Terrell Owens, Latest to Give Sports the Shocker

Terrell Owens left America’s Team for a team he dubbed North America’s Team. While some might be amused by this clever turn of phrase, many more are surprised by the decision to play in Buffalo for Dick Jauron, the place offense goes to die. In retrospect, the last couple of years have actually been a pretty dynamic and shocking time for us in the sports world. Owens decision joins the ranks of these other sundry moments that have kept me on my feet in the last couple years.

The Boston Celtics Reinstate the Principle of Three

Danny Ainge was supposed to lose his job sometime during the 2007-08 season, but he managed to find a magic scroll that instructed him of the principle of three. He had witnessed this concept while playing for the Celtics during the 1980s and one of those big three would be a key in his quest.

First Ainge trades the rights to freshly drafted Jeff Green and veterans Delonte West and Wally Szczerbiak to Seattle for Ray Allen and Glen Davis. Then he gets Kevin McHale drunk and gets Kevin Garnett for Al Jefferson, Gerald Green, Sebastian Telfair, Ricky Davis, Ryan Gomes, Theo Ratliff, and a 2009 first round draft pick. McHale is lauded in Boston and booed in Minneapolis as the Boston Celtics go on to beat the Lakers in the NBA Finals

The Los Angeles Lakers Go Dumpster Diving in Memphis and Walk Away With a Deal

Not to be outdone in dirty dealing, the Los Angeles Lakers find a the Memphis Grizzlies in the midst of a foreclosure and get Pau Gasol for expiring contracts and the draft rights to Pau’s brother Marc. The Grizzlies hope that they can trick the Memphis fans by have Marc play for Pau, but are surprised when the fans notice they are getting beaten by 30 points instead of 20 and break the story.

The Lakers reach the final for a classic battle with the Celtics, but lose as they find out that Pau, despite being seven feet tall, cannot rebound or block shots. Though many watch the series there is an underlying concern that the league let the two lopsided trades happen just to generate interest in basketball for the first time since Jordan retied for the second time.

The Phoenix Suns Break Up the Best Show on Earth

The Pau Gasol Trade forces every team in the Western Conference to abandon their proven means of winning and the Phoenix Suns are no different. After years of bucking the trend to play a concept called defense and just running full speed from one end of the court to the other, General Manager Steve Kerr takes a gamble and trades Shawn Marion to the Miami Heat for Shaq.

Shaq quickly clogs the Suns engines, forcing them to run half court sets. The team flounders. Phoenix loses in the first round to the San Antonio Spurs. Mike D’Antoni takes the fall for Kerr’s decision and ends up in charge of the New York Knicks.

The New York Giants Are the Anti-Belichick

The New England Patriots show few flaws in the 2007 season as they look like a high school team playing the local Pop Warner squad for much the regular season. Though there are a few close calls, the Patriots make the Super Bowl set on becoming the second team to have a perfect season since the inception of the Super Bowl.

The New York Giants come in heavy underdogs but make a case for teams trying to develop a pass rush and abandon the Cover-2. They keep the game close and win on a miracle throw to Plaxico Burress with 35 seconds left on the clock. It appears that the machine that the Patriots have become has finally been dealt a deadly blow.

The Tampa Bay Rays Go All Reborn Christian and are Immediately Rewarded

The Tampa Bay Devil Rays begin the 2008 season by dropping the devil from their name and suddenly make an improbable run in the American League East. They win 18 games in spring training, but nobody seems to care because they are playing Triple A pitchers. However, the Rays wake up around the end of April and by the first third mark they have the best record in the AL East.

The Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees gear up for the expected games after the Rays hit the wall that kills most teams, but the Rays never slow down, making it all the way to the World Series. There, the Philadelphia Phillies win in five games. Though, the Rays do not win the World Series, they finish higher than fourth place in the AL East with a winning record for the first time in the franchise’s short history.

Tom Brady Makes It Everyone’s Year

I am watching the first week of the NFL season in 2008, other wise known as “who will win the NFC and play the Patriots in the Super Bowl” when Brady goes down, tearing his ACL, MCL, and every other CL in the leg. Suddenly everyone, even the Miami Dolphins have a shot to make it to the Super Bowl.

I then call my brother and tell him that his first round draft pick in the fantasy draft pick is out for the season and I hear him sobbing in college dorm room.

The Arizona Cardinals are for real!?!

The Arizona Cardinals matter for the first time since 1947, finally making the Super Bowl. Kurt Warner returns from the dead and has fun picking NFL defenses apart with Larry Fitzgerald, Anquan Boldin, and Steve Breaston. Every expert picks against the team every week in the postseason, sure that a pass happy offense cannot possibly make it to the big game. They make and then lose in the final heart breaking seconds that reminds everyone why it is good not be a Cardinals fan.

A-Rod Adds the Unlikeliest of Nicknames to his Legacy

We all knew he was a poser. We all knew he was a choker. We all criticized every move this baseball player ever made, from leaving the Mariners for the Rangers to the New York Yankees decision to give A-Rod the most ridiculous extension ever to fail every September and October.

We just did not fathom that he would use steroids. He never appeared to need them, but apparently his ego and desperate desire to be liked needed some more muscle for its heavy lifting. Now A-roid is added to the name bank that includes Choke-Rod, Madonna-Rod, and A-Fraud.

MLB Proves That They Are Again Run By Scumbags

The country is alerted to the fact that the MLB owners are completely without scruples as both the Barry Bonds perjury case and A-Rod story feature urine samples taken by MLB during the 2003 season that prove over 100 players tested positive for steroids.

Still, Bud Selig condemns A-Rod while ignoring the fact that he knew and could have rescued the sanctity of the home run record and the immortal gentleman Hank Aaron, but he wanted to sell more MLB tickets.

Terrell Owens Looking For A Bromance That Lasts

It seems odd to me that I am spending so much time clicking on the NFL tab on ESPN in March, but this year I cannot help but turn my attention to a wild array of signings, trades, and controversial roster moves. The latest escapade to pique my interest is the cutting of Terrell Owens by the Dallas Cowboys.

This fall I would have been more concerned with Owens turning to self-mutilation and cutting himself for every time he was “open” and did not get a chance at a deep ball. Now the Cowboys have decided the healthiest thing for the second most mentally unstable team in the league (nobody will ever top the Oakland Raiders while Al Davis is alive) is to make a clean break in the waning bromance between Owens and equally wildly inconsistent quarterback Tony Romo.

Just a season ago Owens was assuring the media that his time in Dallas would not end like his notorious release from the Philadelphia Eagles. Now, a top-five deep threat in the NFL is looking for a new home. The question beckons, who will want to take a chance on a wide receiver that drops passes regularly, will turn 36 in the next season, and has serious trust issues with quarterbacks?

My immediate thoughts conjured two teams, the Oakland Raiders and the New York Giants. Raiders owner Al Davis has a gambling problem when it comes to NFL head cases. For some reason he is far more loyal to troubled players than to coaches he has knowingly put in the position to fail. Sometimes I think Davis is more worried about having the Raiders fall off the front pages of sports tabloids than actually producing a winning team.

Owens fits the Raiders mold perfectly. He is, or was, supremely talented, has turned off most fans and teams in the league, and would undermine Head Coach Tom Cable. By midseason Owens could have befriend young quarterback JaMarcus Russell and publicly humiliated the young man (a like to call it being Kiffin-ated). Russell could be the next Vince Young, letting the media watch as his career and personal life crash in a vicious tailspin.

The New York Giants desperately need someone to replace Plaxico Burress. Though they would like to find a talent that does not need a babysitter, the team is built to win now and can take solace in the fact that Owens is a potential locker room problem and not a problem with the law.

I do not think Burress is going to make it back. The mood of the country is one that calls for condemnation for just about any offense. A millionaire football player getting away with carrying a gun is not going to go over well. Also, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers just signed one of the three horsemen (Derrick Ward) meaning that the running game will not be enough to carry the deep-threat-less Giants. The Giants hand is almost being forced here.

On a positive note, Terrell Owens generally has a couple seasons of good behavior on good teams before he starts mouthing off. Also, remaining in the NFC East will give Terrell a chance to stick it to his former two teams four times a year. In the final analysis, he could give New York the additional dimension they need with a simple, lucrative two-year contract.

I am sure other teams are going to be mentioned in the new Owens hunt, but these two teams make the most sense. Both will equally feed his ego, so he has to choose between the one that will let him run his mouth or the one that will let him run some meaningful routes.

NFL Tickets

The NFL Least Valuable Players Are…

The NFL Season is 14 weeks old and the experts are talking about who is the most value player. I hear names like Kurt Warner, Eli Manning, and Drew Brees. I hear about a couple of running backs named Adrian Peterson and Michael Turner and a safety called Troy Polamalu. I do not hear talk of who is the least valuable player, though.

The least valuable player is not a guy who is number 53 on the roster or a star who has been injured and unable to put up decent numbers. No the least valuable player (LVP) is just somebody that has not performed remotely as well as was expected.

Sure the league has players like Tony Romo on the Dallas Cowboys and Peyton Manning on the Colts, but it also has players like Jason Campbell and David Garrard. The Washington Redskins were supposed to finally develop into a consistent offense.

The Redskins may have won seven games so far, but this is mostly because Clinton Portis is still an amazing back. Campbell has simply not made the necessary to take advantage of Santana Moss and Antwaan Randle El. The Redskins may not have the best receivers in the league, but they are more than capable of scoring more than 12 touchdowns over the course an NFL season.

David Garrard was never supposed to be a rock star at quarterback, but the Jacksonville Jaguar was supposed to be able to manage a game. I know he has absolutely no help at wide receiver and the offense is often based on a three tight end set to take advantage of the dangerous duo of Fred Taylor and Maurice Jones-Drew. He is perhaps the one quarterback I could not blame for only throwing 11 touchdowns. I cannot excuse the 10 picks though. His yards per attempt are pitiful as well at 6.71. Basically, he is not helping a running offense control the ball with giveaways and a failure to convert passing third downs.

Not all the candidates are young quarterbacks. There are also a few receivers. These guys are named Randy Moss and Terrell Owens. These players have a reputation for big egos and big flaws. Randy Moss is a big play receiver that is too much of a premadonna to go over the middle. Last season he was amazing. He had 98 receptions, 1493 yards, and 23 touchdowns. This season, with Tom Brady gone he has 61 catches, 841 yards, and eight touchdowns.

When a young quarterback steps in you have to help out. That means stop dropping passes (the NFL says he only has 5 for the year, but it feels like that is a very soft number) and go over the middle to catch something. The Patriots season was not over after Brady collapsed. The whistle did not blow. Keep playing.

Terrell Owens has no problem going over the middle. He does have problems catching the ball and getting along with teammates. Now he has hardly been the only Dallas Cowboys player complaining or disappointing, but he certainly has played worse than almost any other receiver being paid the big bucks. He has 55 catches through 13 games. The last time his numbers looked this bad were in 2005 when he was injured and in 1996 when he was a rookie playing in the slot. His yards per reception and touchdown number look alright, but a gander at his game log has the man with only one game with more than 100 yards.

The rumor is that a love triangle worthy of a CW production has begun in Dallas. Owens is now jealous that Romo has found a relationship with Jason Whitten. Owens has allegedly said the two road roomies are making plans among themselves. T.O. has truly lost his mind. If he really wants to make up with Romo ad become the number one target in his eye then get open and catch a d*mn ball.

Until then he is the front runner for LVP. Feel free to comment, call me a big jerk, or even put up your own nominees. I am sure I missing at least one player per team.