Tuesday, October 24, 2006

NFL Players Use Steroids?!?!

These days, if you're talking steroids, you're usually talking about major league baseball. Even more to the point, you're usually talking about Barry Bonds and BALCO. Well, this week, there's a whole new steroid buzz coming from the golden state, and this time, it's in the NFL. A week after suspending two lesser known players for steroid infractions, the NFL handed down a 4 game suspension to last years defensive rookie of the year, and by some accounts this years leader for defensive player of the year, Shawne "Lights Out" Merriman of the San Diego Chargers. According to reports, both Merriman's A and B samples tested positive over week ago, and the only reason his name wasn't announced with the others was that he appealed his failed test. So now what? At least Merriman has issued an apology to everyone right? Yeah right. The fact is, we should expect more players to start testing positive in the near future, and I expect most of them to be these hybrid freaks just like Merriman. If you seriously think about it, how else can a man that's 6'5" and 270 pounds get around so fast and hit so hard without using roids? The human body isn't meant to be used like that. Of course I see the advantage of using HGH and steroids in baseball, but it makes even more sense in the NFL. These guys already talk about how short their shelf life in the league is, and so why not take a few extra risks with your health to make the big dollar in the short window of opportunity that have. I can't say I blame anyone that doesn't get caught for trying to get an edge, but when you test positive for a substance like an anabolic steroid, you deserve what you get. I'm not saying cheating is a good thing, but at least don't throw it in our faces. Hasn't Barroid taught you guys anything? As long as you keep using drugs that can't be tested for, all we can do is speculate! But now, Merriman and the Chargers have serious issues. For San Diego, now both of their first round picks in the 2005 draft (DT Luis Castillo) have tested positive for illegal steroids in their careers, and they are left without their best defensive player for at least 4 games. For Shawne, the fall out should be even worse. Forget the fact that he's been labeled a cheater and will have a cloud of doubt cast over him the rest of his career, but now if he regresses at all upon his return, all his past success will be contributed to roiding up. Hey, he brought it all upon himself, so I don't feel sorry for him, but it's never good to see such a great player called out and proven to be a cheater. Sad thing is, there's no way we've seen the end of players testing positive, and the NFL could be headed to a baseball-like steroid scandal for sure. Maybe not as big, but trust me, players you admire, or have grown up rooting for, will be exposed in the weeks and maybe seasons to come. As the tests get harder, the frauds will be exposed. Consider Merriman a domino in a game that could knock down some of the games biggest stars.

Patriots Update
Last Week: New England 28 Buffalo 3
Record: 5-1

Next Week vs Minnesota Vikings (4-2) on Monday Night!

*It's hard to find negative things to say when your team just routed a divisional foe 28-3 on the road, but I'm going to try anyway. After all, the Pats aren't going to be playing the Bills in the playoffs now are they? So, in order for me to feel more comfortable about the Pats chances to continue building their dynasty, they are going to have to pass protect better. I don't know about you, but the next time Tom Brady has to appear on "jacked up" is going to be one time too many. The truth is, the Pats are 5-1 with Tom Brady still having a sub par year for him. If the O-line can give him more time, then maybe the passing game can catch up to the running game and the offense can truly be balanced. This week should be a good test against the Vikes. It's a tough atmosphere, but it's Monday night. The bigger the stage, the better Tom Brady always performs. Plus, since it's on the road, the spread should be nice. So when the Pats win, maybe you can celebrate and win some loots too. Always a good thing. The one thing I would be worried about is having to sit Richard Seymour due to an injury. It's even possible that Seymour may be out up to six weeks, but for now that's just a rumor so let's not get ahead of ourselves. However, it might be the worst possible matchup to have him missing. One of the best O-lines in football, and if the Pats can't get pressure on Brad Johnson, that building will get noisy. And the noisier the dome gets, the harder it's going to be for the offense to operate.

NFL News and Notes
*I can safely say I have seen 2 of the 3 longest kicks in history live on TV, and both could have gone further. And that's what bugs me. Matt Bryant kicked a 62 yard game winner this Sunday to put the Bucs over the Eagles, but the ball still could have gone probably another 4-6 yards! That brings me to ask the question: Why aren't these longer field goals ever attempted? I'm not dumb enough to think that just because Bryant made this one that all kickers can do it, or even that all these kicks will be made, but you gotta try! How many times has your team had a 60+ yard FG attempt but decided instead to bomb it into the endzone or try a multi-lateral play? Right, probably not a ton of times, but you get my point. We all hate on kickers the majority of the time, but the fact is, those long kicks are about as exciting as any other play the game has to offer. Seeing more of those attempted wouldn't be a bad thing. And who knows, maybe one day we could be sitting here talking about the first ever 70 yard field goal. It could be reality, if only Janikowski would lay off the sauce.

*It's times like this that I'm glad I have nothing but pure unabashed hatred for all things to do with the Pittsburgh Steelers. Their season is sinking faster than Jerome Bettis in the kiddie pool, and it doesn't look like there's much they can do about it. Big Ben is dinged up yet again, and this time it actually happened on the football field, how rare. It wasn't a motorcycle or an appendix, it was an actual hit. So now what for the defending champs? Their main man on offense is funked up, as is Joey Porter on D, and Willie Parker is having much more trouble running the ball than any anticipated, averaging nearly a yard less per carry than last season. The good news, is that they get to play Oakland next week. The bad news, I'm not sure they will be able to beat the Raiders in Oakland! You heard me, the Steelers are shot. One for the thumb? Well I got an idea where they can put that thumb after they are sitting at 2-5 with no hope of a playoff spot.

*Apparently Dennis Green was more sure about who the Chicago Bears were than he was about who the winless Oakland Raiders were. But really, who didn't see this coming? After blowing a lead of epic proportions on Monday night, Denny Green and his boys promptly came out and got run by the team that at the time held the title of "Worst Team in the League". Well, not anymore. Move over Oakland, cuz Denny's boys apparently want to take a run at your throne. This season started in the desert with a new stadium, the hope of a new prodigy at QB, and again renewed confidence that the team could make a strong push for the playoffs. WRONG! The Cardinals are still who they have always been, LOSERS. And to make matters worse, the buzz around town is that they will make a strong push to pick up Pete Carroll from USC this off-season. HAHAHA Excuse me if I don't fall over laughing. I mean, ummm, sure that's a great strategy. Pick up a guy who has twice been run out of the league, simply because he's had great success in college. What's the matter? Steve Spurrier and Dennis Erickson aren't available? There's a reason franchises like this are always awful, and that's because they constantly make bad decisions. So, bring on Pete Carroll, and bring on another losing decade for the Arizona Cardinals.

*I'm not going to go as far as to say that the Monday night game lived up to all it's hype, but it was a good watch none the less. Despite the 500 interviews they made us watch with Tiki Barber looking like a fruit cocktail, or the zillion T.O vs Parcells segments that kept popping up, the game still provided some thrills. No story line was as good as Bill Parcells switching QBs halfway through the game though. I usually defend Parcells, not because we always agree, but because I respect him as a coach. But I have to disagree with him on this one. I don't get what Bledsoe did to be taken out of that game. Sure he moves about as well as "the actual statue of liberty" to quote Tony Kornheiser, but was this something the Cowboys just realized last night? They knew what they had in Bledsoe. He can't move, but if you give him time he can be one of the best passers in the league. But there in lies the problem. "IF" you give him time. I've always said, Drew Bledsoe is the perfect QB for the Cowboys. That is, the Cowboys of the early 90's that had the best offensive line in football history. That's the only line that could maybe come close to giving this guy enough time. But to hand the reigns over to Tony Romo halfway through a season defining Monday night game? Is there a more pressure spot to put a person in? And to make matters worse, Tuna had a chance to bring Drew back after Romo through a pick on his first attempt, but decided against it. To me, this is just a sign that Bill Parcells has had enough. He might not be throwing in the towel, but that move reeked of desperation. One thing is for sure. there's a certain wide receiver who might not take too kindly to any QB controversy that might keep him from getting his touchdowns. I can't remember his name right now, but I'm sure you know who he is. Hint: He dropped a critical 4th down pass last night.

My NFL Picks
Last Week: 4-1-1

Overall: 23-15-5 (.605)

*Another solid week in the books as I continue my climb further and further north of .500. The funny thing is, if I had done any sort of statistical research before doing my picks, I would have likely gone 4-0-1 for Sunday games. Turns out, after another loss this week, the San Diego Chargers are only 3-14 in their last 17 trips to Arrowhead Stadium. To quote Adam Sandler, that's information that could have been brought to my attention yesterday!

The Roaster's Secret Recipe?
Leave it to Kenny Rogers to spice up what would otherwise be one of the most boring World Series matchups in recent memory. That's not a knock against the Tigers, who are one of the best turn around stories ever, or the Cards, who are in their second World Series in 3 years and represent possibly the best baseball town in the country, but let's face it, not many of us were paying much attention to the Fall classic. That is until now. During the beginning stages of game 2, it became evident to most of you (I say you because I choose not to watch this garbage) watching at home that Kenny had some "foreign substance" on his pitching hand. Now the hot rumor is that it was pine tar, which would enable The Roaster to get a better grip on the ball in the cold weather and give his old arm the ability to put a little extra spin on the bean. Tony LaRussa says he talked to the umps about it, but Rogers insists he noticed the dirt and washed it off himself between the first and second innings. How about this. He cheated, we all know he was cheating, he got caught cheating and he should have been punished. And the fact that LaRussa let it go as easily as he did, should piss off his players and all St. Louis Cardinal fans. If Kenny Rogers wants me to believe that he had this junk on his hand for an entire inning and didn't realize, then he thinks I must be a sucker. And I may be a lot of things, but I'm not a sucker. The guy must have looked down at his left hand a couple dozen times in the first inning alone, and you're telling me he didn't notice a brown stain the size of chicken wing on it? If you buy that one, I got a chest of ice in Alaska I'd like to sell ya. Fact is, Kenny Rogers has never done anything to give him the benefit of the doubt in the public eye, and the fact that this coincides with his 23 inning post-season scoreless streak isn't helping his cause. The game should have been stopped, Rogers' hand should have been inspected by the umpires in full view of both coaches, and it should have been dealt with. That way there would be no debate. Instead, this cloud will hang over the Tigers and the '06 World Series. We have the technology to the point where millions of people on TV around the world saw that this guy was cheating, so why not take advantage of this? Everyone wants to complain about umpires missing ball and strike calls, but it appears that's the least of their problems. It's one thing when they can't stop cheating behind the scenes, but it's totally another when it happens in plane sight and nothing is done. Tony LaRussa should be embarrassed, the umpires should be embarrassed and most importantly Kenny Rogers should be ashamed. All this proves is that major league baseball is still a mess, and even when they try to get things right they can't seem to get out of their own way. Kenny Rogers cheated, other guys still cheat, and MLB is helpless to stop them, even when the evidence is right in front of their face. Just ask Barry.

*Unlike those losers in the AP and coaches poll, I'm not too stubborn to drop a team in the rankings even if they win. Two examples of that this week come from the Big East, as I sent Louisville out of the top 10 and dropped West Virginia from the #2 spot that they've held for more than a month. Truth is, I just haven't been impressed with the way those teams have dispatched with the losers within their own conference. The only story in college football continues to be Michigan and Ohio St. steamrolling towards what is sure to be an instant classic on November 18th. Until one of them loses, or that game comes, all the other teams are playing for third place. That's right, as of now, I think that even after that battle, those two teams should meet again for the BCS title. I know there's a lot of other talented teams out there, especially in the SEC, but prove me wrong boys. Prove me wrong.*

College Football Top 10
1. Ohio St. (8-0) 1
2. Michigan (8-0) 3
3. West Virginia (7-0) 2
4. USC (6-0) 4
5. Auburn (7-1) 5
6. Florida (6-1) 6
7. Texas (7-1) 8
8. Notre Dame (6-1) 7
9. Tennessee (6-1) NR
10. Arkansas (6-1) NR

just missed: Boston College, Clemson, Boise St., Louisville, California
dropped: (9) Louisville, (10) Georgia Tech

Games to Watch this Week
Clemson @ Virginia Tech
*I'm not going to lie. Even after a convincing victory over Georgia Tech in Death Valley last weekend, there's still something I don't like about the Clemson Tigers. Maybe it's the fact that they have a Bowden as a head coach, I just don't know. But I do know this, no matter what I think, if C.J Spiller and James Davis combine for another 332 yards on 37 carries this week coach Beemer might be calling to ask Marcus Vick if he can borrow one of his shotguns.

Tennessee @ South Carolina
*Phil Fulmer has got to be licking his chops. For once, in his matchups against Steve Spurrier, he has the higher ranked team, more talent, and a great shot at an SEC title. If you are expecting some bad news to follow, other than the fact that the Vols have to travel to Columbia for this one, I just don't see any. The Ole Ball coach may like his QB Syvelle Newton, but he looks more like Mark Brunell than he does Rex Grossman or Danny Wuerffel.

Georgia vs Florida (in Jacksonville, Florida)
*The World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party. Need I say more? Probably, but I don't have time to explain everything to you losers.

Oklahoma @ Missouri
*This is the first real test for the Sooners following the Adrian Peterson injury. For the Tigers, this, combined with their next game against Nebraska, will determine whether or not they play for the Big XII title and a BCS spot in Dallas. Safe to say motivation shouldn't be a problem for either squad.

Miami @ Georgia Tech
*Hmmm. Let's call this one, the beginning of the end for Larry Coker. Of course the Canes beat Duke last week, even with half their starters out, but now comes a real test. The U has to travel to Atlanta to take on a G-Tech squad reeling from their recent bomb out of the top 10 at the hands of the Clemson Tigers. If Coker wins, his job may be safe, but if he loses, he can start searching the want ads for jobs in 1-AA.

Fantasy Update
Last Week: Open Back Door 64 Bird Squad 60
Record: 3-4-0, 10th place

Next Week vs The Money Train (5-2)

*I don't have any delusions about my team. Matter of fact, the way they have screwed me time and time again this season, I would be surprised if I ended up making the playoffs. But, the good news is, I won. Had I lost this game, my season would have been over barring a remarkable run. Instead, now I'm right back in it, at least for another week. Just a little stat in case you plan on betting on my fantasy matchup this week: Open Back Door is 1-1 in games when they can get to .500. I'd really like to beat The Money Train, but no more than I'd want to beat anyone else I suppose. But then again, it's always nice to take down a fellow trash talker.


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