Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Open Mike 1-30-13 Super Bowl XLVII Preview

In this edition of the Open Mike program from January 30, 2013, host Michael Cohen previews the Super Bowl match-up of brotherly love between Jim and John Harbaugh as the Baltimore Ravens get set to take on the San Francisco 49ers. In hour two, Michael welcomes in Dan Feuerstein of Triple Coverage to take a look at the Alex Rodriguez steroid scandal.

HOUR ONE

HOUR TWO

Yankees look to rid themselves of A-Rod

Alex Rodriguez can forget about the Hall of Fame.

He can forget about being considered one of the greatest players to ever step on a ball field, and he can quickly forget about jumping up into the top five of All-Time Homerun leaders.

Because, as of this moment, the career of Alex Rodriguez is basically over. No, he hasn't decided to retire just yet, but when a story broke on Tuesday with damning information that Rodriguez had acquired PEDs from Anthony Bosch, and his "BALCO of the East coast," Biogenesis, Rodriguez's credibility came tumbling down yet again.

In a career that has been marred with steroids, front page and back page embarrassment, infidelity, pictures of him with dozens of women not named his wife, and of course not to mention a reputation as the most un-clutch postseason performer in baseball history, Rodriguez finally got TKO'd in the 12th round.

And this time the Yankees have had enough.

According to the report Rodriguez began acquiring steroids from Bosch in 2009, paying him as much as $3,500 for HGH. He was named 16 times in Bosch's notebooks for purchasing drugs to enhance his performance; A-Rod even had his cousin Yuri Sucart buy steroids for him from Bosch. Sucart was banned from the Yankees facilities back in 2009, but according to notebooks, Rodriguez was a Bosch client through last season. Plus, A-Rod was Bosch's favorite client according to the report from the Miami New Times. By the way, Rodriguez had his best postseason as a Yankee in 2009 when he hit .365 with six homers and 18 RBI as the Bronx Bombers won the World Series. Coincidence?

This is a big revelation.  During his tumultuous stay with the Texas Rangers, a time where he made it be known he didn't enjoy being "the face" of the Texas Rangers after spending the better part of his early career in the shadow of Ken Griffy Jr. up in Seattle, Rodriguez was an admitted steroid user from 2001-2003.

Now it appears that Rodriguez has been using steroids during his rocky stay in New York.

With five years and $114 million left on his contract, the Yankees desperately want to find a way out of the contract. That is easier said than done. According to the rules provided by MLB, the Yankees nor any other team can impose a punishment greater than the mandatory 50-game ban for first time offenders. Plus the Yankees failure to do something back in '09 when A-Rod was just a year into a brand new 10-year $275 million extension, after he admitted steroid use, could hurt the Yankees chances of trying to release him.

This is the mistake the Yankees made when the decided to keep Rodriguez after his public opt out in 2007 when he announced his intentions during that year's World Series to test free agency. The Yankees decided to award A-Rod with a mega contract, thinking that he would be on the precipice of history by breaking numerous offensive records, because he hit 54 homers and drove in 156 that year.

They let their dreams delude them when the tea leaves told them to move on. Up through 2007 A-Rod was a total bust in the postseason. Drawing the hatred of Yankee fans everywhere, nobody came up smaller when it mattered the most than Rodriguez during his first four years in New York. The Yankees should have let him walk when he opted out. Hindsight of course is 20/20.

Now the Yankees are stuck with a player who is not only a total liar and cheat, but a guy who is breaking down. Rodriguez had hip surgery this month and is likely lost for the entire 2013 season. If Rodriguez were to miss this season, and not return until 2014 he could face a 50-game suspension, meaning he won't be on the field again until June of 2014 at the earliest. 

Look for the Yankees to at the very least try to withhold Rodriguez's salary if he is to be out for the next year and a half. There are no restrictions on a team from taking financial action against a player who is either injured or facing legal proceedings. The only difference is the Yankees can't just cut him loose.

If Rodriguez has any self respect left in his humiliating career, he should walk into the sunset and never be seen from again. He is a total disgrace not only to the Yankees but to baseball. He joins a select group of super-star athletes who made monkeys out of Major League Baseball, the press and the fans by cheating on the game with PEDs.

If there were any doubt about Rodriguez's Hall of Fame chances, they are almost certainly dashed now. He will have almost zero shot of getting into the Hall at this point, since his compeers Mark McGuire, Sammy Sosa, Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds are having a very difficult time swinging votes from the baseball writers for the prestigious honor, and may never get in. 


Friday, January 25, 2013

Trading Darelle Revis a Woody Johnson Production

The New York Jets are ready to part ways with the best player this franchise has seen in decades.

Darrelle Revis, the star cornerback, who missed almost all of the 2012 season due to an ACL injury is likely on his way out of town, and if you look at Revis' Twitter account, you would know he a'int too happy about it, and who can blame him.


I'm speechless by far but more importantly I feel more upset for the jet nation for having to go through this!!!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Open Mike Program 1-23-13 Early Look at Super Bowl XLVII

In this edition of the Open Mike program from January 23, 2013, host Michael Cohen takes an early look at Super Bowl XLVII between the Baltimore Ravens and San Francisco 49ers. In addition he discusses the new Jets’ front office, and the continuing Manti Te’o saga.
LISTEN HERE

Monday, January 21, 2013

Its a Harbaugh Bowl! Ravens & 49ers Win Conference Titles

RAVENS 28, PATRIOTS 13

49ERS 28, FALCONS 24

Exactly one year ago, brothers Jim and John Harbaugh walked off the field in their respective conference championship games losers. John watched his Ravens come oh so close to upsetting the New England Patriots in Foxboro were it not for a dropped Lee Evans touchdown pass, and a missed field goal by Billy Cundiff. New England won 23-20.

Meanwhile on the west coast, Jim's Niners couldn't hold a 14-10 lead over the New York Giants thanks in part to two fumbles on special teams that cost San Francisco a chance at the Bowl. New York went on to win the world championship two weeks later.

This time the Harbaugh's got the second chance they wanted and as a result both will square off against one another in Super Bowl XLVII in New Orleans in two weeks.

Both the 49ers and Ravens used their overpowering physical style of play dicate the second half of each game, as both erased halftime deficits to win big in the end, outscoring the Falcons and Patriots by a combined score of 35-0 in the second half.

In Atlanta, the 49ers found themselves down 17-0 midway through the second quarter thanks to a sizzling start by Matt Ryan and the Falcons offense. Ryan led Atlanta to scores on each of their first three possessions, tearing up the Niners vaunted secondary with touchdown passes of 46-yards and 20-yards, respectively.

Yet somehow, San Francisco fought back. Colin Kapernick who had only 1-yard passing through the first quarter caught fire when San Fran. needed him to pick it up the most. He orchistrated an 11 play 85-yard drive, highlighted by a 27-yard completion to tight end Vernon Davis to move the ball to the Atlanta 15. Two plays later, Kapernick pitched it to running back LeMichael James who walked untouched into the end zone to make it 17-7.

After an Atlanta three-and-out, Kapernick and the 49ers were at it again. First he connected with Davis again for 19 yards; then Kapernick scampered up the Atlanta sideline for 23 more yards to move the chains to the Atlanta 46. Two plays later, Kapernick zipped a bullet to Davis to cut the deficit to 17-14.

 Fast forward to the fourth quarter and things got really interesting. With Atlanta holding on to a 24-21 lead, San Francisco consistently knocked on the door, and twice had the the door close on them. First David Akers missed a field goal that would have tied the game as the third quarter closed.

After Matt Ryan was picked off on Atlanta's next possession, the Niners once again had a chance to either tie or take the lead. But, a fumble by Michael Crabtree at the Falcons 1-yard line denied San Francisco once again.

Give kudos to the 49ers defense for holding the line at this point. They forced Ryan in a fumble with Atlanta driving in the fourth quarter, and forced the Falcons into a three-and-out in a crucial situation after the Crabtree fumble. This unit totally dominated the game in the second half; Atlanta was helpless.

 Frank Gore took over at this point, rushing for 18 yards on three carries, including a nine-yard touchdown to put the 49ers in front for good, 28-24. The Niners defense did the rest knocking down a Ryan fourth down pass at the SF five-yard line to ice it.

Meanwhile in New England, the Ravens came back from a 13-7 deficit at halftime, as they dominated the Patriots in the second half, outscoring them 21-0 en route to a 28-13 victory.

The Ravens didn't look too good in the first half; they looked a little dazed and tired from their marathon a week ago in Denver, as Tom Brady picked apart the Ravens secondary with percise first down throws to Aaron Hernandez, Wes Welker and Danny Woodhead. However, when the Patriots had the chance to put the Ravens away they couldn't do it.

 The Patriots faced a third-and-two at the Ravens 12, but failed to convert the down, forcing New England to settle for a field goal and a 3-0 lead. Later in the first half, with New England up 10-7, the Patriots drove deep into Baltimore territory, but were turned away when Brady couldn't find an open man in the end zone as the half neared a close. New England had to again settle for a field goal before halftime to make it 13-7.

However, the biggest momentum changing play of the game involved Wes Welker. Welker drew a lot of criticism for his dropped pass against the Giants last year in the Super Bowl. Once again, the typically sure-handed receiver had a case of the drops. On third-and-eight at the Baltimore 34, Brady found Welker wide open for a first down on a drive that looked destined for a Patriots score, but Welker dropped the pass, forcing New England to punt.

The Ravens cashed in on that opportunity as Joe Flacco led a crisp 10 play, 87-yard drive that ended with a Ravens touchdown. Flacco was Joe Cool completing six of eight passes in the shotgun formation, including a 5-yard touchdown pass to Dennis Pitta to give the Ravens a 14-13 lead.

After a Patriots three-and-out, the Ravens once again stuck it in in the end zone on a lengthy drive led by Flacco.  First Flacco found Torrey Smith for 23-yards to the Patriots 44. After some shifty running by Bernard Pierce, Flacco hit Pitta and Anquan Boldin for 14 total yards to the Patriots five. Finally, Flacco found Boldin in the back of the end zone for the score.

Seeing the game was getting out of hand, the Patriots needed to score on their next possession to quell the Ravens momentum, but a fumble by Steven Ridely killed any hope for the Pats.

Flacco went right to work. He connected with Smith for 16-yards, then scrambled for 14 more to the Patriots 17-yard line. Two plays later, Flacco found Boldin again in the back of the end zone for the touchdown to make it 28-13 Ravens.

The Patriots and their fans were in total shock. Brady tried to lead New England back, but he was picked off twice, including one in the Ravens end zone to ice the contest for Baltimore. Sweet revenge for the Ravens.

The Ravens and 49ers Super Bowl match-up is the first time that two brothers will square off as head coaches in NFL history. It will also be the second Super Bowl appearance for Ray Lewis and the Ravens. Baltimore beat the Giants 34-7 in Super Bowl XXXV.  Joe Flacco is 8-4 in the playoffs with six win on the road, the most by a QB in NFL history. San Francisco is in its sixth Super Bowl, where they are 5-0 all time. The last time the 49ers were in the big game, they blew out the San Diego Chargers 49-26 in Super Bowl XXIX, when Steve Young threw six touchdown passes. This is going to be great. Can't wait for the Big Game!!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Rangers nipped by Bruins in opener

BRUINS 3
RANGERS 1

No team came into this shortened hockey season with higher expectations than the New York Rangers. Picked by many to win the Stanley Cup, the Rangers got off to a sluggish start in Boston, losing 3-1, and getting totally outplayed in the process.

New York was out-shot by Boston 34-21; lost their face-offs 35-23, and even worse, gave the puck away 10 times in defeat.

The Rangers were not crisp defensively, as goalie Henrik Lundqvist had to spend the night on his heels, as Boston attempted 25 shots on goal in the first two periods alone. Meanwhile, New York averaged only seven shots on goal per period, with Brad Richards proving to be the lone star of the game for New York. Big name free agent acquisition, Rick Nash had only two shots on goal the entire night.

Boston scored two goals in quick order. First Milan Lucic scored with six minutes remaining in the first period. Then, early in the second period, Daniel Pallie scored with an assist Greg Campbell to make it 2-0 Beantown.

Richards scored the only Rangers goal of the night with assists from Nash and Dan Girardi, but that would be all for the Blue-shirts. Johnny Boychuk's goal in the third period sealed the deal for Boston, as New York dropped to 0-1 on the season.

The Rangers brutal opening schedule continues Sunday when they host the Penguins at the Garden. 

Devils get off to fast start, skate by Islanders

DEVILS 2
ISLANDERS 1

After an 113 day lockout that cost almost half the 2012-2013 season, the New Jersey Devils were finally back on the ice to begin defense of their Eastern Conference title from last season.

The Devils out-hustled a very young New York Islanders team, beating them 2-1 in a game that was really never that close. The Devils out-shot the Isles 28-19, and at one point held New York to only nine shots on goal through two periods of play.

The Devils got big opening night performances from: Ilya Kovalchuk, who looked crisp after spending the lockout playing in Russia; Travis Zajac, who inked a brand new deal earlier in the week, as well as veterans Patrick Elias and David Clarkson. Even rookie Stefan Matteau looked good in his first game in red and black, taking three shots on goal.

Midway through a scoreless 2nd period, the Devils struck gold, when Kovalchuck sped around Islanders Evgeni Nabokov, passed the puck to Zajac who punched it in for the first goal of the night.

However, the Isles soon responded when Travis Hamonic scored the tying goal 7:21 into the third period to tie the game.

The tie lasted only 1:05, as Clarkson scored the eventual game winner with an assist from Elias and Mattias Tedenby.

Goalie Martin Brodeur got his first win of the season, saving 18 shots on 19 attempts.

While the Devs might be old on paper, getting off to a fast start in a 48 game season is imperative to any success. New Jersey hosts Philadelphia on Tuesday. The Islanders host Tampa Bay on Monday.


Saturday, January 19, 2013

Jets Tap Mornhinweg as Offensive Coordinator

Ok, you can stop laughing Jets fans! We know, we know. It is so painful it's funny.

Yes the New York Jets have decided to sign former Eagles offensive coordinator and head coaching flame-out Marty Mornhinweg as the teams offensive coordinator. This coming just hours after the club signed John Idzik to the post of General Manager.

Mornhinweg is the third offensive coordinator for the Jets in two years. The club failed with Brian Schottenheimer, and failed even more with Tony Sparano. So why not bring in a guy who couldn't manage the Eagles offense well, and is widely condsidered the biggest failure in the NFL for his 2-year stint with the Detroit Lions as head coach where he compiled a 5-27 record?

Brilliant move by Woody Johnson and company.

Mornhinweg is considered a "quarterback guru," which is laughable since he couldn't get Joey Harrington to play well at all in Detroit. Unless you consider his work with established quarterback's Donavan McNabb and Michael Vick worthy of the guru title -- we will think otherwise.

Surely the speculation has begun that the Mornhinweg hire means that Vick is not too far behind. Don't count on it. He's 33-years-old, and very brittle. Then again Woody Johnson has never said no to the biggest star names, no matter how flawed they are.

Get ready for some more ineffective offense Jets fans!! 

Te'o Opens Up to ESPN, Denies Involvement

Manti Te'o, the man in the center of the greatest lie in the history of Notre Dame football denies having any involvement in girlfriend-gate, and that he was indeed duped by his friend (excuse me) non-friend, Ronaiah Tuiososopo, as part of an online prank on the linebacker according to an exclusive interview on ESPN.

Te'o denied that he ever met Kekua, and said he tried to meet with her via Skype, even though it was reported that Te'o had met her in 2009, and was seen with her over the course of the last three years.

Te'o even decried reports that he knew of Tuiososopo, showing Jeremy Schapp a text message from Tuiososopo admitting to him he started the prank and that he was sorry. Te'o said he never met Tuiososopo until that November 24 game in LA. However it doesn't answer the question as to why the two were friends on Twitter long before that game. It also doesn't answer why friends of the family were saying that Tuiososopo and Te'o were buddies. 

However, the linebacker admitted that he did "alter" his stories so his family would think he met her. He even admitted that he lied to his father about Kekua.

""That goes back to what I did with my dad," Te'o said. "I knew that -- I even knew, that it was crazy that I was with somebody that I didn't meet, and that alone -- people find out that this girl who died, I was so invested in, I didn't meet her, as well. So I kind of tailored my stories to have people think that, yeah, he met her before she passed away, so that people wouldn't think that I was some crazy dude"(ESPN).

Well you could have fooled us Te'o. All you did was tell every single major media outlet that Kekua was the love of your life, and that it was a struggle to live without her. Te'o was even videotaped in the Notre Dame locker room thanking his teammates for their support during a trying time. Te'o not only helped make up the stories that he knew were false, he ran with it to gain publicity even though he won't admit to that claim.

When pressed about visiting Kekua in the hospital before she "died." Te'o offered this curious response: "It never really crossed my mind. I don't know. I was in school," he said.

Furthermore, Te'o claimed that he was told by the Kekua family not to attend the funeral. 
"Te'o said he stayed in contact with Kekua's family after her death. They told him not to come to the funeral because "her mom told them she didn't want me to come."
"They didn't want -- and I didn't want myself -- I didn't want that to be the first time that I saw her was laying in a coffin," Te'o said.

Te'o then revealed that he found out that Kekua was a "hoax" on December 6 when he received a phone call from a woman claiming to be her. Yet, Te'o kept the lie going right through Notre Dame's embarrassing 42-14 drubbing at the hands of Alabama. The reasoning? He was "confused" about the situation.

"I didn't know, myself. I didn't know what to believe," Te'o said. "All I knew for sure in my head was that she died on Sept. 12."

It is getting harder and harder to believe anything that Te'o says. He claims that he was confused and duped by sophisticated jokers, but his reasoning for every question is ridiculous. Anyone who knows a friend who is dying of cancer would go visit them in the the hospital. Te'o excuse that he was busy with school is a poor answer.

The fact that Te'o was cunning enough to not even fess up to the lies during the month of December and earlier is also a lingering question. "Confused" is not an answer; this is a guy who stuck his own foot in his mouth and is doing everything he can to make himself look good. He even had his uncle go out of the way to rip Tuiososopo during a phone interview with ESPN in order to save face.   

Te'o still has a lot stacked up against him. His confessional to ESPN didn't answer any questions, in fact it cemented the fact that he may be a pathological liar. It seems that the lies just get bigger and bigger the longer this story drags out.  Furthermore, teammates have come out and stated that Te'o is a guy who adores attention.

"Multiple media reports have said players thought that Te'o had only met Lennay Kekua once and that it wasn't really accurate to call her his girlfriend. But as condolences poured in, Te'o "played along," according to the teammate, who wished to remain anonymous.
The teammate portrayed the move as part of the All-American's personality, telling ESPN that Te'o liked attention so much that he would sometimes point himself out to friends when he was on television," ESPN

Te'o and his family may think that this story is now dead, because he came out and said he was duped, but in truth, it is not. There is sure to be further investigations into this story. Nobody had heard from Tuiososopo yet, and the woman who said that Te'o was "in on it" has not be interviewed extensively yet either. The story will not go away. Also, Te'o can forget about saving his reputation; the damage has been done. He may still get drafted in the NFL draft, but is certainly won't be as a first round pick. How could any team trust anything this guy says now? 

Friday, January 18, 2013

Jets have found their new GM in Seattle's Idzik

After more than three weeks of failing to sell the Jets General Manager position to any potential candidates, Woody Johnson and company may have settled on a individual to take up the job. And it isn't who you think.

No the next GM of the New York Jets will not be in-house candidate Scott Cohen. (Take a sigh of relief Gang Green Nation).

No, the new GM will be Seattle Seahawks Vice President of Football Administration John Idzik. Like former GM Mike Tannenbuam, however, Idzik is a salary cap guru. While that may make Jets' fans stomachs ache, Idzik has had far more success in the NFL.

According to his bio on Seahawks.com, Idzik had a hand in some of Seattle's day-to-day football operations, and before joining the Seahawks in 2007, was the Senior Director of Football Operations for the Arizona Cardinals. Idzik entered the NFL with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He spent 11 years with the Buccaneers, first as a Pro Personnel Assistant and then was elevated to Director of Football Administration in 1996 and Assistant General Manager in 2001. He had the opportunity to work with such coaches as Pete Carroll and Tony Dungy during his career.

Idzik will take on the task of having to clean up the mess left over by Tannenbaum. The Jets are $19.4 million over the salary cap for 2013. With several players set to come off that cap this spring, i.e. Bart Scott, Bryan Thomas and Calvin Pace, Idzik is still stuck with the biggest salary cap headache of all time in quarterback Mark Sanchez.

Sanchez is a total bust at the quarterback position. A failure that both coach Rex Ryan and Tannenbaum refused to realize over the past four seasons. If Idzik cuts Sanchez in March, his contract will count $17 million against the Jets cap. Sanchez is guaranteed $8.25 million.

In addition to dealing with Sanchez, Idzik will have to learn to live with Rex Ryan.

Ryan and Idzik have never worked together, and owner Woody Johnson has been steadfast in telling GM candidates that they have to keep Ryan for at least one more year. That is why the GM job has been a tough sell for a lot of people.

 The relationship between Idzik and Ryan will be a high stakes poker game for the rest of the year. Idzik is a guy with little personnel experience, a boon to Ryan, who, along with Woody Johnson, said Ryan would be involved in the process. That being said, eventually Idizk will want to put his stamp on this team and prove himself; Ryan is not one of his guys, and if New York should slip up again in 2013, don't be shocked if Idzik taps one of his buddies to be the next head coach.

While everyone will say the right things right now -- the drama is only beginning. 






Thursday, January 17, 2013

Manti Te'o's Fake Girlfriend Example of Crumbling American Ethos

When word came on Wednesday afternoon that Manti Te'o, the heralded linebacker of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish upon whom had been lavished more praise and media attention than anyone could imagine for both his play on the gridiron and his "handling" of a "tragic loss" in his life, was embroiled in the most heinous and devious plot this side of Lance Armstrong, how could anyone be surprised?

Te'o's "long-time" girlfriend, Lennay Kekua, never died, never went to Stanford, and, in fact, never existed. This is by far the cruelest deception someone has played on an American public so willing to discover a feel-good story and a newer hero.

While there is more to come on this story, Te'o, and the university, are in scrambling mode trying to paint Te'o as a victim of online pranksters. Notre Dame and Te'o want us to believe that he is dumb enough to fall for a woman's fake profile picture, and that he was okay with never meeting this woman face-to-face or even meeting her on an online video conversation via Skype. Are Te'o and Notre Dame this naive to think the public will believe them now?

The facts that came out of the Deadspin article and, subsequently, even more investigation by other media outlets, are starting to stack up against the linebacker.

Facts: The South Bend Tribune reported that Te'o met Lennay Kekua in 2009 during a Stanford - Notre Dame football game, a story the Tribune learned about from Te'o's father. "They started out as just friends," Te'o's father, Brian, told the Tribune in October 2012. "Every once in a while, she would travel to Hawaii, and that happened to be the time Manti was home, so he would meet with her there" (Deadspin).

However the Deadspin article reveals that Te'o didn't meet her until 2011 via Twitter. Other stories have also poured out that Te'o would talk to Stanford players about his girlfriend, asking them if they knew her.

Te'o spent countless amounts of time telling just about every media outlet from NBC, which broadcast Notre Dame games, to ESPN to Sports Illustrated that Kekua was the love of his life and that he was tragically hurt by her death. He even told ESPN that he was in contact with her parents and described in detail how she had died of leukemia.

He told SI that he had phone conversations with her overnight while she was in the hospital recovering, and once she was released, Te'o's father sent his congratulations to her via cell phone.

What is even more bizarre is the fact that Te'o never attended her funeral, supposedly on September 22, instead he played in the Irish victory over Michigan that afternoon. "All she wanted was some white roses. So I sent her roses and sent her two picks along with that," Teo is quoted as saying in the Notre Dame locker room.

 Amid these numerous fibs, word came from that Deadspin article that Te'o is buddy-buddy with another young Hawaiian prospect, Ronaiah Tuiasosopo, and questions about whether these two concocted this whole story is running rampant. One woman questioned by Deadspin, who knows both men, said there is an 80 percent chance Te'o was "in on it."

"Manti and Ronaiah are family," she said, "or at least family friends." She told us that the Tuiasosopos had been on-field guests of Te'o, or someone else she didn't know, for the Nov. 24 Notre Dame-USC game in Los Angeles. USC was unable to confirm this, but a tweet from Tuiasosopo's since-deleted account suggests he and Te'o did see each other on that West Coast trip. "Great night with my bro @MTeo_5! #Heisman #574L," Ronaiah tweeted on Nov. 23, the night before the game.
And there was something else: Tuiasosopo had been in a car accident a month before Lennay's supposed accident." (Deadspin).

If Te'o and Tuiasospo did make up Lennay Kekua as a way to garner more publicity for Te'o and to move him into the spotlight as a member of the nation's most prestigious football team, it would not be a shock, not in a world dominated by cheaters and liars. Just look at Barry Bonds, Rogers Clemens and Lance Armstrong. They fooled America into believing that their records and awards were all real, but, in fact, they were tainted by rampant steroid use.

While there are no steroids in this case, the goal of Te'o and company (if he is indeed involved) was the same -- fame! The real story is the decay of the American perspective. The American people, time and again, have proven to be the most gullible people on earth. We look for the fuzzy-wuzzy/rags-to-riches stories as examples of everything that is good in America; the narrative line is that the United States is a nation built on overcoming adversity in trying times.

Why wouldn't people want to believe Te'o's story? And why wouldn't someone like Te'o not tap into that mythology to take advantage of America's naivete? Lights, camera, action! Lifestyles of the rich and the famous! They are all attractive to anybody looking for attention. 

Regardless, with more facts coming out on this elaborate prevarication, I find it hard to believe that a super star athlete from Notre Dame, who was on pace to get drafted in the first round of the NFL draft is this insecure and naive to get duped by a bunch of online punks. If you believe this, then you believe that Te'o was fooled so badly, and trusted his deceivers so much that he was willing to stick his neck out and talk about her publicly without ever seeing her. It doesn't even make sense.

The real "victim" of this story is the American public.  This story is another sad example of how this country is chock full of people who are more interested in believing any feel-good storyline on a grab for popularity and fame. It's just not the case. Once again, America has been sold a pig in a poke. When, at long last, will it be time to get real?

Open Mike 1-16-13 NFC & AFC Championship Preview

In the first hour of the Open Mike program, host Michael Cohen breaks down the upcoming AFC and NFC Championship match-ups with John Pielli, host of the Passed Ball. Michael also gives his take on the wacky Manti Te’o scandal.

Listen here!

In the second hour of the Open Mike program, host Michael Cohen welcomes in Dovid Dobin and Bret Leuthner to discuss the upcoming truncated NHL season which begins on January 19. What’s in store for the Rangers and Devils? The boys’ preview.

Listen here! 

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Open Mike 1-9-13 Breaking Down MLB Hall of Fame Vote

In the first hour of the Open Mike Program, host Michael Cohen takes a look at the shocking vote by the Baseball Writers who decided not to elect anyone to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2013, with the faces of the Steroid Era, Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds on the ballot. Sean Bretherick and Daniel Feuerstein of Triple Coverage join the debate.

LISTEN HERE! 

In hour two of the Open Mike Program, Michael Cohen, Sean Bretherick and Daniel Feuerstein talk about the return of the NHL after a very long and weary 113 day lockout. The group then moves on to break down the Rex Ryan press conference from Tuesday afternoon.

LISTEN HERE!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Alabama's BSC Victory Another Reason Why NCAA Needs Playoffs

Before anyone could settle down into their arm chairs to watch "the most anticipated college championship" in quite some time, the game was over.

Alabama scored a touchdown only 2:57 into the contest when Eddie Lacy raced in from 20-yards out to give 'Bama a 7-0 lead. After Notre Dame went three and out on their first possession, Alabama marched right down the field against the so-called greatest defense in college football and pounded it in when Michael Williams caught a three-yard pass in the end zone from quarterback A.J. McCarron.


With 6:14 left in the 1st quarter the score was: Alabama 14, Notre Dame 0.

Not only did Notre Dame look lifeless, they were totally out of their league. The Fighting Irish were so bad they made the New York Jets look like world beaters. The only aspect of the game was even mildly interesting was ESPN's numerous shots of McCarron's smoking hot girlfriend, Katherine Webb, who is Miss Alabama! It's good to be the starting quarterback at Alabama.

McCarron isn't going to confuse anyone with Tom Brady or Peyton Manning. He won't even be a starting quarterback at the next level if he even gets there, but the Irish allowed him to have the kind of night that will be remembered in Alabama for decades.

Notre Dame's fearless leader Manti Te'o who received so much media praise and coverage, granted he had a horrible tragedy befell him and deserves all the credit in the world for playing through it, came up small in the big moment. Anyone who was looking to continue their comparisons to Ray Lewis can now keep quiet, after Te'o missed a bunch of tackles along with his teammates who couldn't tackle a stuffed animal let alone a football player.

But what is the bigger issue has nothing to do with Notre Dame's performance, but has everything to do with the way this game has been selected for years now. The BCS is a total farce -- everyone knows it, but many have tried to deny it because of the money that is involved in keeping it moving.

College football desperately needs a playoff. Forget about the fact that there will be something of a "Final Four" in 2014-2015; that will be based on the standings that currently exist today with AP polls, coaches polls and of course the computer generated BCS.

There were 75 bowl games this season, most of them meaningless, and plenty of them ridiculous. No sports system allows more mediocre teams that are either at .500 or barely over it to compete for bowl game titles the way college football does. The formula is ridiculous and has totally failed the sport.

Defenders of the BCS say the current system works, because it puts emphasis on winning regular season games; that Oregon didn't deserve to be in the title game because they had one loss compared to Notre Dame's undefeated season. This argument sounded incompetent and stubborn back then, and it sounds even worse now.

As we have seen throughout sports over the years the "best record" does not mean the "best team" when it really counts in the postseason. The Irish showed to the world that they did not belong on the same stage with Alabama let alone in a BCS title game. The Ducks of Oregon should have been in this game, but a stupid computer formula told us otherwise.

This is not the first time that teams have been left out of the title game. In 2009 Alabama, Cincinnati, Texas, Boise State and TCU were all undefeated at the end of the regular season. Yet the BCS, which basically picks teams on bloated reputations, and bloated regular season scores, decided that the title game would be Alabama vs. Texas. Boise State, Cincy and TCU had to play lesser bowl games.

It happened again in 2010. Oregon, Auburn and TCU were all unbeaten. Auburn had an exciting young quarterback in Cam Newton; TCU had an exciting young quarterback in Andy Dalton. Two guys who have gone on to have solid starts to their NFL careers. Oregon was at the beginning of their recent dominance under innovative head coach Chip Kelly; yet the BCS ruled that the title game would be Auburn and Oregon. Both teams were deserving, but nobody will ever know if TCU could have competed for a title too. Also don't forget the teams with one loss: Stanford, Wisconsin, Ohio State, Michigan State and Boise State, all of whom could have competed for the big game as well.

But they didn't. Why? The BCS.


Maybe the BCS should instead stand for BS.

College football at the division I level has become bloated by big corporate contracts, branding, alumni donations (which is bigger than you think), and of course reputation. The Bowl games serve nothing but an opportunity to advertise a corporate sponsor (i.e. Papa Johns, Meineke Car Care, Discover, Lays, etc), and a chance for the host stadium to make oodles of money from drunk college students who are more than willing to fork over thousands to see their team play in the bowls like the Pinstripe Bowl.

Not to mention the essence of conference play has become a total joke as teams move from one conference to another like it means nothing. Just look at the Big East, which once housed Miami, Virginia Tech, and West Virginia. Now it is just Rutgers, Louisville, South Florida, Pittsburgh, Connecticut, and Syracuse.  Rumors are that Rutgers, and Syracuse are close to leaving, and teams like San Diego State are coming in. That's right, San Diego, California in the Big East.

Money talks in college football. Remember that for later.

To convince the NCAA that moving to a tournament similar to college basketball is in essence telling them to cut off some of the corporate sponsorship. In short, easier said than done.

It is clear the way the BCS selects these games and these teams is becoming increasingly unfair. With 12 conferences in Divison-IA college football, surely the NCAA can come up with a tournament that will give America a true National Champion.

Here is an idea. There are five weeks between the end of the regular season, usually on Thanksgiving, and the BCS title game, usually on January 6 or 7. Those are five weeks were a tournament can be inserted that will allow representatives from each conference to compete.

Since you can't have 64 teams in this tournament, and since it is football which can't be played every day, lets say you take 32 teams into the tournament. Week 1 of the playoffs will be the first weekend in December; the Sweet 16 will be the second week in December; the Elite 8 will be the week before Christmas.  The Final Four will be the week after Christmas, and the National Title can still be held on January 7.

Who will compete in the tournament. Take your top 25 poll:

AP Top 25
RKTEAMRECORDPTS
1Alabama (59)13-11475
2Oregon12-11358
3Ohio State12-01302
4Notre Dame12-11288
5Georgia12-21230
5Texas A&M11-21230
7Stanford12-21169
8South Carolina11-21038
9Florida11-2933
10Florida State12-2922
11Clemson11-2889
12Kansas State11-2871
13Louisville11-2781
14LSU10-3756
15Oklahoma10-3615
16Utah State11-2456
17Northwestern10-3443
18Boise State11-2419
19Texas9-4358
20Oregon State9-4303
21San Jose State11-2243
22Northern Illinois12-2227
23Vanderbilt9-4180
24Michigan8-5147
25Nebraska10-4119
 

Dog & Pony Show: Rex Ryan, Woody Johnson Fail to Answer Big Questions

Anyone expecting to hear something incredibly revealing from the Jets press conference, Tuesday were greatly disappointed.

Not only did Jets owner Woody Johnson endorse the job security of coach Rex Ryan, the duo danced around questions regarding the future of the franchise in terms of the clubs' GM search, the quarterback, and of course Tattoogate.

The most prevalent information to come out of the Jets press conference was the idea that Johnson will allow Ryan to be part of the search for a new General Manager. This is baffling. To give the head coach say in who the GM will be does not solve the team's personnel issues, especially when the coach is Ryan who has done nothing but destroy the Jets during his four year as head coach.

 With Ryan having a say on who the GM will be makes working for the Jets an untenable situation. Nobody is going to want come to New Jersey and work for the Jets if Ryan is going to serve a s a bully to whomever is making the personnel decisions. Johnson has done an ill service to both himself and his franchise by keeping Ryan around. Yet Woody had this to say: "Rex Ryan is perfect for the New York Jets. In a lot of ways he like the New York Jets fan." I'm sure Jets fans are flattered. Ryan is a guy with a checkered reputation right now, and anyone who hitches their wagon to him is doomed; just ask Mike Tannenbaum.

Johnson would not reveal whom they are interviewing for the position, but right now word is that the team is interested in either Tom Gamble of San Francisco, Marc Ross of the Giants, and David Caldwell of Atlanta. Caldwell is very close to signing on with the Jacksonville Jaguars to be their GM. With Ryan having more say about the GM, don't be shocked if none of these men end up taking the job, and the Jets settle for an in-house candidate in Scott Cohen, who was an assistant under Tannenbaum.

As for Ryan, he continues to spew out the same nonsense he has over the past four years. He said that the New York Jets will be the most feared team in the NFL in 2013; a total joke that not even a buffoon would even believe. I am sure that the Patriots are shaking in their boots after that statement from Rex.

He even said the offense will be more dynamic and unpredictable than in years past. It better be, because Ryan will be on his third offensive coordinator in three years. Tony Sparano was brought to the Jets because Ryan was convinced that Sparano was the exact same coach as himself. Sparano was a total failure in his one year with the Jets. Ryan and Johnson did not address why they had so much belief in Sparano coming in 2012, and Ryan never addressed his endorsement of Sparano from a year ago.

As for his assistant coaches, Ryan would not go into detail about why his old pal Mike Pettine would leave the team and consider taking a defensive coordinator position at the Buffalo Bills. All Rex would even say regarding the issue is that he "wishes" Pettine well, and hopes he doesn't end up in Buffalo. Expect Dennis Thurman to take over as the team's defensive coordinator.

The only breaking news to come out of the press conference was that Special Teams Assistant Ben Kotwica will replace the highly opinionated Mike Westoff as Special Teams coach.  

Finally the 3000 lb gurrilla in the room: Mark Sanchez. Ryan and Johnson danced around the questions regarding the quarterback, in fact they didn't even address the quarterback situation during their opening statements -- making it clear they might be comfortable moving forward with Sanchez as their starting quarterback in 2013. Neither guaranteed that Sanchez would or would not be the starter next season, saying only that they are not concerned about his ridiculous contract.

 In fact Ryan never really addressed the tattoo issue. Last week he was photographed with a tattoo of his wife wearing a Mark Sanchez jersey. Ryan tried to make a joke of it during the press conference, saying that Sanchez better play better or the number on his tattoo would change.

The joke didn't draw many laughs.

That being said, Ryan admitted that he has failed to implement an "attack approach" mentality in this football team and promises to do so this year.

 In short the Jets press conference was a giant waste of time. Nothing was really revealed and nothing is going to change. Get ready for another year of Rexcuses from the Jets. 





Sunday, January 6, 2013

Jets Ready to Take Gamble on 49ers Player Personnel Dir.

The New York Jets may have their man.

Reports are surfacing that 49ers Director of Player Personnel Tom Gamble is the favorite to become the new GM of the Jets. Gamble has extensive NFL experience having spent 24 years in the league in the player personnel and scouting departments.

He has spent the past seven years in the 49ers developmental department focusing on college and pro scouting. He has been apart of the recent turnaround in the Bay Area that has seen the 49ers become a relevant franchise the past two seasons.

Before that, Gamble was a college scout for the Indianapolis Colts from 1998-2004. That's right, the prime of the Peyton Manning era in Indy. Gamble learned under former Colts GM Bill Polian, and received a ringing endorsement from him.

He started his career in the Philadelphia Eagles organization in 1988, so he is familiar with the Ryan persona, having worked under Rex Ryan's father Buddy when he was the Philly head coach. The one negative about Gamble is the fact that he once worked for the Jets during the Rich Kotitte era from 1995-1996 as a quality control coach. Hopefully Gamble didn't take any pointers from Kotitte before moving on in his NFL career.

The Jets are scheduled to meet with Giants' Director of College Scouting Marc Ross on Monday.

Either way it looks like Gang Green is ready to take the gamble on Tom Gamble very soon. 

Seahawks Surge Past Skins, Ray Lewis Returns to Ravens in Wild Card Weekend

The 2012 NFL playoffs got off to an interesting start this weekend. while Saturday's action didn't offer much drama at all there was plenty of drama and emotion on Sunday in Maryland as the Ravens hosted the Indianapolis Colts and the Redskins hosted the Seattle Seahawks.

SEAHAWKS 24
REDSKINS 14

After a sizzling start right out of the gate by the Redskins, the Seahawks rallied big time thanks to a superlative effort by both Seattle's fearsome defense and the incredible play of quarterback Russell Wilson.

The Seahawks erased a 14-0 deficit in the first quarter, posting 13 unanswered points in the second quarter, highlighted by a four-yard touchdown pass by Wilson to Michael Robinson to make it 14-10. After Robert Griffin III was picked off on a bomb down the sideline, Wilson led another time consuming drive, this one 10 plays and 62 yards in 3:36 to set up a Steven Hauscka field goal to cut the Skins lead to one. 

The Skins were never the same after taking a 14-0 lead, in fact their offense went into the tank. The Skins had only 75 yards of total offense from the second quarter on thanks in part to the great play by Seattle's defense, and the fact that Griffin was ineffective. The reason why? Griffin who injured his knee back on December 9 in a game against the Ravens was re-injured during this contest.

 Griffin's knee issues became an even bigger back story as it became increasingly clear the quarterback was not healthy during the course of the game against Seattle, having been forced to leave the field twice to get treatment.

According to USA Today this was not the first time that the rookie left the field and returned with the gimp. During that Dec. 9 game against Baltimore when Griffin was initially injured, coach Mike Shannhan put him back into the game after he received a "blessing" from Dr. James Andrews. However, Andrews has said he never cleared Griffin to return to the game, since he never had a chance to examine him.

"(Griffin) didn't even let us look at him," Andrews said. "He came off the field, walked through the sidelines, circled back through the players and took off back to the field. It wasn't our opinion.
"We didn't even get to touch him or talk to him. Scared the hell out of me."

Yet when asked by news reporters, Shanahan described a conversation with Andrews this way:

"He's on the sidelines with Dr. Andrews. He had a chance to look at him and he said he could go back in," Shanahan said Dec. 10. "(I said) 'Hey, Dr. Andrews, can Robert go back in?'

'Yeah, he can go back in.'

'Robert, go back in.'

"That was it," Shanahan said" (USA TODAY).

If Andrews' story is true it could mean big trouble for Shanahan. He needed to keep the health of his young quarterback in mind instead of forcing to play on a bad knee. Don't be surprised if the Redskins fine Shanahan. Griffin played through that injury for the past three weeks, and Sunday's wild card game was the most uncomfortable he looked since the initial incident. Griffin is best when he is able to use his legs. While no one will know how Griffin will play on that knee again until August, this is a story that surely won't go away.

Meanwhile, the Seahawks dominated the second half. Wilson drove the Seahawks deep into Redskins territory and had Seattle poised to score the go-ahead touchdown; but, running back Marshawn Lynch fumbled the football, giving it back to Washington.

After the Seattle defense forced a Redskins three-and-out, the Seahawks finally pounded the rock into the end zone when Lynch made up for the fumble with a 27-yard score in the fourth quarter to give the Seahawks a 19-14 lead. Wilson completed the two-point conversion to the tight end Zach Miller to make it 21-14.

The game finally turned on Washington's next possession when Griffin was strip-sacked. It was on this play that Griffin's knee finally gave out and the quarterback was left plastered onto the turf for a good five minutes. He never returned to game.

Seattle travels to Atlanta next week.

RAVENS 24
COLTS 9

The Ravens sent Ray Lewis out on a high note in his final home game as the starting middle linebacker of the Baltimore Ravens with a 24-9 victory over the Indianapolis Colts.

While the Colts did everything right between the 20's they could never punch it in. The Colts were 0-for-3 in the Ravens red zone, forced to settle for three Adam Vinatieri field goals. The end result? A loss for the Colts.

The Ravens did just enough offensively to put this game slowly out of reach. Leading 10-6, Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco heaved a pass down the middle of the field and into the clutches of Anquan Boldin, who hauled the ball in at the Ravens 15. Three plays later, Flacco found Dennis Pitta from 20-yards out for the score, to make it 17-6.

Still the Colts had a shot. The playoff stage was not too big for rookie Andrew Luck who played well in defeat. He led on a lengthy 15-play 72-yard drive to the Baltimore eight yard line; however, Meweldi Moore was stopped for no gain on second down, and Luck's pass to Reggie Wayne fell incomplete forcing the Colts to settle for another field goal.

Down one possession the Colts got one last chance when they recovered a Ray Rice fumble at the Colts 36. Luck hit Wayne for 19-yards to move the ball into Ravens territory. After two big defensive penalties on the Ravens, the Colts were knocking on the door. However Luck was unable to complete two big passes around the Baltimore 20-yard line, and once again the Colts were forced to settle for a field goal. This time, Indy's luck ran out, as Vinatieri's kick was wide right.

The Ravens put the nail in the coffin on their next possession. A 43-yards sprint by Bernard Pierce set up an 18-yard touchdown pass by Flacco to Boldin to make it 24-9 all but ending the contest.

The Ravens will hit the road and travel to the Mile High City to take on the Denver Broncos on Saturday afternoon.

Meanwhile, the Texans who won an underwhelming contest against the Bengals on Saturday will visit the Patriots on Sunday afternoon. The Packers will face the 49ers in San Francisco, Saturday night, after the Packers took care of the punchless Vikings.

While Wild Card weekend was somewhat underwhelming this year, it does set up a very intriguing divisional round next weekend.

NHL RETURNS! Deal Struck Sunday Ends Lockout

After four bitter months and with more then half the season already canceled the NHL will finally return to the ice after the players union and the leagues owners came to an agreement on a 10-year deal early Sunday morning.

The deal, which seems to heavily favor the owners, especially those who complained about unfair competition in the league based on player compensations, is going to see some big changes.

The Pension Plan is going to see players hockey related income drop from 57% earned income to a 50-50 split with the owners, thus giving owners more leverage. Earlier in negotiations the owners wanted to bring the players down to 46% of income revenue, but came back to 50% in recent talks.

The players share of hockey-related income reached $3.3 billion during the 2011-2012 season. Now one can understand why the players were in a fight to keep their compensation, and why a season was almost lost.

Also the salary cap max for teams is going to come skyrocketing down over the course of the deal. The 2013 season will see a salary cap of $70.2 million. That will go down further in 2013-2014 with a salary cap of $64 million.

"All clubs must have a minimum payroll of $44 million.

"The league had wanted next season's cap to fall to $60 million, but agreed to an upper limit of $64.3 - the same amount as last season.

"Inside individual player contracts, the salary can't vary more than 35 percent year to year, and the final year can't be more than 50 percent of the highest year," (FOX SPORTS).

(Yes, the Minnesota Wild who gave a combined $196 million to Zach Parise and Ryan Suter before the lockout are sweating).

While both commissioner Gary Bettman and Players Association director Donald Fehr (no stranger to canceling seasons; Google 1994 MLB lockout) will be looked at as the villains of this mess, the credit for getting this deal done belongs to federal mediator Scott Beckenbaugh, who brought both sides back to the table in the most crucial junction of lockout. If the two sides failed to come to an agreement this weekend the season almost certainly would have been lost for the second time in eight years.

Even though hockey is back, the NHL will once again struggle to gain notoriety among fans. With the NBA season is full tilt and the NFL playoffs well underway, people will forget about hockey. In fact with the NHL opening their season now, nobody will even notice.  Bettman has seen three lockouts under his watch, and lost one season in 2004-2005. He almost lost this one too. The NHL will have to have a incredible 45-50 game regular season in order to draw the attention of both die-hard and casual fans alike.

Either way, it will be dubious that the NHL can replicate the kind of fanfare it earned last spring when both New York and Los Angeles had a total of three teams play deep into the Stanley Cup playoffs.  

Friday, January 4, 2013

Former Eagles Coach Andy Reid Joins K.C. Chiefs

Andy Reid is offiically the head coach of the Kansas City Chiefs.

Five days after being dismissed by the Philadelphia Eagles, Reid lands on his feet in KC, becoming the fourth coach the team has had in the last five years. It has been a long time coming since Kansas City was even a decent football team, and they hope that Reid can turn the franchise around in the fairly weak AFC West.

Reid brings instant credibility to franchise and fan base longing for better days. With Reid aboard the Chiefs agreed to part ways with General Manager Scott Pioli. Pioli drew the ire of media and fans out in Kansas City for his Belichick-like approach to the football business. Pioli failed to establish a winner in Kansas City, hiring two failed coaches in Todd Haley and Romeo Crennel during his tenure.

With Pioli available, don't be shocked if the Jets throw their hats into the ring to get Pioli to be their GM. Woody Johnson has always had an obsession with the Patriot Way up in New England. However, Johnson might not be able to sell Pioli to a fan base and media in New York that grew tired of Patriot Way during the Eric Mangini years, plus Pioli has baggage.

Pro Football Talk.com has reported that the Jets are telling their GM candidates that they have to keep Rex Ryan as coach next year, which may not be attractive to someone like Pioli. 

As for Reid, he will have a big say in player personnel matters with the Chiefs, which is huge since Kansas City doesn't have a quarterback. Matt Cassel was a bust for the Chiefs; he couldn't play consistently and was often injured. Reid will have the option of either acquiring a veteran, i.e. Alex Smith via free agency, or drafting a quarterback with the first pick in the draft. Geno Smith is highly touted as the best quarterback available in a weak quarterback draft.

Expect Reid to turn the Chiefs around and bring a winner back to Kansas City. Earlier in the week the rumor was that Reid was on his way to Arizona, but Kansas City is a much better fit for Reid's coaching talents. This is a guy who will bring a lot of good coaches from Philadelphia with him to KC, and players will want to play for him in the collegial atmosphere of the mid-west.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Open Mike 1-2-13, NFL Coaching Carousel

In this episode of Open Mike, host Michael Cohen discusses the movers and shakers in the NFL after Black Monday, as seven coaches and five general mangers were fired this week. Michael welcomes Dan Feuersetein in to talk about the firing of Mike Tannenbaum.

Listen Here!