Submitted by Jim Hurley on Thursday, January 26, 2012 at 11:22 AM
Today is Thursday, January 26, 2012 and this is what Jim Sez is thinking about ...Okay, so with sincere apologies to TV late-night funnyman David Letterman, we have our own Top 10 List today.
Yes, we know the calendar year is only about 3 ½ weeks in the books but there's been an awful lot of sports-related items that really bother us from the Peyton Manning Saga to NBA injuries to the life-and-death story of Penn State's icon head coach Joe Paterno.
It's been a whirlwind first 25 days to start off 2012 and now we're gonna take a few moments to vent, spend a couple of minutes getting things off our Jim Sez chest - folks, it's time to take inventory on a batch of topics that need our undivided attention. So here goes (in no real particular order). Drum roll, please ...
#10 - THE REAL MESSAGE BEHIND THE PEYTON MANNING SAGA ... Do not be fooled. While it has become a cottage industry of sorts attempting to determine where the current Indianapolis Colts quarterback will call home beginning in the 2012 NFL season the underlying theme of what's happening in this Super Bowl city right now is that any superstar player can be tossed aside and at any time. Sure, the Colts have been very good to Manning throughout his long NFL career but now it suits 'em fine to get rid of the "old guard" such as boss-man Bill Polian and head coach Jim Caldwell and bring in Stanford QB Andrew Luck and don't you just know that owner Jim Irsay is set to sweep this whole scene clear as he soon will dispatch of Manning who merely brought Indy to a pair of Super Bowls (winning in 2006) and practically paid for this whole Lucas Oil Stadium too. The Irsay family didn't "get it" back in the days of the Baltimore Colts and still don't get it a generation later.
#9 - THE NBA FAN ... Suffice to say the modern-day NBA ticket-holding fan has been jobbed by this pro hoops league as the on-court product following last year's lockout has been abysmal and it's also darn tough to keep track of things as it only seems that the Charlotte Bobcats (for example) play six nights a week and for the sake of piling up 66 regular-season games in a compressed period of time the NBA Fan - that's you! - has been given the short end of the proverbial stick.
#8 - NBA INJURIES - Okay, so this kind of goes hand-in-hand with #9 here as NBA fans have been cheated out of seeing some of the league's top-shelf players because of injuries and many of the "hurts" have come simply because not everyone was in tip-top shape to start the year. Blame the players partly for that and blame NBA Commissioner David Stern too because he never really gave out a signal that the season would be starting until his greed (see TV money) got in the way and everyone had to make sure they were ready to play by Christmas Day. Bah-humbug. Why should fans in Washington or Cleveland or Detroit have to pay top-dollar when the likes of Miami's Dwyane Wade is missing games in their building?
#7 - UGLY COLLEGE BASKETBALL GAMES ... Hey, count us among the folks who absolutely love College B-Ball but here we are three-quarters through January and we're watching some downright ugly ball (see Kentucky-Georgia second half this past Tuesday night when the teams combined for a total of 37 points!). Shouldn't the shooting be better, the passing be better, the fundamentals be better at this stage of the season? Hmmm. Maybe it's all those freshmen getting major minutes throughout the land that truly have not developed their games.
#6 - LET'S HEAR SOME CRITICISM FOR JOBS NOT-SO-WELL-DONE BY COLLEGE HOOP COACHES ... Maybe ESPN's Dick Vitale gets singled out too much for his constant high praise of many College Basketball coaches (could that be because so many of them attend Vitale's "Fight Cancer" soirees down in Florida each spring?) but the fact remains we rarely hear stinging criticism of College B-Ball head coaches for doing rotten jobs and immediately coming to mind is how badly things have gone for Pittsburgh head coach Jamie Dixon (0-7 in Big East play entering Wednesday night's game against Providence) and Arizona State's Herb Sendek whose Sun Devils (6-13, 2-5 in Pac-12 play) have become truly irrelevant this month. Let's not hear about injuries, etc. These guys deserve some criticism and don't get enough of it.
#5 - THE NFL DRAFT ... Okay, so maybe this doesn't seem like such a hot topic to you right now with the draft still three months away but consider we've all been watching these exciting NFL Playoffs the past three weeks and gotta admit we've lost count of how many times the network televising the games have told us how New England QB Tom Brady was grabbed with the 199th pick in the draft or that New York Giants WR Victor Cruz was undrafted coming out of UMass a couple of years back. Our point in this particular "vent" is that if the NFL Draft is so wonderful and so important than why were arguably two of the best four or five players in next week's Super Bowl guys not picked in the first round (or any round)?
#4 - THE TV NETWORKS ... Can we please stop seeing the likes of Jared the Subway guy on NFL pre-game shows merely because that sandwich shop is the prime sponsor of the CBS NFL Today Pre-Game show (and while we're at it we don't need to see Jim Rome either who soon will be employed by CBS!). Folks, we believe 95 percent of these NFL pre-game shows are puff pieces or absolute garbage anyway but it steams us to see "cross-programming" folks get their mug on the air. Enough!
#3 - THE NFL COACHING CAROUSEL ... Here's what really burns us about many of the NFL head-coaching changes made in the past few weeks (see Indianapolis axing Caldwell, Oakland canning Hue Jackson, St. Louis trashing Steve Spagnuolo and Tampa Bay firing Raheem Morris - all of which has happened in this not-so-merry month of January): None of these gentlemen were given more than three years to succeed and the latter three franchises mentioned here hardly have a recent history of stability. Do us a favor, NFL owners: When you hire a head coach - presumably after careful deliberation, etc - give the guy four or five years to put his stamp on things!
#2 - THE SAD JOE PATERNO STORY ... Let's be brief and to the point here: We don't want to hear any media member wax poetic about Paterno now that he's dead and soon-to-be buried. If you thought he was negligent in his duties in terms of reporting former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky for that sex scandal at Happy Valley than say so. Don't sit there now and pontificate about Paterno's 409 wins or pair of national championships. There was plenty of grief headed Paterno's way back in November right before that board of trustees fired him - not so much the past four or five days though, right?
#1 - ALIBIS ... Sports losers often have the great alibis of all and we've seen that this month of January with the Green Bay Packers admitting that maybe they should have played more starter minutes in the regular-season finale win against Detroit because two full weeks off prior to that NFC Divisional Playoff home loss to the Giants was "too much" and than there's the Baltimore Ravens who are coming off with a gazillion reasons why there was such sideline confusion late in last Sunday's AFC Championship Game loss at New England. Get a grip, guys, and lose like men. And a word to San Francisco head coach Jim Harbaugh: Just face the music after a loss as not appearing for a post-game interview with Fox was slip-shod stuff.
NOTE: Get more NFL Super Bowl coverage in the next Jim Sez.