I used to watch the Pro Bowl when I was a kid. It was never exactly scintillating, but I think the game’s actually gotten worse. Way worse…. to the point where the NFL should be embarrassed. Of course no one wants to get hurt. We get it. The thought of having Larry Fitzgerald , or Drew Brees or Patrick Willis suffering a career ending injury in a game like this makes me shudder. So let’s change things up. I think players should still be honored with Pro Bowl selections. They’ve earned it. And what’s not to like about a family vacation to Honolulu? Let’s keep that. But instead of an actual game, I propose a Fan Fest. Maybe a Hawaiian Buffet, kalua pork, lots of umbrella drinks…. and a chance to get autographs and photos with their favorite players. How about a skills competition thrown in there… to raise money for charity? Jeff Price of the Sporting News has a great take here.
It was this month in 1838 that American inventor Samuel F. B. Morse made the first public demonstration of the electric telegraph. Wow, that’s 174 years ago. Do you notice that even now, the word “telegraph” pops into conversation on occasion? Gee, you “telegraphed” your intentions…. you “telegraphed” that screen pass. Really? You didn’t billboard it… text it, or tweet it. You “telegraphed” it. That word has some longevity.
Most of us have a great capacity to forgive. But when it comes to Terrell Owens, that’s a challenge. Here’s a player who’s earned around $80 million during an NFL career that has showcased his incredible talent… and his toxic, alienating, self-centered behavior. Is it just me, or is it hard to feel sorry for this guy? Jeff Arnold writes in ThePostGame that Owens says he’s now broke and lonelier than ever. In a GQ profile,Owens blames his agent for bad business decisions, and says “the media never allowed me to change.” Right.. it’s the media’s fault that you’re not a better person. “I don’t have no friends. I don’t want no friends,” Owens said. Well, maybe the former is a result of the latter. What a waste.
It was only a matter of time. Facebook now has an app called If I Die that gives people a chance to write their final Facebook status update in advance. That’s right… it will post after you’re deceased. I think somebody has too much time on their hands. I suppose this is perfect for the “friend” who seems to be negative about everything. You know.. He’s an idiot, she’s an idiot, Bruce Bochy sucks, screw the government and who the hell cares? It never stops, even after they’re gone. Geez.. get a life. Oh wait, you’re dead.
I noticed the Soviet-born comedian Yakov Smirnoffcelebrated a birthday this week. In case you’re wondering, he’s been in the Ozarks for a while, performing at his own successful theater in Branson, Missouri. I’ll always have fond memories of my visit with him in the 80s, when he first became popular in America. At the time, I was getting ready for a Soviet-USA boxing match in Sacramento, trying to familiarize myself with a page full of Russian names. He not only helped me, he insisted on giving me a test… to check on my progress. Now, when I see names like Igorevich and Treschev, I thank Yakov… a kind, compassionate man, who’s pretty damn funny. I wish you well, sir. America… What a Country!
Saw a story about Hannibal Hellmurto, a professional sword swallower with the UK- based Circus of Horrors. He lacerated his throatdoing his trademark stunt: swallowing a lit neon tube. He spent five weeks in the hospital but, fortunately, lived to tell about it. Another pro swallower says that while throat abrasions are the most common injuries, punctures like the one suffered by Hellmurto are akin to a rotator cuff injury for a baseball pitcher. UH, NO. A pitcher is trying to get a guy out. You sir.. are jamming some glass down your freakin’ esophagus.
I’m with Donte Whitner, who said.. “It’s not the end of the world. But right now it feels like it.” How will yesterday’s crushing overtime defeat be remembered? Not for a terrific performance by Eli Manning. Not for the superb catches by Victor Cruz. Not for the 49ers’ epic failure on third downs. Make no mistake, it’ll be remembered for Kyle Williams, who coughed up two valuable possessions in crunch time. Is it fair to put the blame on one player? No. There were plenty of other opportunities that were lost… but those gut wrenching turnovers were the most obvious. For Kyle Williams, how much of a burden will this be? You’re about to find out. How long will fans grumble about it? Oh, at least twenty years. Ask Roger Craig, whose fumble against the New York Giants in the 1990 NFC Championship Game cost the 49ers a chance to “threepeat” in the Super Bowl. Roger’s brilliant accomplishments overshadow that one speck in his career. I hope one day the same will be said about Kyle Williams. Think about this…. The New York Giants got terrific play from Eli Manning and perhaps the most talented receiving corps in football, they played stout defense…and they still should have lost. The 49er defense stopped them with sudden death on the line. It just wasn’t enough. To Jim Harbaugh and his band of overachievers… thanks for a phenomenal season.
Last Saturday afternoon Benicia police responded to a call of a woman screaming inside an apartment. She wasn’t being beaten, threatened or hurt in any way. Turns out she was cheering for her football team, with screams so loud the neighbors called the cops. Let’s see… Bay Area, Saturday afternoon… that would be the 49ers thriller over the Saints, yes? Well I must say we were all screaming. Was it good for you?
So Hostess, the maker of Twinkies, has filed for bankruptcyprotection for the second time in less than a decade. Although the company has vowed to keep the store shelves stocked with their iconic “it will never go bad” snack, this is an outrage. With the eating habits we have, how the heck does the fattest nation on earth let this happen? Twinkies are in trouble? What’s next… Potato chips? Pork rinds? Garlic fries? Get a hold of yourself and do something. We’re not goin’ down without a fight…
I’ve often thought about how much fun these pleasure cruises must be. Lots of delectable food, entertainment, gambling and some more of that delectable food. My kind of getaway. But with the recent disaster of the Costa Concordia cruise liner, maybe there’s more to think about. I saw a recent article by Stinson Carterpointing out that “when you’re on a cruise ship, you are visiting a foreign country with no embassy, no consumer watchdog agency and no real accountability of any kind other than their desire to protect you as a potential future revenue source.” In other words, things are great… until something goes wrong. For the passengers on the Costa Concordia, things went very wrong. And by the way, the ship’s captain, who is being investigated for charges including manslaughter, says he wasn’t planning to abandon ship at all. He said he tripped…. and fell into the lifeboat.
Upon careful reflection, I still can’t believe what I saw on Saturday. Along with The Catch and John Taylor’s grab in the Super Bowl, Alex to Vernonin the final 14 seconds is up there with the most electrifying finishes in 49ers post season history. As much as Justin Smith dominated, and as much as Vernon Davis, Donte Whitner and Dashon Goldson played brilliantly… this was the performance of Alex Smith’s life. Ray Ratto said it beautifully… “this was the game in which Alex Smith stabbed every last demon to death.” After being vilified for six years, Alex, in my view, is the Redemption Story of the Decade… and it couldn’t have happened to a nicer kid. By the way, when Joe Montana began the 49ers Dynasty with that iconic throw to Dwight Clark, Joe was 25 years old. Alex is still only 27. Oh, and no one wanted to touch it, but I know they were thinking about Bill Romanowski. He had said earlier in the week that the 49ers needed to knock somebody out early, and the game would change. They did.. and it did.
I see that some Rolling Stones fans have banded together and are demanding changes to the way the group tours. The Rolling Stones Liberation Front(and that already sounds creepy) is threatening non-violent, disruptive action to get across their demands, some of which include… Smaller venues, no opening acts and lower ticket prices. In other words, they want to see the Stones at the Torch Club for twenty bucks. Call me when you get that together.
Of course the 49ers may see their glorious, surprising season come to an end this weekend. The mighty New Orleans Saints just may be the best team in football right now… what else is new? But I had a dream about Home Field Advantage. Game Time: Candlestick Park. The grass hasn’t been cut since the Giants left. And why is there 4 inches of standing water on the turf? Even Michael Irvin said it can be “a squishy mess” at the Stick. The 49ers linemen will try and keep Alex Smith safe, as they’ve been outfitted with 9 inch cleats… and the ball Drew Brees gets to use is slightly deflated. Oh, and Frank Gore and Kendall Hunter have been practicing with Pro Glides, special shoes custom made by those people who make the airboats in the Everglades. The running backs plan to glide into the end zone in front of 60,000 screaming fans. The Saints are outraged… but hey, there’s nothing they can do. Who’s got it better than us?
I suppose if you’ve got it, go ahead and spend it. There was a bar bill getting some attention from the Cavalli Club, a high end bar at the Fairmont Hotel in Dubai. No, it doesn’t include any dinner, appetizers or those little meat balls. Just drinks and a slice of birthday cake… for a total tab of $105,000. Yikes. According to the manager, such bills at this joint are fairly commonplace. You can see some of the itemized libations here. Well, I hope they validate parking.
I love reading Lowell Cohn, whose musings about Bay Area sports appear regularly in The Cohn Zohn.Lately he’s being tortured by Jim Harbaugh, which is hilarious to me. Lowell is obviously extremely annoyed that the 49ers head coach is not very forthcoming with information. Lowell, you are way more educated than I am, but you don’t seem to get it. I went to Sac City but I get it. Jim Harbaugh keeps things to himself, not to be a jackass… or to punish you personally. It’s because of the times we live in. With the blogosphere (something Vince Lombardi didn’t have to worry about), if you make one slip… one untoward comment about a play, a player or a team… things happen. You use one ill-advised adjective (did he say that receiver is “slow”?)…. and it’s all over the internet in 15 seconds. It would be headline material, discussed ad nauseum by sports bimbos all over the world. So Jim Harbaugh, don’t give an inch. Love your stuff Lowell, but get over it.
In eleven seconds, it was over. Tim Tebow’s over-the-middle strike to Demaryius Thomas for an 80-yard touchdown, complete with a straight-arm to glory… shockedthe Pittsburgh Steelers in overtime. After a finish like that, I almost wish they could walk off into the sunset, and have this be the final chapter of an up-and-down season that began at 1-4. It’ll go down as one of the most dramatic playoff finishes in NFL history. I’ve rarely seen Deion Sanders speechless, although he got over it. Yes, this is the ever-polarizing Tim Tebow, who is often characterized by all the things he cannot do, the same way the experts like to refer to Alex Smith. No, the true elite quarterbacks… Matt Ryan, Andy Dalton, Matthew Stafford and Ben Roethlisberger, will now have to step it up in the playoffs. Oh wait… they’re not IN the playoffs anymore, are they? And when did Ben Roethlisberger become one of the Blues Brothers?
As far as I can tell, this is an actual story.A North Carolina man went into a Wal-Mart, bought some stuff…. and tried to get change from a one-million-dollar bill. That’s right, Michael Anthony Fuller wanted about 999 grand in change, insisting that the bill was real. Apparently, and this is the shocker…. he made the bill himself. After the cashier saw through the scam, the phony bill passer was hauled off to jail. Way to bring attention to your town. I’m sure the other citizens of Lexington, North Carolina must feel awfully proud.
During a coffee shop visit with Derek and Brian, I was reminded of a recent story out of San Jose. Police officers there, while on a routine check of a coffee shop, cited three young women who they said were serving patrons while topless. This is a complete outrage. We’re so upset that this could happen in civilized society, that Derek, Brian and I have arranged a bus ride to find out just where the heck this coffee shop is. We hear the coffee is pretty good.
Though decades have passed since that impossible, fingertip grab…. the immense shadow of The Catch still lingers on that hallowed piece of end zone at Candlestick Park. The 1981 season was a long time ago. Good golly, it was the year Eli Manning was born. But for the 49er Faithful, it was the beginning of life as we know it. That season, the 49ers were coming off a 6-10 year, having missed the playoffs for the eighth consecutive time. Fast forward to this year. The Niners are coming off a 6-10 season, having missed the playoffs for the eighth consecutive time. Thirty years ago, a Stanford guy named Bill Walsh took the team to 13-3, and eventually to the Super Bowl. Now, Jim Harbaugh, another Stanford guru… is shockingly taking his team to the playoffs, having gone 13-3. Of course, it’s one and done from here on in but let’s face it, the team has far exceeded expectations. Oh by the way, in 1981, the 49ers lost their 11th game. This year’s 11th game? The Baltimore Ravens.
Ron Artest has changed his name to Metta World Peace. Of course, you have the right to call yourself anything you want. Lots of people have changed their names… John Wayne, Bob Dylan, Muhammad Ali, Marilyn Monroe. But when I heard Jerry and Grant try to refer to you as Metta World Peace, it was borderline hysterical. Ronnie, I wish you well. But if you expect people to call you Mr. World Peace with a straight face, you’re nuts. By the way, I’ve also changed my name to.. “I’m Re-raising You On The Turn.”