Category: NFL/Raiders

National Football League, 2013.

fine.i admit it.
i am *somewhat* piqued by the nfl this year.
NOT the jerk players, mind you, and DEFINITELY not the goodell-wishes-he-could-hold-tagilabue’s-jock ‘league’ but the fact that some good football is starting.

i like:
kaepernick. i’ve come around. disliking him soley because of the hat was really petty, even by my standards.
cam. just emailed you separately.
peyton. brady. brees. rodgers.
adrian peterson.
wide receivers with the stickiest gloves in history.
the SEAHAWKS, especially their coach.
the niners, and a west coast renaissance.
players that live and die by madden.
giovani bernard.
fantasy football.
pick ’em leagues.
whatever happens with the jets.
alex smith. seriously.
marshawn lynch.
detroit lions offense finally firing on all cylinders because of
reggie bush.
eli manning. two rings!
raiders drafting jedeveon clowney.
the raiders dropping $49 million off the books heading into 2014.
hgh getting swept under the rug (again)
the super bowl in new york. in the middle of winter.
finding out if andrew luck is for real.
bo jacks- nee, cam newton.
smokin’ jay cutler.
the cowboys being average AGAIN.

Bo Jackson Stats. Amazing, but not Reflective of Bo.

Watched Bo’s 30 For 30 last night (again) and was totally incredulous with what an athlete he was and person he is. Finally checked his stats: Absolutely amazing about Bo’s stats in BOTH sports if you look at them in their totality.

Generations of fans will look back at numbers and say, “eh.”

BASEBALL .250, 141 HR, 82 steals. Four “full” years (career high 135 games!), parts of eight.

Screen shot 2012-12-19 at 9.11.15 AM
FOOTBALL only FOUR years and only started 23 games. The man scored 18 touchdowns lifetime – EIGHTEEN!!!!! Only one season over 700 yards.

Screen shot 2012-12-19 at 9.09.57 AM

Jim Mora Rips Doug Gottlieb ON-AIR (with Audio)

(thank you Jose Bernstein of Bel-Air for the tip)

With the lackluster & overrated Doug Gottlieb subbing in for the woebegone and past-his-prime-because-he-went-Hollywood Colin Cowherd on ESPNRadio this morning, Jim Mora completely disrespects the fill-in host ON-AIR with such gems as “Is this your first interview? Jesus Christ, what kind of questions are these?” Mora closes with: “You were a real joy, thanks.”

This is incredibly good – here’s the video:

UCLA Players: NFL First Weekend Update

UCLA Bruins NFL Week One. Thank you @uclaathletics.
For Arizona, cornerback Matt Ware had two solo tackles in a 17-13 win over St. Louis.

For Chicago, running back Kahlil Bell was inactive.

For Cleveland, defensive tackle Kenyon Coleman made four tackles.

For Denver, wide receiver Matt Willis had a special teams tackle assist.

For Detroit, fullback Spencer Havner made one special teams tackle.

For Green Bay, linebacker Brandon Chillar tied for the team lead with seven tackles in a 27-20 win over Philadelphia.

For Jacksonville, tight end Marcedes Lewis made touchdown receptions of 21 and 10 yards in a 17-14 victory. Maurice Jones-Drew rushed for 98 yards on 23 attempts and made three receptions for 15 yards, giving him 113 all-purpose yards.

For Minnesota, punter Chris Kluwe averaged 43.3 yards on seven kicks with two inside the 20-yard line. Three were returned for a total of two yards.

For New England, Matt Slater made two special teams tackles (one solo, one assist).

For Tampa Bay, rookie defensive tackle Brian Price made two solo tackles in a 17-14 win.

For Tennessee, rookie cornerback Alterraun Verner made two special teams tackles in a 38-13 win. Defensive end Dave Ball started and made three tackles and broke up two passes.

For Washington, safety Chris Horton had one special teams tackle in the Redskin win. Tight end Logan Paulsen was inactive.

Linebacker/special teams standout Brendon Ayenbadejo (Baltimore) and safety Jarrad Page (Kansas City) play tonihhyt.

Passing on Reggie Bush: Charley Casserly’s Greatest Call of All

Four and one-half years ago, Houston Texans General Manager Charley Casserly made what was considered at the time the biggest NFL draft gaffe of the decade. . .and possibly ever.

Instead of drafting one of the two main Heisman finalists, either of whom was “clearly” an NFL superstar in the waiting. . .the man chose unheralded North Carolina State DE Mario Williams.
The combine wunderkind wowed scouts with his ‘tools’ – “there may not be a better physical specimen at any position in the draft” – but did not do much at NC State to warrant being a top pick. In any case, from the moment Casserly signed the deal to draft Williams first, he was universally panned:

CBS Sports called the selection of Williams the “worst pick in the Draft.”

Washington Post called it “a very surprising move.”

Austin American-Statesman said that he “better be a force right away. . .or fans will start chanting Reggie, Reggie or Vince, Vince.”

Even the hometown Houston Chronicle could NOT believe that the pick actually happened.

Sports-Central said Williams will be known as “the guy taken before Reggie Bush.

The St. Louis Post Dispatch called the pick a “failure. . .ranking with the all-time blunders.”

Chicago Sun times described the pick with the phrase, “for God’s sake. . .
SF Gate said the pick should be “second-guessed. . .ad nauseum.”

The Chicago Tribune called Williams a “workout marvel” whose selection “should be questioned extensively.” questioned his on-field ability, which paled in comparison to his workout pedigree.

This is by no means a slam dunk, as while Bush has disappointed. . .he has not disappeared. He’s a modern day Eric Metcalf, a nice weapon on third-down and kick returns with the occasional change of pace carry from the backfield

Williams, on the other hand, is a perennial Pro Bowler that has proven Charlie Casserly to be well ahead of his time, and quite the visionary. Kudos, CC.

Straight Outta L.A.

Last night, I was finally able to rewatch my DVR’d version of ESPN’s special30 for 30: Straight Outta L.A. presentation.

Produced & directed by citizen of L.A./Raider Nation, O’Shea Jackson (aka Ice Cube), the product was highly anticipated by YKI. As both an academic purveyor of the socio-cultural influence of hip hop and fervently enthusiastic Angeleno, the integration of hip hop against the backdrop of sports politics – featuring YKI’s favorite football team – was truly must-see programming.
O’Shea Jackson’s inclusion in the select group of filmmakers (Barry Levinson, Dan Klores, Spike Jonze, Albert Maysles direct other 30 for 30 spots) was notable, inspiring a tenacious – if a bit sophomoric – effort behind the camera for Jackson. The focus is narrow and the thesis precisely simple, or as phrased by Calvin Broadus (aka Snoop Dogg): “Football is a violent sport; L.A. is a violent city – it was the perfect marriage.”
*The hero shot of Snoop & Cube entering the L.A. Memorial Coliseum was particularly cliche, if not entirely genuine.

Early in the film, Jackson makes it known that the antagonist of his documentary is a Montgomery Burns/Skeletor hybrid played by Al Davis.
Davis’s iconoclastic, regimented, paranoid, paranormal, tumultuous, chaotic, stoic, daunting, controversial, vexing and exhilarating ownership style was summed up with a single sentence in Cube’s opening act: “Do it your way. Don’t let the culture tell you what to do.”

With basic production and shot selection vis-a-vis filming, Cube ingeniously interspersed animated storytelling to portray the introduction of The Silver & Black to the literal Boys(z) in the Hood. No Mas & James Blagden (famous for their similarly animated, charming interpretation of Doc Ellis‘s no-hitter, thrown while under the influence of LSD) take a literal approach to the animation, crafting the conversations & actions of a young Jackson, Andre Young (Dr. Dre), Eric Wright (Eazy E), DJ Yella & MC Ren, with austere black & white minimalist portrayals.

Excellent interludes, and a good introduction to the underlying premise of the violence/perfect marriage thesis: Los Angeles had the Showtime Lakers, the Fernandomania Dodgers, the ’84 Olympics, but they needed something to more aptly reflected the increasing undergrowth, conflict & influence of the inner-city streets. Snoop again: “we needed something a lil’ more mean, a lil’ more nasty.”
And with that, Davis’s hit-parade on the NFL continued, uprooting the league’s antitrust laws and moving the team to L.A., bringing the ass-kicking swagger & brazen disregard for formality & structure inherent in being a Raider. Covering the tumult in an expedient 48 minutes, Jackson sits down with Raider Nation royalty such as John Madden, Howie Long, Todd Christensen & Marcus Allen, but the best insight comes from defensive stalwart Rod Martin: “Definitely didn’t want to leave Oakland, but if it had to be somewhere I’m glad it was L.A.

USC Cinematics professor Todd Boyd, eMCees Chris Reid (Kid of Kid n’ Play), Tracy Marrow (Ice-T) & Carlton Douglas Ridenhour (Chuck D) lend equal insight regarding the Los Angeles street culture, reflected in the rapidly ascending influence sales of west coast rappers, which – when viewed in this prism – began with the aforementioned N.W.A.
Along with King Tee & Ice-T, they were the original gangsta rappers – “they intro’d as a gang called N.W.A.” Ice-T notes – in the consummate gangsta city. The land of drive-bys & six-foh’s was being exposed nationally, and N.W.A. was doing the narration (*as Jackson does in this film, bytheway, and its distracting-yet-charming, much like the same tactic in Friday). Most symbolically, the N.W.A. gang all rocked Raider paraphernalia, courtesy of Raider marketing exec Mike Ornstein, who actually provided the first gear to the group’s members.
From the release of N.W.A.’s defining Straight Outta Compton through Ice Cube’s solo move to the East Coast – coincidentally right around the time the Raiders moved back to Oakland – Raiders merchandise sales exploded. Whether or not this was directly due to the group’s inexorable link to the team & colors is a dubious assertion, but Jackson’s point is made: “This is a ‘hood team,” says Professor Boyd. Despite the violent nature of the Nation’s fans, when “the streets came to watch the game,” the Coliseum best represented the diverse demographics of the city, most proudly with the victory in Super Bowl XVIII.
The ending-we-knew-was-coming is eloquently summarized by Howie Long, while discussing the move back to Oakland following the lost years of the post-Marcus Allen era: “the Raiders are a ship without a port.” And Ice Cube/Jackson makes sure that the Raiders realize that they will always be welcomed back in the land of the Raider hat, poignantly closing the film with: they might be the Silver & Black, but they’ll always be our Raiders.”

Scorsese or Fellini he is not, but Jackson/Cube executes his vision, palpably connecting the influence of the group & the team – more importantly, Raider fans & native Angelenos can both enjoy an internal look at the City that spawned a Nation.

Oh yeah, you MUST watch this – note Howie Long’s “Verse”