It guess it’s not just to the victor that go the spoils: despite his team falling just short in the Super Bowl, Cardinals offensive coordinator Todd Haley was rewarded for the team’s miracle run, as the KANSAS CITY STAR reports that he has reached an agreement with the Kansas City Chiefs to become their new head coach. Now, with the absolutely mess that the Chiefs are right now, it’s debatable how much of a “reward” this job is. But hey: it’s not the Raiders.
Clearly, by resurrecting the career of Kurt Warner and turning the Cardinals into a fearsome offensive machine, Haley’s proven that he can coach an offense. But can he be the leader? After all, this is someone who never played college football (instead playing and later coaching college golf) and only got into football as a scout in 1995. Can he earn the respect of the players with such little experience?
I don’t want to raise any red flags here, but when you think of “head coach with no college playing experience,” who do you think of? Charlie Weis? And if Haley commands the type of respect and admiration from players and fans that Weis does - yikes. It might even have Chiefs fans longing for the halcyon days of Gunther Cunningham. (Note: this will never happen.)
But I had an inkling this was going to happen. A source (a teammate on my kickball team) mentioned earlier this week that his father spotted Chiefs GM Scott Pioli having a lengthy meal with Todd Haley’s representatives at a Ruth’s Chris Steak House in St. Louis, hurriedly shooing away waiters and looking out for spies (apparently not well enough).
Which brings up an interesting point: Ruth’s Chris Steak House? Really? There was no better place in St. Louis to conduct an important, secretive conversation about your next head coach than a chain steak house? Granted, it’s not Sizzler or Golden Corral, but St. Louis has to have dining options with red leather chairs and lots of dark corners - don’t they have Italian restaurants there? And why not have the meeting in Kansas City? Can someone point him to Yelp, please?
In other news: it turns out that corporate sponsors don’t like it when the person they are using to sell breakfast to millions of kids is pictured taking a rip from a bong. Who knew? CNBC details how Kellogg’s has decided not to renew Michael Phelps’ endorsement contract, which is set to expire at the end of the month. Which was probably going to happen anyway - except very quietly versus with a public statement from the company admonishing Phelps for behavior that “is not consistent with the image of Kellogg.”
At least Phelps can always count on USA Swimming to have his back in their usual, clumsy way. The organization decided to crack the whip on their poster child by giving him a three-month ban, during a time when he wasn’t expected to compete in any meets of significance. (He will miss one meet, but let’s be serious here - if it’s not the Olympics or World Championships. does it really matter?) It’s the equivalent of a five-game baseball suspension for a pitcher, which just means that his next start is pushed back a game.
While all this was going on, there were actual games being played last night. And none were more important - or exciting - than the clash between the Lakers and the Celtics in Boston. The last time the Lakers were seen at the Garden, they were dodging green and white confetti as they exited the court to lick their wounds after having the Celtics pound them like a two dollar steak in their Finals-clinching 131-92 victory.
That didn’t happen this time. Despite Kobe Bryant having an off shooting game (10 of 29 from the field), the Lakers found a way to prevail 110-109 in a seesaw overtime thriller. The key for the Lakers was defense - a concept many thought they had abandoned about a month ago - even without injured center Andrew Bynum, and the scoring of Pau Gasol and Lamar Odom (a combined 44 points).
But if you want to talk about winning, you have to start with Tennessee women’s basketball coach Pat Summitt. After missing at her first attempt earlier in the week against Oklahoma, she notched her 1,000th career win on Thursday, with her Lady Volunteers thumping Georgia, 73-43.
Say what you will about women’s basketball, but that’s an incredible feat. Consider this: in all team sports, only Utah Jazz coach Jerry Sloan has recorded more wins with one team. The difference, of course, is that Summitt actually knows how to win championships (although to be fair to Sloan, she never had to game plan for Michael Jordan.) In other news:
- Is Ray Lewis ready to walk away from the Ravens? It’s appearing more likely after PRO FOOTBALL reports that he has refused to give the team a “hometown discount” in contract negotiations. Could he make his way to the Bengals and rejoin Marvin Lewis? God, we hope so.
- It turns out the NFL did screw up the Santonio Holmes catch: USA TODAY says the league has admitted that the Steelers receiver should have been given a 15-yard penalty for excessive celebration after his Super Bowl-winning catch. As I type, Will Leitch is buying a black market gun and heading to the league offices in New York.
- BALL DON’T LIE wants to slap an asterisk on LeBron James’ triple-double the othe night against the Knicks on the basis of his questionable ninth rebound out of 10. Judge for yourself and see if it should have been credited to him or Ben Wallace:
- Alabama has never had a black head coach in a major sport. Jon Solomon of THE BIRMINGHAM NEWS thinks it’s about time that changes, with the Crimson Tide looking for a replacement for basketball coach Mark Gottfried. (h/t to THE MARCH TO MADNESS)
- Yeah, I guess it’s a “poor decision” for Bowling Green’s star women’s basketball player Nikki McCoy to be driving around with a BA level twice the legal limit and an open bottle of rum in the car. WTOL-TV has details of her inevitable arrest.
- PBA bowler Jason Belmonte bowls like your four-year old son does - except your son probably can’t bowl 300 games. The WALL STREET JOURNAL has the details of one of the weirdest bowling styles you’ll ever see from a pro:
- MLB.COM reports that the Los Angeles Dodgers will host the first-ever Mexican League baseball game in the US in May, as first-division teams Monterrey and the Mexico City Diablos Rojos will battle at Dodger Stadium. Grab yourself an ice cold Horchata and enjoy the game!
- THE BIG LEAD wonders if moving your family to Nevada so your seven-year-old son can play golf full-time is a bit excessive. I would agree, especially since no one is ever going to buy Brett Sodetz-flavored Gatorade.
- According to the ASSOCIATED PRESS, Michael Waltrip is vowing to retire from NASCAR if he isn’t competitive this season. So make sure you say goodbye to him if you go to a NASCAR race this season.
- We are so close to history: the NEW YORK TIMES reports that a 14-year-old set a world record at Guitar Hero with a score of 973,954 on a song by metal shredders DragonForce. Someone is going to break the million point barrier - just call that kid the Roger Bannister of Video Game Nerds.