Shooting from the lip/Sept. 27 edition
Looking back at a weekend of televised sports ...
In an interview with NBC's Bob Costas on Sunday night, Jets coach Rex Ryan said he was tired of his team being viewed in a negative light. But, really, why should Ryan be surprised? They gladly took a player (wide receiver Santonio Holmes) that another team (Steelers) refused to put up with after failed drug tests. There was the mess with the Mexican female reporter. Then Jets wide receiver Braylon Edwards was arrested last week for suspicion of driving while impaired. The Jets' only punishment was not to start him, but he did play Sunday.
CBS's Boomer Esiason, who used to play for the Jets and hosts a radio show in New York, has a good guess what the problem is.
"This is the perception of a frat house gone wild, and it all coincides with the hiring of Rex Ryan,'' Esiason said. "You're a head coach in this league, and unfortunately it falls to the feet of him. And Rex Ryan was embroiled in the controversy at an MMA (mixed martial arts) fight. So if you ask me, you have to look at the hiring of Rex Ryan and wonder why the Baltimore Ravens didn't hire him. He was there for 10 years, and they went outside the organization and got John Harbaugh. I would play for Rex Ryan. But I think this has to fall at his feet.''
Sadly, however, Ryan is probably not alone in choosing to play Edwards on Sunday, as Fox's Jimmy Johnson said when asked if he would bench Edwards after his arrest.
"I'm a coach,'' Johnson said. "I want to win games. Let the legal process and the league take care of it. As a coach, I will put my best players on the field.''
Speaking of the Jets, the NBC Sunday Night Football duo of Tony Dungy and Rodney Harrison were highly critical of the Jets letting Braylon Edwards play Sunday night. Dungy said he would not have let Edwards play and mentioned how he once cut a player named Ed Johnson in Indianapolis after Johnson was caught driving with marijuana and a gun in his car.
Harrison said, "This is a perfect opportunity for the Jets organization to send a message to their players, as well as their fans to say, 'We won't tolerate it.' You talk about a championship ... the Jets want to win a championship. But is this championship actions? You go to a club, you're partying at 5 o'clock in the morning? You've got to be able to be dependable and they're just not getting it done.''
CBS NFL Today analyst Shannon Sharpe, when asked if Jimmy Clausen is the answer to Carolina’s quarterback problems: "What is the question? Is this the same Jimmy Clausen that couldn't beat the Naval Academy last year at Notre Dame? And now John Fox is pinning his hopes on Jimmy Clausen to save his job? I advise you not to do any remodeling in your house if I were you.''
Worst news (for Bucs fans)
The Bucs host the Saints on Oct. 17. The wife of New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees is pregnant and due to deliver the next day. But don't get excited Bucs fans. Brittany Brees told CBS's 60 Minutes that if she goes into labor early, she will not tell her husband.
"He's not going to get a call,'' she said. "He's not going to know. If I go into labor, I'm going to get the drugs and just pretend everything's fine.''
Drew Brees said, "Even if she was on her way to the hospital, water had broke, she's about to give birth, she would make up some elaborate story to make me comfortable and at ease.''
If you're a Rays fan, it is hard to figure out which team to root for when the Yankees play the Red Sox. Do you root for the Red Sox to lose so the Rays can clinch a playoff berth? Or do you assume a wild card is in the bag and you root against the Yankees so the Rays can win the division? Dennis Eckersley, analyst on TBS's MLB on Deck pregame show, believes the Rays need to win the division.
"(It's more important to) the Rays because they've been (in the race) a long time, and for them to win the division would say a lot,''Eckersley said, who then added that the Yankees are in trouble no matter what.
"They've got a lot of problems with the pitching staff because they don't know who is going to follow (CC) Sabathia (in the rotation),'' Eckersley said. "They are hoping that (Andy) Pettitte can come around in the next couple of starts and be ready. They are in trouble if they win (the AL East) or not, or if they have homefield (advantage) or not.''
Most interesting comment
Eagles fans surely are pleased with the results that quarterback Michael Vick has produced. But there's at least one person out there who knows what he's talking about who believes Philadelphia would still be better off with Donovan McNabb, who was traded to the Redskins. On the NFL Network's GameDay Morning, analyst and former Buc Warren Sapp said, "I've played against both, and trust me, Donovan McNabb presents way more problems to a defense than Michael Vick does.''
That’s surprising, isn't it?
Some interesting numbers came up during the Rays pregame regarding the amazing Ichiro Suzuki of the Mariners. In 10 major-league seasons, Ichiro has 2,235 hits. If you add that to his 1,278 hits in Japan, that's 3,513 -- or only 743 hits shy of Pete Rose's major-league record of 4,256. This isn't to suggest that Ichiro would have more than 3,500 hits if he had played in the majors his whole career, but it does show what a hitting machine he has been. He turns 37 next month and, based on his conditioning and history, it's conceivable he will end up with 3,000 hits in the majors -- remarkable for someone who didn't break in until he was 27.
Is there anyone besides NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and the owners who want an 18-game regular season? Maybe I'm wrong, but I don't think even diehard NFL fans want it, do they? The players definitely don't want it, and Fox NFL Sunday's Howie Long made a compelling argument against it Sunday.
"Go down to your local sporting goods store and pick up a couple of helmets, then go grab your neighbor and get about 30 yards apart,'' Long said. "Now run full speed into each other 70 times and multiply that by 16. Welcome to the NFL. Eleven surgeries, multiple broken bones and 17 years away from the game have given me a perspective on the price that players will pay to play in the NFL — a perspective some NFL owners might not have. … Some owners say the 18-game season is already a win-win, for the doctors maybe. I'm sure the players will get their fair share of the additional revenue that two more games will generate. I just want them to be healthy enough to enjoy it when they turn 50.''
I continue to shout into the wind about this, but why are ESPN personalities shooting TV commercials with people they cover? Over the weekend, ESPN ran two ads featuring the College GameDay crew alongside Boise State coach Chris Peterson. What's so strange is every week, GameDay's Kirk Herbstreit isn't allowed to predict which team will win the game he is calling because ESPN feels that could be a conflict. So it's not like ESPN doesn't get it.
Three things that popped into my head
1. Anyone besides Steelers fans upset now that Sunday's Bucs game was blacked out? And, isn't it interesting how you find other things to do when the Bucs are blacked out?
2. Not only are the Rays almost definitely headed to the postseason, but so are these former Rays: Jonny Gomes (Reds), Delmon Young (Twins), Josh Hamilton (Rangers) and, perhaps, Pat Burrell (Giants).
3. So now comes word that former Bucs coach Tony Dungy gave the Yankees -- the Yankees! -- a pep talk. Hey, Tony, you're allowed to turn down a request now and then, you know.