Supreme Court – Sports Debate:

Steve O Speak

By Guest Blogger John Manuel & Friends:

Supreme Court of Sports Knowledge is back and so are Vic and the Matzie. Don’t be afraid to express your comments!

1- Biggest winner and biggest loser at the NFL draft?

Vic Vinegar: It will come as a huge shock to those of you that know me, but the Redskins were the biggest losers of the draft. That Kerrigan guy should be pretty good (as long as Tanya Harding and her hired goons stay away), but this was a team with a Top 10 pick and in desperate need of a QB of the future, and they did nothing. Who’s your QB for the next five years? Rex Grossman?? Really? DMac? Nope. Accept it Redskins fans, you will not make the playoffs….again. I would give runner-up loser to the Eagles for drafting a kicker in the fourth round. Unless that kicker is a dunkey (I know how I spelled it wrong) named Gus who can put it through the uprights from his own 10 yard line with Coach Don Knotts looking on, you don’t draft a kicker…ever. As far as winners go, I think the league’s bottom feeders did pretty well as a whole. Detroit, Buffalo, and Cleveland all did really well IMO.

Bob: The loser has to be the Chicago Bears. Their GM’s blunder for not getting the Ravens trade put through and ultimately getting the guy they wanted without giving away their fourth round pick exposed their draft room as looking like nothing more than a fantasy football draft with chicken wings and bud light cans strewn everywhere. If this GM does not get fired for thinking that the Chiefs were going to draft a guard that was not high on the draft boards and then botching a trade with the wizard of the draft, Ozzie Newsome, then the Bears owner is the worst in football. This must be the same GM who pulled off the Jay Cutler trade too.
Winner: Ravens: Anytime you get a physical shutdown corner plus Maryland wide receiver (both 1st rounders in my book) you had a great draft. Let’s look at a few Terps in the NFL, Merriman, Vernon Davis, Boomer, EJ Henderson, Erin Henderson, D’Qwell Jackson, Kris Jenkins, Lamont Jordan, Jermaine Lewis, Heyward-Bey and Randy White. Maryland produces. Torrey Smith may have been the steal of the draft.

Gib: I have to start by saying that handing out draft grades a few weeks down the road is pretty foolish. The fear of being foolish, however, rarely stops me.

Biggest winner: The Detroit Lions. Yes, the Matt Millen era is long behind us. I love the Nick Fairley pick in the first round. With Fairley and Ndamukong Suh (a big thanks to the inventor of spell check) on the defensive line they have turned what was already strength of the Lion’s defense into an absolute force of nature. NFC North quarterbacks should be warned – playing the Detroit Lions will be an absolute dogfight for two weeks a year for the rest of your careers. The boys in Honolulu blue also had two very nice picks in the second round when the team turned their attention to the other side of the ball. They picked up a nice WR in Boise State’s Titus Young to help try to keep coverage from collapsing to Calvin Johnson‘s side of the field. They also recognized that, while Jahvid Best is a rare talent at tailback, Illini back Mikel Leshoure adds much needed depth to an obvious running back by committee approach.

Biggest loser: The Atlanta Falcons. I know plenty of people liked their draft, but I for one absolutely hated it. In order to move up 21 spots to grab Julio Jones in the first, Atlanta and Cleveland exchanged first round picks and Atlanta threw in its first rounder in 2012, a second rounder in 2011, a fourth in 2011 and a fourth in 2012. To me that’s a lot to give up for a WR with bad hands. It seems like Atlanta was trying to make a deal for A.J. Green and when it couldn’t – the Dirty Birds just pivoted and went after Jones, despite the fact that he appears to be significantly inferior to the Bulldog standout. Those who approve of the deal use the “Atlanta is one player away from the Super Bowl” defense, which can be debunked just by looking at the teams in the most recent Super Bowl. The Packers sustained a wave of injuries this year; however, they were able to overcome this with superior coaching and a deep roster that can only be assembled when draft picks are cherished and used judiciously. A team is never “one player away” from the Super Bowl, because each year you start all over with a different set of circumstances and injuries. We’ll never know who the Falcons would have drafted, but those picks could have improved the team significantly, even if the drafted players did not immediately replace front line players. Secondly, the Super Bowl losing Steelers have a roster full of impact WRs that they acquired in the mid rounds of the draft, headlined by the dynamic former third rounder Mike Wallace. WR is a position that can be upgraded on Friday or even Saturday of the draft and very few WRs are worth a top ten selection – certainly not one with a case of the dropsies. This will not go down as the second coming of the Herschel Walker trade, or even Ditka’s famous “all-in” for Rickey Williams, but, in my mind, Atlanta’s move was dumb nonetheless.

Matzie: Biggest Winner….Christian Ponder. Where in the hell did that pick come from? Leave it to the Minnesota Vikings to blow the No. 12 pick in the draft on an unknown QB. Hopefully they can fix the hole in their stadium roof because they certainly didn’t take any steps towards fixing their QB situation on draft day. Which leads me to part two….and would lead you to believe that the Minnesota Vikings are the biggest loser. No, they are the runner up to the NFL. Over the past decade, I can remember counting down the days to the draft and waiting with eager anticipation. Kinda like Marion Barry in a Washington D.C. hotel room. The league has eroded my enthusiasm for the NFL and all associated fan fare. All over splitting hairs with what equates to One Billion….Austin Powers pinky extended….dollars. In a nearly 20 Million Dollar industry, how much is this really worth?

Stinger: Biggest winner to me are the Detroit Lions. They added three parts that will pay dividends right away. Fairley, Leshoure and Young. Detroit has to now look good to somebody like Nnamdi Asomugha when free agency begins. Fairley could up being a bust but he could also end up being Warren Sapp.
Biggest loser to me was anyone watching at home. The suspense of the draft is gone. You know the pick before the announcement because every draftee is on camera and they show them taking calls. The commissioner doesn’t even need to go up to the podium anymore. If I was someone who was going to be picked in the late 1st or 2nd, I would have been on my cell crying or looking thrilled before Cam Newton was announced to see if you could fool ESPN or NFL Network…What’s this in the green room? Carolina is on the phone with Danny Watkins? Could this be the first pick in the draft?

2- Does the NHL offer the best playoffs?

Vic Vinegar: If I’d answered this question a week ago, I would have said yes. The NFL is my favorite of the pro sports, but can you imagine the drama that would have been created last year if the Ravens had to play the Steelers SEVEN TIMES in the playoffs last year? Even Osama Bin Mendenhall may not have made it through something like that. And while we’re talking about the Steel Town Taliban, can you believe that sh*t? Twitter is the best/worst thing to ever happen to pro athletes. Back to hockey…in the second round the “Annual Regular Season Champion Washington Capitals” pulled their usual spring face plant, the Flyers were down 3-0 to the Bruins (we have them where we want them…see 2010), and even the Red Wings were in danger of being swept. The first round of the NHL playoffs was unreal, but this round is pretty anticlimactic. I bet the NHL is salivating at the TV ratings explosion that would be a Tampa Bay vs. Vancouver Stanley Cup. Good times.

Bob: Yes, because they have three intermissions and start their games at 7pm. During intermission number one, I get to refresh my beer, put my daughter to bed, respond to some emails, make a snack and if your team is down 3 goals, you are still in it. During the second intermission, prime time TV is on, plenty of time to catch the end of Community or Helicopter Loggers. “I always worry that they will not get the job done in time.” And if your team is down only 2, you still have life. Third period is non-stop action. The hitting and speed picks up to a frantic pace and most games come down to the final three minutes. No sport is that dramatic, but it is the intermissions that make it so enjoyable.

Gib: I prefer the NFL playoffs over NHL playoffs. You get the sense that only the best make it to the NFL tournament where only 12 out of 32 franchises participate, rather than more than half of the teams making it to the postseason in the NHL (16 out of 30 teams qualify). I think the best playoff system has to raise the importance of the regular season first and foremost, and the NFL playoffs is a pretty exclusive club where mediocrity during the regular season does not earn you the right to participate – even though the NFC West does its best to shoot holes in my theory.

For my money, nothing beats the scenario where we have one game for all the marbles. A seven game series may be best for determining which team is better, but one “winner take all” game adds an element of “anything can happen” to the playoffs. This is the magical quality that makes the NCAA Basketball tournament what it is. Sure, a Game 7 in the NHL, NBA, or MLB is thrilling, but the majority of playoff match ups are decided without a Game 7.

Matzie: No. Plays a great third fiddle to the NFL and the NCAA tourney though. If it’s any consolation prize, it’s a much better league than it was 5 years ago. Even without the best player since Super Mario. That’s right….I’m talking about Sid the Kid. One of the NHL’s superstars that can win playoffs games…and cups.

Stinger: Yes, but since I posted this question the Caps got swept. The answers to this question probably were not that good since all Supreme Court justices’ teams have been eliminated. Saying that I still think the NHL is the most exciting. Almost all games are close and nothing beats sudden death overtime. Add to that the announcers are the best by far of any sport. Any sport where a fight can completely change the games momentum has my attention. I never thought I would be glued to a Nashville Predators playoff game but throw in a little Carrie Underwood and I am throwing “Community” and “The Office” on DVR.

3- Who is the best player right now in Major League Baseball?

Vic Vinegar: Not sure how anyone can say anyone but Pujols, until he struggles over a long period of time. The numbers he’s put up over the past 10 years are legendary. He plays good defense, plays every day, and seems like a good clubhouse guy.

Bob: Hands down, Jered Weaver. 6 wins in April. No Oriole pitcher has 4 wins by the break last year. He is on pace for 24 wins. His ERA is 1.39 and he is only two shy of the leader in K’s. And this guy has him on his fantasy baseball team. How you doing?

Gib: Despite his slump, Albert Pujols is still the best player in baseball right now. Over the last 10 seasons, Pujols has put up numbers that rival anyone who has ever played the game. His numbers this year are well below his career stats; however, he has shown signs of coming out his funk. If I could have any player in baseball on my squad for the rest of the year, it would be Albert. The man puts in the work and I think it’s very likely that he reverts to his old self any day now.

Matzie: Same player it was at the beginning of the season….Albert. One of the only power players not tarnished in the steroid era. He has a HOF skill set in any generation. Although he may very well be 49 years old. Which means he cheated in a different capacity. Forget Obama….I want to see Albert’s certificate of birth! Somebody call Donald Trump!

Stinger: Derrek Lee for sure. Joking. Although I really want to say Ryan Braun, I still have to go with Albert Pujols. Once he gets fully healthy he will go on a tear and the debate will be over. And the only question will be where he plays in 2012.

4- Should Jim Tressel still be the football coach at Ohio State?

Vic Vinegar: There isn’t a big time college football program (at least a good one) that doesn’t play in the fringes of what the NCAA considers legal. That being said, the NCAA usually seems to be harsher in the prosecution of the cover-up than they are in the prosecution of the infraction. He was suspended for the infraction. Now, it seems like something new and unseemly comes out every week about his program. How many other things has he covered up that haven’t even been exposed yet? I think he’s gone. But, in typical NCAA glacial speed, he will be fired sometime around 2014.

Bob: Yes, Ohio State is basically run like a professional team right now. They need a coach who can commit violations and not get punished. The University is strong than the NCAA and Jim Tressel’s sweater vests are the only reason they are not sitting out bowl games every year for suspensions.

Gib: There is so much I don’t like about the recent events in Columbus. I don’t like that the NCAA allowed the suspension of Terrell Pryor and four other Buckeyes to start after the team’s Sugar Bowl appearance. Even worse than that weak move, was the grandstanding by Tressel, who claimed that he looked each player in the eye and had them commit to coming back the following season so that they would not go early to the NFL and escape punishment. Tressel’s actions seemed a little self serving at the time, but in hindsight, the move seems downright hypocritical. Given how light-handed the NCAA dealt with the players in this issue, it makes sense why Ohio State believed that it could impose its own sanctions, by recommending a 5 game suspension for their coach and have it stick (of course, the university initially recommended that Tressel be suspended for OSU’s games against only Akron and Toledo – how very responsible of them).
The NCAA needs to go beyond this 5 game suspension and make a statement that rule breaking and lying about rule breaking will not be tolerated. The sanction against the coach should extend beyond the sanctions levied against the players involved. With that said, I think it would be asking a lot to have OSU fire Tressel. Coaches like the sweater-vested one do not grow on trees and university presidents understand this. For this reason, it’s up to the NCAA to dish out the punishment, which should be more severe than the five games the university self imposed. Maybe an eight-game suspension is closer to the right punishment?

Matzie: If he had not won a National Championship, Jim Tressel would’ve been gone. Which makes it even worse because any other coach would’ve been gone. Besides, he already had a second chance after the Maurice Clarett scandal. Yes, it did happen DURING the season and sources say Tressel knew about that too. That’s what you get when you sell your soul to the devil for a championship. See Carroll, Pete.

Stinger: Tressel should probably have been already fired for what he did. NCAA violations are always a tough subject for me after what they did to Maryland basketball in the late 80s. Hundreds of times since schools and coaches have done worse than Bob Wade and his staff and no school has been f’d by the NCAA like Maryland was. If Tressel is fired most of the blame I would throw at the players for the stupidity they showed trading in the memorabilia. Tressel was dishonest but is more of victim of trying to protect his players. He will get another job and Ohio State will probably just get probation and still be playing games on Jan 1.

5- Name your starting five from any basketball TV shows or movies.

Vic Vinegar: Hands down the best question of the week. I’ve tried to stock my starting five with a combination of scoring, gritty defense, positive team chemistry, and an ability to teach us all an occasional lesson about the important things in life.

G – Scott “Teen Wolf” Howard – Granted he won a Championship without having to go “Full Wolf”, but I would take him in his wolf-like state 9 out of 10 times with a game on the line. Brings ridiculous ball handling skills and mad hops to the floor. Wears a headband even though he is completely covered in hair, and learned a valuable lesson about being true to one’s self when things don’t go the way you want. Only concern with Howard is potential off the court issues. His antics with his best friend Styles (surfing on top of a van, participating in closet make-out parties) could alienate teammates.

G- AC Slater – If you notice, Bayside’s entire athletic program seemed to be dominated by Slater. He could throw touchdowns, hit home runs, pin grapplers, outrun anyone, and even keep Preppy’s from cracking too much wise. But it was his hoops exploits that went largely unnoticed. Unnoticed that is until a very special episode of “Saved by the Bell” where the whole gang decided to play in a charity wheel chair hoops game to make a disadvantaged youth feel special. You’d think this would be a heartwarming event. Wrong. Slater showed his killer on court instincts by dominating the game like a true champion does, highlighted by several STANDING block shots against a team of wheelchair confined disabled youths (evidence below).

AC Slater playing in Charity Basketball game.


F – Jimmy Chitwood – Can you get more clutch than Chitwood? Nope. That team was awful while he was sitting out. Just awful. He comes back, pretty much unstoppable. He is the straw that stirs the drink, the glue that holds the team together, the donkey eating a waffle (some of you might get that). Chitwood is also a character guy who liked nothing more than shooting hoops on his dirt court with a flat basketball.

F – Will Smith – In the “Courting Disaster” episode of Fresh Prince, Will went OFF against a rival High School in an oddly small gym with oddly low rims. Suspension of disbelief aside, he put up like 40 points that night. Dunks, three pointers, fadeaways off of Carlton’s head…you name it, he did it. Deadspin has done an amazing analysis of that historic evening here….!5784151/calculating-the-fresh-prince-of-bel-airs-usage-rate-and-what-it-can-tell-us-about-ball-hogs

C – Warren Coolidge – Every team needs an imposing force in the middle, and Coolidge brings the full package. While “White Shadow” was only on for three seasons, the 6’8″ man child Coolidge has quite the resume. Consider that all of this happened in one season…after one of his better games, he was almost tricked into signing with a crooked agent, he contracted a venereal disease from an apparently dirty fellow student, he tried his hand at acting, and if that weren’t enough, he also tried out for the Harlem Globetrotters (he later decided to stay in school after seeking the counsel of teammate Mario “Salami” Petrino). Coolidge isn’t afraid to do the “dirty work” inside if you know what I mean (and no, I’m not talking about the episode where he gets VD).

Bob: Jackie Moon, Teen Wolf, Jimmy Dolan/Kevin Bacon “air up there”, Hoosiers Jimmy Chitwood, Woody Harrelson (Semi-pro/White man can’t jump) and team manager Pedro from Basketball Diaries. I had to go with an all-white team because Hollywood cheats when it comes down to casting African American actors to play basketball. Only a real basketball player can be cast to play an African American basketball player because when it comes down to it, if we were to see Denzel or Forrest Whitaker play basketball, it would be so laughable it would totally ruin the movie. The only actor ever to be cast to play a basketball player (don’t quote me on that fact) was Omar Epps in Love and Basketball. The problem with that movie is that if I turned on the TV and started watching that movie, I could easily confuse it for Save the Last Dance. Going back to my team, Team manager Pedro from Basketball diaries is the difference maker over all other these teams in this blog. First, he steals all the jewelry from the opposing team, second he was the most loyal friend to the egotistical Doogie Howser. His skills as a people person and problem solver will go a long way with the mental quirks of Jackie Moon, Jimmy Dolan, and Woody Harrelson. By the way, the brilliance of this team selection is in the synergy I have created ala six degrees of Kevin Bacon. Teen Wolf is the only pick I wish I could take back, I’d take Meat from Porkies just to party with him afterwards.

Gib: Let’s start with our guards, which we conveniently recruit from the same movie, “White Men Can’t Jump.” Running the point is Sidney Deane (Wesley Snipes) who has the cockiness and flair you need to run the show. Management will make sure that his game check is sent directly to the IRS. At shooting guard we go with Billy Hoyle (Woody Harrelson), the degenerate gambler can flat out shoot and get in the opponent’s head. Our swingman, of course, is Jimmy Chitwood from “Hoosiers” (not sure who played him in the movie, but he sort of looks like the lead singer of Arcade Fire). While “the picket fence” probably didn’t outlive the 1950’s, we’ll find other ways to get him and his Kevin McHale haircut open. At power forward, the incomparable Jackie Moon from “Semi-Pro” (Will Ferrell) and of “Love Me Sexy” fame. The puke play will be lifted from the Tropics playbook and immediately incorporated into our offense which can only feature one half man/half wolf at center. Scott Howard of “Teen Wolf” (Michael J. Fox) is probably 5′ 8″ on a good day making him an odd choice for center. He IS a freaking werewolf though, so we can probably ignore the numbers and just play the kid in the paint.

1) Point Guard….Michael J Fox from TeenWolf. If he doesn’t get you with his killer crossover, he will shake you with his spasms. I know it’s wrong.

2) Shooting Guard….Woody Harrelson from White Men Can’t Jump. Even if he still can’t dunk.

3) Shooting Forward…Duane Martin from Above the Rim. If he’s OK by Tupac, he’s OK by me.

4) Power Forward…William Gates. I’m making this choice based on movie merit alone. One of the top 3 basketball movies ever made. This Bill Gates never made a Billion bucks or a software conglomerate. However, he had a lot of heart and basketball skill.

5) Center….Shaq from Blue Chips. No explanation necessary. One of the best of all time in film and reality.

Coach….Dennis Hopper from Hoosiers and a case of Wild Turkey.

Point Guard- Scott Howard aka the Teen Wolf. No doubt. But even though Howard was unstoppable in the final game versus the Dragons as himself. I want him as my point guard as the Wolf. The only tough decision here was who would I get to do the remake of “Win In The End”? Maybe Ruben Studdard. Its tough not to add the whole team, especially Chubby. Backup point guard would have to be “The Professor” from the And 1 Mixtape tour.

Shooting Guard- Everyone is expecting Jimmy Chitwood here. But we have a no babies rule on Stinger’s team. Chitwood was afraid to play most of the season and that cost his spot. Giving this spot to a downtown bomber who isn’t afraid to play a little defense with the psyche out. Joe “Coop” Cooper from Basketball. Rarely you find a defensive stopper combined with a long range bomber. Plus Yasmine Bleeth may hit the games.

Small Forward- The NBA playoffs have shown how important it is to have a fat guy who can step out and hit 3s. Zack Randolph has taken over the playoffs this spring. That’s why I go with Teddy Broadis from HangTime. That round mound can step it outside and will free the lane for Teen Wolf. Maybe not the popular choice but it’s all strategy.

Power Forward- All good teams have an enforcer and I think I got enough scoring so I would go with the gun waving madman from “White Men Can’t Jump” Raymond. No last name needed. You won’t see Andrew Bynum putting his shoulder into Raymond like he did to Nowitzki. Raymond was bringing guns to the arena when Gilbert Arenas was in diapers. He might even play games in the ski mask.

Center- Neon Boudreux from “Blue Chips.” My team doesn’t need to take the SATs so racist tests won’t be a factor. Derrick Rose would fit I guess also. The most dominating big man in basketball movie history completes my team. Although he may only have one game of college experience, that game was versus Bob Knight’s Indiana Hoosiers. Neon didn’t even want that Lexus so I know he would not be a questionable character to have. I could see him and the Teen Wolf becoming best friends on and off the court.

All this under the expert tactician coaching of “Teen Wolf’s” Coach Bobby Finstock.

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