Friday, December 31, 2004Simple as Black and White...
His latest piece on Reggie White is excellent. He's strongly critical of the way White was honored on the various NFL-oriented TV shows on Sunday. The positive remembrance of White was overwhelming, and it should've been because White was, by all accounts a fine man. However, it was equally irresponsible not to mention some of White's unfortunate comments during a speech to the Wisconsin state legislature in 1998.
The TV execs had the same excuses -- there wasn't enough time, it was next on the list, etc.
They didn't do it because they were afraid that it would ruin the moment. In actuality it would've defined the moment because while White was a phenominal NFL player, possibly the best pass rusher ever, he was imperfect just like us. Capable of making a mistake and some stupid comments.
He later apologized for some of the things, acknowledged his short-sighted opinion in the matter and moved on. It's too bad the networks couldn't do the same thing (acknowledge, move on). If they had, more people would've known this:
Later on, the reporter Andrea Kremer said in a panel discussion that White had told her recently that making those remarks "was one of the biggest regrets he had." She also said that White had turned away from being a Christian minister and was recently studying Hebrew to understand the Scriptures better and "learn what religion is all about."
Reggie White wasn't content with just an apology and a statement. He was learning every day in his quest to become a better man. Not only did the TV networks ignore his past by ignoring his statements, they also ignored the man he wanted to be in the future. A smarter, more well-rounded man. A man we lost too soon.
Wednesday, December 29, 2004NFC = Not Football Conference
Now I'm not telling you anything you didn't already know, but here's a surprise -- the problems with the conference start at the top. Philadelphia, as 13-2 as they are, are a completely imperfect team.
Offensively they were barely a two-dimensional team before the Owens injury. They never established a physical ground game to match Donovan McNabb's passing. Brian Westbrook is very solid player in the open field, but they really miss the power running that Correll Buckhalter could've given them. As it is, their best option of running out the clock late is to put the ball in the hands of 34-year-old Dorsey Levens.
Now the Eagles' two-dimensions (McNabb and Owens) have become one dimension and the pleading begins for someone...anyone to step up as a secondary receiver. Again how can a team go 13-2 without a second receiver? And why hasn't Freddie Mitchell established himself yet? For all the showmanship he displays on each of his 17 catches, this guy should be getting 4-5 catches a game with TO drawing the double coverage. He's a former first round pick and he's got the size to pose some mismatches.
However, he and Todd Pinkston were at their best this season when they were doing what made them feel comfortable -- watching Terrell Owens make plays.
As for the defense, the Eagles secondary is surprisingly good, possibly better than last year's group. As for the front seven, they struggled against the run for half the season until Jim Johnson made some adjustments (which led to the Pro Bowl selection of Jeremiah Trotter). However, this past Monday the truth reared its ugly head again. The Eagles first team defense was completely manhandled by the Rams for a 10-play, 73-yard touchdown drive on all running plays.
With most of the first team sitting out again this week, Johnson has a good month to fix the run problem, especially if he's looking at an Atlanta team that features two good runners and the best running QB in league history. However, it's going to be a fear, because should the Eagles finally make it to the Super Bowl, they could face any one of seven physically grueling AFC teams with strong run games. Even the Colts can pound Edgerrin James 25 times for big yardage if they choose.
Now I'm saying it. Philadelphia will be in the Super Bowl. I mean they could lose Owens, McNabb, Allen Iverson and Rocky Balboa and still be the best team in the NFC. However, being there isn't enough, Philly has been there before and gotten embarassed. The Eagles still have a lot of work to do in between now and the first Sunday in February.
Unless the Panthers make it to the NFC Championship Game, if that happens all bets are off.
Tuesday, December 28, 2004ESPN Hype Works...
I was sorely mistaken.
Saturday's 8.0 overnight rating for the Miami Heat's overtime victory against the Los Angeles Lakers was the best for an NBA regular-season game on any network in nearly seven years.
Good hype and it was a very good game.