win in the NFL, the way a team can in baseball or even the NBA. In the NFL, the draft is king; the teams that draft best are the ones who are always making the playoffs and contending for Super Bowls.

If Snyder understands that, and will give Allen and Shanahan free reign, then this might return Washington to NFL prominence. A franchise with the Redskins' history deserves better than the decade of mediocrity they've suffered through, and fans are rightfully excited about the potential Allen's hiring represents.

If Shanahan comes on-board too, then that excitement will only increase. But it all comes down to winning games; if the on-field results don't change, that enthusiasm will revert back to the same frustration and apathy that's permeating the Redskins culture now.

Here's hoping Allen works out ... and Shanahan joins the party.