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Posted by Matt on March 31, 2009

Amidst the John Calipari-to-Kentucky turmoil yesterday afternoon this very site surpassed the 1,000,000 hit mark going back to June of 2007  I never thought we’d see numbers like that regardless of how long it took so I appreciate the many (or few) that made this happen and those of you that take the time to comment and engage in fun, interesting, and informative sports banter — that’s what Charlie Hustle and I had in mind back in early 2007, just after the New Year, when the idea for TNB was born.

Thanks goes to all the guys here that post when they can, regardless of how frequently or infrequently;  I realize we’re all busy and it has been a fun ride doing all this with people I call friends.

I hope any of you still around now that things have slowed down in 2009 have enjoyed what we have had to offer along the way and I hope for many more moments in the future.



Posted in The Nasty Boys | 6 Comments »

Get Your Tin Foil Hats Out Because…

Posted by Matt on March 30, 2009


It must be admitted that I have very few links to support any of my quotes (I’ll add video clips/links as soon as possible) or any of my theories…get your scorecards ready, folks…

11:45AM UPDATE: Here is an ESPN link with an Andy Katz-on-Mike and Mike in the Morning video along with a Jay Bilas-on-Mike and Mike audio link supporting some of the statements below:

-The ESPN Machine

ESPN’s Colin Cowherd mentioned on his radio show that Memphis isn’t with the likes of UK, UNC, UCLA, and that the job in Lexington is a “top five” position. Colin mentioned John Calipari “has to take the Kentucky job” and that Lexington is a “beautiful city,” among other things.  Andy Katz has added that he thinks Coach Cal is coming to Kentucky, that this move “changes the face of SEC basketball,” and that the hire would automatically make the Wildcats a team to play for again among the other top programs.  I have also heard Jay Bilas (“I would go there in a heartbeat if I were John Calipari”) and Doug Gottlieb (“Kentucky is KENTUCKY”) being on the Cal-to-Kentucky bandwagon.  So what am I getting at?

ESPN has a gozillion dollar SEC basketball television contract starting next season and for a network that the Cat fanatics normally decry as being overwhelmingly “against” Kentucky, all of the talking heads have quickly started playing a new tune despite most saying just days ago that Kentucky didn’t give Billy Clyde Gillispie a fair shake at life in Lexington.  This after claiming the Kentucky crazies “ran” Tubby” out of town two years ago.  A change of tune indeed. (2:15PM Update: ESPN’s home page now has this article –front and center — to go along with the Coach Cal speculation,  Maybe the tune at ESPN hasn’t completely changed, at least on the hit-or-miss “Page 2”.)

Could the ESPN machine be thinking ratings if they can continue to hype John Calipari as the new head honcho of Kentucky basketball?  Is ESPN trying to get back in to the good graces of Big Blue Nation with the SEC deal on the horizon?  Just keep in mind that ESPN is, ultimately, a business…that’s all I’m asking.

-Coach Calipari Is Playing His Cards

I’ve heard a small buzz about John Calipari’s historical use of the tease to get more money out of his current employer.  Many Cats fans lurking around the message boards are overlooking this minor detail and some are eving saying Calipari heading north is a “done deal.”  What I somewhat suspect and eternally fear is that Coach Cal is flirting with Kentucky to receive a hefty pay raise from Memphis.

It wouldn’t be unprecedented and should be less than unexpected if it does, in fact, go down.

-Benedict Arnold Is Mettling In Kentucky Affairs

Kentucky lurkers thought it was a forgone conclusion that Billy Donovan was heading to Lexington back then and some “sources” even reported an Eddie Munster resignation just last Friday.   However, it was rumored that Rick Pitino advised Billy Donovan to pass on the Kentucky job two years ago and head for higher ground — ground that ended up being Orlando and then Gainseville again.   Most of the The Faithful think Pitino feared Donovan heading to Kentucky and one-upping his former boss (Donovan was an assistant under Ricky P. during the Kentucky glory days), some suspect that’s why Pitino “advised” his former underling to turn down the nation’s winningest program, and even a few even suggest it has happened yet again.

Coach Pitino also suggested that Arkansas’ John Pelphrey and Oklahoma State’s Travis Ford, both of who were players at Kentucky under Pitino, would be sure-fire hires in his (not-so-) humble opinion (  While I like Coach Ford and feel he’s done well at Campbellsville, Eastern Kentucky, Massachusetts, and Oklahoma State, some also feel he doesn’t have the experience necessary to right the Big Blue Ship despite having the Kentucky ties and having the familiarity with the fanatical Cats fans.  Ditto that for Coach Pelphrey with an even less-impressive track record (no offense intended, but he missed postseason play in a “down” SEC this year with a losing conference record and a losing overall record).

Is Pitino trying to flex his muscle just enough to remain King of the Bluegrass?  Could he fear a head-to-head and in-state rivalry with the likes of John Calipari (one which may already exist, if only in some people’s eyes)?

Only the man in the white suit has those answers.


It should be noted that I enjoyed seeing Louisville lose yesterday and have now said for more than one year that Rick Pitino is looking increasingly sickly on the sidelines. I am having more and more people confirm my observations as he looked utterly exhausted after yesterday’s loss.

I would also like to add that on this very site (in a comments thread) I had this to say about the nation’s number one #1 seed:

“Lewisveele only beat Kensucky by 3 on a luck last second shot by Edgar ‘Don’t Call Me Sammy’ Sosa.

They’re overrated and they’ll under perform in the tourney according to ‘expert’ expectations like they have every year except their lone Final Four year under Benedict Arnold. They didn’t even play one of the upper half of the hardest Big East schedules.”

Posted in Kentucky Wildcats, NCAA Basketball | Comments Off on Get Your Tin Foil Hats Out Because…

With Billy Gillispie Out… Big Blue Nation Wonders “Who’s Next?”

Posted by Condo on March 28, 2009

Billy Gillespie is gone, what next?

After two turbulent seasons, Billy Gillispie is gone from the Big Blue Nation. What's next for the 'Cats?

By now (unless you are living under a rock) you’ve heard the news that Billy Gillispie was fired as the head coach at the University of Kentucky yesterday afternoon.

Kentucky Athletic Director Mitch Barnhart said that it really had little to do with wins and losses (although Kentucky did tie for the second most losses this season in school history) and had more to do with the fact that he was not the ‘ambassador to the university that they would like the head coach at the University of Kentucky to be.’

Having said that, Kentucky is now in the market for a new head coach and as a member of “The Nasty Boys” that has been absent for more than a year at this point… I figured this was as good of a time as any to bring myself back to the blogging world with a Top 5 list of candidates that I think the “Big Blue Nation” should consider.

One other thing I’d like to add before jumping into my list is that regardless of who Kentucky hires as their next basketball coach.. so long as Patrick Patterson & Jodie Meeks come back next season and the new coach can keep Daniel Orton committed to Kentucky, they “should” be at least a Sweet 16 team in my opinion next year if not better.

Having said that, lets be honest here, I don’t think  Billy Donovan nor John Calipari, or even Tom Izzo, are going leaving their posts to come to Kentucky, so they will not be on my Top 5 list.  But let’s start with number one on my list…

1.   Jay Wright (Villanova Head Coach, Bucknell ’83)

Most people don’t believe he would leave Villanova for Kentucky after many believe he privately rebuffed UK two seasons ago, but now may be as good of a time as ever for him to leave.  He’s on the verge of a Final 4 at Villanova this season and is still relatively young in the coaching ranks (48 years old this year).  But he’s probably going to lose a lot of his core to this seasons’ team (Scottie Reynolds, Dante Cunningham) and if he is not going to leave for an NBA job, UK is about as close to NBA type pressure as it will get.

Wright’s been to 4 Sweet 16’s in the last 5 seasons at Nova and has recruited to Philadelphia awfully well, which many UK fans want to hear.  He is also probably one of the most personable coaches in America and is very charasmatic, which I believe Kentucky needs more than anything with their next hire.

The only thing tying him to Nova’ right now is the fact that he was an assistant there under Villanova great Rollie Massimino, but the opportunity to leave the rugged Big East for the SEC may be another thing that lures him in.

All and all, I think Wright would be a fantastic hire for the Cats.  But if he turns them down, lets move on to #2 on my list…

2. Rick Barnes (Texas Head Coach, Lenoir-Ryhne ’77)

Another name that most don’t believe would leave his place at Texas for UK after he was also believed to have privately rebuffed UK, but obviously the situations are a bit different now.  Barnes was coming off of a second round NCAA loss to USC and had a strong core in place at the time to make a Final 4 (not including Kevin Durant).  The next year with D.J. Augustin the Horns’ made the Elite 8 before bowing out to Memphis and this season lost in Round 2 to Duke.

Again, like Wright, he’s likely going to lose some key players to graduation or the NBA in Damian James, AJ Abrams, and company and if he’s going to leave, now is as good a time as any from that standpoint.  Again, like Wright, he has a wonderful personality and would be a great ‘ambassador’ that Barnhart says he is looking for, so I’m sure he will get another call.

The sticking point with Barnes is that his teams tend to lack the ‘killer instinct’ for one thing and I personally don’t believe his recruiting has been as strong lately as it has been in the past.  A second thing that stands out is that he’s been around the block a bit having been at George Mason, Providence, and Clemson before settling at Texas in 1998.  So he may see Texas the place he plans to spend the rest of his career.  So we will move on to #3 on the list…

3. Thad Matta (Ohio State Head Coach, Butler ’90)

From Hoopeston, IL, this man has basketball in his blood and is very young at age 41.  He’s a relentless recruiter as evident by the talent he’s been bringing into Ohio State over the past few seasons with Greg Oden, Mike Conley, Evan Turner, and others.  And he’s also seems to be a pretty likeable and personable guy who would represent the university well.

He’s shown that he has been known to be a bit of a ‘job jumper’ as his first job was at his alma-mater, Butler, where he spent only 1 season before moving on to Xavier for 3 seasons, and then to Ohio State for where he has been the past 5 seasons.

One thing that worries me with Matta is whether he is a great coach and great recruiter?  Or is he just a great recruiter and an ‘ok’ coach?  I tend to lean towards the second answer myself, but his last 2 seasons he has had very young teams in Columbus, so maybe it’s just the growing pains of starting freshmen & sophomores.

Either way, given the talent that UK ‘should’ be able to get on a yearly basis if he were to be coach, he would be a good fit.  The question is does he want to leave a place where football is king for a place where basketball rules the landscape?  On to #4 on the list…

4. Mike Anderson (Missouri Head Coach, Tulsa ’82)

Anderson is a bit of a wild card name getting toseed around thanks to the run he is experiencing with Mizzou in his third season on the job.  The team is on to the Elite 8 and will face UConn in a chance to take Mizzou to their first Final 4.  A lot of UK fans will remember Mike from his time at UAB where he took down #1 overall seed Kentucky in the second round of the NCAAs in 2004.

Anderson was a long time assistant to Nolan Richardson at Arkansas and I believe would love to get back to the SEC if he could seeing as how he grew up in SEC Country (Birmingham, AL).  His style of play is very similar to Pitino ball with what many has dubbed “Controlled Chaos” where they press for 40 minutes and try to lure you into a track meet.

The question with Anderson is really a matter of if he can recruit well enough for UK?  At Missouri and UAB, he’s never landed any ‘major’ recruits and he reminds me an awful lot of Tubby Smith.  I’m not so sure Barnhart is going to want to hire a guy similar to that which many people wanted out when he left for Minnesota.

This leads me to #5 on my list and the man I ultimately believe will end up with the job…

5. Travis Ford (Oklahoma Sate Head Coach, Kentucky ’94)

He’s young (39), he’s entergetic, he understands Kentucky basketball probably better than anyone else Kentucky is looking at for the job seeing as how he played under Pitino in the early 90s, and this is his dream job.  I am not so sure that any of the above names on my list can say that Kentucky is truly their ‘dream job’.  I believe Travis can say that.

He brings a style of play that is very similar to Pitino’s and would be welcomed by the UK fan base, not to mention that he is very charismatic and would certainly represent the university well.

The downside is that he doesn’t have much NCAA Tournament experience as he’s only been to the tournament twice (once with Eastern Kentucky, and then again this season with Oklahoma State), and he’s certainly not Kentucky’s #1 choice.

Then again, when UK hired Pitino after the whole ordeal with Eddie Sutton, I don’t think he was the #1 choice either, so maybe this would work.

Regardless of the fact that he’s not been a head coach at a major program but for just one season at Oklahoma State, he did a helluva job with the situation he was put in and almost led them to the Sweet 16 without a real legitimate post player.

I believe that if he was offered this job, he would jump at the opporunity without hesitation.

Other Names Who Missed The Cut But You May Hear About:

Sean Miller (Xavier)
Bruce Pearl (Tennessee)
Bob Knight (Ex-Texas Tech & Indiana Coach)
Avery Johnson (Ex-Dallas Mavericks Coach)

Please keep in mind that this is just my personal opinion of who I feel UK should take a look at and in no way do I have any inside sources that are telling me these are the guys who will be looked at.

Please feel free to leave any comments or questions you have in regards to the list, or heck, send us your own list.  Would love to hear others thoughts on the situation at hand for the Wildcats.

Posted in Kentucky Wildcats, NCAA Basketball | 4 Comments »

March Madness Baby

Posted by Charlie Hustle on March 16, 2009


The Nasty Boys are lighting up the midnight oil to provide one of the first March Madness primers….assuming Pat Forde’s 10,000 word column was mainly written before the brackets came out…


Big East – Hard to believe when ESPN has Big East Monday and covers the Big East conference tournament, that it could possibly result in 3 #1 seeds. ESPN dictates sports fans viewpoints with the vigor of a Soviet propaganda minister.

Memphis – Not a #1 seed? Who cares. After Cincinnati, Louisville, Marquette, etcetera left in 2005, Memphis seems to go pretty much defeated in the Washington Senator-esque Conference USA every year. They lost 3 games after losing their 3 best players to the NBA draft. Soak it up Calipari… you’ve come a long way baby

Just 15 years ago Cliff Huxtable was ready to whip your ass.

Big Ten – 7 tournament bids from the most horrendous offensive teams in recent history. But hey, they followed a simple formula… make one team so indefensibly bad they improve everyone’s conference record (Indiana) + make typical losers slightly better (NW, PSU, UofMich, Minny) + make your middle of the road teams (OSU, Purdue) as good as your best teams (Mich St, Illinois)

Arizona – Consistently underwhelm every year and do less with more? Check. Lose basically every game for 3 weeks leading up the tourney? Check. Sneak in as the last at-large bid? Check.

Atlantic 10 – If anyone would have told me before the season that the conference championship would include a luke warm Duquesne/Temple showdown and that there would be 3 bids coming for the tourney, well… ya know…


Missouri Valley Conference – Your best team (Creighton) doesn’t get in and your best showing is a 12 seed (Northern Iowa)? Ouch.

Akron – Win a surprisingly tough MAC tournament? Good for you. Now go play Gonzaga in Portland.

Kentucky – Misses the tourney for the first time since 1991 even in a weak year for the SEC. Only a 4th seed in the NIT? Yikes. Maybe the extra time will help Billy G. find more than one player who can shoot a jumper.

… and now…


Gus Johnson – Anyone with a pulse will be excited to hear Johnson calling upset-last-second-shot victories.

Bill Raftery – Saying “mantoman” and “onions” in a weird voice does not a good playcaller make.

Ian Eagle/Jim Sparnakel – I wish there was an announcer website like that kept track of most consecutive boring, unimportant games called record holder – Ian Eagle. Whether it’s calling late season Chiefs/Bengals matchups or the enticing UNC/Radford showdown, Ian Eagle has it covered. That’s “eye-an” for those keeping score.

Lesley Visser/Tracy Wolfson/Sam Ryan – Hey, woman sideline reporter, NO ONE CARES WHAT YOU HAVE TO SAY. Where’s my mute button….

Jay Bilas/Dick Vitale/Seth Davis – Just tattoo a Duke logo on your forehead and get it over with. We get it already….


Kansas – Great home team. Won last year. But no one is forgetting their streak of early round upsets especially since this team lost almost all of its main components from the Championship squad. They’re a year away.

Prediction: North Dakota St. wins. Gus Johnson strokes out.

Wake Forest – Talented team that just simply has not lived up to expectations after their #1 ranking in the middle of the season. Demon Deacs are just not up to it.

Prediction: Cleveland St. or Utah knocks them out.

Michigan State – Great coaching can make up for a lot of issues and Tom Izzo seems to have MSU competing every year for a Big 10 title. But this Spartans team can’t hang with anyone who can score more than 65 points. They just don’t have the shooters.

Prediction: Sent packing before the weekend is over.

Marquette – Dominique James couldn’t shoot for his life but for whatever reason, this team just cannot make up for his loss. They’ve been cold for a month and can’t recover.

Prediction: Utah State’s middle aged team (their best guy is 26 years old, due to school rules of 2 years doing church work) wears down Marquette and sends them home.

Tennessee – Bill Raftery on Wayne Chism’s long shorts-high socks look… “It looks like he’s wearing pajamas out there.” When your best player wears his head band on the crown of his head and your coach has a 365-day tan… you are making a quick exit.

Prediction: OK State by 10-20

Butler – No team has had more highly touted nonathletic white guys come through their doors than possibly save Gonzaga. I watched them lose to Cleveland St. and they don’t have the horses.

Prediction: UNC wins by 30 in 2nd round.

Syracuse – Coach? Check. Point guard? Check. Shooters? Check. But there’s a long list of teams that sell all the way out for the conference tournament and lay an egg in the NCAAs, and we’ll be adding this Syracuse team to the list. They were good enough to hang with the big boys in the Big East but every game seemed to fall apart at the end…

Prediction: Either James Harden (ASU) or Dionte Christmas (Temple) will send ‘Cuse home.

The Players:

Louisville – Seem to make up for their lack of shooters with a stifling press defense and lots of depth on the front line. They are a second-half team, and second-half teams that play great defense seem to win a lot of games (See Celtics, Cavs)

Prediction: Final Four

USC – Sometimes talented teams take a while to mesh, and if the Pac10 tournament is any indication, USC has just started to touch on their potential.

Prediction: Sweet 16+

Washington – Usually the Pac 10 is chock full of wimps who make early round exits but this Huskies team has quietly had its best team in years. They have 4 double-digits scorers (Thomas, Dentmon, Brockman, Pondexter), including their best scorer named Isaiah Thomas. Perhaps he too will become a Hall of Fame player then the worst GM ever.

Prediction: Elite 8 (after beating UConn in OT)

Memphis – A hot team with a fairly easy draw, Memphis will be making a Final Four appearance no matter how bad their conference is.

Prediction: Final Four

Pitt – Many people’s favorite to win, Pitt has played consistently well all year and has depth and talent. However, they simply cannot survive DeJuan Blair getting in foul trouble (see Louisville loss) and Jamie Dixon isn’t what I would call a “big game coach”.

Prediction: Elite 8

Portland State – My knowledge of this sleeper is due to degenerate gambling but they have a great shot at making a run. They can run, shoot lights out, and their best player is like 5’5″. Xavier usually saves its best for Dayton then sucks against other good teams.

Prediction: Sweet 16

VCU – Should come as no surprise, this team is well-coached, has good depth, and a killer prime time scorer in Eric Maynor. C-ya, UCLA.

Prediction: 101-98 loss to Nova.

Villanova – Out of all the big Big East names, this team is quietly hanging under the radar. But they have good scoring depth, two stars in Cunningham and Reynolds, and a coach that could fill in as Don Draper’s double on Mad Men.

73428540MH014_Big_East_Cham don-draper

Prediction: Final Four.

Duke – Great run in the ACC tournament but obvious front court weakness will eventually send the Dukies home and leave the Vitale/Bilas/Davis combination crying into their Van Heusen ties. Nova will be smart enough to guard the 3 point line and let the likes of Jason Zoubak beat them.

Prediction: Sweet 16

UNC – The deepest and most talented team in the field. A loss in the ACC tournament is going to make this team hungry and their hopes will ride on their floor general Ty Lawson’s foot. A full week of rest should do him wonders.

Prediction: Final Four

Gonzaga – Probably one of their best tournament teams in years. They are deep, talented, and Josh Heytvelt seems to be off the ‘shrooms. They go down to UNC in a high-scoring affair.

Prediction: Elite 8

Arizona State – A great player can carry a team far in the NCAAs and the Sun Devil’s James Harden is as good as there is. If they can put the clamps on Dionte Christmas, the Sun Devils will be in the sweet 16.

Prediction: Sweet 16

Oklahoma – Interesting team with plenty of talent (Griffin brothers, Willie Warren) but they just seem to have lost some momentum after Blake’s concussion. Playing a streaky Clemson team in the 2nd round, they could be sent home very early. Having the best player in the country doesn’t always mean winning in the tourney (See: Kevin Durant).

Prediction: Sweet 16

Final Four: Memphis vs. Louisville and UNC vs. Villanova

Louisville’s defense is too much for freshman PG Tyreke Evans and they roll 65-58.

UNC keeps Nova in it with less than stellar D but Hansborough tends to get big men like Cunningham in foul trouble and UNC scores 50 in the 2nd half to win 87-83 in a nail-biter.

Championship: UNC vs. Louisville

Offense vs. Defense. Pitino vs. Williams. At the end of the day, there aren’t many teams I would trust to break the Louisville press more than Lawson and Company. Louisville keeps it close with some strong runs in both halves but can’t make enough shots down the stretch to keep up.

UNC wins 85-76

Good luck and as always, when your bracket falls apart, burn it in the fireplace.

— Charlie Hustle

Posted in NCAA Basketball | 8 Comments »

What Does Kentucky Need To Do?

Posted by Ryne E. Hancock on March 10, 2009

With Saturday’s loss to Florida the Wildcats in Billy G.’s second season are on the outside looking in concerning the Big Dance.

In fact, according to our “friends” at, the Wildcats wouldn’t even crack the last four in or even worse, the last four out.

If the tournament started today, South Carolina, Tennessee, and LSU would be the only  representatives from the SEC, a far cry from last year’s SEC representatives of Kentucky, Georgia, Mississippi State, Arkansas, Vanderbilt, and Tennessee, with Tennessee making the Sweet 16 for the 2nd year in a row (where they would lose to Louisville).

On the other hand, Kentucky would miss the tournament for the first time since 1991, back when MC Hammer was king of the music world and Will Smith was the “Fresh Prince”.

But despite the fear of what could happen to the Wildcats’ season and, more importantly, the future of Billy G, the Wildcats could do the same thing that Arkansas did back in 2000, win four games in four days to make the field of 64 thanks to this week’s SEC Tournament in Tampa. The Wildcats will open up against Ole Miss Thursday afternoon.

So what does this lead us to assume? From what was said in the Lexington Herald-Leader about Jodie Meeks being ordered to retain his shooting, this after scoring 45 points against Arkansas and dropping a Kentucky-record 54 against Tennessee, Meeks is going to have to block out what was allegedly said by Gillispie during the 2nd half against the Gators and shoot the ball more (and make it).

Posted in Kentucky Wildcats, NCAA Basketball | Comments Off on What Does Kentucky Need To Do?

I’m Just Happy To Be Here

Posted by Matt on March 5, 2009


“Stone Cold” Marvin Lewis was stoic as usual during the formal introduction of Laveranues Coles as a Bengal.  If the writing isn’t on the wall then Marv’s face at least paints the picture and I think he knows as well as we do that it ain’t looking rosey.

That is the face of a beaten man.

Posted in Cincinnati Bengals, NFL | Comments Off on I’m Just Happy To Be Here

Bengals Musings

Posted by Matt on March 5, 2009


Very much contradictory to my half-drunken predictions, the Bengals have resigned Cedric Benson to go along with Lavernezilli Coles signing in what are now the marquee moves for Cincinnati this offseason. All must be right in the Bengal Nation.  Bengal-mania is back!  WHO DEY!

Well, probably not, but I like to look at the bandwagon as having a revolving door to fit my needs.

-Hanoi Hobson’s old school spin.

Not quite sure how I missed this one last week but my current level of excitement cannot be contained so much that I have been trolling all morning and looking specifically at the wide receiver situation.  On February 23, Hanoi had this to say about Jerry Simpson:

“I know a lot of people inside and outside the Bengals fear Simpson is a bust but, to his great credit, Lewis has always backed Simpson to the hilt. So much so that Lewis seemed to be coaxing Palmer to get more in Simpson’s camp.

All I know is this: In 20 preseason and regular-season games last year, only one wide receiver actually made a downfield catch longer than 40 yards, and it was Simpson. Forget it was the preseason and it was a throwaway launched by and into a bunch of second-half backups. The kid jumped up and made a play, and that exactly hasn’t been happening around here.”

Yeah, please forget that 40+ yard catch was in the American Legion’s annual Celebrity Flag Football Game For The Cure and Jerry was being hilariously covered by local “celeb” Nick Lachey in the short-nonathletic-white-dude-competes-against-large-athletic-black-man irony that the average American loves.  Simpson (“Largest WR hands at the 2008 NFL Combine!”) had 1 reception for 2 yards the entire season.  True story.

I think Brett Favre had that in his first completion with Green Bay and last I heard he wasn’t a wide receiver nor was he coming out of retirement (yet).

-Bengals fans are collectively retarded. — My apologies to the retarded, being compared to a Bengals fan really paints those folks in a bad light.

Today’s fan poll on begs the question, “What do you think of the Laveranues Coles signing?” and 71% went with “Great move – now we have a deep corps  of receivers (Ed.’s Note: Citation needed.)“.  23.9% said, “It’s OK — doesn’t wow me either way (Ed.’s Note: That’s what she said.)while 5.9% decided that it was a “Bad move — he’s no TJ”.

Let me preface my belligerent ramblings by saying I have no problems with Laveranues Coles and I actually didn’t mind the signing overall.  He seems like a class act, something that has been a rarity in recent history, and 4 of the last 5 seasons he has somehow found a way on to my fantasy team, with me having no recollection of actually drafting him or picking him up from the waiver wire, and performed sufficiently. (I will also add to the preface that a fourth choice of “It is a decent signing but the offensive line is still shitty” is a conspicuously absent option from the fan poll.)

However, the 71% of fans that are overly enthusiastic about the signing of Coles are indicative of a fan base that goes through life looking through orange-colored lenses and it really chaps my ass.  These are the same delusional human beings that buy in to the “Bengals finished strong” argument because the team went 4-3-1 in the last 8 games despite the fact the 4 wins were against divisional bottom-feeders with a combined .297 winning percentage.

I witnessed this problem up close in training camp last summer.  The exact same fans would show up every day covered in Bengals schwag from head to toe, begging for autographs from players half their age as if proving their blind, undying loyalty makes them better people than their unemployed reality portrays.  These are the same mongrels that show up every Sunday to Paul Brown Stadium, rain or shine, and plop their fat asses in uncomfortable chairs with their overpriced cheese coneys and $9 beers, helping to ensure that Mike Brown will have to change very little to continue making his millions.

-Please, please, PLEASE don’t use high draft picks on a running back or wide receiver.

Especially not after drafting three wide receivers last year (Simpson/Caldwell/Urrutia) and signing another one as a college free agent (Maurice Purify).  Benson and company in the backfield plus any combination of Ocho Cinco/Coles/Henry/Simpson/Your Mom may not be the best offense in the league, but the Bengals have far more pressing issues at this point than the skill positions.

Mr. Hobson initially agrees that the Benson/Coles signings will free up the draft for Cincinnati but quickly returns to usual form by claiming that wide receiver Michael Crabtree is still an option, especially now that Seattle has addressed their needs with Houshmazoad:

“The Bengals have plenty of needs, but they don’t have a gaping hole that they must fill with the No. 6 or No. 38 picks. Particularly at No. 6, where they can now take anything, and that includes Texas Tech wide receiver Michael Crabtree if he slips because of his foot stress fracture. But, if someone wants to jump and get Crabtree, now the Bengals have the luxury of trading down if they want to talk turkey at No. 6.

(Seattle, picking at No. 4, is presumably out of the receiver sweepstakes now that Houshmandzadeh is in the fold.)”

Heh, he said ‘gaping hole’. But seriously, the Bengals have needs and I know of one gaping hole in particular and it is wherever Eric Ghiaciuc lines up (or doesn’t if he doesn’t resign).

If the Bengals spend the #6 overall selection on a guy with a bum leg when they now have 8 wide receivers to take to training camp (plus any invitees), and with former Bengals Tab Perry and Kelley Washington still on the market, I may just turn to illicit drug use to ease the pain — otherwise known as “Weekday Mornings” in my household.

Posted in Cincinnati Bengals, NFL | 1 Comment »

What We’ve Learned About The Bengals (So Far) From Free Agency

Posted by Matt on March 3, 2009


See the lifeboats in the lower left?  Yeah, that’s Stacy Andrews and TJ Housyourmamma getting the hell out of town and  don’t be surprised if Cedric Benson is soon to follow.  But what does this mean and what have we truly learned about the Bengals during the free agency period thus far?

-The Bengals were never legitimately in the mix for Housh.

Call me crazy but I am a broke college student and I don’t think I’d take a guaranteed contract to play for the Bengals; this franchise is a joke. Don’t get me wrong, I fully support the endeavors of Who Dey Revolution, but we’re a fan base that has resorted to sneaking in urinal cakes to Paul Brown Stadium documenting Mike Brown’s inferiority.

Carson’s constant phone calls tugging at the proverbial heartstrings of TJ only delayed the decision.  Seattle is a (marginally) better team in a weaker division offering more money to bring TJ closer to home.  Book it.  Done.

-Cedric Benson may soon follow.

You better get used to a 2009 edition of the Bengals lacking any offensive line depth along with playing sans our top receiver and (possibly) top running back from 2008.  Although Cedric Benson has taken enough police beatings to lack cognitive thought, he somehow still had the presence of mind to know that the Bengals are on a one way trip to Hell when he spoke with The Houston Chronicle:

“There’s a lot of things like staying home, and the business side of it here might be better than it is in Cincinnati,” he said. “Also, winning a Super Bowl. I had an opportunity to go (with Chicago), and I want to get back and win one.”

Ah yes, the hometown comes-a-calling excuse once more.  And the Bengals business side is shitty. Oh, and he’ll never win a Super Bowl in Cincinnati, either.

This guy was selling steaks out of a rapist van to cover court costs at the start of last season before signing with Cincy; but now, after less than one year with the Bengals, Ced would rather take a backup role to Steve Slaton in Houston than start for our loveable losers.

-Other teams’ free agents use the Bengals to catch a free flight through the Mid-west.

Giants’ free agent running back Derrick Ward visited Cincinnati over the weekend — a move that likely only further drove the wedge between Benson and the Bengals — only to sign with Buccaneers a day later.  I doubt Ward was ever seriously considering Cincinnati despite what Hanoi Hobson on would have you believe.

Instead of signing with the Bengals I picture Ward’s agent, Drew Rosenhaus, with his feet up on Mike Brown’s desk finalizing the details of the deal with Tampa Bay while Mike Brown “wined-and-dined” Ward with a Skyline 3-way and a Big Gulp.


You’d think the rest of the league would catch on to the fact that Bengals will likely sign NOBODY, but it seems clear free agents are still content ‘taking a visit’ to try to improve their market value before bolting for higher ground.

-The Brown Family is asleep at the wheel.

The Bengals have resigned just three crucial pieces to the Bengals’ “success” last year:  Chris “Leave Britney alone!” Crocker, DeDe Dorsey, and Darryl Blackstock.  They let Stacy Andrews walk — the guy they sent Willie Anderson packing for with nothing in return, and Stacy only had a 1 year deal at the time — and they have yet to sign a center or improve the depth on either side of the trenches.

But by God, they’ve franchised a kicker.

Posted in Cincinnati Bengals, NFL | 5 Comments »

Haynesworth Signs $100M Deal, Dark Days Loom For Bengals

Posted by Charlie Hustle on February 27, 2009


Albert Haynesworth signed with the Washington Redskins today for a reported 7 years, $100 million which, with incentives, can be as high as $115 million. This marks the first time a non-quarterback has reached a contract worth over the $100 million mark.

No strange territory for the Redskins. They try to buy a championship every year by trading draft picks away and signing high-priced free agents. As always kids, the lesson is:

Stomp a man in the head without a helmet on in the middle of an NFL game and get rich bitch!

But dark days looming for Bengals you ask? Well the move by the Redskins adding such immense payroll clearly indicates a feeling amongst Dan Snyder & Co. that the current Collective Bargaining Agreement (aka salary cap) that expires after 2009 ,will go the way of the dinosaur.

If the CBA were to expire and no salary cap reinstated, billionaires like Snyder and Dallas’ Jerry Jones could turn the NFL into Yankees/RedSox 2.0. This is bad news for penny pinchers like Mike Brown who use their “Franchise Tag” for a kicker.

With the track record of the Bengals’ drafts looking more like inept baseball franchises like the Reds and Royals, not low-budget winners like the Rays and As, the Bengals could be in for another 20 years of losing.

As always, my condolences Carson.


— Charlie Hustle

Posted in Cincinnati Bengals, NFL | 2 Comments »

Steroids And The Hall Of Fame: A Study In Wimps And Nerds

Posted by Charlie Hustle on February 26, 2009

Steroid scandals are at a fever pitch. Headlines regarding Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens have been replaced with Alex Rodriguez, as the world turns

However, with new steroid policies in place preventing current players from using Performance Enhancing Drugs, the focus is more on how to punish the players who used to use them.

The punishment? Withhold Hall of Fame inductions to steroid users.

The jury?


That’s right. Your local nonathletic wimp sports writers.

Turn on any morning edition of Mike & Mike and you’ll hear the venom spewing from “seam-heads” like Mike Greenberg and Buster Olney. These are the self-proclaimed Defenders of the Faith, guarding the walls of the Hall of Fame from cheaters and steroid abusers.

After all, these sports writers are the decision-makers when it comes to the Hall of Fame and nobody is getting in their club unless they say so.

To fully grasp this scenario, one must understand the sports writer in his most basic form concerning 3 important facts.

1. He has always and will continue to be terrible at sports.

mitch_albom_1167163953122674 kornheiser dan_shaughnessy

Let’s face facts here folks. Do you honestly believe these fellows ever made a team they tried out for… ever?

These guys have never had an athletic bone in their body. Which would initially be a curse since their sole purpose was always a love of sports. So they had devise a way to be “part of the team.” They had to be included in the action. So they grabbed a pen and pad and headed to the press box – the sanctuary for mustaches, done-laps disease, and former gym coaches. Or any combination above.

2. He insists anyone who plays the game should appreciate “The History of the Game.”

Buster Olney and Tim Kurkjian are proud as peaches to announce every night on SportsCenter that the last time there was an unassisted triple play and somebody ate 10 ice cream cones in the dugout was in 1927 during a game between the Oakland Hitler Mustaches and the Philadelphia Bicycles With One Big Wheel and One Small Wheels.

The first compliment they always tell about Mike Tyson in his prime, or Lebron James, is that he studies the history of the game. And who teaches this history? Former jock strap washers like Mitch Albom.

moustache vs.  old-bicycle-t10100

3. Everything must be fair.

This rule is by far the most prevalent. Sports writers are the kings of fair play. They are the dads that insist that their son is the next Ricky Henderson when he steals 2nd base in a rec league game where the catcher can’t even throw the ball from Home to 2nd in the first place.

In fact, there is no doubt that they could regale you with stories of their epic stab at shortstop against their rival newspaper’s softball team (I’ve been around sports writers my whole life, and trust me, I’ve heard too many of these to count.)


They love to criticize overprotective parents, but that’s exactly how they act when it comes to their first child, baseball.

Have a player who’s bigger and better than the rest of the kids and won’t let him play? Little League Pitcher Banned From Play Because He’s Too Good

Sure Kornheiser, make fun of these lames but have this kid pitch in the Little League World Series:  Ex-Little Leaguer – Danny Almonte – Plays In Altus


All-star teams that kids can’t all play in?

Laugh it up… oh those overreacting parents: Little League Cancels All-Star Game To Spare Children’s Feelings

Barry Bonds hit in the home run contest? NO CHANCE!

Obviously, these over-reacting parents and the sportswriters are from the same FAIRness gene pool.

Solutions you ask?

The solution seems to me to have people who actually PLAYED the game deciding who gets into the Hall of Fame.

Dan Shaugnessy and Bob Ryan deciding who should get in the HoF because they watch more games is like having your local couch potato stoner draw the next episode of Family Guy because he just capped off 8 seasons on DVD without blinking while on a bad acid trip.


Sure he may remember each episode, but he doesn’t know anymore on how to draw Peter and Stewie than Mike Greenberg does about swinging a bat.

If we take away their right to choose who gets in the HoF, perhaps baseball writers will be a little more reticent to reel off self-righteous speeches about how “they don’t want to take their son to the Hall of Fame and explain what steroids are.”

If that’s the case then it shouldn’t be much easier to explain why Babe Ruth only played against white players, or why Mickey Mantle played centerfield drunk on scotch with a pack of Lucky Strikes rolled up in his sleeve.

For my two cents, I’d rather explain to my son why his hero became strong and powerful instead of why he died of liver disease.

And as for Mike Greenberg and Tony Kornheiser taking their kids to the HoF, who doesn’t know the history of the game, who just struck out four times in little league, I can only imagine that trip to Cooperstown with those self-righteous wimps and nerds sounds a little like this…

Little Jimmy Greenberg: Dad my favorite player is Alex Rodriguez!


— Charlie Hustle

Posted in MLB | 3 Comments »

The Return Of The Squirrel?

Posted by Matt on February 20, 2009


The dancin’ machine known as Kelley Washington — famous for “The Squirrel” — may be making a return to Cincinnati, the place where his smooth moves all began back in 2003.  Washington, a free agent, and his representative Chad Speck have reached out to Bengals Management at the NFL Combine and the interest is apparently mutual yet not expressed.

“There is a mutual interest but there hasn’t been any talk about a visit or anything like that. We’ll be talking,” said Speck, a popular man since he’s also the agent for the top player on the free-agent market in Titans defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth.

Oh, wow, wouldn’t it be nice if the Three Stooges (Mike Brown, Katie Blackburn, & Troy Blackburn) were linked with Speck for a guy like, oh say, ALBERT HAYNESWORTH instead of a guy who has caught one pass for three yards in two years with the New England Patriots? Don’t get me wrong, I think Washington is an entertaining character and he had some mild success in spot play and excelled on special teams when he was in Cincinnati, but when will the Bengals land an exciting free agent without botching the contract terms? (*ahem* Shuan Rogers)

Unfortunately for Bengals’ Fans the wide receiver position quickly became a weakness (please don’t use a first round pick, please don’t use a first round pick) when Bengals Management used the Franchise Tag on a kicker and Drew Rosenhaus began pimping out Ocho Cinco like a top call girl.  Jerry Simpson (“Biggest hands in the Combine!”) has been useless and Chris Henry is soft so I understand where concern could blossom but Palmer won’t have to worry about who is on the other end of those receiving routes if he’s on his back more times each game than Pam Anderson on a Motley Crue tour bus.

Heyooo!  I’ll be here all night, folks — don’t forget to tip your bartenders.


Posted in Cincinnati Bengals, NFL | Comments Off on The Return Of The Squirrel?

Bengals Choose Graham Over Janitor For Franchise Tag

Posted by Matt on February 18, 2009


After weeks of speculation the Captain of the Titanic Bengals’ management did what we all long feared on Monday:  used the Franchise Tag on “Sugar” Shayne Graham.  What’s worse is everybody expected it.  John Thorton called it on his blog.  The geniuses over at WhoDey Revolution have been speculating this move for weeks.  Yet none of it prepared me for the stinging pain that shot through my head (Ed. Note: Could’ve been the hangover.) when I heard that Cincy had officially tagged a kicker.

Sure Shayne is great for the community and “Hanoi” Hobson’s spin zone seems to lean on his philanthropy as a valid reason to keep Graham around.  By all means don’t allow me to rain on anybody’s parade — Kicks for Kids is a GREAT campaign (ahem: started by Kentucky alum Doug Pelfrey) — but if we’re giving out top five salaries because of a little charity work I’ll have you know I recently donated hefty sums of money to a worthwhile college fund for some stripper’s kids.

Tagging a kicker isn’t unprecedented.  The Broncos have tagged Jason Elam in the past and the Seahawks have done the same to Josh Brown.  Shayne-o-Mac isn’t even the lone kicker tagged this year in a group that includes punter Michael Koenen out of Atlanta and Jason Hanson out of Detroit (0-16, solid company).  I also would care a little bit less if Graham was our lone high profile free agent this year, but he’s not and the Bengals also aren’t a few field goals away from being a contender.

Cincy has holes on both lines and has the best possession/third down wide receiver in the NFL today sitting on the cusp of free agency and they tag a kicker.  Even if Housh wants no part of coming back to Cincy and the Bengals’ feeling is mutual, tag him and decline to match an offer so the team receives first round draft picks in the 2009 AND 2010 drafts.

After locking up their kicker for at least another year — even though they can’t get INTO field goal range to begin with — “Hanoi” Hobson claims the Bengals will “jump in to the fray” for TJ once free agency begins but I can only imagine they’ll offer about as much money as I’d be offered as a male prostitute.  Then again, what do I know?

Clearly not as much as this widely successful managerial staff…


Posted in Cincinnati Bengals, NFL | Comments Off on Bengals Choose Graham Over Janitor For Franchise Tag

Reds Report One Coffey Short Of A Krispy Kreme Combo

Posted by Matt on February 16, 2009


For the first time since Spring Training 2004, the Reds’ pitchers and catches reported early on Saturday and were short one Toddy Coffey, or rather were one Todd Coffey lighter.  240 pounds lighter, to be exact.

Cincinnati designated Big Red for assignment on September 9th of last year and the Brewers signed him off waivers one day later.  It is hard to put in to words how exciting it is for me and Charlie Hustle to see a Reds’ roster Coffey-less in camp for the first time in a long time.  It wasn’t that Todd was Eric Milton-bad but he wasn’t that good either, posting a 4.62 ERA in just over 206 innings for the Red Legs, and his “trademarked” sprint from the Bullpen to the pitcher’s mound became more of a annoyance than a crowd-pleaser.  In addition to being obnoxious, aforementioned sprint also made no noticeable difference on his waistline.

Coffey will once again lace ’em up for the Brewers in 2009 in what will presumably be his first full season for the franchise assuming he can make it to the end of the year on their active roster.  Milwaukee, known for their tasty brews, should be a good fit for Todd where that beer belly will feel right at home.

Posted in Cincinnati Reds, MLB | Comments Off on Reds Report One Coffey Short Of A Krispy Kreme Combo

The Bengals Finished “Strong”

Posted by Matt on February 15, 2009

Charlie Hustle and I started referring to Bengals’ website propaganda puppet Geoff Hobson, pictured (dramatization), as “Hanoi Hobson” a long ways back due to his seemingly sympathizing ways towards the Brown Family communist regime, efforts that would make Jane Fonda proud.  I understand it must be hard writing about a team as perpetually bad as the Bengals but sometimes Hanoi paints the picture so rosey I even begin to believe that Cincinnati has two Super Bowls in four years instead of Shitsburgh.

The offseason plays out no differently:

“…Which pretty much summed up many of Fitzpatrick’s 12 starts in place of the injured Carson Palmer. Just not enough firepower from anyone. But he did lead his team to a 4-3-1 finish and he did play Brett Favre to a virtual stat standstill.”

Ah yes, that undeniably impressive 4-3-1 finish with the four wins coming against teams that finished the season a combined 19-45 (.297) and all placed last in their respective divisions.  Granted the Eagles went on to play in the NFC Championship game but they do that every year and suggesting that tie is a bright spot on the season is like the guy pictured above suggesting his celibacy is a choice.  Philly was in disarray at the time and the game was simply atrocious all around.  And what the hell is “a virtual stat standstill” anyway?  We’re left to brag about draws against washed up gunslingers?

My head hurts.

I’m sure there’s more, such as referring to Fitzpatrick’s quarterback-sneaks-where-he-forgets-to-slide as “classic, quick thinking plays”, but there isn’t enough alcohol in the house today to ease the pain.


Posted in Cincinnati Bengals, NFL | Comments Off on The Bengals Finished “Strong”

Bowden: ‘I Wish I Knew How To Quit You’

Posted by Matt on February 15, 2009


The Washington Nationals signed free-swinger Adam Dunn to a 2-year, $20,000,000 dollar contract this week, or approximately $60,606 per strikeout.  The signing reunites Dunn with former Reds running mates Austin Kearns and Wily Mo Pena, a trio of outfielders who all played ball for my hometown Dayton Dragons before making their way through the Reds system under the tenure of then-Reds GM Jim Bowden.  I am glad to see The Donkey staying with the National League, though, so we can all continue to be witness to his fielding prowess in the outfield.


Between Dunn, Kearns, and Pena along with Dmitri Young, Felipe Lopez, Aaron Boon, and Corey Patterson, it is beginning to look like Bowden has a penchant for pillaging the table scraps of the perpetually sub-.500 Red Legs.  I guess the more things change the more they stay the same.  In Bowden’s defense, Dunn is a virtual lock for exactly 40 home runs, 100 rbis, 110 walks, 165 strike outs, and an obp of .386 each and every year.

I guess there’s something to be said about consistency these days.  Even if it’s not all that impressive.


Posted in Cincinnati Reds, MLB | Comments Off on Bowden: ‘I Wish I Knew How To Quit You’

Movin’ On Up

Posted by Matt on February 13, 2009

Things are progressing nicely and more quickly than I anticipated…plus I am getting an itchy trigger finger.  New content coming February 15th.


Posted in The Nasty Boys | 1 Comment »


Posted by Matt on February 11, 2009

Obviously TNB has been dormant since the New Year and for that I apologize.  Most of the guys have moved on to bigger and better things: careers, families, graduate school, or — in Bob’s case — drunken binges.  We’ve been gone but the site has not been forgotten.

So here is the deal:  with baseball spring training looming, our 1,000,000th hit imminent, and Charlie Hustle needing additional income to feed his degenerate gambling habits, we’re going to be making some gradual, minor changes in hopes of a relaunch on March 1st.  The majority of the design will stay the same as will a majority of the free, below-average content you’ve come to expect.

The one, big change that I hope alienates nobody is our focus.  Instead of our ambiguous approach to 2008, we’re going to narrow our focus for the Northern Kentucky sports sufferer.  Bitchings about the Cincinnati Bengals and Reds, as well as (hopefully) amusing and interesting commentary on the Kentucky Wildcats.  Every once in a while we’ll throw in some very newsworthy or interesting bits from those respective sports and the teams’ respective divisions/conferences.  There won’t be nearly as much mainstream, general fodder but there may be some national stories from the MLB or NFL from time to time.

Just as a recap, our narrowed focus will include the Cincinnati Bengals/AFC North, the Cincinnati Reds/NL Central, the Kentucky Wildcats/Southeastern Conference, and maybe a touch of related news just to switch it up. As always are archives will remain in tact for anyone wanting to check out the back catalog — I’m not sure why you would put yourself through that — as it will only see some minor, reorganizational changes.

There may be many folks who aren’t interested in the above listings and for that I apologize;  I encourage anyone that stops by to stick around despite the changes. I don’t know if the changes will right the ship but we’re going to give it one helluva shot.

See you in March.


Posted in The Nasty Boys | Tagged: | Comments Off on Hibernation

Beale Street Blues

Posted by Ryne E. Hancock on January 27, 2009

Ever since the Grizzlies arrived in Memphis eight years ago, they have tried, and ultimately failed, at righting the ship .

There was the hire of Hubie Brown, which resulted in the franchise’s first playoff appearance in 2004, during the last season at the Pyramid Arena and ended with Brown moving back to the broadcast booth.

Another broadcaster-turned-coach Mike Fratello followed Brown and led the Grizz to the 2005 and 2006 playoffs, only to be let go in the middle of the 2006-07 season giving the Grizzlies their fourth coach since moving here in 2001 in Marc Iavanori.

And like Fratello, Iavanori, who I met during the draft day party at the Flying Saucer on South Second Street in May of last year, would receive his walking papers on January 22nd, a day after the Grizzlies lost to the Charlotte Bobcats for their seventh straight loss.

Personally, I always thought when O.J. Mayo arrived in Memphis the fortunes of the franchise would change, which happens to be the same blind hope that most Grizzlies fans have every year after Rudy Gay/Mike Conley/Shane Battier held a Grizzlies jersey up and said to the world that they were a member of the Grizz.

Trust me, I did.

But when you continuously dish out a disinterested product on the court, filled with, in the words of Geoff Calkins, players that really don’t want to be here in the Bluff City and have a fan base of 5 and 6 year-olds waving pom poms and poor drunks on the corner of North Third and Jefferson begging for change so that they can get a fifth of Jack Daniel’s, then you have to wonder what is really going on in Michael Heisley’s head.

Why would an owner trade the only All-Star the franchise has ever had, as well as the all-time leading scorer in franchise history, only to see him walk to a team filled with a certain Hall-of-Famer and a nucleus of young talent that actually made it to that year’s NBA Finals?

Why would an owner trade two players that were part of that three-year run and in turn would win NBA Championships with their clubs?

I mean, why?

It’s time to face the music, Mr. Heisley.


Posted in General Sports | Tagged: , , | Comments Off on Beale Street Blues

Destiny’s Cardinals

Posted by Ryne E. Hancock on January 19, 2009

As children we were taught from birth that the Arizona Cardinals were just like the Chicago Cubs when it came to futility.

Ironic that I mention that because the Cardinals, if you don’t know your history, originated in Chicago back in 1898 and is the oldest-operated professional football franchise in the United States, ahead of the Green Bay Packers and the Chicago Bears.

For 61 years, the Cardinals have gone through three cities and came up short in earning football glory in each of those towns.

That is, until Sunday afternoon, when in front of a packed house at the University of Phoenix Stadium, the Cardinals shocked the world and defeated the Philadelphia Eagles 32-25 to earn the franchise’s first Super Bowl berth in over 80 years of membership in the NFL behind the arm of Kurt Warner, who punched his ticket to Canton with the game-winning drive after squandering a big lead in the early moments of the fourth quarter.

For so long this team has been a poster child for futility in the NFL, going through numerous draft busts in St. Louis,  and public squabbles over new stadiums that could generate revenue for the Cardinals so that days like these could come in the Valley of the Sun.

Finally that day has come for the Cardinals and the Bidwills, for the Cardinal players, and most importantly, the legion of fans who have followed this team through the dark days.

Hopefully, two weeks from now in Tampa, Bill Bidwill can wear his famous bow tie on the podium and hoist a long-awaited Lombardi Trophy, doing away with the cursed history of the Cardinals and transforming Arizona into something we thought they would never become in our lifetimes.


Posted in NFL | Tagged: | Comments Off on Destiny’s Cardinals

Can The Streak Continue?

Posted by Ryne E. Hancock on January 14, 2009

The last time Memphis lost to a Conference USA opponent, I was in community college and working at a children’s agency in downtown Memphis.

It was March of 2006, a year after Darius Washington missed two free throws when the Tigers lost to UAB in Birmingham en route to the first of three consecutive Conference USA championships.

That team had players like Chris Douglas-Roberts, Rodney Carney, Jeremy Hunt, Joey Dorsey, and the aforementioned Darius Washington, just to name a few.

For nearly three years, no Conference USA member has said that they slayed the giant that is the Memphis basketball program.

As a fan, I can remember very well four games in which the Tigers’ streak almost came to a sudden halt.

A year after that night in Birmingham, the Tigers, playing for a #1 seed in the NCAA Tournament, traveled to Dallas to face SMU to close out the regular season and clinch the first undefeated conference slate in school history.

Now for most that don’t know, Southern Methodist’s last NCAA appearance was in 1993 and for the most part, the Mustangs aren’t too high on the fear factor of those who walk into Moody Coliseum.

But on that March night, the Mustangs almost did the unthinkable until Memphis, true to its custom, closed the window of opportunity on the Mustangs and clinched its second straight C-USA title.

Almost a year later, the Tigers were in trouble again in Birmingham as they faced the Blazers before another packed house in Bartow Arena and by the grace of God defeated the Blazers as well as the hillbillies who decided to throw things on the court.

The third close call that I have recollections of was shared this past Saturday at my mother’s house when the Tigers faced Central Florida in Orlando.

Given the fact that when I did the 25 greatest basketball programs in the South, I made a note that in the 21 years my mother has been at the University of Memphis, the Tigers have had only three losing seasons and 18 postseason appearances.

The problem was that despite the success the Tigers had in basketball, my mother pulled for the opponent whenever I watched a game with her.

“They’re going to lose,” my mother said Saturday when it seemed like Central Florida was going to put an end to the streak.

“It’s 8 minutes left in the game,” I said, as Central Florida continued to hold serve with the Tigers.

“They can’t pull it off,” my mother said.

“Yes they can,” I said.

True to form, the Tigers, playing before another raucous crowd in UCF Arena, extended “The Streak” to 44 games by pulling away in the last part of the game, winning 73-66.

Close call number four came Tuesday night in Tulsa when the Golden Hurricane, which features guard Ben Uzoh and center Jerome Jordan, nearly put an end to “The Streak.”

The 5,950 fans at the Reynolds Center were set to rush the floor when Uzoh hit a free throw with 4.5 seconds left to give the Golden Hurricane a 54-53 lead, something that caught my attention while writing this column last night.

“Let’s go Tulsa,” New Orleans native Jonah Leavell said as we watched the final seconds of the game.

Mind you, New Orleans is the home of Tulane University, a school that has never been known for basketball tradition and the same school in which a gambling scandal rocked the program during the days of “Hot Rod” Williams, so I could understand the confusion Leavell has when it comes to basketball in Memphis.

“Tulsa’s pretty good though,” I said, “they won 20-plus games last season, but the Tigers always find some way to pull it out.”

With 4.1 seconds left in “The Streak” and a legion of fans waiting to rush the court at the Reynolds Center, Antonio Anderson would receive the grace of God in the form of a basketball and make a leaning layup at the buzzer to extend the streak to 45 wins and counting in Conference USA.

A play that was from the textbook of former Maryland coach Lefty Driesell, who used it in the 1982 Great Alaska Shootout  where it proved to be the deciding factor in the Tigers’ victory over the Golden Hurricane.

After the game ended, I sent a text to former Crichton basketball player Michael Sapp.

“We Memphis boys know how to hoop,” the text message read.

All but maybe one.

Posted in NCAA Basketball | Tagged: , | 1 Comment »

It Doesn’t Get Any Better Than That

Posted by Matt on January 14, 2009


54 points IN Knoxville against the hated Vols. A Kentucky record. The lead story on the 11:00PM edition of SportsCenter. And now I arrive to work to find the ESPN homepage splashed with the dominating performance had by one Jodie Meeks right in the face of the that orange-blazer-wearing, too-much-fake-tanned Bruce Pearl. Chris Lofton WHO?

Posted in Kentucky Wildcats, NCAA Basketball | Tagged: | 3 Comments »

BCS Aftermath

Posted by Matt on January 9, 2009


Fat band girl’s tears sustain me.

Posted in NCAA Football | Tagged: | Comments Off on BCS Aftermath

Buckeyes Lose Again, Receive BCS Ban

Posted by Ryne E. Hancock on January 9, 2009


Growing up, we all remember how the Buffalo Bills in the NFL would always win the AFC Championship and then when they got to the Super Bowl, they would fold up like a beach chair.

And for the third straight season the Ohio State Buckeyes are showing that they are slowly developing into the Buffalo Bills of college football, losing again on the big stage that is the BCS , this time a 24-21 loss to the Texas Longhorns in the Fiesta Bowl.

Of course, the Longhorns came into this week’s game as an 8-point favorite and had Heisman finalist Colt McCoy leading the offense, so this latest loss was supposed to happen.

But for the first time in the 3 losses, including the two in the Championship Game where they were manhandled by quicker and stronger SEC teams like LSU and Florida — which if I stand correct run the spread offense — the Buckeyes had a chance to win this game against the Longhorns.

But as Texas scored a second touchdown to make it 17-6 in the third quarter, the hopes of Columbus turned into another long offseason as the Buckeyes lost their third straight Bowl game, the first time that’s happened since 1990-92 when John Cooper was at the helm.

Their loss to Texas drops the Buckeyes to 0-5 against top-10 opponents since beating #2 Michigan in November of 2006.

And to top it all off, the Buckeyes’ seniors, all 28 of them, missed an opportunity to record their 43rd win, which would have been the most in school history for a senior class.

While last night’s loss was a downer for the 2008 Big 10 Co-Champions, the Buckeye seniors can safely say that they went 4-0 against the Maize and Blue and according to the Columbus Dispatch, we are at day number 1,872 — which is equivalent to five years, two months — since Michigan defeated the Buckeyes in football.

Posted in NCAA Football | Tagged: , , | Comments Off on Buckeyes Lose Again, Receive BCS Ban

Da Bears Bite Da Dust

Posted by Bob Swerski on January 1, 2009

I find it difficult to listen to AM670 The Score after a Bears game.  I don’t know why I tune my radio in, but I do and it drives me friggin crazy.  Sunday was no exception.

I’m sitting at a buddy’s house watching the Bears jump out to a quick  10-0 lead against the already eliminated Texans.  We have the computer tuned into the Viqueens and Oakland games to find out that the Giants played their starters and are involved in a close game against the ‘Queens and Oakland jumped out to an early lead against Tampa Bay.  All seems to be going as planned in Chicago.

Then the disaster which is the Bears strikes deep into the hearts of Chicago fans.  A swiss cheese defensive secondary, an inadequate defensive line, a fumbled kickoff return, and a quarterback who can’t throw the ball accurately downfield to a receiving corp among the worst in professional football.  This all leads to the mediocre Texans crushing the Bears in a game which looks close in the score column, but wasn’t at all close.

Where can I begin?

First of all, there is no difference between Rex Grossman and Kyle Orton.  They both suck, plain and simple.  Orton turns the ball over less, so his pathetic quarterback play often gets overlooked.  He isn’t “improving week by week” as some analysits like to claim.  He has reached his pinnacle and it is pathetic.

Next, it doesn’t much matter who we have throwing the ball because our receivers all suck.  Hester is not a number one type of receiver.  He is more like a Santonio Holmes type of speed receiver who can get downfield, run a few reverses, and make a big play happen.  The Bears need a guy like Hines Ward (sticking with the Pittsburgh analogy) to pick up first downs.

Now on to the defense.  The defense is the most pathetic aspect of the Bears team.  While they aren’t necessarily as bad as the offense, they have much more talent so more is expected.  Their secondary sucks.  Their defensive line gets no pressure.  Their linebackers (Brian Urlacher in particular) are playing nowhere near what they are getting paid.  They lead the league in take-a-ways, but that is because they only go for the strip so they also lead the league in failed tackles and yards given up after initial contact.   The Bears defense makes every quarterback look like a fucking Hall of Famer for Christ’s sake.  The total combined numbers for quarterbacks in the Bears final 6 loses have been:

156/229      1762 total yards      10 touchdowns

…The Bears defense combined for 3 total sacks in these 6 loses.

Finally, the coaching staff is terrible.  The Bears are one of the most unimaginative teams in football.  There is a quote that goes “insanity is doing the same thing over and over again while expecting different results.”  This sums up what my thoughts are of the Bears coaching motto.  They do the same boring crap over and over again on offense.  Their defense doesn’t blitz or get any pressure on the quarterback.  Their are never any defensive line stunts.  The offense hardly ever runs outside the hashmarks.  There are never any trick plays.  They never throw the ball to wide receivers, only tight ends and running backs.  The coaching staff has turned the Bears into the most uninspired, boring, most predictable teams in the NFL.

To top it all off, the Eagles ended up winning so all the Bears had to do was win their game.  The two underdog teams (Philly and Oakland) pulled out victories (Oakland didn’t even have anything to play for), and the Bears laid a fucking egg.

Word of the week:  Disappointing

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Happy New Year!

Posted by Matt on January 1, 2009

Hope everyone had a very safe and happy New Year’s Eve.  Enjoy the day off and the college Bowl games and try to keep from falling off your New Year’s Resolution wagon at least through the weekend.

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