Speed Read: NFL Teams Can Learn From Calgary

Give it up for our northern friends, the Calgary Stampeders, for capturing the Canadian Football League’s Grey Cup with a 22-14 win over the Montreal Alouettes. The pride of Temple University, Henry Burris, was named the MVP by totaling over 400 yards from the QB position, while Sandro DeAngelis was named the top Canadian after kicking five field goals. Yes, Canadians get their own award, and yes, it’s probably also in French.

Grey Cup champion Calgary Stampeders

(A typical Calgarian)

So while the Canadian championship may be but a footnote in American sports blurbs, briefs, whirlwinds, and newspaper agate pages, the NFL teams could certainly learn from the Stamps to help further their franchises.

• Tennessee Titans — So you lost your first game? You got whacked by the New York Jets at home 34-13? No worries. The Stamps lost 37-16 at home to the Edmonton Eskimos back on September 1.
• Arizona Cardinals — Don’t worry about the loss to the 37-29 loss to the New York Giants. Like the Stampeders’ Burris, Kurt Warner also played in the NFL Europe for a year. And if that’s not enough solace, then I don’t know what to tell you.
• Bears, Broncos, Dolphins, Bills, Broncos, and whoever wins the Packers/Saints game tonight: You all have five losses. Aw, poor babies. Calgary’s regular season record? 13-5. (Oh, yeah, and the Giants lost six last year. But that doesn’t apply here.)
• Browns, Jaguars, Chargers, Eagles, and whoever loses the Packers/Saints game tonight — you all had high hopes this year, but it’s just not looking like it’ll happen this year. No sweat. Last year the Stampeders went 7-10-1.
• Detroit Lions — You guys, much like many of the players on the Stampeders, still have your health.

Bill Snyder

Know how your co-worker got an iPhone, so everyone else got one? In a trend of reverse cutting edge technology, college teams are now embracing old solutions to new problems having seen what’s going on in Penn State. Rather than get a trendy receivers coach to lead a big-time program, Kansas State will announce this morning that Bill Snyder, 69 years young, will return as the Wildcats’ head coach. Joe Paterno will now have someone to discuss what it was like to listen to Harry Truman’s speech.

Leather Football

Time once again for a lesson on non-tie NFL rules: A team is allowed to attempt a field goal without an oncoming rush if the team just made a fair catch off a punt. The Arizona Cardinals knew this, and with five ticks left in the first half of their game against the Giants in such a position, Neil Rackers attempted a 68-yard field goal, which would’ve been the longest kick in NFL history by five yards. Let’s take a look-see:

Hmm. Too bad that attempt didn’t make his famous “hit the post four times” commercial.

Thanksgiving Dinner

Yum. Can you fit in ten more Thanksgiving metaphors this week? How about links instead?

  • It’s another NFL Network Thanksgiving miracle, thanks to Sen. Arlen Specter, apparently chairman on the Subcommittee to Fix Sports Things. The Philadelphia Eagles-Arizona Cardinals game will be shown on local Pennsylvania TV stations, although perhaps after Sunday’s loss, this is more of a curse than a blessing.
  • THE DUGOUT isn’t a fan of Mike Mussina, but likes him enough to transplant him in an intergalactic war.
  • Old hat: Japanese veteran baseball player. New fedora: Japanese phenom baseball player. Old hat again: the Red Sox sign him, NPB TRACKER reports (or translates SPONICHI ANNEX’s report, which is the same thing). Jinichi Tazawa will get $3 million over 3 years, but will have to develop his Japanese-taught mannerisms in an American-style pitching system. Baseball purists ought to keep an eye on this project.
  • JOE POSNANSKI can’t seem to stop thinking about MVP arguments and how fun they are. Hey, they are fun!
  • THE MIAMI HERALD wonders what Tony Sparano should do with Joey Porter after the Dolphins linebacker refused to leave the field after being yanked by his coach.
  • More from the Fins/Pats game: Matt Light and Channing Crowder could be BFFs for the rest of us know, but at the worst possible time they got in kind of a fight. BALLHYPE has video proof.
  • Contrary to previous optimism in which the Detroit Lions could win a game this year: the DETROIT NEWS’ John Niyo is reporting the Detroit Lions probably won’t win a game this year.
  • Cliff Lee isn’t just the Cy Young winner, he also won “Cleveland’s Man Of The Year” as voted on by the local chapter of the BBWAA. Also some guy named Luis Isaac, who was with the Indians for over 40 years, won an award for getting fired and not being a bitch about it. The award, unfortunately, is not a new job.
  • The TORONTO STAR’s Rosie DiManno isn’t at all fooled at the Maple Leafs honoring Wendel Clark in a ceremony last night, since the Leafs haven’t won the Stanley Cup in 41 years because Clark isn’t seven people.
  • And finally, it’s time for your Iranian sports news update. The Grizzlies’ Hamed Haddadi will be sent down to the Dakota Wizards of the NBA D-League. Hey, it beats getting flipped off by your GM. Almost.

So, the BCS got a bit complicated over the weekend. Assuming Alabama stays undefeated, who deserves to play them in the BCS Title Game?

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(Note: I left Florida out because if Alabama stays undefeated, they will have to beat the Gators in the SEC Championship, putting them at two losses.)

Pit Bull Expert Porter Backs Vick Reinstatement

If Michael Vick is looking for character witnesses as he heads towards his release from prison and possible reinstatement, he can count on Joey Porter to have his back. Which is great, if you think having a big-mouth lout who cold-cocks people at blackjack tables on your side is a good thing. Regardless, Porter told the MIAMI HERALD that he definitely thinks Vick should be allowed back into the league.

Joey Porter with his pit bulls

After all, it was just pit bulls that he was training to maul each other:

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Joey Porter Restores Our Undying Faith In Him

Joey Porter has been all over the news of late, and sadly, for a lot of the right reasons. He’s been having a fantastic season on the field for the resurgent Dolphins, correctly predicted the Fins win over the Pats this season, and even refused to respond in kind to Brandon Marshall’s recent outburst about him.

Joey Porter Celebration

Yeah, I’ve been very disappointed in Porter. But thankfully, he gave us a couple crumbs that get things back to normal with him. First, he celebrated a TD at the Colorado State game with one of the Rams players last Saturday. The celebration cost the team a 15-yard penalty. Video after the jump. Read more…

Brandon Marshall: Joey Porter Dances Like A Girl

The Broncos may be in first place in the dreadful AFC West, but they need to start worrying a bit more about winning football games than discussing the nightclub antics of their opponents. Denver fell to 4-4 with a 26-17 loss at home to the Dolphins on Sunday, and the team hasn’t won since Jay Cutler popped off about having the strongest arm in the league and started comparing himself to John Elway.

Joey Porter Dolphins

Now, Brandon Marshall has decided to start unloading on Joey Porter — after the Dolphins came in and punked the Broncos on Sunday. He gets off a couple good shots, including one about Porter’s shirtless dancing out at the clubs.

Who’s the best NFL dancer?

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NFL Referees Doing Pretty Darn Good, Stats Say

For all the grumbling about football officiating this season, has anyone bothered to actually check out accurate the refs have been? The NFL has, and the refs have been really, really good.

Ed Hochuli

According to the league’s grading, 97.64 percent of all plays have been correctly officiated. Since about 150 plays are run in the average game, that’s about 4 missed calls per game. If you want to compare it to all the times you leaped off the coach to protest a clearly biased call against your favorite team, only to see on the replay that they got the call right, then the refs are doing a pretty damn good job.
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Speed Read: Well, Ain’t That A Kick In The Head

Brushing up on the SAT, or just looking to get your GED? Then let’s help you with some standardized testing.

“Billy watched four NFL games won in the final minute of regulation. Which one did he like the best?”

a) Ryan Longwell’s 26-yard field goal to help the Vikings beat the Lions 12-10
b) Jason Elam’s last-second kick to give the Falcons a 22-20 win over the Bears
c) Josh Brown flexing with pride after kicking the Rams to a 19-17 victory against Washington
d) Matt Schaub lifting the Texans to a 29-28 win over the Dolphins on a last minute scramble

NFL exciting finish quiz

Of course it’s “D.” (Even though on most Scantron tests it’s more than likely “C.”) The discussion of kickers overusing their worth has been a curious one from time to time, with Skip Bayless perhaps being most famous for being their No. 1 enemy (“Eliminate place kicking altogether.”), which might be why nobody’s ready to warm up to that idea. But suppose if field goals were outlawed in the final two minutes and overtime, then we’d have Gus Frerotte, Matt Ryan and Mark Bulger try to win it with their arms … or legs.

Arizona Cardinals block Cowboys

The counterargument, though, is that if you couldn’t kick field goals after the two-minute warning. We wouldn’t have had this game, where the Cardinals’ Sean Morey practically blocked the Cowboys’ overtime punt with his clavicle to ensure a 30-24 win over the Dallasites. To get to OT, Nick Folk had to blast a 52-yard three-point shot to tie the game, which — again — almost didn’t happen, because the first attempt was blocked but re-kicked after AZ head man Ken Whisenhunt whistled for a timeout. Hey, that’s another good idea. No defensive timeouts in the final two minutes. Who’s with me?

NLCS - Kuroda vs. Manny

It sure was nice of Major League Baseball to lift the ban on talking about the NLCS without talking about Manny Ramirez, if only for one game. The highlight of the Dodgers’ 7-2 rout of the Phillies — besides maybe that five-run first inning that essentially kept the Dodecahedrons in the series — was a series if high-and-in pitches that came to a head when Hiroki Kuroda, smack dab in the middle of owning the Philbins, tossed one where Shane Victorino’s head was located split-seconds earlier. Bedlam! Scuffle! Hootenanny! Benches cleared, and Victorino kept the bad blood feud through press quotes that will surely trickle into Game 4, right? Right?!

“I think it’s over.”

Yeah! Take their heads off! Kick their … huh? It’s over? Pssttthththth. Guess we’re back to talking just about the baseball games themselves and how the Dodgers have halved their NLCS deficit and got their bats going, their pitchers locating, and their fans into the series. Just two things. If this game is decided by a field goal, there will be hell to pay. Same if the Dodgers win the series and play the Red Sox in the World Series.

It’s also a new NFL rule that Ed Hochuli is scrutinized after every week of the NFL playoffs:

Joey Porter and Ed Hochuli

  • Now Hocks is getting called out by players. The PALM BEACH POST says the enigmatic Joey Porter isn’t happy at all with Hochuli and his officiating crew after his hit on the aforementioned Matt Schaub, causing him to drop the ball, was ruled an incomplete pass and not a fumble. “It’s the same referees’ staff. Something always happens out there.” For once, Porter is right.
  • Also fuming at the refs is the Lions’ Leigh Bodden for a pass interference call against the Minnesota Vikings that led to their winning field goal. DETROIT FREE PRESS says Bodden wants an apology from the NFL. Hey, good luck with that.
  • Staying with winless teams in the Rust Belt, don’t count on the Bengals getting their first win anytime soon. The CINCINNATI POST has their OC channeling Napoleon Dynamite on his own team: “We’re pretty much inept.”
  • A blogger at OPEN SPORTS says the NHL might be going overboard with ads, perhaps even too political? I’m Matt Sussman, and I something something.
  • 12-year-old Tampa Bay Rays fan Zachary Sharples is so hardcore, he was suspended from school for his Rayhawk hairdo, and was rewarded with meeting the team.
  • Racist slurs in soccer? Sure, maybe in Europe, but in our quaint little country? The WASHINGTON POST reports D.C. United goalie Louis Crayton had a confrontation with a Houston Dynamo fan after their 0-0 draw. The fan in question called the black goalkeeper a monkey who should go back to the jungle. Crayton jumped a barrier to confront the fan, and as a result the fan was given the MLS banhammer.
  • PUCK DADDY shares CBC’s newest theme song for Hockey Night in Canada, affectionately titled “Canadian Gold.”
  • When KISSING SUZY KOLBER takes screenshots of Bill Belichick’s face during a beatdown of a game, everyone wins.
  • Tim Stephens of the ORLANDO SENTINEL eyes Penn State and Alabama as the teams with the best chances to run the table. Clearly he’s short-changing the MAC daddies, Ball State.
  • And finally, here’s a guy I keep forgetting to read every week and instead tune into maybe every other month, but here’s Norman Chad praising old, old coaches Joe Paterno and Bobby Bowden because, hey, why not?

After this weekend, what new sports rule needs to be put into place?

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Speed Read: No Penalties, No Subs, No Time Limit

Officially, the Steelers-Ravens game had six injury timeouts. Something tells me more than six players got their bodies bruised last night. Fortunately, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell didn’t implement the Rollerball championship game rules in this game, because it probably would have ended up with both punters just kicking the ball to each other.

Rollerball-like conditions in Ravens-Steelers MNF

Andre Frazier was stretchered off on the first play. Both teams were down to their third-string running backs by overtime. Willis McGahee was helped off twice. Strangely, QBs Ben Roethlisberger and Joe Flacco, the two guys who got rassled down to the ground all night, didn’t leave the game prematurely with boo-boos.

But are there really any winners, as a society increased its desire for bloodlust on this night? (Sorry, that was mighty post-apocalyptic for a sports blog.) In the post-game conference, Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin said the injuries did not dampen their hard-fought 23-20 win over B’more. “That’s football.” And thank God almighty for penalties, substitutions and time limits.

Speaking of men with no apparent time limits, let’s bring in our comic relief. Headlining tonight’s gig will be Funny Bone Ticker of the Year, Al Davis and the Oakland Raiders! [applause]

Al Davis

(Wow. He’s never looked better.)

Davis has never been a buy-the-book guy. When the book says “fire your coach, then look for a replacement?” Davis burns the book. (Or feeds it to a lamprey.) No, Davis is hellbent on finding a replacement to Lane Kiffin first, then subsequently firing Kiffin, ESPN is reporting. Perhaps this is all a cunning ruse by Davis, through the wise advise of former literary agent John Hodgman, to convince the world that time is moving backwards. By Week 11, he’ll inexplicably announce Lane Kiffin as the new head coach of the Raiders. By 2010, he’ll hire Art Shell, just to throw the world a curveball. And in 2015, he’ll lose his virginity.

So if you’re curious if Kiffin’s been canned yet, there’s only one definitive place to bookmark and refresh. The official website of the countdown, HASLANEKIFFINBEENFIRED.COM:

Has Kiffin Been Fired?

(Could Abe Froman be interested in the job?)

Kiffin probably doesn’t deserve to be head coach anymore, but man, when did it make sense to can coaches before October? (I think we’ve all had ex-girlfriends who we’ve strung along for far less time than Davis has done with Kiffin.) The SANTA ROSA PRESS DEMOCRAT notes that if Kiffin’s job is saved, Kalimba Edwards might have had something to do with it.

Tiger on his knees, not in my tank

The world’s best golfer has a time limit of 24 months before he can play again? So stay strong and resolute in your fantasy golf keeper leagues, because Tiger Woods‘ ACL injury recovery could last as long as two years, sez THE TELEGRAPH. World famous surgeon Lanny L. Johnson said — no kidding! — that the ligament means something different to football players than it does to golfers:

“If you tear your cruciate ligament in American football, you can play within a year – and with full confidence within two years. Based on this, and the recovery period of other athletes, I am guessing that Tiger will need two years.”

Wow. What a world in which we take advice from guys named Lanny.

What about a world in which you take advice from guys named Joey Porter?

Joey Porter, financial advisor

  • The Dolphins linebacker knows how to get us out of this economic recession. ESPN’s NFL NATION gets the financial advice we’ve been waiting to hear: just dig a hole in your backyard and put your money in there. Skeptical? Hey, he was right about Matt Cassel.
  • Then Porter can tell you to go back in time and bet on the Tampa Bay Rays to win the American League who, as VEGAS WATCH points out, were at 75-1 odds to start the year. (Quick story about this. We saw the Vegas Hilton Sportsbook odds a couple weeks ago, and at the top stood the Yankees’ AL hopes at 2500-1. Second from the bottom was Tampa, at 20-1. Oh what a beautiful sight it was.)
  • A somber update to Jaguars offensive lineman Richard Collier, who was shot 14 times last month: His leg was amputated and will be paralyzed from the waist down for the rest of his life.
  • So you just lost your quarterback for the season? No worries. If you’re the Washington Huskies, and your QB is Jake Locker, just move him to safety, COLLEGE FOOTBALL TALK murmurs.
  • Gilbert Arenas‘ life, because it needed to be said, is still better than yours. As he shares on AGENT ZERO, the Wiz’ star is now engaged, and he didn’t even have to pop the question.
  • Ousted Rams coach Scott Linehan can at least take solace that more people approved of this work than they do of still-employed Vikings coach Brad Childress, RANDBALL discovers.
  • Meaningless game for the Tigers on Monday? Tell that to Jim Leyland, who told MLB.COM: “I wanted to win this game today bad … because we wanted to get another win. It’s not like you’re trying to knock the White Sox out as much as you’re trying to get a win and you’re trying to be professional and go about your business. I tried everything I knew how to do.”
  • Encouraging words from the Toronto Maple Leafs’ Ron Wilson to the GLOBE AND MAIL regarding the upcoming NHL season: “We’re not going to win the Stanley Cup this year. There’s a news flash for you.” Honesty. You gotta respect that, at least.
  • Pssh. What the heck does Will Leitch know about New York sports? That didn’t stop him from sharing his ten best Big Apple athletes for NEW YORK MAGAZINE.
  • Oh yeah, and the White Sox play the Twins for the AL Central crown today. It’s Nick Blackburn against John Danks. No, I’m not envious by jamming this nugget at the end of the article. Nuh-uh.

What’s most likely to happen in today’s Sox-Twins playoff game?

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Unimpressed With Cassel, Porter Predicts Fins Win

Wait, Joey Porter’s still in the league? Huh, I thought he had retired, or been abducted by aliens or some such because he’s been keeping a low profile since the Steelers released him following the 2006 season.

Joey Porter

That might have everything to do with his new team, the Miami Dolphins, and their jaw-droppingly awful 1-15 record last year. Such futility quiets even the loudest trash talkers, and apparently, that’s exactly what has happened to J. Peezy. Until now, anyhow. With Tom Brady done for the year, Porter is seizing on what he perceives is a golden opportunity for the Dolphins to turn things around. Yep, he’s smacking his gums about Matt Cassel, and even hints at a Miami victory this weekend.

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Denver Airport Considers SI.Com A Porno Website

Depending on your internet browsing preferences, you may not be able to view your favorite sites while sitting in the Denver airport. Which is one more reason to stay out of Colorado (Joey Porter and Kobe Bryant vigorously nods their head in agreement).

Denver Airport

For most of us this isn’t an issue since we don’t head to the airport to check our e-mail, but for people who actually leave the comfy confines of mom’s basement, it can be problematic.

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Erin Andrews Answers Rumblings of Rutgers Fans

• Rutgers fans are rankled that Erin Andrews wasn’t working their game on Monday. Erin responds by having replacement reporter Rob Stone read her official statement on the matter during the game.

Erin Andrews fullbody

George O’Leary & UCF certainly know how to make a teleconference titillating - just send the media a phone sex number by mistake.

• Figures that Oklahoma football players would get in a bar brawl Sooner or later.

• Jaguars OT Richard Collier is in critical condition after getting shot early Tuesday morning.

• Cubs catcher Koyie Hill makes it back to the Majors after almost having his fingers cut off in a wood saw accident.

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