Lady Killer: Mike Tomlin Still Willing To Fly Coach

Here’s a fun photo of Mike Tomlin recently sent in by a reader:

Mike Tomlin out on the town

(Andy Rooney wants his hat back)

Harmless fun. I posted the photo because I thought the ALTOONA (PA) MIRROR, reporting from Steelers training camp today, summed up the pic rather nicely: Read more…

WTF: Kiffin Pic With Wife Stokes Off-Field Rumors

UPDATE (2:58p ET): Per another incessant rumor, I recently contacted TMZ to ask if the website has reporters in Knoxville investigating Kiffin’s alleged alt-lifestyle. A TMZ spokesperson told me today, “we are not in Knoxville.”

Message boards and blogs are abuzz with rumors about unsavory off-field conduct by Lane Kiffin during his tenure in Knoxville as Tennessee coach. Much of the speculation has been fueled by this photo:

Lane Kiffin Mike Tomlin Photo

Many around the web are saying that the photo indicates Kiffin partying with UT coeds with his wife Layla nowhere in sight. Along with this “evidence,” many message board posters and bloggers are accusing Kiffin of additional sins, along with the obligatory cries of a coverup by the Knoxville Police.

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Speed Read: Steelers Salvage Opening Night Win

If anyone wanted to know the difference between college football and the NFL, you just needed to watch the two games last night. (At least the two that anyone cared about - sorry, Florda A&M at Winston-Salem State on ESPNU.) If you like offense, crazy plays and wild comebacks, then the Clemson at Georgia Tech game was for you. But if you prefer low-scoring, hard-hitting football that’s kind of not very exciting until the final five minutes, then the NFL kickoff game between Pittsburgh and Tennessee was for you. (Sorry, is my bias showing?)

Steelers vs Titans

First let’s talk about the Steelers’ 13-10 overtime victory. Plainly put, Pittsburgh had no reason to win this game. They could not run the ball, gaining a whopping 33 yards. (Note to the guy in my fantasy league bragging about “stealing” Rashard Mendenhall: eat it.) And between Jeff Reed almost shanking the game-tying 32-yard field goal into the offensive line’s backsides and Hines Ward fumbling after a reception took him inside the Titans’ five with a minute to go, they were teetering on disaster. Read more…

Shaq Juking And Jiving With The Jabberwockeez

• Nothing sums up the NBA All-Star Weekend like the Shaqawockeez.

Shaquille ONeal Shaqawockeez

• Of course, there were other wondrous sights to be seen in Phoenix, such as Snoop Dogg, Japanese reporters, and mascots abducting children.

• The bad economy is even putting the squeeze on Little League Baseball.

Mike Tomlin was quite the wideout for William & Mary.

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Steelers Coach Tomlin Was a Real Baller In College

Don at Pittsburgh-based MONDESI’s HOUSE has highlights of Steelers Coach Mike Tomlin’s playing career at William & Mary.

Mike Tomlin Highlights

As a wide receiver, Tomlin still holds the school record of 20 touchdown passes. He was a three-year starter and all-conference.

Quick quiz: What conference does William & Mary play in? Answer and Tomlin video after the jump. Read more…

Angels Verbally Express Disinterest in Manny Grab

• The Angels really don’t want to get into Manny Ramirez acquisition hell.

Manny Ramirez pray

(”Somebody PLEASE give me a multi-million-dollar contract!“)

• Punters? We don’t need no stinking punters!

Mike Tomlin’s not so thrilled to see Santa interrupt his press conference.

Britney Spears’ ex Kevin Federline returns serve by palling up with a beach volleyball babe.

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Mike Tomlin’s Heart Grew Three Sizes That Day

The Steelers managed to find someone who isn’t as cuddly and easygoing as Bill Cowher, if you can believe it.

Mike Tomlin and Santa

This isn’t a still from a screen test for possibly the greatest action comedy Hollywood has ever produced.

This is Mike Tomlin’s weekly press conference, which was hijacked by Santa Claus. Tomlin played grinch, looking like he would’ve given anything to put his team through a tackling drill, with Santa as the tackling sled. (Video after the jump.)

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Fishy Call In Steelers Game Worth $64M To Vegas

You thought dogfighting was a black eye for the NFL? Just wait until the latest scandal picks up steam; one that actually affected real humans, and real money. Roger Goodell is going to regret his bloodless coup that deposed Generalissimo Tagliabue.

Troy Polamalu

I am, of course, talking about that abortion of an ending to yesterday’s Pittsburgh-San Diego game. On the last play, the Chargers lateraled the ball twice, fumbled, and Steelers safety Troy Polamalu scooped it up and rumbled to a touchdown to make the score 17-10, which would have covered the spread in some degenerate version of a Christmas miracle.

But wait! After a booth review, the officials cited a phantom forward pass, called the play dead, and ended the game at 11-10. Unsurprisingly, conspiracy theories are flying. (Video after the jump. “Back, and to the left.”)

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Belichick Among Most Loved, Hated NFL Coaches

In a player survey, 80 percent of NFL players were polled as to which coaches they’d most, and least, want to play for. It’s actually a fascinating look at how players balance their desire to win with their desire to play for a nice guy, two things that are often mutually incompatible. And Bill Belichick, probably the best illustration of that, got some interesting responses.

Bill Belichick

The last two Super Bowl winners ended up at opposite ends of the list. Tony Dungy, unsurprisingly, was named the most desirable head coach - his father-figure-like manner, and on-the-field success made him a clear number one. Hardass Tom Coughlin was the coach players least wanted to play for. The poll was conducted during last season, before the Giants’ championship, so those 53 players with rings are probably pretty glad they sucked it up. Plaxico Burress could not be reached for comment.

And what about Belichick, an a**hole who always wins?

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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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