CityBeat Blogs - football http://www.citybeat.com/cincinnati/blogs-1-1-1-38-41.html <![CDATA[Marvin Jones Emerges as a Driving Force for the Bengals]]>

The destruction of the Jets two weeks ago by the Bengals saw not only the largest margin of victory for our football team in many years, but also the emergence of second-year wide receiver Marvin Jones.

The Bengals brought Jones aboard in 2012, but not until the fifth round of the draft — much to Jones' disappointment. He assumed he was going to be drafted in the second round, and many scouts agreed, also thinking he would go in the second or third round. Looking at his college stats, it’s easy to see why. 

Jones played at University of California, Berkeley, and scored 13 touchdowns throughout his four seasons with the team. 

As a wide-receiver, he averaged 14.6 yards with the team with 156 receptions for a total of 2,270 yards. This includes a freshmen year when Jones only made one reception for eight yards. 

With these stats, it’s no wonder he was predicted for the second round. 

In his rookie season with the Bengals, though, Jones didn’t see much play time. He started in five of 11 games, but this season Jones has exploded on the scene. 

When the Bengals and Jets played on Oct. 27, Jones set a franchise record of four touchdowns in a single game, with a total of 122 receiving yards. 

If the Bengals had not called off the hounds with 17 minutes left in the game, it is safe to say Jones very well could have tied the record for receiving touchdowns in one game. 

This record is currently held by Hall of Fame players Kellen Winslow and Jerry Rice, as well as Bob Shaw, all of whom scored five receiving touchdowns in one game. 

One comparison we can draw from Jones to an active NFL wide-receiver is the Broncos’ Wes Welker. 

Welker, who gained mass popularity as one of Tom Brady’s favorite targets for the Patriots, sports impressive stats with close to 10,000 career receiving yards in regular season play. 

As an established receiver, Welker currently holds the most red zone touchdowns for this season at eight, followed closely by Jones’ seven in the red zone. 

What really made this possible for Jones was not only his superb skill set and hands these past few weeks, but also quarterback Andy Dalton’s trust in his many receivers. 

Dalton has not played favorites with receivers since the loss against the Browns where he threw the ball to A.J. Green 15 times. 

Jones, in an interview with Coley Harvey for ESPN.com, said Dalton is spending extra time in film and practice with the other receivers, making the relationship between the QB and his many targets stronger than ever. 

With the second half of the regular season upon us, this level of cooperation in the backfield will be vital, and if Jones’ professional career is anything like his college career, we can expect him to continue to grow and improve alongside the team. 

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<![CDATA[Hidden History of Concussions and the NFL]]>

A new book set for release Tuesday called League of Denial: The NFL, Concussions and the Battle for Truth is set to challenge the NFL and their denial of a connection between concussions and football. 

Written by Mark Fainaru-Wada and Steve Fainaru, investigative reporters for ESPN, the book claims the NFL has not only known about the connection between concussions in the NFL and long-term brain injuries for about 20 years, but the league has been actively trying to cover up these facts.

The suicides of Junior Seau as well as former NFL players such as the Bears’ David Duerson and the Eagles’ Andre Waters have brought this issue to the forefront of players’ and fans’ minds. All three players are thought to have suffered severe brain damage from injuries while playing football, all of which lead to their unfortunate suicides.

The NFL has claimed for years they had no knowledge of any relation between the brain injuries sustained from concussions and the deaths of professional players. Even in the face of a recent lawsuit from players, the league held firm to their stance.

The league did settle the recent lawsuit out of court for $765 million, and many questions were raised asking if the league has been honest with how much they know about the possible link between concussions and football. 

For a long time, concussions in the professional level of football were not seen as a big issue because no one knew of the long-term effects. Former New York Jets defensive lineman Marty Lyons talked with Rich Cimini of ESPNNewYork.com where he described his own sideline concussion experience. 

Lyons said whenever a player would come off the field, the physician would hold up some fingers, ask how many and, despite the player’s answer, the physician said, “Close enough.” A couple plays later, or even the next play, the player would find themselves on the field once again. 

“That wasn’t the doctors or trainers saying, ‘You’re OK,’” Lyons said in the interview. “I’m not saying the league didn’t know, I’m not saying the players didn’t know. It was part of the game.” 

According to the authors of League of Denial, the cover-up of how much the NFL knew about the connection started when the former NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue created a concussion committee in 1994 to better understand the effects of concussions on players. A few members of the committee came forward in 1995 saying concussions were not “minor injuries” as previously thought. These claims were quickly hushed by the NFL. 

Another claim the book makes is that around 2000, some of the country’s top neuroscientists told the NFL the big hits in football, especially those considered head-to-head, led to not only concussions, but also what is known as chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE).

Some of the symptoms of CTE are higher rates of depression, dementia, memory loss and brain damage.

The NFL, rather than publishing these findings and telling players of the potential harm, made no such effort and tried to ignore the facts.

Then in 2005, the authors report the NFL tried to persuade a medical journal to retract articles and findings on concussions and their effects on individuals. The journal in question refused and the findings continued to circulate without interference. 

The authors spoke with Dr. Ann McKee, a former assistant professor of neuropathology at Harvard Medical School and one of the leading professionals on the link between football and brain damage, who said of the 54 harvested brains of deceased NFL players, only two did not have CTE.

However, all of these findings are not just exclusive to professional football. Youth, high school and college football players are also at a high risk for concussions. 

A report from 2007 titled “Concussions Among United States High School and Collegiate Athletes,” found that about 300,000 people aged 15 to 24 suffered traumatic brain injuries every year from contact sports. This number is only second to brain injuries sustained from motor vehicle accidents. 

This same study also found of the total number of concussions from other collegiate sports, including boys’ and girls’ soccer and basketball, football was responsible for more than 40 percent of the concussions.

Concussions in high school sports have even led to the death of young athletes. Jaquan Waller and Matthew Gfeller are two football players who died in North Carolina after head injuries sustained during high school games this season.

A study from the University of Pittsburgh found that over the past decade, 30-40 high school football players have died from concussions, and the likelihood of contact sport athletes to receive a concussion is 19 percent. 

Changes are coming to the NFL, however, most notably in the minds of players. Bengals’ cornerback Brandon Ghee received two concussions in back-to-back preseason games against the Falcons and Titans. Ghee was forced to take a five-week break from contact because of these injuries. 

In an interview with The Enquirer, Ghee said if it weren’t for the recent deaths and lawsuit, he would have wanted to go back to play immediately. Now though, he’s not so sure. “After the second one you have to think about your kids and family,” Ghee said in the interview. “You don’t want any long-lasting issues.”

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<![CDATA[Free Who Dey This Weekend!]]>

Well, it’s August and to sports fans — real sports fans — that means one thing: preseason football. 

The Bengals preseason training camp, for the first time ever, is being held at Paul Brown Stadium and all practices and scrimmages are free and open to the public.

Capacity shouldn’t be an issue this year, unlike their former Georgetown, Ky., location which, let’s face it, sat less people than most middle school lacrosse games. 

If you’re really jonesing for a Bengals fix, check out the Intrasquad Scrimmage 3 p.m. Saturday, which features the most full contact of camp.  

Sunday at 6 is the Black/White mock game (take it easy Kathy Wilson, it’s not what you think), where they split the team into two squads who play a minimal-contact game against one another. They keep score in that one, which, depending on what side A.J. Green is on, could be a good thing.  

Speaking of wide receivers, Jordan Shipley’s back from that pesky ACL tear that sidelined him for all of last season. The talented Mr. Shipley will be running routes alongside Brandon Tate, Antonio Bryant (yes, that Antonio Bryant) and third-round-pick Mohamed Sanu. 

Some other new faces worth checking out are former Patriots running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis and rookie tight end Orson Charles. 

Unfortunately, we’ll have to wait on buying tickets to Kirkpatrick Island (wow, that really doesn’t have a ring to it) as the new cornerback, and first-overall draft pick, is missing most of camp due to an undisclosed leg injury. 

So check out the 2012 Bengals while it’s still free. It’s the best chance you’ll have to dip your toe in the water before deciding if you want to sell a kidney to afford those Party Deck tickets. For the complete preseason schedule, click here

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<![CDATA[The Helicopter Is Back!]]>

Anyone who misses the days of Eric “The Helicopter” Hicks jamming on people’s heads for the University of Cincinnati basketball team will have a chance to see Hicks suit up for another local team later this month, but this time he’ll be playing football.

Hicks signed a one-day contract to play in the Cincinnati Commandos game against the Marion Blue Racers on April 28. He’ll be in town practicing with the United Indoor Football League team during the next couple of weeks. He calls it his “OchoCinco moment.”

Although he never played in the NBA, Hicks has been a professional basketball player since leaving UC after his senior season in 2006. Hicks has been a very good player in several European leagues, having played on championship and All-Star teams in such countries as Belgium, Poland, Russia, Israel, China and Spain.

Several notable NFL players had college basketball experience, including tight ends Antonio Gates, Jimmie Graham and Rob Gronkowski. Hicks, who is 6-foot-6 and 250 pounds, hasn’t played football since his sophomore year of high school in North Carolina. Although he doesn’t expect to end up in the NFL any time soon, Commandos coach Billy Back says his size and athleticism could be real advantages in this league.

“He’s an all-time fan favorite Bearcat and one of my favorites as well,” Back said. “He’s an athlete, and we can use his height to our advantage.”

Hicks plans to return to Europe soon to resume his basketball career, but said in a release that he’s excited about playing for the Commandos.

In addition to the April 28 game in which Hicks will play, the Commandos have home games at the Cincinnati Gardens May 12, May 26 and June 2. Tickets are $10-$22 and available through Ticket Master or the Cincinnati Gardens ticket office, 513-631-7793 or 2250 Seymour Ave. Find the team's website here.

Here’s a video showing a bunch of cool stuff Hicks did as a Bearcat.

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<![CDATA[Football to the Face!]]>

Sorry to do this, guy who got hit in the face by Michael Boley's celebratory throw. But dang was it funny.---

During second quarter of the New York Giants-St. Louis Rams Monday Night Football game last night, Rams running back Cadillac Williams dropped a short pass behind the line of scrimmage, which Giants linebacker Michael Boley scooped up and took 65 yards the other way for a touchdown.

Boley, presumably excited about his standout play, held the ball outward with his left hand as he ran into the end zone, only to abruptly switch hands and fire it toward the wall behind the field. Unfortunately for some guy standing there watching, his head was in the way. Luckily he turned his head (he should have seen it coming considering Boley was running straight toward him and was only about 15 feet away at the point of launch), only to have the ball bounce off and hit another guy in the back of his head before finally flying toward the wall where Boley originally wanted to smash it.

Video 1 is in real time. Video 2, slow motion. Enjoy.

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<![CDATA[Crypt Keeper Owns the Raiders?]]>

Remember the Crypt Keeper from HBO's long-lost and much-beloved series Tales from the Crypt? He apparently now owns the Oakland Raiders, which is convenient given the team's "menacing" and "scary" persona over the years.

The photo above was taken at a press conference yesterday as the Keeper announced the hiring of new Raiders coach Hue Jackson. ---

Anyone remember the episode of Tales featuring a young Keanu Reeves? That one ruled. I couldn't find it on YouTube, but I did find a clip featuring Hank Azaria, Travis Tritt (yes, the Country singer) and Ben Stein.


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<![CDATA[Business As Usual in Bengal Land]]>

After a couple of days of suspense, the Bengals anticlimactically announced today that Marvin Lewis is coming back for two more years as head coach.

I was going to craft a long, acerbic essay about the dysfunctional nature of Mike Brown’s dad Paul Brown’s once-proud franchise, but then I just became depressed and walked over to Sunshine Foods — a longtime CityBeat employee lunch stop staple — and splurged on a Italian sausage hoagie with pizza sauce and pickles. ---

While Sunshine’s amiable crew put together my hoagie, I glanced at the Bengals schedule poster taped to the window and noticed that, at a certain point, someone stopped writing in the scores of each game. It’s probably no coincidence that the appointed scorekeeper stopped updating the poster about the same time most fans grew tired of supporting a team that found ways — often improbable ways — to lose each week, resulting in a string of non-sellout home games and local TV blackouts.

Mike Brown said this about the state of the Bengals management approach — one that features a downsized scout team and no true general manager — during today’s press conference to announce Lewis’ extension: “I don’t think it works badly. I think it works alright.”

So it comes down to this: The Bengals have not won a playoff game in 20 years, and until Mike Brown starts making decisions that show he cares about winning a playoff game, fewer and fewer fans are going to show up at Paul Brown Stadium and more and more are going to be content with a blackout every fall Sunday.

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<![CDATA[Do the Bengals Care?]]>

The Cincinnati Bengals suffered one of the worst losses in franchise history yesterday, a 49-31 home defeat to the team tied for the NFL's worst record at the time, the Buffalo Bills. The Bengals led 31-14 at halftime and were outscored 35-0 in the second half.

The Bengals sit at 2-8 on the 2010 season and (with Buffalo) own the worst record in the AFC.

The Minnesota Viking suffered one of their worst home losses in franchise history yesterday, losing 31-3 to the Green Bay Packers. This morning the Vikings fired their head coach, Brad Childress.---

Two weeks ago the Dallas Cowboys suffered one of the worst losses in franchise history, losing 45-7 in Green Bay, dropping the team to 1-7. The next day they fired head coach Wade Phillips.

The Bengals, Vikings and Cowboys all won division titles last year and made the playoffs. The Vikings almost got to the Super Bowl, barely losing in the NFC championship game.

Vikings and Cowboys ownership clearly won't stand for their teams falling on their faces and moving backward, so the head coaches needed to go. The Bengals' head coach, Marvin Lewis, still has his job today.

Maybe it's T.O.'s fault.

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<![CDATA[NFL Draft AFC North Report Card]]>

AFC North teams did a nice job overall in this year’s draft. Most teams addressed their main needs and picked up late round steals that very well could contribute next season. Here’s my breakdown of each team’s strongest picks as well as a final overall grade for their draft selections.---

Cincinnati Bengals

1. Jermaine Gresham was not only what the Bengals wanted with their 21st pick but exactly the type of athlete they needed at tight end. I can't give them enough credit for addressing their needs right off the bat while getting the top player at the position as well. Gresham will give the Bengals the playmaker they needed all last year at tight end. The position was quite vacant in 2009, and Gresham’s athleticism, combined with his ability to stretch the defense, will please the Bengals.

1JGresham.jpg

2. I believe that the Bengals stole a solid player with the 84th pick in the draft. Jordan Shipley is the type of polished receiver that you don't expect to find in the third round of the draft. Good hands, toughness and the ability to contribute as a returner on special teams. His ability to attack the middle of the field combined with his sure handedness makes him the type of addition the Bengals absolutely need to pair along with Chad Ochocinco and newly-acquired Antonio Bryant.

3. With their second pick in the draft, Carlos Dunlap was an example of an extremely talented second-round pick that could've easily gone in the first round. Dunlap is a very athletic player that adds to the Bengals’ already productive defensive line. He is the type of defensive end that can line-up on all three downs as well as being used to rush off the edge. This addition will bolster the D-line and add more depth to one of the team’s strong points.

OVERALL GRADE: A

Cleveland Browns

1. The best pick in the Brown's draft — let alone the entire draft — might just have been Colt McCoy. This must definitely be considered one of the biggest steals in this year’s draft. McCoy was considered to many as being the second best quarterback on the board. The fact that the Browns were able to select him in third round probably not only went as a surprise to the Browns but McCoy himself. This quality pick was the only factor that kept me from giving the Browns a C- for the draft.

2. The Browns could have traded up and drafted Tennessee's highly sought-after safety Eric Berry as many expected, but then again that wouldn't be the Cleveland Browns. They choose to stay with the safe pick of Joe Haden. In the end Haden provides the Browns with a polished and safe pick at the cornerback position. The Browns ranked in the top five worst pass defenses in the NFL last year, so by principal this pick does make some sense. Haden has a good deal of upside as he possesses the skills to develop into a quality NFL corner.

3. I think it might be safe to say that the city of Cleveland, as well as myself, are not quite sure why the Browns decided to pass on USC safety Taylor Mays before selecting Oregon safety T.J. Ward. With Ward’s problems staying healthy as well as his inability to make enough big plays, I don't quite see what Cleveland saw in this pick.

OVERALL GRADE: B-

Baltimore Ravens

1. Picking up tight ends Ed Dickson and Dennis Pitta was a necessary move for the Ravens. Todd Heap is showing signs that he has had better days in his career. Both Dickson and Pitta are pass-catching tight ends with the ability to stretch the field. Dickson is one of the better pass-catching tight ends in this year's draft.

2. The Ravens found a talented and athletic outside linebacker in Sergio Kindle. Although this was not the team’s biggest need, Kindle is the type of true athlete that they couldn't pass up with the 11th pick of the second round. The Ravens seem to always find a way to add explosive pass-rushers to their squad.

3. Terrence Cody is exactly the type of run-stopping nose tackle that you would expect the Ravens to select. Huge frame, moves well for his size and overall a tough player. With the injury issues of starter Kelly Gregg, nose tackle is definitely a concern the Ravens needed to address. Cody adds size and strength to a defensive front that already creates havoc for the rest of the NFL.

OVERALL GRADE: B

Pittsburgh Steelers

1. The Steelers not only did a good job of addressing their main need of an offensive lineman, but they landed a very special player in Maurkice Pouncey. Pouncey is a gifted athlete that moves very well for his size. This ability gives him the option to either line up at guard or center. The Steelers have probably found a starting solution to their problem on the offensive line for years to come.

2. I love the pick of Jonathan Dwyer in the sixth round. This was another one of those guys that could have easily been drafted in the second round. Dwyer is a balanced running back with good athletic ability. He has the experience and talent help the Steelers at one of their weaker positions. I would go out on a limb and say that this pick will most certainly come into place sometime this season if not next.

3. The Steelers should have clearly realized that they needed to make large strides at finding receivers in this year’s draft. I feel that they failed largely at what I would call their attempt of trying to do so. They failed to pick a receiver until the third-round selection of Emmanuel Sanders. Sanders is an undersized receiver that will most likely find his time in the slot. The plan would be for him to become the Steelers’ number three receiver. After giving up Santonio Holmes (former Super Bowl MVP) for a fifth-round selection, I would have assumed that the Steelers would have put forth a much stronger effort toward obtaining a big-time receiver.

OVERALL GRADE: C

Image: Bengals first-round pick Jermaine Gresham


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<![CDATA[Chris Henry: A Young Man Mourned]]>

The story of Chris Henry had only recently become one of redemption. The oft-troubled wide receiver had by all accounts taken advantage of his last chance at a successful NFL career and become a responsible individual off the field. Henry died this morning due to injuries suffered during a car accident yesterday. 

The details of the accident that resulted in the 26-year-old’s death are still being determined, but initial reports of a “domestic situation” make one believe that all was not as well in Henry’s private life as was displayed in a recent Enquirer story about Chris Henry the family man. Read the story of Henry’s renewed dedication to family here.---

For all his faults and transgressions, those closest to him respected him as a hard working and dedicated individual. Henry made a lot of progress during his short professional career, and it’s sad to think that he didn’t quite have enough time to grow into the young man off the field he seemed to want to be.

The story of Chris Henry is more complicated than most reports will suggest, rife with examples of unfortunate social issues, the difficult transition from poor kid to superstar and the seemingly insurmountable odds against those who don’t receive the help or guidance they need to succeed in life.

Check out CityBeat's "Chris Henry Is My Brother" blog from July 9, 2008, where we defended the young Henry for being so much like so many of us at his age. We feel for his family, friends and teammates.

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<![CDATA[Scenarios Abound for Undefeated Bearcats]]>

You know what’s funny? If you put UC’s skill players behind the Cleveland Browns’ offensive line, I guarantee they would score more than 7 points against the Bengals. That might not mean much about how crappy Cleveland is, but it means a lot that a collegiate defense will have to try to stop the Bearcats’ offensive collection of future pros this coming weekend. 

With UC’s win over Illinois last Friday — which, at 49-36, was actually not very close at all — the Bearcats are set up for a season finale against Pitt for the Big East Championship. It kind of sucks that Pitt has already lost two games (one in the conference) and they have nearly as much to play for as UC, but whatever. Pitt’s current 5-1 Big East record will hold up if it beats UC, since the Bearcats’ lone loss would be the tiebreaker. Still, Pitt’s 19-16 loss to West Virginia last Saturday proves that it's a very beatable team.---

The other pending issue regarding the Bearcats’ possible 12-0 regular season is the outside chance at a National Championship game. The ‘Cats basically need Texas to lose in the Big XII championship game to Nebraska and for their win over Pitt to bump them above TCU in the final BCS standings. But even if Texas wins out and UC loses to Pitt, they’ll still be in the running for one of the four at-large BCS bids, possibly competing with Iowa and Penn State for the final spot.

The bottom line is that UC is on the verge of completing the greatest season in school history with or without the title shot. If the Bearcats win the Big East again, Brian Kelly will get a chance to show how legit his program is during a BCS game against the SEC runner-up in the Sugar Bowl. But first up is Pitt, perhaps the best team UC has played this season but perhaps just about the same as the Oregon State and West Virginia teams that UC had little trouble with.

UC fans would prefer to play this championship game at Nippert, but they go into it plenty confident that the better team will prevail and the Bearcats will go to a second straight BCS game ... and maybe more.

Until the big game, check out these photos of UC's win over Illinois on Senior Day. They scored a lot of points, so there are some good ones.

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<![CDATA[UC Alum: 'One Great Season' of College Football]]>

University of Cincinnati football fans have enjoyed a couple of pretty great seasons the last two years. That’s partly why UC grad John Wise is in town during this homecoming weekend as part of his “One Great Season” project, a multi-media documentation of the 2009 college football season. 

But although UC's recent success and 6-0 start this year is deserving of the recognition, Wise wouldn’t be here if he didn’t lose his job at WNBC-TV during the summer and choose a passion project over a job search. Wise, a 1994 UC graduate who's enjoyed a successful reporting career, decided to resurrect an idea he came up with back when he was in school at UC — to travel the country during an entire college football season, witnessing the year’s most intriguing games and its most historic programs.---

He left his Brooklyn, N.Y., apartment in August and has been on or en route to a college campus ever since. Each week’s coverage can be found at www.onegreatseason.com, and Wise will return home to New York in mid-December and begin writing the One Great Season book.

CityBeat caught up with Wise to discuss his project, college football, contemporary journalism and his alma mater.

CityBeat: Did you have any concerns or reservations about taking a break from normal life and hitting the road for four months?

John Wise: I’ve never taken on anything like this in my life so I probably should have given more thought to anything negative — any type of roadblock that could have gotten in my way, whether it was a logistical problem or even like an emotional thing being away from home for four months. But I didn’t realty think of any of that stuff and I’m totally fine. No reservations in planning this project and no reservations now that I’m about halfway into it.

CB: You’ve had the idea for One Great Season since you were a student at UC during the early '90s. Where did this idea come from and how excited were you to finally get a chance to pursue it?

JW: That’s when I did have reservations about it. I had no idea what I was going to do when I finished college, so when I finished in ’94 that’s when I said ‘Oh my god, I’ve gotta get a job and be a real person and start my life now’ and I didn’t want to do that. So I thought of this idea to travel around to college football games and write about the adventure, but I got a job right after school. I couldn’t do it then but once I lost my job just this past summer that’s when I said it’s time to do what I wanted to do back in ‘94 — I’m gonna do it this time.

I had a little sit-down meeting with some people at work with my last job and I was given a heads up about three or four weeks ahead of time that I was going to lose my job, and that was when the excitement really started. I was biting my lip trying to hide my excitement during that meeting. I didn’t go home and try to get my resume together. Instead I went home and got on espn.com and looked at the schedule of the upcoming college football season and started to map out my tour that very night.

CB: You obviously weren’t considering a blog or Web site when you originally envisioned this project. How did the Internet change your original plan for the project? Has it helped document the process and keep information in order for the book?

JW: The site kind of served as little bit of a notebook. Obviously I want to include a lot in the book of what I’m putting on the site. That blog-to-book genre can still be pretty effective, but while I want to do that I still do want to include a healthy portion of the book that readers of my site haven’t seen yet. But it really does serve as a good notebook — as well as the Twitter notes that I’ve been sending out. I can kind of go back and get smaller notes that maybe weren’t big enough for a full entry or just got a short little note in Twitter on my site. Plus I’m trying to take some notes myself offline.

The Internet has really allowed me to not only use the site as an easy way to record the four months but it also lets me be on a gigantic marketing tour almost. I go in these cities and in addition to updating the site I try to get my product promoted. And I realize how tacky self-promotion can be, but I don’t have a choice. Its not like I have an army of publicity people getting the word out. The only way they’re going to be aware of it is to reach out to newspapers, TV and radio stations and try to get them to let me come out and talk about my project. The site has allowed me to, one, document everything, and also to be on sort of a pre-book-launch marketing tour.

CB: Have there been any surprises along the way?

JW: Things have gone pretty smoothly and that has kind of surprised me a little bit because planning and preparing over the years hasn’t been my strong suit. But when you’re doing something you’re passionate about, I feel like it doesn’t take as much work. First of all I’m passionate about this project, but it’s about a topic I’m familiar with, exited about and interested in. So I feel like I’m tackling a project I’m interested in and know a lot about, so once I got a couple weeks under my belt I felt like, "OK, these are going to be serious priorities: coordination, planning flights, putting in requests for media access." Once I got through Week 1 and Week 2, I kind of had it down.

CB: We’re about midway through the season you’re documenting. What’s been the best college-football experience you’ve seen so far?

JW: As far as just crowd noise and electricity and electric atmosphere, I’d say it me that I was onto something cool when I was standing on the field right before Georgia was getting ready to sprint on to the field at Oklahoma State. The band was playing, the players were coming down the walkway starting to bounce rhythmically with the band waiting for someone in official capacity to blow a whistle and let them run onto the field. They were waiting anxiously and it was just a loud atmosphere with a couple of preseason ranked teams. That’s when I realized I was into something cool, and I’m not trying to exaggerate, that’s when the hair started standing up on my arms.

I’ve been to probably eight or 10 Ohio State games — I’m an Ohio State fan — but I’ve never seen it as loud as it was six or eight times during that USC game. If there was a timeout that USC called because it was too loud, during the timeout over the speaker system they played music and it got even louder. That was a zoo up in Columbus that second week, so that was the most exciting atmosphere.

CB: The UC journalism program has grown immensely during the past few years. Talk about your time studying journalism at UC back in the early '90s and how that prepared your for your career even before the official major was offered.

JW: That was back when you could only get a writing certificate. I got the journalism one, and any time you take a class with someone like Jon Hughes you’re definitely going to be much better prepared to tackle the daily requirements of good journalism. I wouldn’t say I had an official mentor, but if I did I’d probably say it was him. Not only do you learn by example from taking one of his classes, but you learn how to conduct yourself. Jon Hughes not only was he a good teacher of how to be a good journalist, but he shows you some of the tricks of the trade or how to go about doing some things behind the scenes not just sitting at your desk.

I was writing at UC, but in the last six or eight years I’ve kind of picked up the photography bug as well, so I try to fancy myself or maybe I aspire to be a Jon Hughes because he calls himself more of a photojournalist — not just a writer but more of a well-rounded package, and I try to seek that same kind of creativity.

CB: Having been a writer and worked in TV and now working on a Web site-leading-to-book project, do you have any advice for young journalists regarding the many skills they’ll need going forward?

JW: Yes, I do — and not only because I’m on this independent journalism college football tour. I worked at what I thought for many years was the ultimate local television station. I worked for eight months at the NBC station in New York. My address was 30 Rock and it was cool, and still that’s pretty much what you would consider the flagship station of local television news. I’m not just trying to be multi-tooled for this college football project, but just from my time at WNBC that’s the direction that local news is headed. It used to be a benefit if you were skilled in more than one area — now it’s a requirement.

If you’re asking me to give one piece of advice to young journalists it’s that you have to know all these things. They probably already know that. But you must be multi-tooled, you must know how to write, you must know how to shoot, you must know to edit what you shoot and have tech skills and be savvy with social media.

When I was going through UC and buddying up with the sports writers Bill Koch and Tom Groeschen, I sat next to them covering UC basketball and football and that was their deal. They’d sit down and write a story and their day was over. Now there’s so much more to do and if you’re into it — and you should be — you send out Tweets or Facebook and you tackle as many genres as you can because your audience is going in so many different directions they’re distracted, and if you want your audience to continue to be your audience you have to have all those skills.

CB: Compare the UC sports scene when you were in school to what you see both in Clifton and on TV these days.

JW: The basketball team had just started playing at the Shoe — they had just built what was then this really nice, new modern facility on campus for the 1989-90 season. So there was so much excitement and everybody kind of thought who is this hotshot new guy talking about the Final Four. At his introductory press conference he was talking about being in the Final Four, and everybody kind of though, "Yeah right."

He took the Bearcats to the Final Four and because of that he owned the city, much like a lot of those great Reds players and even some Bengals later did — he became the favorite son and deservedly so. But then into the last '90s and 2000s the program just wasn’t matching up with those elite teams.

Facilities-wise it’s been pretty impressive to see all the excitement about UC sports, and that excitement has been rewarded with new facilities, and hopefully there will be more improvements coming. I’m not really familiar with the whole "Will Coach Kelly stay in Cincinnati," but from that little I do know if the university makes good on making new facilities by the deadlines it seems like Kelly is the type of guy to keep his word.

I hope Cincinnati football isn’t treated like Xavier basketball — a lot of good coaches have come through Xavier, and that’s definitely been a stepping stone with the last couple of coaches, and I hope Cincinnati football doesn’t become the same deal because they’ve got a great coach in Coach Kelly. If it means spending many millions of dollars to keep him here, you’re doing it for two reasons: to upgrade facilities and to keep a great coach in Cincinnati and the long term gain would be great to have him here.

CB: What happens after the season ends. Is publication lined up? Back to New York to work on the book and publication?

JW: There’s no publication lined up yet, but with these radio and TV interviews I hope to do enough of them that I feel very confident. I feel confident that all it takes is just one person — one right person to find out about my project and to say, "Hey I want to publish your book." But if it’s not a book publisher, if it’s someone who’s interested in what I’m doing and working on a new project, that’s cool too. I’m just really confident that this One Great Season is going to lead to my next gig. I don’t really want to go back to the news business unless it’s really the right fit. I just kind of want to work more independently because it allows you to be more creative.

I would still be excited if someone came to me about a future project. I’ve got some of my own ideas, but I definitely will be interested to listen to other people’s ideas if they wanted to approach me.

You can follow John Wise's travels and the 2009 college football season at www.onegreatseason.com, which is currently offering bonus commentary from three other old-school UC News Record alums. If you'd like to make a donation to help Wise keep gas in his car and burritos in his mouth, you can join the "30 Thousand Helpers" by donating as little as $1 here.


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<![CDATA[Nice Win, Bengals...]]>

The conclusion of Sunday’s Bengals win over Pittsburgh was both exciting and strange. It’s not very often you get to witness a last-second come-from-behind victory over a hated rival. Seeing it occur in your own stadium is even better. See you in Week 10 if you still matter, Stiller fans! ---

But an overall crappy effort and the strangeness with which the Bengals conducted their end-of-game drive made Carson Palmer’s 4-yard touchdown pass to Andre Caldwell with 14 seconds remaining feel just as relieving as it did exciting. Playcalling throughout the day and time management during the final drive were frequently questionable. Will this team be making a habit of screen passes to a wide receiver on third-and-1 near midfield? Did Palmer really need to spike the ball after gaining a first down at the 15 with two timeouts left? Is fourth-and-10 a reasonable position to put yourself in if you expect to win consistently?

The team nearly ran out of time even with incomplete passes stopping the clock. The whole “run the clock down to zero” plan started — and worried fans — before the two-minute warning. Out of that break the Bengals ran a QB sneak and took 30 seconds off the clock. The game-winning drive was hardly efficient — it took 16 plays and 5 minutes to go 71 yards.

After the game one frustrated local fan sat on his Ikea couch, India Pale Ale in hand and said: “I’m sitting here drunk and I know when to call a timeout. These guys get paid millions of dollars.”

Fourth and 10. Third and goal with 20 seconds left. Down by 5 because you messed up an extra point and then failed a two-point conversion to get it back. This win was not the long-awaited symbol of a franchise’s turnaround. It was one team dominating another only to have a couple big mistakes and a couple freakish plays lose the game. If the Bengals and Steelers played again tomorrow would you really bet on the striped team winning?

The win is huge, there’s no denying that. After two straight losses Pittsburgh must be concerned about its path to the playoffs. The difference between 8-8 and 9-7 in the NFL is monumental, and every game could mean the difference between late-season playoff chase or spending December considering 2010 draft prospects. Kind of makes the Denver loss hurt even more…

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But just as worrisome as the outcome was for Pittsburgh, it is equally as promising for Cincinnati (as long as we note that the Steelers probably aren’t that worried). A 2-1 record through the first three games is as good as anyone would have hoped, and the head-to-head win over a division rival could be big. The Bengals’ second-half schedule is really weak, and if they get to their bye week at 4-3 or 5-2 they’ll be legitimate contenders. But playing like they did Sunday won’t hold up during two games against Baltimore and a rematch in Pittsburgh and will continue to leave the door open for Week 1 Bungle shenanigans.

Sunday’s win was sweet because Pittsburgh is a bunch of assholes and we never get to tell them that. But the Bengals have a lot of work to do before we can laugh at the Steelers without thinking they’re going to kick the shit out of us for it later.

Image: Hines Ward still smiling


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<![CDATA[Is Vick to Eagles Good For Philly?]]>

Upon hearing that the Eagles signed Michael Vick, I thought a few different things. Then I tried to put a filter on those thoughts, since I’m a Giants fan and might just think things because I've never liked the Eagles and never will.

Despite this, Donovan McNabb is one of those Derek Jeter types: a solid leader both off and on the field who still seems to be as much of a student of the game as he was during his first few years in the league. Even though you may hate the team he plays for, it is done begrudgingly because you know that the McNabbs and Jeters are the best of the best.---

Hating Tony Romo is easy. He is lauded constantly yet hasn't won a playoff game. McNabb has thrived (five NFC Championship games, one Super Bowl appearance, tons of other accolades) in a city that has booed Santa Claus (and less forgiveably) Mike Schmidt.

Media reports have quoted McNabb as being more than willing to accept Vick's signing and have noted that McNabb lobbied Vick to sign with the Eagles.

Not sure how to interpret that, given the McNabb has already been through a few years of telling members of the media that he and Terrell Owens were cool while deep inside he must have wanted to put him in the trunk of a car and drive it off the side of a very high cliff.

The Eagles did the right thing by restructuring McNabb's contract and giving him a big raise. Somehow that seems sort of counteracted by bringing in a very high-profile former overall No. 1 draft pick to stand in the shadows.

People will talk about crazy formations and what the Eagles would be able to do with both on the blah blah blah, but I think McNabb would perform better if he was allowed to keep doing what he has done … and not be asked to incorporate a Wildcat offense or offshoot thereof.

Michael Vick got caught committing a crime, did time for it and is entitled to pursue a living. That's how the American legal system works. It doesn't matter if you do time for trampling rose bushes or electrocuting puppies: Once you’ve done your time and met post-release conditions, you are free again.

Philadelphia's quarterback depth chart is pretty crowded now. Behind McNabb sit veteran and adequate backup A.J. Feeley, young Kevin Kolb and Michael Vick.

Instead of doing whatever Arizona wanted to pry Anquan Boldin loose, the Eagles drafted Jeremy Maclin. The Eagles organization has often times given McNabb less than awesome receivers to work with ... like Todd Pinkston and Freddie Mitchell.

I just fail to see how this makes the Eagles better. Cut Feeley and make Kolb and Vick the backups? Now McNabb is one three-interception game away from getting booed and hearing "We Want Vick" chants from the seats.

I never thought Vick was a great NFL quarterback. College? Yes. For all the highlight escapes and thrilling plays that ESPN played for you, there were an equal amount of inaccurate passes, impatience and unwillingness to run an offense.

Maybe I'm wrong, and this will work out for the Eagles. Somehow I think I'm right: This transaction will go down in history in a fashion that will mirror Terrell Owens' stint in Philly.


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<![CDATA[The Big Gamble — Bengals Agree To Do 'Hard Knocks']]>

Drama, controversy and possibility. Three ingredients for television success and three ingredients the Cincinnati Bengals are all too familiar with. So when HBO’s Hard Knocks, a television series that follows NFL teams through their preseason regiments, had to select a team to feature for the upcoming season, it would have been hard-pressed to find a team more fitting than the Cincinnati Bengals.---

While the choice may have been an obvious one for NFL Films and HBO, the Cincinnati Bengals’ decision to participate was more of a gamble. The last few seasons have been turbulent to say the least, as a team riddled with arrests, trades and injuries had fought to salvage any scrap of positive image it may have had left. But the franchise believes its offseason moves may have the team in a position in which it can finally begin its swing back towards success, both on and off the field. Letting NFL Films be a fly on the wall in the locker room will certainly be the ultimate test.

While Bengals fans are well aware of the risks that come along with being a part of such a project, the past couple of months have been promising for the organization and it would be beneficial for the positives to shine through in the series. Chad Ochocinco has somehow harnessed an ultra-positive attitude about both himself and the team’s potential this season. He has even gone as far as show up for voluntary work outs — an act that has been a rarity in past seasons. Not only has he been positive, but he has been back to his playful antics, most recently stirring the pot by promising to tweet during games, threatening to fight ESPN NFL analyst Mike Golic and, my personal favorite, tweeting that he would be running to McDonald’s and asking a fan to pick him up. Ochocinco allegedly rewarded the fan who gave him a ride home with a pair of season tickets.

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Along with Ochocinco’s antics, it will be interesting to see how the new players such as Laveranues Coles, Andre Smith and Rey Maualuga learn the system and how they develop over time.

What Bengals fans should be most excited about, however, is that Hard Knocks will hold Mike Brown accountable for his actions. Fans will be given the opportunity to see whether or not he is earning his general manager’s bonus. Brown will no longer be in a position to play puppet master, as NFL Film’s Steve Sabol has final cut on the series. If Mike Brown missteps, we can all watch it happen on HBO in mid-August.

Drama, controversy and possibility. The question now becomes, can the Bengals shake the drama and the controversy and embrace possibility?

Image: If you're not following Ochocinco on Twitter, you're missing out. You can watch him tweet on TV when HBO comes to town, though, if you're into that sort of thing.


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<![CDATA[Random Ramblings]]>

Sunday's Super Bowl commercials were like Ruby Tuesday's in that they were not cheap but terribly bad.

But fear not loyal readers A and B! I'm not going to dull the blade by penning some lame blog about advertising disguised as a sports piece … like the people who get paid a lot of money by Yahoo! to do sports blogs that are terrible and seldom informative. Instead, I will offer you another seemingly incongruent chain of ideas, thoughts and feelings.---

Is Skyline dip something that if brought outside of the 513 would elicit a unanimous, negative reaction? I think so.

Is Super Bowl Sunday perhaps better because you get to spend it acting like it's Thanksgiving ... without the family members and wedding videos? Probably.

Did Antrel Rolle cost his team the title by obstructing Larry Fitzgerald's path to track down and tackle James Harrison as the first half clock read 0:00? Yes.

Should Bengals fans root for the Steelers? Not unless it's the Steelers against Nazis, Nancy Grace or brain-eating zombies.

A popular local sentiment I encountered during the Pagan ritual-like two week buildup to the game was that local putzes would rather see the Stillers win because they are in the NFC North or this or that ... which is all dumb. The Cardinals and the Bengals are so similar in their ineptitude that I just don't get how a supporter of one team couldn't sympathize/root for the other in this situation.

Growing up a Giants fan, I developed a keenly-tuned hatred of the Dallas Cowboys (and to an extent the state of Texas as a whole) because they were a divisional foe and their postseason successes would nearly certainly come to pass because they beat the New York Football Giants. Nearly every year there are divisions that put two teams into the playoffs. The NFC North did so this year. Sometimes a division can be strong enough to carry three. It's impossible to get every team from your division in, so each win in the division during the course of the regular season ups the total of wins needed to win the division (please see Chargers, San Diego, 2008 season for more info) or get a playoff berth.

When you don't get playoff berths, you get 4-12 seasons.

The way I see it, which is right, is that divisional foes are called that because you hope they trip and fall when it's icy. You take a sort of sociopathic pleasure in the failures of at least one (if not every single) divisional rival if you are a football fan who has watched the game for more than the last five years and you care about watching the game more than tailgating.

I dislike the Redskins ... have a stronger dislike for the Eagles ... and maintain an Ed Gein sort of fascination with enjoying the last decade or so I've had without "America's Team" in the playoffs.

When the Eagles tore Dallas apart late in the season, sealing Dallas's exclusion from said playoffs, it was viewed with great delight.

All Bengals should feel this way about the Steelers, whose fans fill your stadium every year and whose players casually dismantle your favorite team then hop a flight home.

Now that the Stillers won, local residents are going to have to see a bunch of local residents wearing Stillers merchandise who were not Stillers fans five years ago.

If anything, watching your most bitter division rival take cake should anger you and make you more of a fan of nearly whoever plays them. When you see Steelers fans who are actually from Pittsburgh, ask them if they still have a Major League Baseball team ... or if the Pirates were demoted.

stillers.jpg

Don't root for the oppressor ... the evil one who beats up on you and doesn't treat you nice.

These bubs who are going to say stupid things like "Well the Bengals aren't never gonna go to the Super Bowl" and "I been a Stillers fan all my life" and other things we do not hold to be true shouldn't be encouraged.

They should be the opposite of encouraged, whatever that means!

Realize that when the Stillers win, the Bengals lose ... it's that simple.

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<![CDATA[Big Ben Fine, Ward Great, Cardinals Screwed]]>

It seems like months ago that football was actually interesting. The first round of the NFL playoffs is cool, and the conference semifinals offer a nice slate of games over a two-day period. But once the conference championships get here, it’s like, “Ah, I’m bored. F the Steelers, and the NFC sucks.”

Then the two-week media break comes, and all we have is speculation, feel-good stories and those weird video game demonstrations on ESPN. (Does anyone else hate Mark Schlabach?) If I have to listen to John Clayton answer another Coors Lite six-pack of Super Bowl questions, I’m going to drink six of those watery beers and smash each bottle over my head. I’ve done it before.---

Anyway, the Super Bowl is finally about to be played, and the latest reports out of Tampa actually have something to do with the game, although none are surprising: Ben Roethlisberger, Hines Ward and Anquan Boldin are all going to play, and Pittsburgh coach Mike Tomlin looks like Omar Epps.

The Steelers are 6.5-point favorites, a pretty heavy spread for a Super Bowl. My guess is that it should probably be a little higher, as compulsive gamblers and bored white dudes are known to put their money on the hot team and skew the line in favor of people who bet on the better team. So it goes to say that no one really thinks the Cardinals can beat the Steelers, but put your money on Arizona if you like rooting for the passing team to come from behind and cover the spread.

At least the game is finally here and we can all focus on what really matters: the abundance of appetizers at our big screen TV-owning-friend’s place and the hilarious commercials we get to watch while abusing alcohol on a Sunday night (with an excuse).


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<![CDATA[UC Comes Home Defeated]]> Our beloved Bearcats lost the Orange Bowl last night 20-7 against Virginia Tech. UC's Tony Pike threw four interceptions, but the game was close at the half. Read more here, and stay tuned for more insight into the game from our CityBeat writers.]]> <![CDATA[Extra! Extra! Mayor Declares Tomorrow Football Day!]]>

Politicians love to lend their support to organizations that make people happy. Our country's leaders and those in our own community often take time out of their busy leader schedules to cut ribbons, shake hands, rename streets in honor of individuals and generally grub on the pride we have for those among us who succeed.

Let us recall Mayor Mallory's Opening Day wild pitch or his steadfast support of the Bengals during a meaningless late season game against the Steelers. It is good for a sports team to be recognized by the community, especially a college program that needs an increase in attendance and some private donor help in order to reach the level that will allow it to succeed regularly. But it’s kind of awkward when the politicians come out and try to be a part of the celebration. Remember when City Council invited UC Coach Brian Kelly down to council chambers for some official recognition, only to make him wait around for 45 minutes and almost miss practice?---

It’s just so unnatural when politicians try to put on their Everyman hats and talk about sports (or anything else that temporarily allows our rulers to associate with normal people). You can see the awkwardness in the athletes’ demeanor as they shake the hands of local leaders who they have never heard of or seen before. It’s like seeing elementary school kids walking on stage to pick up their 5th grade diplomas: “Uh, thanks?”

Nevertheless, Mayor Mallory has declared Jan. 1, 2009 to be "Cincinnati Bearcats Day," which amounts to a bold statement considering that day was already a national holiday. But the weirdest part of this sort-of newsworthy political support is that every part of the process — from determining who is worth publicly supporting, what to call the renamed holiday and how to write the declaration — is way calculated and traditional. The following is the official proclamation:

Be It Proclaimed:

Whereas, the University of Cincinnati’s football program is one of the nation’s oldest, which began the sport in 1885; and

Whereas, UC has been involved in several historical college football milestones starting with Dec. 8, 1888 when the Bearcats and Miami University (OH) engaged in the very first college football game played in the state of Ohio, launching a rivalry that is tied for the oldest in the game among major universities; and

Whereas, coaching luminaries have patrolled the sidelines at Cincinnati, including College Football Hall of Fame coach Frank Cavanaugh, who began his 24-season career at UC; and

Whereas, that coaching tradition has remained through the years and was once again realized in 2007, when Coach Brian Kelley began his first season with the Bearcats, posting a 10-3 record and earning a No. 17 ranking in the final Associated Press poll; and

Whereas, the Bearcats began the 2008 season with hopes of surpassing the achievements of the previous year and solidifying their place in the Big East Conference; and

Whereas, under the leadership of Coach Kelley, the UC Football Team rolled to a 10-2 record, Big East Conference Championship, and their first BCS Bowl Game in the Schools history; and

Whereas, the University of Cincinnati Bearcats will play Virginia Tech in Orange Bowl on January 1, 2009 in Miami, Florida;

Now, Therefore, I, Mark Mallory,

I, Mayor of the City of Cincinnati do hereby proclaim

January 1, 2009 as “Cincinnati Bearcats Day” in Cincinnati.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand and caused this seal of the City of Cincinnati to be affixed this 1st day of January in the year Two Thousand and Nine.

Mark Mallory, Mayor

City of Cincinnati

Now, I’m all about tradition (if by tradition you mean mocking the weird formalities that are only around in the name of tradition), but the mayor’s stellar research team has done little to prove to me that they know what any of those statistics mean. And it’s probably only because it sounds like it was written by quill by a dude wearing pantaloons and a wig.

As such, I believe that next time the Mayor (or Gov. Ted Strickland, who sent a fairly normal-sounding letter in support of the ‘Cats) go all-out with the traditional celebratory renaming of days. This will involve the Mayor producing the original proclamation himself by quill and ink while dressed in his underwear and top hat. Copies shall be written by quill by his staffers, and a town shouter shall declare the news at Fountain Square at 8 a.m. Messengers on horses will hence deliver the copies to local media outlets, who will declare the day a most glorious occasion for celebration and cheer.

*The opinions stated in this essay are those of the writer and are not necessarily shared by the publishers of CityBeat, most of whom believe that Mayor Charlie Luken's designation of November 11th, 2004 as "CITY BEAT Day" was super sweet.

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<![CDATA[Many to Blame for Fantasy Football Losses]]>

Fantasy football can make you feel like George W. Bush did when that guy threw shoes at his face. I think the only way to deal with not winning any money again this year is to blame the players on my team, the firearms they misused and my own draft day shortcomings.---

Fantasy football is great. As long as you haven't been eliminated from contention, that is. Once that happens, a short list of who's to blame gets drawn up real quick-like.

I finished fourth in the second annual Cincinnati Loser League this year, which I suppose is an improvement of sorts ... except that I still didn't win any money and I think one of my underperforming players shot himself in the leg to avoid playing for my team.

I read once that at Angola (Louisiana's State Penitentiary) dozens of inmates once maimed themselves to avoid working on the chain gang — slit their ankles so they wouldn’t have to melt in the sun all day. I wonder if that’s how players on my team felt about suiting up for me ... if they resented my firm style of leadership, and I wonder what could’ve been done better. Since my team isn’t going to win me one red penny, or even a food stamp, let us condemn those who I feel are responsible and be done with it.

nfl_g_burress_580.jpg

I’d have to start with Plaxico Burress (pictured). He put up a few decent games early in the season, then lazed through the middle stretch complaining about a hamstring. Eventually outwitted by the safety mechanism of the firearm he was carrying, his suspension created a void where once there was strength.

Ted Ginn, Jr.: Never again will I make the mistake of putting some lousy, two-bit Buckeye on my team again. You were picked up off the waiver wire, and I didn’t ask for much ... but the .3 points you offered me in my fatal playoff game were much appreciated.

Ryan Grant. I knew I should’ve stuck to my policy of not drafting or playing Packers (stemming from a longstanding grievance against then-Packer WR Javon Walker and his bum knee which doomed an earlier campaign), but I didn’t. Why? Perhaps I like failure.

I’d also like to thank you for having such a disappointing season that you reminded me of the year where I nicknamed Fred Taylor “Fuck Me Freddy” because he was terrible and hurt that year and I won about four games.

Lastly, I’d like to give big ups to Tony Scheffler, for not doing shit the entire year. I wasn’t expecting to get great numbers out of you, but the being listed as active then NOT CATCHING A FUCKING PASS thing was lame. If you wanted to ride the stationary bike so bad you should’ve let Mike Shanahan know earlier, that way he could’ve given me time to rectify said situation. I did not see the play, but the fact that you rushed once for -1 yards yesterday raises suspicion of a mutiny ... and this I will not stand for.

Take note, NFL players. When it comes to GM Isaac Thorn’s Shit List, it takes just a second to get on it and a lifetime to get off of.

Bless this day, the Lord has made.

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