Tom Jones' Two Cents: Verdict of the thumbs

To replace Willie Taggart, Western Kentucky turned to Bobby Petrino (left). Isn't this the guy who quit on the Atlanta Falcons? Isn't this the guy who had an affair with a former volleyball player, whom he put on the university payroll at Arkansas and then lied about all of it? I realize Western Kentucky wants to continue the momentum started by Taggart, but isn't there a bright young coach out there who deserves a shot instead of giving it to someone who has a major problem with loyalty and morality?



tom jones' two cents

Well, in this case, it's commissioner — singular — who is back in the headlines. Former NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue (above) had to step in to sort out Roger Goodell's Saints bounty mess. Somehow, Tagliabue managed to punish and exonerate the Saints at the same time, while finding the rulings made by Goodell to be both right and wrong. Brilliant.

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell (above) was slapped down a tad by Paul Tagliabue in the former commissioner's findings on the bounty scandal. Meantime, what's left to say about NHL commissioner Gary Bettman, who could find a way to goof up a bowl of cereal. During his bumbling reign, the league has already lost a full season and a half-season before. Now he's working on another. Not brilliant.

I have no idea if Willie Taggart (left) is the right choice to replace the fired Skip Holtz as football coach. After all, he was only 16-20 at Western Kentucky. But he's a local product with lots of enthusiasm and an inside track on the local recruiting trail. I'd rather see the job go to a young candidate like this than some has-been who is just trying to hang on.

Unless this great start is fool's gold, we might be looking at the Knicks' best team since the Patrick Ewing days of the 1990s and, maybe even an NBA championship contender.



They already fired one coach, and I bet they're thinking about firing another. Everyone keeps talking about how much talent this team has with Kobe Bryant (left), Pau Gasol, Dwight Howard and so forth, so how do you explain how bad and disinterested this team is? Maybe they aren't good. Maybe Howard is a team-killer. And, oh, doesn't it seem like Steve Nash has missed about a month longer than we expected him to?



I love the idea that basketball schools such as Georgetown, Villanova, Providence, Seton Hall, St. John's, Marquette and DePaul are jumping ship to start their own conference, maybe adding schools such as Butler, Xavier and Creighton. To me, there has been nothing more disappointing in all this conference realignment than seeing the destruction of Big East basketball.

Not all that long ago, this was a formidable conference that had Pitt, Syracuse, Louisville and West Virginia. These days, it's neither "big" nor "east" nor "formidable."



How cool is the Redskins rookie quarterback? I thought his leg was going to fly off his body when he was hit last week and you have to love his quote about it: "I screamed … like a man."

I'm sick of hearing Brees (left) bellyache about NFL commissioner Roger Goodell. Look, Drew, your team had a bounty system. Even coaches on that Saints staff admitted that. So stop acting like you're the victim here. It's like when the Patriots whine after Spygate or listening to Steelers linebacker James Harrison boo-hoo every time he gets fined for a bad hit. You are not the victims. It's your fault you're in the mess you're in.

It has been quite the offseason for this little team that could. They added a fine shortstop (Yunel Escobar), a future slugging star (Wil Myers, left), a first baseman (James Loney) and a couple of other pieces.

Okay, let's make this one a thumbs "sideways." They still need to add a catcher, another outfielder, bullpen help and a DH. At least.



How cool to see the old gang — Brooks, Lynch, Alstott, Keyshawn, Simeon, Chucky and an especially excited Sapp — at Raymond James Stadium last weekend. Quite remarkable that so many from that Super Bowl team were available to come back and did.

A three-game skid has turned a 6-4 headed-to-the-playoffs team into a 6-7 on-the-verge-of-being-eliminated team. Starting today in New Orleans, corner Danny Gorrer and the Bucs have three games to finish on a feel-good note.

South Carolina against Michigan. The Head Ball Coach, Steve Spurrier, against Big Blue. Outstanding.

FSU against Northern Illinois. Northern Illinois? Really?

Despite Saturday's upset loss to Butler, the highly ranked Hoosiers have a shot to win the Big Ten for the first time since 2002.

The freshmen-heavy Wildcats fell out of the Top 25 after starting the season at No. 3. It ended a streak of 61 straight poll appearances.

To think how far this man has come in 10 years. He's lucky to be alive after all of his drug issues and then, just last week, he signed a five-year, $125 million deal with the Angels.

Josh Hamilton's former team is whining that it didn't get a chance to speak with the slugging outfielder before he signed with the Angels. You had the last year to talk contract with him. Besides, didn't Rangers president Nolan Ryan criticize Hamilton's decision to stop dipping snuff at the end of last season and wonder if the Rangers late-season collapse was due, in part, to that? Hamilton didn't owe the Rangers anything.

To think how far this man has come in 10 years. He's lucky to be alive after all of his drug issues and then, just last week, he signed a well-earned five-year, $125-million deal with the Angles.

It was a busy week in sports. We had more NFL bounty fallout news, the further implosion of the Big East, and the hiring of a new football coach at USF. Here's a look back at the past seven days and, with a thumbs-up or thumbs-down, how it went for all of the sports newsmakers.

Thumbs up: Former commissioners

Well, in this case, it's commissioner (singular) who is back in the headlines. Former NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue had to step in to sort out his Saints bounty-gate mess. Somehow, he managed to punish and exonerate the Saints at the time, while finding the rulings made by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell to be both right and wrong. Brilliant.

Thumbs down: Current commissioners

NFL commish Roger Goodell was slapped down a tad by Tagliabue in the former commissioner's findings on the bounty-gate scandal. Meantime, what's left to say about NHL commissioner Gary Bettman, who could find a way to goof up a bowl of cereal. During his bumbling reign, the league already lost a full season and a half-season before. Now he's working on another. Not brilliant.

Thumbs up: USF

Thumbs down: Western Kentucky

Thumbs down: Drew Brees

Thumbs up: Tampa Bay Rays

Thumbs down: Tampa Bay Rays

Thumbs up: 2002 Bucs

Thumbs down: 2012 Bucs

Thumbs up: The Outback Bowl

Thumbs down: The Orange Bowl

Thumbs up: Indiana basketball

Thumbs down: Kentucky basketball

Thumbs up: Josh Hamilton

Thumbs down: Texas Rangers

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Tom Jones' Two Cents: Verdict of the thumbs 12/15/12 [Last modified: Saturday, December 15, 2012 11:13pm]

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