Shooting from the lip
Looking back at a weekend of televised sports ...
Baseball's Mitchell report has been out a few days, long enough for some thought and reaction. The biggest poststory is Yankees star Andy Pettitte admitting he used HGH to help recover from injury. Does the reason matter? The bottom line is he used it. He shouldn't now get a pass for either coming forward and/or taking it because of injury. And speaking of the guys who claim they used steroids or HGH for recovery from injuries, how come they aren't getting it from legitimate doctors instead of trainers, dentists and a guy who knows a guy who's a trainer?
"We're not allowed now, as guys defend themselves,'' Mike Lupica said on ESPN's Sports Reporters, "for them to say they only took it for recovery. Yes, it may help recovery. But they took it to get a competitive edge. And the idea that a guy like Pettitte can say, 'I'm not like these dirty, scummy other guys; I just did it for (injury)' is a preposterous notion.''
Most irritating story
So West Virginia coach Rich Rodriguez threatens to walk out of a news conference if anyone dared to ask ''one more question'' about rumors he was going to Michigan, then less than a day later he takes the Michigan job. Obviously, the media were on the right trail, not just throwing darts in the dark.
Is anyone else sick of coaches refusing to talk, denying rumors or flat-out lying to the public about talking to other teams and schools? There's nothing wrong with a coach leaving one program for another if it means a better financial situation for his family or a better career move. Just be up front about it instead of criticizing the media and fans for asking obviously legitimate questions when you're the one who created the questions in the first place. And then started more rumors by lying or being vague. Just be a man and tell people the truth.
Late in the first half, after Fox showed singer Jessica Simpson sitting in the stands watching boyfriend/Dallas QB Tony Romo, Fox's Joe Buck said, "Romo has a 9.8 quarterback rating in this game, proving it's never easy to play in front of your girlfriend.''
Someone tell me again why it is that New England coach Bill Belichick is the one who cheated and it's he and the Patriots who were seeking revenge on the coach (Eric Mangini) and team (Jets) they cheated against? As Mike Ditka said on ESPN's Sunday NFL Countdown: "Here’s the thing I don't understand: You cheated, and I caught you, and you’re going to punish me?''
On ESPN's Sports Reporters, Jeremy Schaap made a great point about all those Baseball Hall of Fame voters who try to make the case that maybe Barry Bonds and, now, Roger Clemens were Hall of Famers before they were tied in one way or another to steroids and should still be voted in. Schaap pointed out that it shouldn't matter what kind of players they were before the scandal, just like it didn't matter that Pete Rose was Hall of Fame-worthy before he was busted for gambling and just like it didn't matter that Shoeless Joe Jackson was Hall of Fame-worthy before the 1919 Black Sox scandal.
Best 'times have changed' moment
NBC had an astonishing set of numbers about how golf and sports have changed in the past 20 years during its weekend coverage of the Target World Challenge. It was 19 years ago when Curtis Strange became the first golfer to earn $1-million in prize money in one season. In 2007, 99 players earned at least $1-million.
Talking about Falcons coach Bobby Petrino leaving the team with three weeks left in the season, Fox football insider Jay Glazer relayed an incredible story:
"You want to talk about the irony of all ironies? Two weeks ago, Bobby Petrino printed up T-shirts for his players and on the T-shirt the message: Finish! How about that? Finish?!?! These players are looking at it this week and they're saying, 'Finish?!?! You have to be kidding me.' They took the T-shirt; they threw it on the floor and started kicking it around. John Abraham, their Pro Bowl defensive end, said to me, 'Believe it or not, the last couple of weeks we actually started to buy into this guy. Thinking this would be the right guy for us next year. Now with what he did, that was just garbage.'''
This whole Les Miles/Michigan story sounded fishy from the start. You might remember the LSU football coach huffed and puffed through denials that he would leave LSU for his alma mater. Then it came out that he, indeed, had spoken with Michigan officials. But, Miles said, it was just to give his input because he was being a good alumnus. Are you kidding me? Miles is at another school now. Why would Michigan, regardless of who called whom, have any interest in getting advice from a coach who is competing for the same recruits and national titles?
Three ideas that sprang up during the weekend
1. Baseball fans now need to treat Roger Clemens the same way they treat Barry Bonds.
2. Because of the growing trend of coaching changes in football, schools should not be allowed to recruit from the end of the regular season until the end of the bowl games.
3. If Rich Rodriguez brings the same type of offense to Michigan that he had at West Virginia, the big, plodding defenses in the Big Ten might have trouble catching up for a while.
Good news for the NHL. In the next few weeks you should start seeing Penguins star Sidney Crosby in national Gatorade commercials. Not just during NHL games, but on regular network programming. You have to go back to the days of Wayne Gretzky to find a hockey player while watching some random sitcom, drama or even sporting event on NBC, CBS, ABC or Fox.
Most intriguing breakdown
If you think what happens now during the NCAA basketball season has no impact on the NCAA Tournament, you're wrong. Kudos to CBS's Verne Lundquist and Billy Packer for breaking down how the NCAA Tournament selection works with Tom O'Connor, chairman of the selection committee, during Saturday's Purdue-Louisville game. Bottom line: If a bunch of Big East teams beat a bunch of SEC teams during the early season, not only does that help the winning team, it helps that conference if, for example, it comes to taking either a seventh-place Big East team or a seventh-place SEC team.
Something to think about while you’re watching all the holiday tournaments.
CBS's 60 Minutes had a topical piece, with Katie Couric interviewing Yankees baseball star Alex Rodriguez in the wake of the Mitchell report. Couric flat-out asked A-Rod if he had ever used any performance-enhancing drugs and A-Rod said no. The best exchange:
Couric: "So many huge players have been named in this investigation and MVPs, Cy Young Award winners, Hall of Famers, what's your reaction to this investigation?''
A-Rod: "Well, Katie, you're putting me in a tough spot. I mean these are guys that I play with, they're my teammates, friends, people that I respect, people that I play with every day. If anything comes of this, (I) would be extremely disappointed. I mean it would be a huge black eye on the game of baseball. A lot of fans, they just want to know a lot. They want to know the truth and I think in this George Mitchell investigation … maybe they will get what they want.''
On ESPN's Sunday NFL Countdown, Emmitt Smith, who is good for a couple of lame-brain comments a show, said, "The Steelers are overrated as a team.'' Who, exactly, is overrating them? Anyone picking them to win the Super Bowl? Anyone even picking them to have a shot at getting to the Super Bowl? Anyone suggesting they are better than New England or Indianapolis in the AFC? The answers are no one, no, no and no. That's just a dumb comment.