ESPN Catching Hell Review & My Thoughts On The “Bartman Play”

September 29, 2011 By: Category: Entertainment, Major League Baseball, Sports

Steve BartmanOn Tuesday, September 27th, ESPN Films debuted director Alex Gibney’s documentary, “Catching Hell” as part of their excellent “30 for 30″ film series. Before I continue with this blog, I want to say that I have lots of beefs with ESPN in general, but this “30 for 30″ series of documentaries is one thing they do very well, producing great films about such subjects as The University of Miami and their controversial reputation, Southern Methodist University getting the Death Penalty from the NCAA and the aftermath, and about Ricky Williams, and many others. “30 for 30″ is a great film series I do admit.

That being said, “Catching Hell” is about one of the most infamous scapegoats of all of sports, a young Cubs fan named Steve Bartman who was in the wrong place at the wrong time. It was Game Six in the 2003 NLCS at Wrigley Field between the visiting Florida Marlins and the Chicago Cubs. Now, before I go further, the Chicago Cubs had not won the World Series since 1908, and were considered “cursed,” when in 1945, Chicago tavern owner Billy Sianiswas was asked to leave a World Series game at Wrigley Field between the Cubs and the Tigers because he had his Billy goat with him, and Sianiswas said because of that, he cursed the Cubs and the Cubs would never win the World Series ever, which they haven’t.

The 2003 season for the Cubs, was a magical season, and fans were very excited to see their “lovable losers” on the precipice of a World Series appearance. Pitchers Mark Prior and Kerry Wood were having great seasons. Sammy Sosa hit for 40 homers that regular season. The Cubs had a great post season, and here they were, on the brink of an appearance in the World Series, and the following occurs: As I said previously, it was Game Six in the 2003 NLCS at Wrigley Field, the Florida Marlins are down 3-0 to the Cubs, and down 3 games to 2 in the Series, and were five outs away from going back to Florida for their off season. Marlins’ second baseman Luis Castillo comes to the plate, and eventually hits one of the most notorious foul balls in MLB history.

As most people know, several fans reached out for the ball as Moises Alou coming in from right field tried to make the catch, but could not because the ball was deflected by a fan. Alou then had a Fred Sanford like hissy fit, and was very irate. Pitcher Mark Prior was upset, and the Cubs wanted “Fan interference” called. The umpires refused because they ruled that the ball crossed the plane and was not in the field of play. Thanks to the TV producers replaying the incident over and over, it was eventually revealed that the fan who deflected the ball was a Cubs fan named Steve Bartman.

I think everyone knows by now what happened next. I have seen collapses in sports (Dolphins/Jets on Monday Night Football in 2000 comes to mind), but this one was crazy. Mark Pryor walks Castillo on a wild pitch. Ivan Rodriquez hits an RBI single, and the score is now 3-1. What happens next is very baffling. Cubs SS Alex Gonzalez misfields a ball , which would have been a sure fire double play which would have gotten the Cubs out of the inning. Derek Lee doubled, and Pryor was done for the night. I won’t go through everything, but a total of 8 runs scored, and even Sammy Sosa screwed up on a defensive play as well during this fiasco. Cubs eventually lost Game 7 even though they lead 5-3 at one point. Marlins went on to beat the Yankees 4 games to 2.

As for Steve Bartman, a lifelong Cubs fan, his life was destroyed. Fans outside the stadium eventually found out who he was thanks to a guy with a TV on his head , and the TV producers repeatedly showing the incident over and over. They started chanted ***hole, and then the chant permeated through the stadium. He had to be removed from his seat, and put in a room to be shown what he did, as he was sitting there all game with earphones listening to the broadcast. The media put out his home and work address, and he is now pretty much a recluse, all because he did what MOST FANS would do.

The movie itself was pretty well done. The director Alex Gibney, who is from Boston, tries to use two incidents of scapegoating, and try to show some correlation. At least, that is how I saw it. The large majority of the piece did discuss the Bart incident, but he tried to also tie in the infamous Bill Buckner incident also. As most sports fans know, in the 1986 World Series, Bill Buckner was the scapegoat for Boston fans when he mishandled a ground ball hit by Mookie Wilson of the Mets. I think he did get his point across somewhat. The Unitarian Minister’s explanation was very good when she talked about how back in Biblical times, the Priest would have a goat, and the people would put their sins on the goat, and then the goat would be taken away, or in some cases, the goat would be thrown off the cliff.

As fans, and by the way, fan is short for fanatic, we sometimes get so into our love for our team, athlete, wrestler, etc, that sometimes we get blinded, and rational thinking goes out the window. I think Gibney’s bringing up Buckner is that Boston fans wanted that Curse of the Bambino off their backs so badly , and that they were so mad that the Sox lost (especially to a New York team at that), that they could not think straight, and that someone had to take the blame, and that someone was Buckner. They didn’t care that before the play , the pitcher had given up some singles, and I think a run came in. They didn’t care that Buckner had bad knees and the manager should have known better than to keep him in there. They didn’t care there was a game 7 and the Red Sox should have tried to win that. All they could think of is that their Sox lost and it was Buckner’s fault.

Gibney tries to tie Buckner’s story and Bartman’s story together. Both have a lot in common, I admit. Both incidents involved “cursed” franchises. Both incidents happened late in game sixes of series. Both guys were blamed so badly that they had to put themselves in exile. Bill Buckner and his family moved out of Massachusetts.Steve Bartman continues to live in seclusion in the Chicago area. Buckner played for both franchises. The ACLS, and the NCLS of 2003 featured both “cursed” franchises, Boston Red Sox and Cubs. In both of those series, the Red Sox would lose to the dreaded New York Yankees on a home run in an infamous game where star pitcher Pedro Martinez may have been left in too long, and reliever Tim Wakefield gave up the winning home run to Aaron Boone of the Yankees, and once again be haunted by the Yankees, and the Cubs would also be haunted by the Marlins in the aforementioned Bartman incident game.

I thought though that it seemed like it was a bit too much like a documentary. The director was in it too much. I thought someone else should have narrated it. I understood why he brought up Buckner , and the Red Sox, and I know the guy was from Boston, but if Mr. Gibney was going to make a documentary about Bartman, he should keep it about Bartman. He could mention Buckner in passing as another example, but I really didn’t need about 30 minutes of the film dedicated to Buckner. The lack of an interview with Steve Bartman, although considering the circumstances it is understandable, hurt the product. I certainly understand though.

What I DID like was that the director talked to people who were sitting in the surrounding seats, and get the Bartman story from their perspective. I liked hearing their side of the story how they were also going for the ball. The director also showed different footage from other video cameras of the incident from different angles. You also saw his seat. They show from a different angle how the ***hole chant got into the stadium, and the whole scene became a lynch mob. The TV producers did confess that they may have shown it too much.

They felt that it was such an important play. The director also pointed out that they didn’t repeatedly show Alex Gonzalez’ screw up over and over. The movie also went into how Cubs fans are so used to the team losing that they were waiting for something to go wrong, as that night they were very tense. When Bernie Mac sang “Take me out to the ball game, ” he sang “Root root root for the Champions” or something like that…..that is when , according to the documentary, that fans started thinking that they were doomed. I enjoyed how they got different perspectives on what Bartman did. I loved how they showed his little league team who stood up for him. Overall though, I think it was a good study on human behavior, and well worth watching the repeats on ESPN or any of the ESPN affiliates

I am going to end this by giving my opinion on the Steve Bartman incident. I remember when it happened, and watching the documentary just reinforced my beliefs, so here it goes:

I thought the whole Steve Bartman incident, and especially the overreaction to it was ridiculous, and “Catching Hell” did nothing to change my mind. In fact, all the film did was reinforce my beliefs. I mean this guy’s life was destroyed. The Chicago papers put his name and his home and work addresses out in public. The guy got death threats. When he was being escorted down the hallways, some idiot bully took his sweatjacket off his head, and said that he wanted everyone to know who the person was who cost the Cubs a trip to the World Series. My beliefs then as they are now is that I was embarrassed as an MLB fan and as an American.

How can people treat a human being like this? I mean, over a baseball game? Good Lord. People better get their priorities straight. There was no excuse to ruin the guy’s life. Bob Costas really irked me on the film saying Bartman made “a mistake.” What mistake? Going for a ball like some of the OTHER FANS were doing? The TV producers should be ashamed. That “play” wasn’t so important as they thought. The Alex Gonzalez play was much more important. It was a shame that Bartman had to apologize when it should be that then idiot Governor Blogavich who said “If Steve Bartman commits a crime , he won’t get a pardon from this governor.” and those idiot Chicago Cubs fans who should apologize to Bartman. Funny that Blogavich is learning about what a bitch Karma can be. I just thought Bartman didn’t deserve that horrible treatment he got, and still don’t.

As ESPN Radio’s Colin Cowherd says, “Let’s take the emotion out of it, and calm down.” Let’s examine what actually happened in the game after the incident, and even during the incident, and maybe get this guy off the hook, shall we?

1. The wind, other fans going after the ball, and Moises Alou.

One thing the movie brought up was that as Castillo’s foul ball was going towards the stands and headed down into the stands was that the wind was blowing the ball back towards the infield. The movie also brought up that Alou was not the greatest fielder on the planet. If you watch the Incident, you can see quite a few other fans going for the ball. People who blame the loss solely on Bartman evidently ignore the other fans going for the ball. There was a part in the movie were several circles were drawn around people going for that ball. Moises Alou wasn’t all that as a fielder that I remember. The wind could have blown the ball past Alou’s glove, even IF Bartman had pulled back. Let’s supposed that Bartman pulled back, and Alou does NOT catch the ball. I just what happened next was going to happen. No one told Alou to lose his temper. Can’t blame Bartman. I wonder why the other fans weren’t blamed in this as well. Can’t blame one and not the others. I mean, Bartman can’t be blamed for the wind. He can’t be blamed for the others going after the ball. It is easy to act like God Almighty and tell a fan what they are supposed to do. Until you are in that situation, you do not know what you would do.

2. Mark Prior’s meltdown.

After the incident, Mark Prior started a meltdown which led to him walking Castillo with a wild pitch, and a couple of batters later, giving up a double to Derek Lee which got him out of the game. Well, I would like to know how could Bartman be blamed for that? Prior got THAT distracted by Alou’s hissy fit, or whatever that he could not control his pitches? I don’t see how Bartman can be blamed for that.

3. Alex Gonzalez’ misfielding the ball.

If ANYONE should the so called “Goat” in this game, it should be Gonzalez. Let’s see, he gets a routine grounder that he messes up, that would have been a sure fire double play that would have gotten the Cubs out of the inning? Wow. Instead of THIS error being replayed ad nauseum, it is this poor Bartman guy’s going for a ball. Steve Bartman is the cause of this, how?

4. The 8 run explosion in totality.

The Florida Marlins eventually scored 8 runs after the Bartman incident. The Marlins were there to win the game (and the Series). They kept on hitting, and kept on trying, and took advantage of mistakes made by the Cubs. I just think that the Cubs can’t be that mentally weak that they let some fan in the stands distract them that much. If they are that weak, then they deserve to lose. In other words, the CUBS made the mental mistakes, and such, not Steve Bartman.

Therefore, to paraphrase Vincent Kennedy McMahon, circa 1997, “Steve Bartman didn’t screw the Cubs. The Cubs screwed the Cubs.”

Terri Bey currently blogs for about Wrestling, NFL, and other sports/pop culture related subjects. Her work has appeared in BleacherReport and for Terri can be found here at Facebook- and at Twitter-

ESPN: Catching Hell DVD

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Is NFL Head Coaching becoming a Short-Term Gig?

February 08, 2011 By: Category: NFL | NCAA Football, Sports

If Jon Gruden comes back how long will he coach in the NFL?Bring a team a Super Bowl and you are hero for a year. Don’t return and quickly your name pops up everywhere in rumors of leaving, firings, etc. We know how the NHL and NBA work, in that the second a team sinks, booting the coach seems to be easy. We never really saw that as a common practice in the NFL, where a head coach comes in and tries to put a “system” in place, and usually has a few years to see if the team can succeed within it.

We have seen some NFL head coaches like Philadelphia’s Andy Reid, and the recently fired Jeff Fisher from Tennessee that had lasted 10+ years with the same team. Then we have some like Mike Singletary, who seemed to have the Niners growing one year, bad the next, and then he was gone. Coaches in the NFL breed from so many places like college, and all types of coordinating positions on the 32 pro clubs. A hot team can have its coordinators become valuable to lots of teams really quick.

This NFL season gets even trickier in that the league currently has no bargaining agreement with the players union, so everyone is watching dollars and cents. We saw San Francisco bring in Jim Harbaugh as the new head coach, and we saw Jon Fox get a new job already, but the usual huge names like Bill Cowher and Jon Gruden not getting many looks. Yes, they are excellent coaches, but with dollars tight does anyone want to give them a big contract only to go into a lock-out? Or do teams just love the new wave of coordinator or young gun college coaches?

No, I don’t have all the facts as to how or why these moves get made, but being a sports fan and a guy who always has his nose in the news, you see more than enough rumors, and hear more of the same old stories of who is going where, who could be drawn to leave and who wants what job. What I did here is give you some names, and the recent things that have been going on as potential rumors etc.

Andy Reid, Philadelphia Eagles: Andy has had tremendous regular season success with the Eagles, and always has them playing near the top of the league. However the city and its desperate wanting of a Super Bowl can have Reid in hot water. Over the past few years you could hear Eagles fans asking for Reid to be let go. His relations with players such as Donovan McNabb, and his recent QB mess with Mike Vick and Kevin Kolb could prove that Reid may be out of ideas, and out of love with this team. With former Eagle coaches like Jon Gruden, Jeff Fisher and Brad Childress roaming around without head jobs, a move could be possible next year if Reid can’t get this team on track. Moves like naming former Offensive Line Coach Juan Castillo as new Defensive Coordinator could be the type of thing to doom Reid.

Sean Payton, New Orleans Saints: A recent leak on ESPN by reporter Ed Werder gave us the scoop that Payton is moving his family to Dallas, Texas. Already the rumblings have started: “Is Payton leaving the Saints for the Cowboys, where he was an assistant in the past?” or “Is he going to be distant from the Saints now?” Well Payton is a good coach and a smart one as well so I think the Saints are in good hands, but now-a-days some owners, like Jerry Jones, are willing to pay anything to get the fans what they want.

Jon Gruden, Monday Night Football: Jon Gruden is still under contract with ESPN this year, so it is safe to assume he won’t be going anywhere this season, but his name is always a hot topic. Why, you may ask? Well Gruden has won a Super Bowl, and has had good success. Plus Gruden is also a good sell as a younger, excitable coach. Being in the Monday Night booth keeps him on top of what is going on in the league, so it is not like he will be stale. Random blogs have him linked to Dallas, Philly and just about any big time college team. He is a certain asset, but his asking price may be way too high, eh hem, Washington.

Jeff Fisher, Free Agent: Fisher had a good run with the Titans, and despite what we first heard about how he was fired in favor of Vince Young, is not all that true. The Titans also have been heard to be looking to trade Young. Fisher is a hard-nosed coach that also seems to always have pretty good relations with his players. Many were buzzing about him being a great Defensive Coordinator candidate, but he will most likely take at least a year off. He seems to be very much on top of the game and his style has not gotten stale. As much as the Titans thought it was time for a change, it may have been needed for Fisher as well.

Some coaches are still hanging on to jobs and we cannot help but wonder for how long. Marvin Lewis is still hanging on in Cincy, but it may have been the surprise run of 2009 that may have saved him for another season. Gary Kubiak continues to get the Texans to play decent football, but they still can’t get a good enough defense on the field to make the playoffs. Yet his good offensive skills keep him on board. And of course, we always have an eye on Eric Mangini, who is always on the chop block.

Than we have the guys who are back in coordinating, like Charlie Weis and Josh McDainels. McDaniels had a very short run as head coach of the Denver Broncos, but shortly after losing that job he took the spot as the Offensive Coordinator of the St. Louis Rams. Weis was the offensive coordinator for the Kansas City Chiefs in 2010 after a 5 year run as head coach for Notre Dame. Instead of looking for a pro spot, he opted for the offensive coordinator spot at the University of Florida. How long before he opines for a head job will most likely be determined by his success.

The off-season in the NFL is always loaded with fun rumors, exciting changes and new surroundings, so stick around because before you know it, you will have football on your lips again.

If you’d like to hear anything else from me on topics or ideas I can be reached at [email protected].

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Inside The Wheelhouse: Are we writing off Peyton Manning?

February 15, 2010 By: Category: NFL | NCAA Football, Sports

Peyton Manning CommercialThe media loves stories. They just love to sink their teeth into something, make it sound so much sweeter and run with it. As with anything that comes out of the Super Bowl you need to have that story that can lead you into the 2010 season.

The New Orleans Saints shock the world, rebuild and become world champs…check! Will Brett Favre return in 2010…check! Will we have football in 2011…check! Now the story that is making me scratch my head now is the story the media has developing for the Super Bowl XLIV runner-ups, the Indianapolis Colts.

Now the media needed to develop something for the Indianapolis Colts because the day after the Super Bowl…scratch that, HOURS after the Super Bowl…scratch that too, MINUTES after the Super Bowl they need to give a story to lead into next season for the Colts. Now I am not an Indianapolis Colts fan, I don’t like them, I don’t hate them but the story the media developed for them going into the offseason made me ask my television if it still had integrity. My television of course did not respond.

Moments after the Super Bowl, I tuned into the great four letter network located in Connecticut. The network had a good NFL analyst on who at one time (I can’t believe I’m going to write this) lead his team to a Super Bowl Championship. His name is Trent Dilfer.

The story he brought up that the media would run with the next day on the Indianapolis Colts is something weeks prior we would never even consider. He asked: “Could Peyton Manning win the big one again?” I feel like I have heard that questions asked before…hmmm…let me go back a couple years back prior to the Super Bowl that pitted the Indianapolis Colts and the Chicago Bears and people were asking the same exact thing. How would this game affect the legacy of Peyton Manning?

Peyton Manning and the Colts ended up winning the Super Bowl. Peyton’s quest was complete as he could officially say he could win “the big one.” So now we are asking ourselves whether or not the only 4-time NFL MVP can make it back to the Super Bowl and win another Championship. We are asking ourselves now whether or not Peyton’s legacy will be remembered for the 4 NFL Championships or not being able to rack in massive amount of Vince Lombardi trophies.

I get it. The NFL analysts love to compare Tom Brady and Peyton Manning. They are the two top Quarterbacks in the NFL…wait a second, now all of a sudden people are putting Drew Brees into that exact same category. Remember when Drew Brees was fighting for his job in San Diego and people were questioning what was next for Brees? Now all of a sudden (and rightfully so) Drew Brees popularity is higher then that of President Obama following his inauguration. Republicans should run Brees in 2012.

My personal opinion is Peyton Manning is one of the best Quarterbacks of all-time, if not the best. Can you ever remember a Quarterback who could truly affect the performance of his team every Sunday? Peyton has carried that franchise on his back since he was drafted. He made receivers like Reggie Wayne, Pierre Garcon and Dallas Clark into great players; one of the reasons why Manning is such a good player, he makes the players around him better, similar to that of Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls.

So here we are again trying to develop some sort of pressure upon the shoulders of the best Quarterback/player in the NFL today. Screw asking ourselves whether or not Peyton can win a Championship…he’s already done that! We should now ask ourselves whether or not we will see #18 on the field on Super Bowl Sunday ever again. Let’s create some pressure so we keep an eye on Peyton throughout the rest of his amazing, first ballot hall-of-famer career.

Will we see #18 back on the field on Super Bowl Sunday? Who knows, I’m a Green Bay Packers fan that was convinced in 1998 after losing to the Denver Broncos in the Super Bowl that Favre would be back in a Super Bowl someday. As we know, that has never happened since. One never knows what will happen to a career but I wouldn’t bet against Peyton Manning.

To try and define someone’s career on whether or not they can reach the pinnacle of their sports is something we all understand. To be the man, you must beat the man. Peyton has climbed that mountain before and it will have it struggles, but to ask ourselves whether or not someone can do it again is a little much. The sports media needs to look at the negative of a situation and create an obstacle for a team or an athlete.

Manning and the Colts will be motivated going into 2010, it’s a young team, a different version of the Super Bowl Championship team and I’m not going to put money down on saying Manning will never get there again. When it’s all said and done Manning will probably hold just about every Quarterback record, making him statistically the greatest of all-time. The argument of who is the greatest is another story but when it comes to reaching that championship pinnacle again how could you bet against a 4-time NFL MVP, the only one in the history of the NFL?

Jeff Peck is the producer for the “Wheelhouse Radio” program that airs every Sunday – Thursday @ 8pm ET/5pm PT at and at @ 2am ET/11pm PT

You can visit The Wheelhouse’s official website where you can download “high quality” shows and see all the latest happenings with the show at

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Inside The Wheelhouse: ONLY…bikini soccer

January 07, 2010 By: Category: Entertainment, Sports

Bikini SoccerThat is the only – the ONLY – reason for any TV channel anywhere to promote a 3D technology! That’s it. Point blank.

Why on Oprah’s green earth would we find it necessary for the likes of ESPN to begin programming in 3D? Do we really need to see Chris Berman’s disturbing jowles and equally disturbing pinky ring jumping through my flat screen while he bellows yet another creative (like a second grader) tie in to an athletes name? Really? That’s what’s been missing? We are all supposed to make that jump with you from HD to 3D?

No. Hell no.

Colin Cowherd taking a gay-punch from an ancient play-by-play announcer. Ooooohhhh…amazing. The complete transformation Of Suzy Kolber to woman-hood….to be fair: 3D may be the ONLY way to truly know those truths…but I digress…

Ladies Bikini Soccer. That is it! Perhaps followed by an hour of bikini/lingerie dodgeball…but until that progrming becomes available, save your damn money and buy an opinion or two for Mike & Mike!!

The last thing I need is basketball with Stuart Scott’s good eye shooting off my screen towards the kitchen and the other actually stating at my livingroom wall.

Only Erin Andrews anchoring ESPN “The Bikini Channel” can make that technology work…or that crazy hot track and field chick…

Love you all. Hard.

Bower is the co-host for the “Wheelhouse Radio” program that airs every Sunday – Thursday @ 8pm ET/5pm PT at

You can visit The Wheelhouse’s official website where you can download “high quality” shows & see all the latest happenings with the show at

If you would like to subscribe to “The Wheelhouse” on iTunes simply subscribe for free at iTunes by typing in “Wheelhouse Radio!”

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Have A Sporty Halloween

October 26, 2009 By: Category: Halloween, Sports

Brady QuinnAh, Halloween. Not many other holidays can simultaneously conjure up the fun of getting free candy, as well as the idea that a crazed man in a William Shatner mask may hack you to pieces if you’re caught in the act of pre-marital coitus. Funny how these two traditions seem to go together.

Speaking of traditions, this brings me to my personal favorite tradition: the clever costume. Nothing gets a guy noticed like thinking outside the box and catching the eyes of all the other party-goers. I remember being 12 years old and dressing as “The Unabomber”, and nobody in my neighborhood seemed to mind. Man, things were so simple in 1996. I can recall a friend, and I use that word with concern, coming to a party with a bald skull cap and a coat hanger and….well, for the sake of keeping this column PG, as well as respecting Eric Gargiulo’s desire to have a sanitized web site, let’s just say that said costume drew either guffaws of unbelieving laughter or disgusted expressions of shock.

But being that I make sports my main topic, I think now would be a good time to combine the two themes and present some costume suggestions that pertain to the world of sports. After all, what are the odds that somebody else at the party you’re attending will have these same ideas? May as well stand out and be topical.

So here we go.

Needs: Giants jersey, jeans/slacks with giant hole in the right thigh, fake wound for exposed flesh on said portion of thigh.
Additional mannerisms: Try to push off of people if they get too close for comfort.

Needs: Dodgers jersey (while it’s still accurate), dreadlocks, do-rag, pants too baggy for the occasion
Additional mannerisms: If you’ve ever faked an illness to leave school guy, conjure up how disoriented you had to be to be convincing. Also, proclaim your loyalty to the other party-goers and then duck out without telling anyone. See if you still have friends the next day.

Browns jersey, headset, clipboard
Additional mannerisms: Look bored, sit down a lot. Lament openly where your life is headed.

Bengals jersey, whatever attention getting device you can find to apply to yourself.
Additional mannerisms: Just bother everyone in sight. Don’t relent. DON’T!

Swim trunks, fake gold medals, box of Froot Loops, something vaguely resembling a bong, but not an actual bong (no sense in going to jail for the sake of a funny costume)
Additional mannerisms: Remember when you were a kid when you and your friends use to make fun of retards by mimicking their faces? Try and remember how you did that.

Florida Gators jersey, stigmata wounds, ESPN sponsorship patches (optional)
Additional mannerisms: Be really nice and cool, but bring 12-15 people with you to endlessly speak about how great you are. The trick is the get the other partiers to hate you, even though you’ve done nothing wrong.

Fat suit, framed photo of Brett Favre, permanent hard-on
Additional mannerisms: This is all you’re going to need.

Big black beard, fighter trunks, swollen eye
Additional mannerisms: Whatever it takes to disappoint anyone that believes in you.

Cowboys jersey, crap-eating grin, trophy slut (may be additional expense, depending on quality)
Additional mannerisms: Be amazingly charming for the first 3/4 of the night, then screw something up near the end and cry about it. For months.

Three piece gray suit, librarian glasses, hideous combover.
Additional mannerisms: Act like you’re better than the proceedings. Make sure there’s at least 20-30 seconds between your sentences. Tough as it may be, you also have to show no emotion if something incredible happens. It’s harder than it sounds, so you may want to keep some Zoloft handy.

Lakers jersey, friend who is hairy, dumb, and at least 6’3″
Additonal mannerisms: Assuming your friend has a sense of humor, ask him if he a) wants to go to a party, b) doesn’t mind wearing a dress and c) will answer to “Khloe”.

Just don’t show up to the party.
Additional mannerisms: Because you don’t exist, bro.

Redskins polo shirt, slacks, headset, no clipboard (privileges suspended)
Additional mannerisms: It’s risky, but allow one friend to run you over with a car or four wheeler before attending the party. This gives the impression that someone threw you under the bus.

Yankees jersey, insect bites on face
Additional mannerisms: Successfully eat a potato chip? Tie your shoe without fail? Take a piss without making a mess? Celebrate, dude! It’s what you do!

Stomach padding, Eagles polo shirt, glasses, headset
Additional mannerisms: A look of utter confusion. If you’re an Eagles fan, remember how dumbfounded you were when they lost to Oakland recently? Remember that face! That’s the Andy Reid face! Also, cough a lot.

We all know what they look like
Additional mannerisms: And you know what they act like. Just try to name drop “Dan Marino” and “that Zonk-uh guy” to show you care about the current Dolphins team that you proudly own for sporting reasons, and not reasons of glory.

Tuxedo, microphone, ability to add dignity to glorified jello wrestling
Additional mannerisms: Can you work the phrase “How about some fruit with that cottage cheese?” into everyday conversation? Why aren’t you running CCB then? (Just kidding Eric, please don’t axe me from your site.)

When he isn’t watching WWE, TNA, or his beloved Philadelphia Eagles and Phillies, Justin Henry can be found writing. It is his passion as well as his goal in life to become a well-regarded (as well as well-paid) columnist or author. He tweets at and facebooks himself at

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October 10, 2009 By: Category: Entertainment, Major League Baseball, NFL | NCAA Football, NHL, Sports

ESPN FunnyAfter I left work on Tuesday afternoon, I had two thoughts in mind. One was getting home to see the Minnesota Twins-Detroit Tigers one game playoff, in order to see who would snag the American League Central crown. The other was the movie ‘Zombieland’, which I had watched the previous evening. It was a rather amusing little zom-com (zombie-comedy) about post-Apocalyptic America where four survivors of the zombie plague travel the ravaged landscape, having adventures while dealing with the reality that they, too, may be bitten, and forced to join the undead army.

I smiled at the thought of being like Woody Harrelson’s character, Tallahassee. He was your typical Southern-boy hellion with sunglasses, cowboy hat, and an array of weapons at his disposal that would make the Gotti family drool with envy. With an ice-cold disposition, he slaughtered his way through the hordes of flesh-chompers, all with the goal of finding the one thing that can make him happy: Twinkies.

Well, it’s not like I took the movie seriously.

But I do take my baseball seriously, especially such an important game between two evenly matched teams, with a chance at glory at stake. So as I made it to my truck, and unlocked the driver’s side door, my tunnel vision was set on this game. But just before I could stick my first leg over my seat, something caught my attention.

There was a man down in the parking lot.

Fearing that he was struck by a car, or had a heart attack, I went rushing over to see if he could lend assistance. My heart racing, I rolled him over to make two horrifying discoveries!

He was a zombie! A Brett Favre zombie!

I slowly backed away and begged off, as this hideous man, spewing this viscous and vile liquid, lumbered toward me with a bug-eyed expression across his aged and weathered face.

“Don’t….watch….baseball….watch….ME!” he muttered.

In a panic, I pulled out my safety blade and jammed the razor clean into his forehead! As Zombie Favre fell to the ground, I struggled to catch my breath, all while trying to make sense of the situation. But then he lurched back to life! As he made a move to bite my ankle, I stomped his head into the black top, his cranial innards gushing out across the pavement.

I lurched back toward my truck, not really wanting to let anyone know that I just killed anyone, let alone Brett Favre, the athletic parasite. But I stopped dead in my tracks, just ten feet from my ride. For another zombie stood in front of my driver’s side door!

It was zombie Sidney Crosby!

I only recognized him because 93% of all hockey highlights aired on ESPN are of him. I have a better chance of seeing ESPN hire Rae Carruth as an analyst than I do seeing footage of my beloved Devils on SportsCenter. Crosby was also disheveled looking. What would Gary Bettman think of his unflattering protégé?

Crosby made a move at me, and before I could react, he was decapitated by a football! Favre was still alive and had thrown one at me, but overshot it and nailed hockey’s golden child!

So much for’safe passes’.

I jumped into my truck and drove off, past a staggering Favre, speeding through the parking lot. It was then that I was cut off by an erratically-driven SUV! I screeched to a halt, but it was to my horror and astonishment when I saw who emerged from the vehicle.

Zombie Tank Johnson! Zombie Pacman Jones! Zombie Delonte West! Zombie Plaxico Burress!

And they had guns!

They seemed angry. Angry that I would want to watch a baseball game filled with class, integrity, hard work, and gamesmanship rather than watch ESPN and be bombarded with stories about criminals! I mean, I know controversy sells, but leave me alone!

I backed up my Chevy Blazer and then rammed full speed ahead, mowing down Pacman, making him fumble his guns. As I tried to leave the lot, I realized that there was a whole army blocking my escape! And they were all hideous creatures!

In one group, you had Zombie Terrell Owens, Zombie Chad Ocho Cinco, Zombie Tony Stewart, and just about any annoying and obnoxious spotlight-hog you can imagine!

I was not about to give them the satisfaction of making me pay attention to them, over a tremendous baseball contest.

That’s when Johnson, West, and Burress began shooting! They missed me completely, but they mowed down the cult of look-at-mes! I guess if you’re a crazed athlete with a gun, it doesn’t matter who you shoot. You’re going to be on ESPN anyway.

Before Roger Cossack could provide analysis of what all of this would mean, over the hill came a pack of wild dogs, attacking the gunmen and ripping their zombie limbs apart! I turned and saw Zombie Michael Vick, standing at the south exit, dragging his feet behind them. Then the dogs, after enjoying their meal of criminal zombies, all turned to me.

I may be an Eagles fan who loves the’Wildcat’, but I’m not stupid.

“Why don’t you kill Michael Vick?!” I screamed. “He’s only going to hurt you!”

In a moment of canine lucidity, the dogs seemed to agree, and that’s when they ran down and chewed up their’master’ in the ultimate act of irony. I’m sure Vick wouldn’t mind. It’s part of his culture, you know.

I ran over and grabbed an AK-47 from Tank Johnson’s cache, prepared to see myself out of this jam. I was going to need it, because over the hill came the worst kind of zombies: the zombies that ESPN promotes for being superstars and good people, even though you’re sick of hearing about them!

Zombie Lance Armstrong! BLAM! Knocked off his misshapen bike! I don’t care about cycling, ESPN!

Zombie LeBron James! BANG! Call me when you win something, you overpaid schmuck!

Zombie Tim Tebow! RAT TAT TAT! Don’t worry, I’m sure your judgment will go fast!

Zombie Tiger Woods! KA-BOOM! All that heart you have is splattered on the pavement!

Zombie Erin Andrews…..wait.

How can I kill one of the most beautiful employees in ESPN’s history? The sideline reporter with the amazing body who is the object of desire for millions of horny sports fanboys? Even as a zombie, she’s kind of cute. Can I really bring myself to slice and dice her entrails with bullets?

Then she spoke



If I had martial law and carte blanche, the hypocrites die first.

I surveyed the landscape, realized Favre was still alive, and shot him again. He never seems to go away, now does he?

The police arrived, and it looked like I was in trouble. It may have been self defense, but I was responsible for the deaths of many. Two officers stepped out of their squad car, and the driving cop had his gun drawn.

“Hands where I can see them!”

As I dropped my assault weapon, I prepared to surrender, when the passenger cop responded to his radio

“Yes, Captain?”

“Leave that Henry kid alone. According to the latest ESPN Sports Nation poll, 97% of all fans and viewers would not mind seeing the overhyped and overrated athletes die painful deaths if it ends the media overload.”

The first cop holstered his piece. “You got lucky this time, kid. But I’ll be watching you!”

I smiled. “Speaking of watching, I’d rather be home watching the Twins-Tigers game….”

The second cop smiled also. “Yeah, so would we. Want a ride to Hooters? We’re on our way too.”

So I hopped in the backseat of the squad car, prepared to enjoy what any sensible sports fan would enjoy: great action, competitiveness, hard work, and no bad apples creating controversy just to plug their CD or clothing line. Turned out that it was one of the most exciting games I’ve ever seen in my life. 12 innings. False finishes. Close plays. Players giving their all for a chance to go to the playoffs. It’s no surprise that something that special wasn’t squandered on ESPN.

After all, the game was zombie free.

When he isn’t watching WWE, TNA, or his beloved Philadelphia Eagles and Phillies, Justin Henry can be found writing. It is his passion as well as his goal in life to become a well-regarded (as well as well-paid) columnist or author. He tweets at and facebooks himself at

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Call The Faith Healer! Tebows Down!

September 30, 2009 By: Category: NFL | NCAA Football, Sports

 alt= ESPN, Saturday, September 26, 2009

Anchor: “We have breaking news to report out of Lexington, Kentucky this evening. Tim Tebow, quarterback for the Florida Gators, and the possible second coming of our Lord, has been taken to a nearby medical facility after sustaining a concussion. Again, Tim Tebow, Gators quarterback, and a better man than all of us, has just been taken to a hospital in Lexington, Kentucky after sustaining a concussion in tonight’s game at Commonwealth Stadium. We go live to our stereotypical airhead reporter, who is live at Commonwealth Stadium with the latest. What’s the situation?”

Reporter: “Well, it’s a very somber scene here, as you can imagine. Despite it being after sundown, it appears just a bit darker here in Lexington. A candlelight vigil is taking place here in the parking lot, as thousands of Florida fans are gathered in collective prayer for Tim Tebow, possible son of God.”

Anchor: “I understand we have the footage, is that correct?”

(Video airs of the ambulance with Tim Tebow inside, leaving for the hospital)

Anchor: “Do you have a video of the actual injury?”

Reporter: “We do, but who wants to see that? That’s too upsetting to watch. No one wants to see Tim Tebow, savior of humanity, getting his skull cracked.”

Anchor: “I concur. I’ve seen the video of President Kennedy’s assassination. I watched on September 11 a scant eight years ago when the second plane slammed into the World Trade Center. This sounds, at the very least, just a little bit worse. Hang on, we have our stereotypical Southern football analyst on the line. Sir, what can you tell us about what you saw here this evening?”

Analyst: “Bear with me, please….I….I don’t know…..if I can…..if I-”

Anchor: “I know this is very traumatic, and if you can’t-”

Analyst: “Tim Tebow is a truly wonderful human being! I’ve watched every one of his games since he came to Gainesville and I tell you, I don’t believe I’ve ever met anyone more noble.”

Anchor: “I understand your sorrow-”

Analyst: “One time in my playing days, I took a nasty hit and was unconscious for twenty minutes. During my infirmed state, I tell you, I actually talked to God! He was a wonderful man, so benevolent and stately and amazing, and he showed me his Kingdom of Heaven. And let me tell you something, compared to Tim Tebow and his greatness, it was like a hobo showing me his tin can collection!”

Anchor: “I concur. What happened in the actual injury to Tim Tebow, healer of sick and homely children?”

Analyst: “That heathen Taylor Wyndham of Kentucky sacked Tim Tebow, and spiked his head into the knee of Tim Tebow’s lineman, Marcus Gilbert. Gilbert, first of all, should have done a better job of blocking for Tim Tebow, greatest person that has ever lived. Secondly, I fully expect for Gilbert to have his scholarship revoked upon his return to Gainesville. One day, maybe Tim Tebow will forgive him, but the rest of us common folk aren’t as nice and forgiving!”

Anchor: “Which brings us to our poll question on, which is “Who is to blame for Tim Tebow’s injury?”. The choices are Marcus Gilbert, Taylor Wyndham, poor playing surface, and breakdown in divine intervention. We now go back to our reporter on the scene, who is with a drunken Florida fan. What’s the scoop?”

Reporter: “Sir, what can you tell us about what happened tonight involving Tim Tebow, Christ reborn?”

Fan: “We’re not leaving yet! Lexington, your city will burn! We got gasoline, we got matches, and we’re angry! Tim Tebow was on a holy mission to protect the world…..through throwing a football….and we’re not going to let you punks get away with this!”

Reporter: “Sir, don’t you feel this is a bit extreme?”

Fan: “Extreme?!? Tim Tebow’s in the hospital!”


Reporter: “Back to you in the studios. GET ME A GAS CAN!!! I HAVE A LIGHTER!!”

(Aerial footage is shown of Tim Tebow’s ambulance leaving the stadium)

Anchor: “If you’re just joining us, folks, Florida quarterback Tim Tebow, our holy spirit, has been injured. He sustained a concussion in tonight’s game against the University of Kentucky and has been rushed to the Chandler Medical Center. We’re joined in studio by our NFL expert. Given the fact that he has a concussion, possibly severe brain damage, and that the NFL is more physically demanding than NCAA football….what does this do for his draft day status?”

Expert: “Well, I’m sure he’ll be in attendance so that the ESPN cameras will be on him approximately 800 times during the first hour, but as far as his draft projection goes, it’s up in the air. He still just might be the first overall pick. It’s believed that to have a man like Tim Tebow, who makes all of our lives worth living, on your team will make things brighter and will likely lead the club to as many Super Bowls as they want.”

Anchor: “And if he’s not taken first?”

Expert: “Then we go to ‘code blue’: ESPN will ignore whoever gets drafted first and spend the entire pre-season gushing over the pretty white guy. The debacle with JaMarcus Russell and Brady Quinn comes to mind.”

Anchor: “Debacle?”

Expert: “I mean ‘understandable situation’.”

Anchor: “Preliminary results are in for our poll, and it’s a dead heat between Marcus Gilbert and Taylor Wyndham for the near fatality of Tim Tebow, The Chosen One, this evening. We’re also getting e-mails, asking us to tone down the excessive coverage of this story, but what do these people know? They must be self-loathing atheists who derive pleasure from the sinful aspects of this mortal coil that we call ‘life’. Back to Lexington, where our reporter is standing by. What’s the latest?”

(Footage is shown of the reporter, several Florida fans, and local clergy firing flame throwers at Commonwealth Stadium while cackling maniacally.)

Anchor: “We’re going to take a commercial break, but when we come back: continued coverage of the injury to Tim Tebow, Modern Messiah.”

(Hubble telescope footage of Tim Tebow being rushed to the hospital is shown)

When he isn’t watching WWE, TNA, or his beloved Philadelphia Eagles and Phillies, Justin Henry can be found writing. It is his passion as well as his goal in life to become a well-regarded (as well as well-paid) columnist or author. He tweets at and facebooks himself at

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Herm Edwards’ NFL Man Crush Is Vickening

September 04, 2009 By: Category: NFL | NCAA Football, Sports

Herm EdwardsMove over Brett Favre and John Madden, the NFL has a stalker in the booth. Herm Edwards has proven to be a bigger joke as an NFL analyst than he was a coach. As the Eagles analyst, Edwards constant gushing over Michael Vick this pre season has gone from annoyance to just downright disgusting.

Edwards has been calling the Philadelphia Eagles pre season games for the Eagles Television Network. The former coach is also a regular on ESPN’s NFL Live. Edwards lobbying for Vick goes back to the NFL draft and has continued all pre season. If you didn’t read the stats and just listened to Edwards during the Eagles-Jets game you’d think Mike Vick was ready for Canton.

The man-love became official when Edwards and the crew named Michel Vick Star of the Game at halftime. That’s right. He was officially named Star of the Game. For those that didn’t watch, Vick threw an interception on his first pass of the game. He did scramble for a 2-yard touchdown but to call him the Star of the Game was just a little too over the top.

The man love got worse throughout the game. At one point I wondered if I was watching the Michael Vick Redemption Story. Whether it was an incomplete pass or a sack, it was never Vick’s fault. Oh no. According to Edwards, it was not Vick who was at fault for getting sacked but it was the Jets fault for blitzing. I couldn’t have made this up if I tried.

The Star of the Game had an absolutely awful second half. In all fairness, I don’t take much away from it. Vick was playing with guys who won’t even make an NFL team. On the other hand, he was also playing against guys who won’t make an NFL team. Regardless, Edwards had an excuse for everything. Vick was sacked in the third quarter and Edwards responds, “That’s okay.” Even my girlfriend who was casually watching looked at me as if to say, “Is he serious?”

I understand that analysts have their favorites but there comes a time where you need to do the job you are being paid to do. Yes, this was the Eagles Television Network but I have never heard an announcer as partisan for one player on Eagles TV or radio in my life. For Edwards to criticize the Jets for blitzing and not Vick for poor play is absurd. For God’s sakes Herm, there are players on the field playing for their jobs! No wonder Herm’s camps in New York were regularly called Club Cupcake.

My feelings on Michael Vick have been made. I have moved on and I am at the point where I can put my anger aside and just enjoy the games. However, the last thing I want to hear is anyone going out of their way defending him. He has a job, now it’s his turn to prove whether he is ready to play in the NFL or not. I don’t need to listen to someone tell me that someone is a great football player when he can’t even elude a fourth-string pass rush. You can shine it, but it is what it is in the end.

Herm Edwards is truly a disgrace to the NFL, a disgrace to ESPN, and a disgrace to anyone in sports journalism. Why would ESPN or anyone in the NFL put this guy on television as an analyst when he has an obvious agenda? Maybe he is just a moron? He did claim that Tony Romo was a better quarterback than Eli Manning and said it with a straight face. Does Herm Edwards really believe this stuff or is he just going out of his way to take over Emmitt Smith’s spot on the sports blogs?

New York Jets fans should read this with a sigh of relief. I don’t have a doubt in my mind that if Herm was still coaching that the Jets wouldn’t have drafted Mark Sanchez and Michael Vick would be your starting quarterback this season.

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New Garbage Hits the NFL Free Agent Market

June 12, 2009 By: Category: NFL | NCAA Football, Sports

The Atlanta Falcons released quarterback Michael Vick today. With all of the talk today on sports radio about Vick’s NFL possibilities, I have to ask myself. Are we all talking about the same Michael Vick?

First and foremost, I just want to say that I do believe that Vick has paid his debt to society. My opinions are in no way reflective on the fact he was convicted for acts of animal cruelty beyond comprehension.

I continue to laugh at these so-called analysts who are talking all day about Vick’s NFL playing possibilities. I have heard him described as everything from exciting to a great quarterback. If I hear someone say that Michael Vick deserves to play in the NFL one more time I am going to throw something at my beautiful television in high definition.

People seem to have a very revisionist way of looking back at Michael Vick’s NFL career. Let’s take a look at the cold hard facts about Michael Vick NFL quarterback. Beyond one great season, the guy was a horrendous NFL quarterback and anyone who says different need to have their bromance with Vick exposed.

Michael Vick had two winning seasons! Sure, his 2004 season was great and he went to the NFC title game. What about all of his other losing seasons? Vick had more losing seasons than winning seasons, yet that seems to be conveniently forgotten.

The numbers don’t lie. Vick’s career passing percentage is 53.8%. 53.8%! To put this into perspective, David Carr’s career passing percentage is 59.7% Ryan Leaf had a 48.4% completion rate. Vick was slightly better than some of the biggest NFL busts. For these guys at ESPN to suggest anything different is a complete and utter disgrace.

I would argue that even without the legal troubles, Michael Vick would have been a backup at best going into the 2009-2010 season. Sure, I could see someone using him sporadically in the Wildcat. However, there isn’t an NFL coach with a brain that would put this guy behind center for every offensive snap of the game.

Vick joins a list of NFL free agents that include J.P. Losman, Trent Green, Gus Frerotte, and arguably Brett Favre. I would take any of those guys over Vick in a heartbeat as a backup. Michael Vick sucks as a quarterback and for these analysts to say any different is a flat out disgrace.

The running theme among these journalists and analysts is that Michael Vick deserves to play in the NFL. Does he really? Since when was it a given right for him to play in the NFL? I would have no problem with Michael Vick playing for my team if he was good. But to say that he deserves to play in the NFL is just outright delusional.

So welcome to the garbage heap Michael Vick. I can’t imagine anyone in the NFL giving Vick an NFL job. I am not naïve enough to think he won’t get an opportunity. Yet, I can’t see him winning a backup or starting position on any team.

Let’s call a spade a spade here when it comes to Michael Vick. He was a horrible NFL quarterback. There is only one option that I can even fathom and boy, would it be a far fall from grace for Michael Vick.

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ESPN Shamelessly Lobbying for Michael Vick

April 26, 2009 By: Category: NFL | NCAA Football, Sports

I am to lose my mind with what I have been hearing on ESPN throughout the day. I know that the kids at ESPN love their athletes, but this is getting ridiculous. Day 2 of the NFL Draft has turned into the Michael Vick Redemption Show. The lobbying has begun and boy oh boy, do these people have short memories or what?

The talk started off of rumors that the Atlanta Falcons were looking to deal the rights to Vick. Vick will be out of jail shortly and is still under suspension by the NFL. Roger Goodell could reinstate Vick and put him back in the NFL in 2010. Everyone at ESPN is practically on their knees pleading for Goodell to reinstate Vick. I know ESPN wants ratings and man would Vick’s first game bring in the ratings, but this is ridiculous.

First and foremost, is every NFL player’s favorite coach Herm Edwards. It is no wonder that this guys lost every football team he has coached. Edwards chimed in with his overpaid analysis on Vick. Edwards called Vick “a credit to the community,” Are you kidding me? Any respect that I had for Edwards was lost today. Edwards should be ashamed of himself.

My problem is ESPN selling Vick the player. All of the guys talked about what a great player Vick was in the NFL. Every one of the ESPN “analysts” sung the praises of Michael Vick the player. Are you freaking kidding me? Vick had two winning seasons! These guys went on about his 2004 season. What about all of his other losing seasons? The fact that these people call themselves experts is a complete joke.

Vick’s career stats tell a completely different story. Vick’s career passing percentage is 53.8%. 53.8%! To put this into perspective, David Carr’s career passing percentage is 59.7% Ryan Leaf had a 48.4% completion rate. Vick was slightly better than some of the biggest NFL busts. For these guys at ESPN to suggest anything different is a complete and utter disgrace.

I haven’t even talked about Vick’s criminal convictions. As sick as I think his crimes were, I do agree that he paid his debt. My venom against ESPN here has nothing to do with Vick the criminal. This is all about ratings and for someone like Ron Jaworski to whore out his credibility in favor of his big pimp is both sad and disappointing.

Hey, let Michael Vick play again. I have no problems with that. However, any team that takes him would have to be out of their minds.

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