Speed Read: Howie Long’s Playoff Emasculation

Real men have haircuts level with the earth’s horizon. Real men don’t laugh at Terry Bradshaw’s jokes. And real men become spokespeople for Chevrolet-brand pickup trucks and look down on cars with convenient tailgate steps and heated steering wheels and seatbelts, because seatbelts are for queers and real men can crash through a windshield and jog three miles later that day. Howie Long is a real man. And if the FOX analyst-slash-truck-salesman had his way with the NFL playoff teams, he might be able to sniff out a girlie man or two.

Kurt Warner and Howie Long

Are those … “man sleeves?” Did Kurt Warner have to cover up his arms in Charlotte’s chilly willy weather, of all places? Wasn’t it, like, 50 degrees out there? Did his mom wife crotchet him a yarn jockstrap? Did you know Long would play in sub-zero temperatures shirtless, if given the opportunity by the league? Also, frostbite builds character, and hypothermia increases sperm count. And don’t even get Howie started on what NFC Championship Game quarterback Donovan McNabb was wearing between offensive possessions:

McNabb in coat

A fun dilemma brought up by FANHOUSE: Is it ethical for Wake Forest fans to rush the court after a win over UNC? After all, UNC was No. 3, and suffered their second loss in as many Sundays, and Wake Forest was a scrappy 4th in the national polls. Blogger Adam … well, Adam, argues “Court storming is actually an insult to your players. Court storming is an admission that you didn’t think they could win.” Well, sure, but … so what? In Adam’s rules, he mentions it’s OK to storm after any Duke win. Well, isn’t UNC at that same level of animosity? Wake may be No. 4 and even Wilbon called the upset two days ago, but a No. 4 over a No. 3 win means it’s a top-five showdown, and even in the SbB-model-stacked ACC, that’s a couple-times-a-year occurrence, and Wake just won one of those. My alma mater lost to Savannah F’in State this year. Let the Deacons run wild and free, and enjoy this one.


If it wasn’t for HULU.COM, nobody’s watching Saturday Night Live anymore except for drunk people who can’t find anything else on TV. That website might singlehandedly save that show. The cast may not be in its prime, and it could be in a perpetual Kansas City Royals state of infancy, but a few solid clips seem to arise from recent episodes. In this case, it’s Kenan Thompson as Charles Barkley, as portrayed last Saturday. (Cue it up to 1:29 in if you don’t want to listen to Seth Meyers.) All in all, a solid skit, although if there was a way to transplant Frank Caliendo’s voice into Thompson’s larynx, that might be the opposite of turrible.

Red Sox '57 Chevy

Before you drive away, please observe the following landmarks, which are clearly marked on your TripTik:

Which team do you most want to see in the Super Bowl?

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Speed Read: Nash Brawls While Artest Spectates

The NBA. Where Matt Barnes flattening Rafer Alston with a forearm happens. We soon entered some sort of bizarro world in which Steve Nash is the third man in in a brawl while Ron Artest just observes from the bench. Then, for some reason, Yao decides to fight Tracy McGrady. It was just about the only entertainment in Houston’s suprisingly easy 94-82 win over the Suns.

Here’s video of the incident. It’s the Rockets’ TV broadcast, so of course everyone wearing a white jersey deserves to be shot, according to these guys:

The Celtics got a buzzer-beater from Paul Pierce to hand the Hawks their first loss of the season, 103-102. A tough loss, but it’s clear that Atlanta is going to be a major factor in the Eastern Conference this year. For the second straight night, the champs had to come back from a double-digit deficit at home to eke out a win. One wonders how long the hangover will last for the C’s.

The Lakers remained the league’s only unbeaten team, but had to hold off a furious fourth-quarter rally by the Hornets. L.A. led by 21 at the half and still led by the same margin early in the fourth, but New Orleans went on a run that saw them get within 83-80 with 90 seconds left, but Kobe Bryant hit a dagger of a three-pointer as the shot clock expired to give the Lakers a six-point lead and ice the game.

Greg Oden finally got back on the court last night, and managed to make it through an entire game without suffering an injury. He was far from spectacular in 16 minutes of play, but he did score the first points of his career and showed off some of his strength and defensive prowess. The Blazers beat the Heat 104-96 thanks to 25 points from their less-hyped, but more-talented rookie Rudy Fernandez.

Greg Oden's first points

(he made the shot, and didn’t break any bones in the process)

I didn’t really get to see any of last night’s MAC battle between Central Michigan and Northern Illinois. Oh, I had it on, it’s just that the fog was so thick I couldn’t actually see what was going on. The fog was actually a blessing for NIU, as we couldn’t see that there were only 43 people in the stands. The Chippewas (that’s CMU) blew a 30-6 lead in the third quarter and ended up needing overtime to beat the Huskies 33-30. CMU moved to 6-0 in the MAC and hosts unbeaten #14 Ball State next Wednesday for the chance to put a fork in the BCS chances of the Cardinals.

• Are you unemployed? If so, I’ve got a deal for you. All you gotta do is send in your resume and you’ll get some free NBA tickets! They’re Nets tickets, though. Oh, you aren’t interested? Rather stay jobless than figure out how to take the bus to the Meadowlands? I hear you.

Nets crowd

(Oh, you want to sit here? Get a freaking job, loser!)

In all seriousness, this is actually a pretty good idea. Just send your resume to the Nets, and the team will forward it to 120 sponsors as well a bunch of other companies that have season tickets. And for that, you get four tickets to a crappy basketball game in a crappy half-empty arena that you couldn’t otherwise even afford to attend. How’s that for wake-up call?

• Today’s gratuitous photo comes courtesy of BLAZE OF LOVE, which is enamored with the Portland Blazer Dancers’ new uniforms, now featuring boy shorts. These were clearly Greg Oden’s idea.

Trail Blazer Dancers

Brian Burke stepped down as the GM of the Anaheim Ducks yesterday, and was replaced by Bob Murray, who becomes like the 38th Murray running a hockey team in some capacity. DUCKS BLOG has the report.

• “He’s our head coach and I look forward to him being the head coach for a long time,” is the quote from Notre Dame AD Jack Swarbrick when asked about Charlie Weis‘ job security on Wednesday (courtesy of the FORT WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM). That’s code for “his ass is toast if we lose to Navy.”

Bobby Knight isn’t just going to be a studio analyst this year for ESPN — he’s going to be a game analyst as well. Don’t call him a member of the media, though.

• The Orioles wish they had a second word in their team nickname they could get rid of, like Tampa Bay, but they’ll have to settle for new jerseys. Not a radical change, but they’ve gone back to wearing “Baltimore” across their chests on the road, something they got rid of in the ’70s when they weren’t trying to alienate the D.C. market. Now, the O’s say the District can suck it. The BALTIMORE SUN was on hand for the unveiling.

new Orioles jerseys

• It’s so cute when Americans try to act like real soccer fans. Apparently the MLS Eastern Conference Final between Columbus and Chicago is so contentious that all Chicago fans are getting a police escort to their seats in Columbus and the two teams’ posses aren’t allowed anywhere near each other. MLS RUMORS lists all of the security policies that will be enacted. They have attack dogs on hand in case of a “pitch invasion.” Good Lord, it’s MLS.

• FANTASY BASEBALL DUGOUT says that Carlos Gonzalez is now a fantasy sleeper for next season as he stands to be an everyday starter in Coors Field. Matt Holliday? Not so much, now that he’s stuck playing in the Mausoleum.  Although, there’s about a 105% chance that Billy Beane is flipping Holliday to the Mets in July for their entire farm system.

Bernard Hopkins is all over Donovan McNabb yet again. From PHILLY.COM: “Some people are athletes, still good, but don’t have that extra ‘I’m willing to sacrifice my life. I’m willing to sacrifice what I have to sacrifice to win.’”

• MLB.COM confirms that the Angels are done trying to sign Francisco Rodriguez, and are going to turn their attention toward Manny Ramirez. Artie Moreno says he thought they had K-Rod locked up last year, but then Mariano Rivera got his huge contract and screwed up the market for closers.

Antonio McDyess has been waived by the Nuggets after they acquired him from Detroit in the Allen Iverson deal. And now any team (wink, wink) can sign McDyess. All 30 teams will certainly have an equal chance (cough, cough) of getting him.  No way he’d have any sort of pre-arranged deal to return to the Pistons. At least that’s what the Cavs suddenly seem to believe, according to the CLEVELAND PLAIN-DEALER.

• ESPN’s Chris Low says Lane Kiffin interviewed for the Clemson job recently, making them the 19th team interested in hiring him. Getting fired by Al Davis is the best thing that ever happened to this guy.

Who you got in a battle royal?

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Report: Iverson To Pistons For Billups, McDyess

The WORLD OF ISAAC tips me to this post from A. Sherrod Blakely of the ANN ARBOR NEWS:

Allen Iverson Antonio McDyess Chauncey Billups

The Detroit Pistons have reached a tentative agreement to trade Chauncey Billups and Antonio McDyess to the Denver Nuggets for Allen Iverson. Neither player was at this morning’s shoot-around. Team officials said that more information would be forthcoming later today.

If the report is true, a masterstroke from Joe Dumars to energize the Pistons. Billups has fallen off of late and McDyess isn’t exactly a force at this point in his career.

Now the bigger question for the Pistons is coach Michael Curry.

UPDATE: ESPN playing catchup.