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Friday, January 21, 2011

Rapid Fire Week-in-Review: Tom Jackson Embarrasses Himself, Old Time Hockey is Dumb, More Pressure Needed on Reid, more

The Rapid Fire Week-in-Review is my attempt to comment on all of the sports stories of the last seven days that caught my attention but weren’t quite worth a post. This week the first story doesn’t really fit that description, but I heard about it just yesterday so I do get a bit long winded for a weekly review item. But stupidity on the level displayed by ESPN analyst Tom Jackson deserves special attention. On another day, it would have been a solo post.

• Tom Jackson, called out by Jets player Bart Scott for picking the Patriots to win over New York, actually went on Mike & Mike to say that he picked the Patriots because he knew the “guys” were watching and wanted to keep the early season drubbing by the Pats fresh in the mind of Jets players. He wanted to motivate them, he indicated, going so far as to say he was playing a “psychological game” with the Jets to enhance their bunker mentality of feeling like it was them against the world.

This is the most asinine thing I’ve ever heard. I know I rip ESPN a lot, but the fact that Jackson still has a job is a joke. Who the hell is Tom Jackson to motivate any team? It is entirely unprofessional, an obvious lie, and a blatant attempt to continue to be a butt munch of NFL players.

Scott made his comments in an incredibly emotional state immediately after a big upset. Why would Jackson even respond (aside from the above reason)? He made a wrong pick – so what? To say that you, as a so-called analyst, are trying to motivate a team you cover is unprofessional, arrogant, obnoxious, stupid, and would have him off of any network trying to provide newsworthy coverage of sports teams.

Luckily for Jackson, he works for ESPN.

• The next person to use the phrase “old time hockey” should be slapped. Last night’s Flyers game featured 10 fighting majors and 5 misconducts, and fans are all aflutter. In fact, most seem more excited about the fights than the win. And they wonder why hockey isn’t a major sport.

• I have no idea why more isn’t being said in the media about the fact that the Eagles have hired a defensive line coach (Jim Washburn) before hiring a defensive coordinator. Washburn could be the best d-line coach ever, it doesn’t change the fact that if the team had any intention of hiring a coordinator with even an ounce power within the structure of the organization – which is what they needed – he would have at the very least had major input on the makeup of the defensive staff, if not full authority to hire the staff.

• On a similar note, I don’t understand how Andy Reid isn’t taking more heat for being available to comment on Washburn before he said anything about the firing of his defensive coordinator, Sean McDermott. I don’t think he’s offered a comment on McDermott yet.

• Next time you hear complaints about the lack of black coaches in the NFL, listen a little more intently. I’ll admit I thought it was an issue that sort of had its day, and only time was needed for the numbers to even out as more black coaches got a chance. But when Sean McDermott gets a coordinator job in Carolina because of his relationship with new head coach Ron Rivera within days after being fired for a terrible job in Philadelphia by an organization that loathes to admit any mistake, it’s clear the old boy network in the NFL is alive and well. Possibly the issue is muted because Rivera is at least partially Puerto Rican, but I don’t quite buy that.

• The Sixers are losing games in excruciating ways lately. An upset of Orlando was basically thrown away on Wednesday with a 4-point play at the end of regulation and during overtime for the Magic on dumb Sixer fouls. The following night they lost to Charlotte, a bad team they needed overtime to beat on Monday despite having a big fourth quarter lead. This team needs one more shakeup to be a legitimate playoff team. Somehow, someway, Ed Stefanski needs to get Andre Iguodala out of here despite his huge contract, or the Sixers just need to start playing Thaddeus Young over Iguodala and deal with any pouting.

• Tweet of the Week: It comes from PhiladelphiaSportsDaily.com’s Eagles beat writer Tim McManus, “By the time Andy Reid gets back from vacation, Mike Mamula may be the only choice left for defensive coordinator.”

• I found this via Where’s Weems?, which found it at Yahoo! Sports: “For one-third the price of a regular ticket, NFL fans will be able to stand outside Cowboys Stadium and act like they are attending the Super Bowl XLV. The league announced on Wednesday that tickets to watch the game on large HD video screens on the east side of the stadium will cost $200. . . . Besides additional revenue, the biggest upside for the Cowboys is that those buying tickets to the party plaza will count toward the game's official attendance. Jerry Jones has expressed a desire to break the Super Bowl record for biggest crowd, which was set in 1980 when 103,985 attended the game at the Rose Bowl.” Jones has also expressed a desire to have Tony Romo be a good quarterback. Too bad money can’t buy that one. If the NFL recognizes this as a record crowd, it’s pathetic.

• While most Eagles fans are calling for Reid’s firing, the Maxwell Club named him Most Outstanding Coach of the Year. The local media always covers the Maxwell Club Awards as a prestigious nationally recognized ceremony, but giving this award to Reid heightens my suspicions that it’s a classic Philadelphia thing where everyone brother-in-law’s each other. Calling Reid the outstanding coach in a year when he stumbled over an All-Pro performance by Mike Vick to save the season is a joke.

• According to numerous Twitter posts, NFL players are responsible for the website NFLLocout.com. Aside from being accosted by a pop-up window reading, “Do your part as a fan and help us Block the Lockout by signing this Petition,” and seeking my personal information – they’re not getting mine, and it’s absolutely not the fans job to block the lockout – I’ll actually give the players credit if they’re really willing to play under the current terms of the expiring collective bargaining agreement. The NFL is a billion dollar business. If this lockout really comes about simply because owners want even more money, I may actually have to side with the players.

• According to ProFootballTalk.com, the United Football League is still hoping to have a season next year, their third, despite financial woes. After all the attempts to compete with the NFL by rival leagues, it will be amazingly short sighted if not one league is poised to fill the potential gaping hole left for football crazed television audiences next fall if there is a lockout.

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