Monday, January 28, 2008

Is Lance Kiffin a Bernard Petrino?

Good Morning. Being a Raiders fan has always been a little stupid, especially to fans of other teams who just don't understand the passion that the Raiders generate among those of us who are faithful.

From Jason Jones' excellent blog at the Sacramento Bee, there's this:

And now players have begun calling Davis to express their displeasure with Kiffin.

As word has gotten out that Kiffin pursued jobs at Arkansas and Michigan, the players must feel like they've got a Bobby Petrino among them.

Stay tuned.

We will definitely stay tuned. On another note, I may have to apologize to Nancy Gay. I haven't decided for sure, yet, but she may very well be saying "I told you so" after this is all over.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

The Week Ahead

It should be an exciting one.

Every Raiders offseason brings drama, but it seems to bring more terrible drama each time. Trading Gruden, signing Sapp, signing Moss, hiring Shell, starting from rock bottom with Kiffin. The current disaster is devastating because we thought we had made progress (yes, to 4-12), only to find the trajectory appears still to be downward.

Nothing has actually happened, so no need to panic, right? Unfortunately, the denials on both sides have been weak, to say the least. Kiffin "hopes" he'll be back. Trask proves that she is a lawyer: "He has all the authority he had when he was hired." Sounds more like protection against a breach-of-contract complaint.

The strongest denial thus far is reported by The Chronicle, with Herrera saying, "The whole story is a flat-out lie and a total fabrication. We deny the entire story. No authority has been stripped. That's unabashedly false." But Herrera also admits that Al Davis was irritated by the reports linking Kiffin to Arkansas. Maybe this denial hinges on how you define "story."

Meanwhile, the Raiders have James Lofton in to interview...for something. Coaching changes are underway with a special teams assistant out. And Steve Corkran reports that the Raiders are trying to talk to Al Saunders. Are we to guess that Kiffin wants to replace Knapp?

The one positive I thought we had taken out of 2006 was that Al Davis had a chance to run his offense just the way he wanted to, and it failed so miserably that perhaps he was ready to go in a different direction. Maybe by allowing Arkansas rumors to fester, Kiffin lost his chance for it to be in his direction. As Al Davis proves a more and more impossible boss, taking this franchise in any direction but down will be up to the most desperate of coaching candidates.

As of today, those odds don't look good.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Kiff Vs. Ryan: Credit Where it's Due

While I first read it here on Jason Jones' blog, he points out that David White got the scoop. So here's a link to White's Silver&Black blog at SFGate, which we here at CLOAK OF IMMORTALITY call the "SFGate Hater Blog." I've also questioned his committment in the past, comparing him negatively with Jerry McDonald.

But then here comes Jones with a recap of Adam Schefter's "Kiffin Wants Out" story.

A point on Jones: His blog is excellent. As Jerry winds down after the season ended, Jones comes out with a near-daily question/answer column. It's great stuff.

Good Job, Fellas.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

More Wisconsin Insights

Haven't yet been able to reach Mitch at Lambeau, but Rusty is accounted for so it's unlikely that he's busy scraping up bail money. Maybe his phone has frozen in the zero-degree weather.

Rusty did check in from the comfort of his Milwaukee - sorry, Whitefish Bay - home. His key? "Packer WRs and their yards-after-catch against the Giants' banged up secondary. I predict that Driver will finally get a TD, and it's going to be over by the end of the 3rd quarter. Oh yeah - and the 12th man!"

Webster is also remaining consistent with his take from last week. "The Packers need to limit turnovers and they'll win. The cold won't be any advantage - they are just better. Of course the running game will be key."

Mikey expects another blowout. "A 'Giant' fumble will seal the victory for the Packers."

I caught Naves by surprise at the grocery store. Apparently he's been distracted after learning the sex of his second child this week and did not prepare for my call. "Hmm. I think Favre's big right paw without a glove will be the key. If the temp drops below zero, it's the Packers' game to lose." Perhaps now that Chad lives in the deep south, he is most inclined to call weather a major Packer advantage.

Haen is going more low key watching from his home in Ann Arbor after his Packer party started off with two Green Bay turnovers last week. "Turnovers scare me. The weather is going to be a great equalizer. Favre has to take care of the ball and limit the fastballs that could go through receivers' hands."

Jeremy has kicked off his waaaay East Bay Packer party with some Johnsonville Brats and MGD. "The only way the Packers will lose is if Brett has one of those rare disaster games he is capable of having."

From Oshkosh, Vogel understandably says he's not happy with the weather. "If anything, I think it helps the Giants. The stats on the Packers in the cold weather are misleading. But they are the better team, so they should be able to win."

Finally, Meyer checks in to suggest the following for the Packers to cruise to victory: "Steal the Giants' heaters and get an early score!"

The first Packer possession seems to back up most Wisconsinites' assertion that the weather won't help. Favre isn't quite on target and the Giants will take over inside their own 20. This is the third coldest game in NFL history.

Go Pack Go!

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Dan's Championship Picks

As long as we are quoting our wives, here's a gem from Kristy about 2 minutes ago as I wrapped up dinner: "Why don't you go blog, and I'll clean up the kitchen." No sarcasm whatsoever. Awesome.

"Poop stuck to the roof of my mouth" is the perfect analogy for tomorrow's early game. Could there be two more unlikable quarterbacks squaring off than Rivers and Brady? A Southern-cocky blowhard vs. a smug perfectionist prick. The game also features the two highest profile active players to drag the NFL into the performance enhancing drug mess in Harrison and Merriman. For a Raiders fan, watching Restraining Order Randy and the Tuckers take on Turner adds an element of pain. And I haven't even gotten to the cheating scandal. At least there is drama. I have always found LaDainian Tomlinson unobjectionable, even while pulling run-catch-pass TD trifectas twice a year against the Raiders. Last year's Marty meltdown made L(D)T even more interesting as he basically compared Belichick to school in the summertime. I love it. The Patriots' squeaky clean Bob Kraft image is the biggest joke in sports.

But the Patriots will win. It is going to be an interesting, physical, and ultimately maddening game. In addition to the fact that they are the team best suited to carry a nation's hatred of the Patriots on their backs, the one thing I like about the Chargers' chances is that they should be able to get to Brady. But a hobbled Rivers-to-Gates-based offense will slip up more often than the Patriots will be stopped. I like the 27-20 call, but for originality I am going to say it ends 30-21, and as the Patriots line up for the game-sealing FG, Tomlinson's head will explode along with 100,000 other Americans who can't handle another week's combination of Brady screaming ridiculous pep talks to his teammates and then smirking away the final 3 minutes of the game. For all the Montana comparisons, could you ever in a million years imagine Brady stepping into the huddle needing an epic drive to win the Super Bowl and cracking, "Hey - there's John Candy."

As for the late game, I am sure that Unk answered the above question about unlikable quarterbacks with a shout of, "Eli!" as he read it. But Eli is a Seinfeld fan, and that makes him ok in my book. Plus, the Chargers were a franchise uninterested in winning when Eli came out, which is probably why very few of the Raider fans I know hate them the way they hate the Chefs and Donkeys.

I grew up in Wisconsin. I'm biased. But Favre is unquestionably a likable quarterback. The guy has fun. He loves the game. He loves his teammates. And he's going to take the Packers to the Super Bowl this year. As I write this the temperature in Green Bay is -7. Tomorrow's TV-friendly evening kickoff might pass the 1993 Raiders game that I attended for the 2nd coldest game ever played at Lambeau Field. Unless the 13-mph wind forecast is a drastic underestimate, Favre will operate well with a heavy dose of Ryan Grant to back him.

Tomorrow I'll add as much Wisconsin insight as I can gather, but from my viewpoint the Packers will win 31-20 for the following reasons. The Giants have hobbled (Burress) or old (Toomer) WRs, and Shockey is gone. Woodson and Harris can man up, leaving Bigby free to cheat up and slow down the running game. If Bigby has even half the game he had against Seattle, the defense will be stout. Gotta love a guy named "Atari." To score on New York means limiting the pass rush. No team has a better quick-hitting pass game than the Packers, and with Grant's emergence and a diverse screen game, the Packers should be able to game plan for that. Look at what they did last week against Kerney and company.

If my picks are right, this could set up a personal disaster on par with Super Bowls XXXII and XXXVII when teams I absolutely hated (Broncos and Bucs) beat teams I love (Packers and Raiders). Oh yeah, I'll be on a plane.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Is Bill Simmons a Jinx; John's Picks

The other day after Bill Simmons wrote the column asking which was Boston's best ever team, the 1986 Celtics or the 2007 Patriots, I said he was "jinxing the hell out of them."
I know Dan isn't a fan of Simmons' work, we've talked about this and he said as much in the comments of that post, implying that he is part of ESPN's Bristol, CT-based East Coast Bias.

It's actually a little more complicated than that. See, ever since debuted Page 2 in November, 2000, I don't think I've missed a column by the guy who was then known as "The Boston Sports Guy." Back then, there were three writers I absolutely had to read every week that wrote for Page 2: Hunter S. Thompson, Ralph Wiley, and Bill Simmons. Hunter and Ralph both passed away, and now it's just Bill Simmons that I still read every week.

The thing is, there are two Bill Simmonses. There's the "Sports Guy," who has great composition skills, understands the intersection of sports and pop culture and navigates that intersection better than anyone. He's a populist writer who regularly features a "mailbag" column in which he prints his funniest readers' comments and questions and responds to them, and the feel is like a group of friends hanging around talking about sports, movies, and TV shows. One of the signs of a great writer is that he or she gives you a feeling of intimacy when you're reading them, so that even though you've never met that person, you feel like you're buddies. Bill Simmons is that kind of writer.

Here's an example of how that works for me. In 2002, I got married and moved from Los Angeles, where I was living at the time, to Connecticut, where the Professor was immersed in her graduate studies at Yale. Around that same time, Bill Simmons married the Sports Gal and moved from Boston to Los Angeles. His columns made a lot more sense to me now, since I had driven on Merritt Parkway, and I now knew who Mike and the Mad Dog were. Then we both had daughters within 4 or 5 months of each other. So even though I've never met Bill Simmons, I feel like I know him because of the shared experience as sports fans and fathers, all transmitted through his columns. This Bill Simmons is one of the reasons I wanted to have a Raiders blog.

The other Bill Simmons is the "Boston Sports Guy," and this guy is an insecure, boring, otherwise-regional hack. He carried the collective angst of New England's sports fans to a world that was otherwise able to ignore it. This is where his love of TV and pop culture comes in. Sure, everyone knows about Ken Burns and his 17-hour exegesis of the 1986 World Series Game Six Collapse, where all of Boston's literary icons pompously left the R's out of words describing their heartbreak. But to the average sports fan who doesn't watch PBS or listen to NPR, here came Bill Simmons writing about "The World's Strongest Man" and "The Real World." The teams from his hometown were losers: it had been 14 years (in 2000) since the Celtics had won a championship, seemingly cursed with the deaths of Len Bias and Reggie Williams, and Rick Pitino trying to murder the franchise; the Curse of the Bambino was in full effect; the Patriots were losers who had never won anything.

Then, a couple of things happened. Walt Coleman created a Patriots Dynasty. The Red Sox came back from a 4-0 deficit to beat the Yankees in the 2004 ALCS and went on to win their first World Series since 1918. And now the Celtics got Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen and have the best record in the NBA. It's quite conceivable that Boston could have all three major sports championships, which would be not only impressive but downright fucking irritating to the rest of the country. With all of this success, Simmons' Boston columns went from being anxious rants to obnoxious, gloating rants. And I don't blame him, I just don't enjoy reading them.

The 86 Celtics vs. 2007 Pats is the perfect example of this new, arrogant Boston Sports Guy. First of all, nobody outside of New England remembers anything about that 1986 Celtics team, except maybe that Len Bias died, and because of him black kids get sent to jail for longer terms over crack than white businessmen get sent to jail for having the same amount of cocaine powder. He writes that the defending champion Lakers team allowed themselves to be
be "'shocked' by the upstart Rockets -- with Sampson making the series-winning shot in Game 5 at Los Angeles -- to avoid what would have been a ritual beating by an unstoppable Celtics team." This is a bunch of crap. That Lakers team would rebound the following and beat the Celtics, and then repeat in 1988 for the first back-to-back NBA Championship in 20 years. Sure, people remember the 80s as the golden age of the NBA, and Lakers vs. Celtics was the main reason. But outside of New England, only racist white people rooted for the Celtics. And no matter what anyone from Boston tells you, that is the absolute truth. One summer in 1988, my friends and I were playing ball down at the local school yard. We were like 13 or 14 and there was this older man, probably in his mid-forties, and his son, who was 19 or twenty. We played with them because we need two to make it four on four, enough for a full court game on the short courts. When the older guy asked what team we were, I said the Lakers, and he said, "The Lakers are a bunch of Niggers. You want to root for white people. Be the Celtics." His son was kinda embarrassed, I think, because when we were talking later he said, "I like McHale, but I bet you'd rather be Worthy..."

Besides, it was Magic who joined Joe Montana and Wayne Gretzky on the cover of Sports Illustrated under the headline "They Dominated the Eighties."

Now, this Patriots is dominant. And they're probably good enough not be beyond Jinxing by Bill Simmons' column. But if you were going to write a column comparing a dominant team in one sport to a dominant team in another, wouldn't it be the 1996 Bulls team that won 70 games and had All Stars up and down the roster? Brady and Moss compare better to MJ and Scottie Pippen, with Rodney Harrisons' Punk Ass analogous to Dennis Rodman's Punk Ass. I'm just saying.

Anyway, in what is either a blatant ripoff of one of my favorite writers, or, if you're generous, an homage to someone I admire, here's an email I got from the Professor the other day that will segue into my picks:

Subject: Your Daughter and Your Dog are Disgusting

Lily pooped in her panties, which I noticed after she came into the kitchen and told me "poop!" She had a big old saggy load. I pulled off her panties right there in the kitchen and the turd log fell out onto the floor in front of the fridge. I took her into the bathroom to wipe and wash hands. In the meantime, Iggy smelled a tasty treat and hopped out of bed to go have himself a snack. By the time I turned around, he'd eaten half of Lily's turd. I yelled at him to quit it and he ran away, but it was like he had peanut butter stuck to the roof of his mouth that he kept trying to swallow but couldn't. He's outside now, washing his mouth out with soap. Fucking disgusting.

I'm running away from home today. You can raise these two yourself.

I should point out that we're potty training, which is why Baby Lily was not wearing a diaper. But the reason this email is relevant is because having to choose between the Patriots and the Chargers is akin to having poop stuck to the roof of my mouth like peanut butter. I can't think of two teams I hate more (I hate Denver and Kansas City as much). Anyway, I think New England wins but it's closer than everyone expects. 27-20.

Green Bay wins. I have to go. This has gone on too long and people are becoming exasperated with me.

The Hall

Tuesday was another bad day for this Raider fan. It was then that the NFL announced that Lester Hayes did not make the cut from semifinalist to finalist for the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Despite Jeffri Chadiha recently declaring Lester's 1980 season the ninth best individual season in NFL history, Lester was again snubbed. Why? Maybe voters actually believe that he would have been a "mere mortal" without Stickum. Perhaps the fact that he overcame stuttering by speaking like a crazy backwoods preacher has them worried about sending him to the podium. Or it could be punishment for the fact that Lester once pawned his Super Bowl ring in Reno for some "emergency dental work." Hey, he had a spare anyway.

Making matters worse, the list of finalists who knocked Lester aside include some real insults. Paul Tagliabue when he has barely had time to shred the evidence of his disdain for the Raiders strewn about his office? Yuck. Triple-C, Chris Crybaby Carter? Horrible irony to see a guy who made his career out of complaining for 10 minutes every time a cornerback covered him knock the greatest CB ever out of contention for the HoF. Art Monk - legit, but head-to-head Lester shut him down long after Stickum had been banned to try and limit Lester's dominance. There are even two Broncos on the list. Broncos don't belong in the Hall of Fame.

The good news is that Ray Guy is a finalist. I really think he deserves it. A real highlight of my week was watching the one reason to turn the channel away from NFL Network, Jamie Dukes, give the standard meathead reply when asked if Ray Guy should get in. "A punter? Are you kidding me?" Jamie Dukes commenting on the Hall of Fame? Are you kidding me? Ray Guy dominated at his position, and last I checked, Punter is a spot on the player roster. In fact, the sport is called FOOT-BALL, and he's one of only two individuals on the roster who actually connects the two syllables of the sport's name.

Well, taking a cue from my NFL idol Lester Hayes, I'm going to learn the complete destiny of forgiveness. I'll keep wearing my #37 jersey to every Raiders game. And meanwhile, I'm going to enjoy the very good fortune I had this boat racing season that got me into the American Power Boat Association's Hall of Champions. On February 2 I will realize a life-long dream and be inducted in Detroit, which is the same day that a bunch of non-Lester Hayes jokers will be elected to the Pro Football HoF.

It also means I'll be on a plane during the Super Bowl. But I think I can live with that.

Posted by Picasa

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Championship Weekend: Sllaacs' Picks

It's been an awesome week for email. I have a very special message from the Professor that I'll be sharing later--with my picks--regarding the ongoing potty training of our daughter. For now, here is what Sllaacs sent me this morning via passenger pigeon:

You know, I kinda like Eli now. I mean, I've always hated the Giants, but that was when they were good, you know; L.T. (The Original) Leonard Marshall, Jeff Hostettler, Phil Sims, Otis fucking Anderson and Mark fuckin Bavarro - to name a few. And what was the flaming kicker's name? Matt Barr? I hated those assholes. I don't have the same hatred for today's N.Y. Football Giants because the Niners have sucked too much to have their playoff or Superbowl hopes dashed by N.Y.
And as for Greenbay? C'mon - It's Favre - the guy Niner fans still don't hate - despite having plenty of cause. Everyone pulls for Brett, right? Not me, not this time. I got a New York State of Mind. Giants win 31 - 28.

Oh, Chargers - Oh, Norv. We fans on both sides of the Bay can live vicariously through the success of the Chargers head coach. Think about the absolute insanity that took place when S.D. lost Rivers and L.T. (Jr.) and still beat the Peyton Mannings last week - it could happen again! I mean, and upset victory - those assholes better play the entire game against the Patsys... I think. Billy Volek... I want the Patriots to lose - in my heart, because in my blackened, hardened heart I am upset that Moss thinks 23 TD catches in 16 games is better than 22 T.D. catches in 12 games. You are not Jerry - Randi - You just ain't. You're Sterling Sharpe, without the broken spine - that is all. And as for Brady - yeah, great Q.B. but save the Montana and Young references for an East Coast fan. Hell, Brady hasn't proven he's better than Peyton Manning, for that matter. He is awsome though. I'm going with the Chargers, and the great Norv Turner to upset the Patsy's 38 - 35.

A 10-year-old kid was taking pie-anna lessons when he damn-near got killed from across the street by an asshole trying to bust caps into a gas station attendant. The missed connection between the gas station attendant and the robber's bulllets reminded me of Alex Smith or Trent Dilfer trying to hit Darrell Jackson with a football on a post pattern and instead smacking a cheerleader in the head on the other side of the field. They should give some of the money they've been stealing to help pay for the kid's recovery.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

The Randy Moss We Know and Love

I've been wondering when Randy Moss would become a distraction for the Patriots. He's got great timing, too, right before the AFC Championship Game.

This is not to comment on whether or not he's guilty of anything. I'm frankly inclined to believe his version of events. But the fact that we're even discussing this leading up to a game in which two teams I seriously, seriously hate are playing for the right to represent the AFC in the Super Bowl has filled me with glee.

All we need now is for someone to leak a sex tape involving Shawne Merriman, Philip Rivers, LDT, and a goat, and this will be a great week.

UPDATE: Now Bill Simmons is doing his best to jinx the hell out of the Patriots...This will get its own post after Sllaacs sends in his picks...

Sunday, January 13, 2008

"That's my quarterback."

Earlier I asked if the sky was falling because of how the Chargers beat Indy. I'm looking out my window, and the sky is still there, but I'm not sure I'll sleep easy.

Watching NFL Network, they just showed T.O. at the podium burst into tears defending Tony Romo. "You guys can talk about the vacation," he said, choking up, "but that would be unfair. It's just unfair." The water works started in earnest as he said, "That's my quarterback. We win as a team, and lose as a team."

If the world ends tonight, don't say the signs weren't there....

Is the Sky Falling?

Okay, a Norv Turner-coached Chargers team just won a playoff game on the road, at the defending Super Bowl Champion Indianapolis Colts. They did this with their all-world, MVP Running Back LDT missing the 2nd half with a sprained knee, and Philip Rivers missing most of the 4th quarter.

I still can't wrap my brain around this.

I will say that Rivers continued his Classy Players Tour, spending his trip to the locker room and then the Volek kneel-down portion of the game taunting the Colts fans.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Wisconsin Insights

As the Packer game kicks off, I thought I would poll a few of my Wisconsin buddies for their insights, predictions, keys, etc.

Mitch was on his way into Lambeau, and reported perfect Green Bay football weather. His key: "Kampman needs to get an early sack and it will throw off Hasselbeck all day."

Webster is hosting Festivus today at his home in Minneapolis. He says, "Green Bay is the better team. As long as they limit turnovers, they should win easily." [Note: As I type this, Grant just fumbled for the second time and Seattle is driving up 7-0. Ouch.]

Mears is on his way to the Festivus celebration on crutches after rupturing his Achilles. "The key will be neutralizing Seattle's pass rush. If Favre has time, they will be in good shape."

Rusty made a quick call at the coin flip to say, "Today they will see the real 12th man - Lambeau Field!"

Haen chimed in recently with his prediction. "The Packers will survive a late scare to win."

And Mikey - from work - says, "My key: AJ Hawk scaring the Seattle running backs. Once the Pack makes some big plays early, it will be a blowout."

It might be a blowout. Seattle just scored to make it 14-0. In my opinion, as long as the Packers settle down soon they should be fine. If not, the playoffs will be as depressing as the regular season was for me.

Dan's Divisional Picks

What a great day. The sun is shining for about the first time in January, Maverick's is going off just over the hill, and the divisional round will kick off at Lambeau Field in just a few hours.

A side note - why are they charging $25 a head to watch Maverick's on the big screen at AT&T Park when they are desperately trying to discourage people from showing up - for free, mind you - at the beach and kicking the whole cliff into the ocean?

I'm taking it all in from home wearing my Packers shirt and looking at the ridiculous "G Force: How Many False Starts Will You Be Responsible for Today?" handkerchief that they gave us at Lambeau on December 9. Was that specially prepared for Sims and Gallery?

1985 Dan would never forgive 2008 Dan for saying that I really don't mind the Seahawks anymore. (Remember the "Raider Busters?") As a Packer fan, Hasselbeck's coin-flip comment didn't bother me. The bottom line on this one is that Lambeau with a bit of snow is a great home field, and the Seahawks are dreadful on the road. I think we'll see today that the Packers are very good and the Seahawks aren't. Packers, 31-17.

I would not want to be setting the line for the Patriots-Jaguars game. 13 1/2 is probably reasonable. The Patriots could blow this one out. They are a really good team. They will have a chip on their shoulder, they'll be focused, yadda yadda yadda. I don't like the Patriots. They are a dynasty built on fraud with a phony squeaky-clean reputation. There is a lot of film out there showing how to slow them down (Philly, Baltimore, NYG), and the Jaguars are much better than those teams. Do they match up well? Maybe not, but what the hell. I'm picking Jacksonville to end New England's run 34-30. It will take the game of their lives, but like I said, it's a great day, so why not.

Indianapolis is indeed going to blow out the Chargers. Tomorrow I'm sure I'll have that catchy/annoying "San Diego Superchargers" song in my head all day. But for whatever reason people have forgotten how good Indy is. San Diego has made a nice comeback with Norv, but it will come to a crushing end with Gates on the sideline. As much as I'd like to see LT (he's an MVP, he can call himself whatever he wants) mocking some Patriot's signature move at Gillette Stadium next week, Indy will win 35-20.

The Giants-Cowboys game will be fun to watch, but I think it will be a little sloppy. Dallas has looked awful in recent weeks and it may take some time to remember how to play. I think Romo needed that Mexico trip to reset. The Giants are another team like Seattle. Sometimes you think they are really good, but they just aren't. So it will be a TO-led comeback that puts Dallas over the top, 24-21. Say what you will about TO, he was a stud with that broken ankle in the Super Bowl so a sprain should be worth 150 yds, 2 TDs or so.

Friday, January 11, 2008

John's Picks

I'm looking forward to this weekend's games. On Saturday, I'll be watching the games with my attorney. Not because I've been arrested or sued or anything, but the Professor owes me a boys day out, and I'm going to take advantage. I expect there will be many frosty beverages consumed, along with a fair amount of unhealthy, delicious foods.

Seattle at Green Bay. I know everyone brings this up, but remember a couple/three years when the game went to overtime, and Seattle won the toss, and Matt Hasselbeck said, "We want the ball, and we're gonna score!" and then he threw an INT that got returned for a Touchdown? What a douchebag. Add his douche-iness to the fact that Shaun Alexander will sitting on the sidelines nursing his sore vagina, and the Packers romp, 34-21.

In the night game, the Patriots play the Jaguars. A lot is being said about the Jaguars' running game, and how it will keep the Pats off the field. And it could. But they're not going to hit Tom Brady like they hit Big Ben last week. I hate to say it but the Patriots are going to win by a lot of points. Probably like 38-17. That's 21 points.

As for Sunday's games, I will be watching them at the hoose with my good friend Chris from the Daily Chuppler. He hearts beer as much as I do, so that could be fun.

Norv's Dischargers are getting straight smoked in Indy. I think this will be the most lopsided game of the weekend. In the past, I'd never found San Diego to be as offensive as Denver or Kansas City. Philip Rivers is a jagoff. And if I hear one more person tell me how classy Ladanian Tomlinson is, I may lose control of my bowels. Would someone with class steal Lawrence Taylor's nickname as if he #56 from the Giants had never existed? Of course not. I don't need to read this off of a teleprompter:

Go fuck yourself, San Diego.
Colts win 57-0.

Cowboys vs. Giants. This is the best matchup of the weekend. I'm excited for this game. Dallas has won both of the earlier matchups, but since playing New England on the last game of the season, the Giants are hot. They destroyed Goldmember last week. As for Tony Romo, I know the Professor is pumped up for this game. What I want to know is, what's up with Terry Bradshaw hopping on the T.O. Cock Blocker bandwagon? And I don't care that if Bill Parcells was the coach last year, he'd have never gone down to Mexico like that. I personally think Parcells is overrated. He had the Real LT (OGLT?). Anyway, I like NY's chances, but I still think Dallas squeaks this game out, maybe even in OT, in a pretty high scoring, exciting game. 31-29, Cowboys.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Asking Jerry

The Bay Area News Group has asked Raider fans to submit questions to Jerry McDonald to answer tomorrow in his blog. Here are the questions I submitted:

What do you consider to be the best- and worst-case scenarios regarding the Rob Ryan situation this offseason? What do you believe is the most likely outcome?

If the Raiders acquire a true SS and a run-stuffing DT, can Ryan's scheme stop power running teams or is it doomed only to match up well against spread offenses?

Lane Kiffin gutted what many Raider fans felt could be a promising WR corps in 2007. Which was the primary reason: fixing the locker room, converting to a conservative offense in 2007, gambles gone bad (e.g., Williams, Higgins), talent wasn't as good as we thought...other? What do you expect him to do to add weapons for JaMarcus in 2008?

A lot of "industry sources" weighed in this year to describe conflict between Kiffin and Davis. What topics of disagreement do you have reason to believe actually exist, and how would you rate the relationship overall?

Will Lester Hayes ever make it into the Hall of Fame?

Sllaacs Divisional Picks

Via email this morning, with the heading "Playoffs:"

So here we are, second weekend of the playoffs. With no further ado:

Of course I'm taking Green Bay over Seattle, like I said last week: Seattle sucks. 35-34 G.B.

New England @ Jacksonville. Ugh... I do not like the Patsy's. 42 - 10 New England.

Indy vs. San Diego - Indy is the last real chance for the Patsy's to be stopped. Colts over the Chargers 28-17.

Dallas vs. Giants should be the best matchup of the weekend. I actually want to see Eli do well; hell he has done well - this will be his third straight season in the playoffs. Maybe Eli is better than I think. The Giants do have that super D - rush, and T.O. is supposed to be ailing. Anyhow, I will go with what should always be the most hated team in sports: the Dallas Cowboys, 30-16.

Year of the Tiger:

Sousa is guilty of taunting that Tiger - I was born in the Year of the Tiger - and he got a little more than what he deserved. To see some examples of the "Wild" getting revenge against Humans, download "When Animals Attack" and you will see some us get our come-uppance from the animals that we captured and then gawked at like idiots. The saddest part of the whole thing is that the Tiger did not deserve to go out like that, at the hands of a police firing squad, and all because some idiot Raiders fans had to go sling-shotting the captive animal.

Mrs. Sousa (seriously, no relation; please stop asking) says the Dhaliwal brothers told her they didn't sling-shot the tiger.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Too Many Coincidences

Last week, I was talking with my buddy Chris from the Daily Chuppler about introducing the term Roy'd into the lexicon, meaning "to be bitten in the head by a big ass tiger."

I had been complaining that the dude who got killed by Tatiana the tiger on Christmas Day was named Sousa. Insensitive, maybe, but the Sousas in my immediate family did not exactly have a banner 2007. What with Pops going insane and getting committed twice, mom divorcing him, my brother living in Los Angeles being a degenerate gambler and pap smear salesman, and me having to watch my childhood die a rapid death at the hands of unscrupulous bargain hunters at the divorce-mandated estate sale, it was only fitting that a Sousa would get mauled by a giant Siberian tiger to close out the year. But still, bro, it sets us back. Just saying.

Even worse, Sousa was a huge Raiders fan:

...young Sousa loved the Oakland Raiders and had been wearing a Marcus Allen Raiders jersey when he was killed.

The altar was decorated with flower arrangements, including one with a Raiders logo.

None of the articles, however, will say whether the alleged taunting included the brandishing of raspberries.

P.S. The Professor points to the similarities between the alleged taunting scenario and Portuguese Bullfighting. The Professor is even more Portagee than me, so she's allowed.

Jeffri Chadiha Makes Amends

One way to get off the CLOAK OF IMMORTALITY's shit list?

Kiss Dan's ass, that's how.

Actually, that's probably not fair, but all four of our readers know about Dan's crusade to get Lester Hayes into the Hall of Fame. And Chadiha breaks down his 1980 season showing why it was one of the top 10 best individual seasons by a player, ever.

Congratulations, Jeffri. You're no longer the Hater of the Week.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

A Clean Slate for Dan

I have loved the Raiders since before I can remember, but in recent years I must admit they made me something of a hypocrite. No, I never had to defend some ludicrous instant replay fumble overturn that was followed by a bogus explanation associating it with an arcane, misguided, and misapplied rule. But round about 2003 my two least favorite players in the NFL were Warren Sapp and Randy Moss. I had a long list of reasons for disliking them, from Sapp’s attitude after a cheap shot that sent Chad Clifton to the hospital to Randy Moss’s, “What’s $15,000 to me?” comment after one of many fines. I watched in horror as each was signed to play for my beloved Silver and Black. I feared that we would be cursed just as we had been cursed in the late 1980's after hiring the devil himself, Mike Shanahan.

Since Sapp’s signing the Raiders are 15-49. With Moss (including the games when he was only going through the motions), the Raiders were even worse: 6-26.

In fairness, Sapp somewhat redeemed himself with me. He played hard, he played well, he supported the team (at least the defense), he didn’t make destructive comments. Moss had his positive moments, but revealed his true self – in essence mooning the Raider Nation with his soul – in the end.

This era of hypocrisy is over. The curse is lifted. Please Al Davis do not sign Jerramy Stevens anytime soon.


This year's edition of Raider coaching rumors is in full swing. The media pendulum has gone from one extreme - Ryan's out - to the other - Kiffin's out (via Peter King on NBC last night). Even Jerry McDonald, who has been rather level-headed through this process is now asking, "What's going on?"

My question is, why does it seem that NFL insiders are becoming more rumor-monger than reporter? Is it because I am a fan of the most secretive and poorly understood team in the league? Is it because Al Davis is getting crazier? Is it because the Jay Glazers and Adam Schefters have become stars and are pushing the older dudes like King, Clayton, and Mortensen to compete for scoops?

Maybe it's all of those things. In this case I'm going to try and enjoy the drama - it gives us something to do during the playoffs. Perhaps someone should keep score with respect to the reporters and we can start to build empirical evidence of which ones are haters and which have reliable Raider sources. I know Nancy Gay is 0-for-2 (keeping Moss, Kiffin to Arkansas) and counting...

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Late and Wrong

No, not the record-setting season put in by Randy Moss this year, but my Washington over Seattle pick. But I did get home in time to see a spirited comeback and then a lot of lame ducks thrown into the air by an immobile QB named Collins. Memories...

I choose Jacksonville over Pittsburgh. If I recall correctly, the Jaguars were crushing the Steelers in Pittsburgh just a couple of weeks ago and won after a late rally from the Steelers fell short. And then Willie Parker broke his leg.

Tampa Bay will beat the Giants. I just think they will.

And finally, Norv Turner will prove once and for all that he is a better coach than Marty Schottenheimer by winning a playoff game on Sunday. Or at least the Chargers should be able to beat a Titans team that isn't quite very good yet.

Friday, January 4, 2008

John's Picks

I got an email from my attorney, Nappy McBigtoe, threatening to renounce baseball after Billy Beane traded Nick Swisher yesterday. To quote my mother-in-law, "God Damn It." That pretty much sums up the feeling today for those of us who root for McAfee Coliseum's other team.

Anyway, Sllaacs, also a huge A's fan (weird thing about the Bay Area that there a lot of A's/Niners fans and Giants/Raiders fans), is trying to talk me out of it, but I'm also thinking of Renouncing Baseball.

Anyway, this weeks picks:

The Giants beat Tampa Bay, which will expedite the hiring of Raheem Morris as the Raiders new defensive coordinator. (UPDATE: Or not.)

Seattle beats Washington. They just don't lose at home, even if they had to pay Texas A&M when they ripped off the "12th Man."

Even though they're a different species of big ass cat, the Steelers are about to get roy'd at home this weekend. I saw what that defense did against the JaMarcus Russell and the Raiders, they're really good. So is the Jaguars running game. You can read that anywhere. Even Nancy Gay agrees they can run the ball.

Finally, Norv and the Dischargers vs. the Titans. Let's just say I hope Albert Haynesworth steps on Philip Rivers' head with his cleats, cutting that smug smirk off right off of it. I really hate them now. But they probably win this week, considering they're most likely going to face Kerry Collins.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Playoffs!? Sllaacs Picks Every Game

Got an email this morning from Sllaacs:

So it's playoff time, my squad - the San Francisco Shay-Heezies are home watching - I would think. I mean, those losers should be watching players who have experienced success in order to motivate thier asses to improve in the off season. At least the Niners are a young team, if no longer a Bryant Young team.

Playoff picks:

I'm picking Washington to go into Seattle and beat the Seahawks asses, 20-6. Because Seattle sucks.

Jacksonville at Pitt looks like a good matchup. I will take the Steelers at home 35-17.

N.Y. Giants vs the Tampa Bay Garcias. Of course I'm taking Gruden and Goldmember at home against Eli; the Manning who sucks. 24 - 17 Bucs.

It would be nice to see Tennessee beat the Chargers, but it won't happen. San Diego will win easily 30 - 16.

As for the recently completed S.F. Forty-Niners season:

The defense played well overall with a few standouts - Patick Willis, of course resembled a young Ray Lewis while leading the NFL in tackles. Nate Clements lived up to his hype, and Bryant Young polished off a career as one of the best interior D-linemen in NFL history.

The offense... They were hurt by the loss of Norv Turner as OC - no doubt. Rookie Joe Staley started all 16 games (acquired last year from the Patriots for this years #1 pick). Gore managed 1100 rushing yards. The punter punted 105 times. 105 punts, in one season. Uno-Cero-Cinco. Cientocinco. 4,968 punt yards. Think about that Raider fan. Revel in it; laugh out loud about it. The Niners used four quarterbacks to start games this year, including the great Chris Weinke - rhymes with 'stinky'.

The Niners still won more games than your team did. If you look at the scores in some of the losses, a true fan could even rationalize that with a competent QB all year 7 wins could have easily happened. I point will point out three winnable games: vs. Baltimore 9-7, vs. ATL 20-16, and losing to the fucking Rams in S.F. 13-9. Dante Culpepper could have won those games for the Niners.

Alex Smith gets a Mulligan; he got hurt on national television for all to see, he said he was hurt, threw like he was hurt, had surgery like he was hurt. QB competion in camp is welcome. This Niner fan will just see what happens, eat my cheese, drink my wine and see what the first four games of next season brings. Then I will choose a proper emotion.


Wednesday, January 2, 2008

The Nancy Gay Memorial Hater of the Week: Jeffri Chadiha

He is as clumsy as he is stupid.

I mean, Wow. This is so shocking, I seriously considered renaming the NGMHOTW Award the Jeffri Chadia Hater of the Week Award. From today's column on what teams that missed the playoffs need to do to make them next year, where he points out the obvious (re-sign Nmamdi and Huggy Jr., improve the defense) but then concludes:

The reality, however, is that none of these moves would ensure the Raiders a chance of moving up in the NFL ranks. They don't have enough talent or direction, and that will always be their undoing. It's too bad, really, because head coach Lane Kiffin really believes he can make a difference in that franchise. Eventually, like most of his predecessors, he'll realize he can't.

Are you shitting me? Even Ira Miller says that now that we know Kiff is staying, it's a good thing because he's onto something, especially if he can convince Mr. Davis to hire his old man as DC. Now Ira doesn't have a lot of hope that Lane can get Al to hire his pops, but at least he acknowledges that he is making a difference. Seems to me like Chadiha is calling Lane delusional.

Congratulations, Mr. Chadiha, you asshole. You're the 2nd winner of the quasi-weekly Nancy Gay Memorial Hater of the Week award. Prizes include the wishes of hundreds of Raiders fans that your wife cheats on you with Mike Shanahan and gives you a blistering case of genital herpes, and if you ever get a chance to interview Al Davis via satellite video, he will force choke you Admiral Ozzel-style.

I mean, seriously, bro. Your lack of faith is disturbing.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

"This Isn't Going to Happen Again"

There's a good joke that I'm getting tired of telling and hearing:

Now that the games are out of the way the real Raiders season can begin.

Unfortunately, in recent years the best that has been said about the offseason in Alameda is, "At least the Raiders are trying." As an eternally optimistic Raider fan, as usual I'm excited. But this year's excitement has a more positive tone. Last year I was excited that we might have the opportunity to watch Raider games beyond the first quarter in 2007. This year, Kiffin has this thing headed in the right direction, and we have the following things to anticipate:
  • A new defensive system - I enjoyed Rob Ryan and he provided a huge bright spot in a dismal 2006, but his defense failed its test this year and I can't imagine him sticking around. (I keep refreshing my Raider news sites but haven't yet seen an announcement). Is he a scapegoat for a 4-12 season? Hardly. Kiffin built the 2007 team with a conservative but relatively productive offense that would rely on the defense. While I don't have the stats in front of me, the Raiders watched their defense give up many fourth-quarter leads. In other words, the offense kept its part of the bargain. Blame injuries? Interestingly, the offense kept putting up 100-yard rushers after Jordan and then Fargas went down. The obvious intrigue here will be whether Monte and his zone defense will come to make it a family affair. In any case, Lane should have an inside track on talented defensive minds with his father's advice.
  • Defensive talent built around a returning core - It's not all bad on the defensive side. While they won't bring back 11 starters like this year, the new defensive coordinator will have a core upon which to build. Kiffin appears committed to re-signing Asomugha, which is critical. Thomas Howard took a step towards stardom this year. Kirk Morrison, while remaining a bit of an unknown quantity in the running game, is a jersey-worthy stud. Michael Huff will get the Gallery treatment and will be put in a position to shine. Burgess will be back to get after the passer. Tommy Kelly is a priority re-signing. And Jay Richardson showed great promise for a 5th round pick.
  • "Big names" shown the door - Not always fun, but given the history of losing it will be refreshing to see some real change. LaMont Jordan must already have his house on the market. After watching him run directly into tacklers arms at Lambeau I won't be leading the campaign to bring him back. Sapp appears to have retired (maybe he'll wait to talk to Monte?). In the past I disliked Sapp to a significant degree, but even with his Jacksonville meltdown he's been a pretty good Raider. Sunday was a fitting end, as he played an inspired game. Jerry Porter is opting out of his contract. Wouldn't mind seeing him back but he's not really a #1 guy, and no matter what he says he isn't a real deep threat. Stu Schweigart...sorry, Stu. Love your attitude but the writing's on the wall. A free safety has to tackle. Terdell Sands? The biggest - in more ways than one - signing of last offseason may have lost his job after a pathetic season. This one will depend on two things: 1 - cap ramifications, 2 - will the new defensive coordinator pull a Tom Cable and decide that the scheme and coaching rendered a talented guy ineffective?
  • Active free agency - While the 49ers took this approach last year and got worse, the Raiders have a lot more experience in free agency and have generally done a reasonable job with signings such as Burgess, Sapp, Griffith, Newberry, and maybe even Rhodes. This year they have to address DT, SS, WR, and OL and can't do it all in-house or via the draft.
  • Drafting #3 or #4 - In all likelihood it will be #4. Remember the last time the Raiders had a coin flip for draft position? They were announced the winners only to have it revoked and handed to the 49ers. Was it the tuck rule? It was only the difference between Vernon Davis and Michael Huff, anyway. Here the Raiders have not done so well. Kiffin's first draft was ok. The positives seem to be JaMarcus, Zach Miller, Jay Richardson, and Oren O'Neal. Busts include Quentin Moses and Johnnie Lee Higgins. Bush and Mario Henderson are incomplete, although a 3rd rounder never being active for a game (Henderson) sounds like a bust to me. Johnnie Lee gets my vote for least favorite Raider in 2007. Ok, so he's only a rookie. But Kiffin placed a major bet on him to be our deep threat and he did nothing. Punt returns? His 50-yarder on Sunday was more than offset by a propensity to muff, including this week's edition where he looked pretty similar to my wife trying to catch a long pass - more interested in ensuring it doesn't hit her face than catching it. With the #4 pick in the draft and an early second rounder the Raiders could fill two big holes immediately.

So, obviously I'm excited for the offseason, sad as it sounds. That is until another stellar Nancy Gay/Ira Miller prediction comes true and Kiffin leaves to bring the SMU program back to prominence.

Happy New Year!