|01-24-2002, 06:30 PM||#1|
Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: Charlotte, NC
Sports Central Newsletter - #68 - Tuna on the Menu?
The Sports Central Newsletter
January 13th, 2002 - Issue #68
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|-- IN THIS ISSUE... --|
- Words From the Editor for 01.13.01
- What's new at Sports Central?
- Feature article: Tuna on the Menu in Tampa?
- Sports briefs: The latest in the sports world
- The Lancaster Report 01.13.01
|-- WORDS FROM THE EDITOR --|
Welcome to the first newsletter of 2002. Here's to another year of
growth, prosperity, and improvement! The 2001 was a great one, where we
celebrated our third anniversary. Good things are only ahead.
Sports Central will be unaccessible for a few hours on Saturday, January
19th as our web host moves their servers to a new data center. They will
begin the server moves at 6:00 p.m. Eastern Time (2300 GMT) on the 19th
and anticipate the move will take anywhere from 5 to 10 hours. The site
should be unaccessible for a maximum of 5 hours. Hopefully, you can
survive that long without Sports Central!
If you are a sports card collector, make sure to see this issue's ad,
which is found right under this section. Our friends at
SportCardDirect.com have just opened their store and are offering some
A happy birthday goes out to one of sports' greatest legends, Muhammad
Ali. He turns 60 this Thursday and CBS will be airing a special on him
at 9 p.m. EST that day. Don't miss it!
Until next time,
- Marc James, Your Editor
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|-- WHAT'S NEW AT SPORTS CENTRAL? --|
Revisiting the new articles for the week of 01/07/01 - 01/13/01:
COLLEGE: Top notch best describes ACC hoops
By Sam Selden
The Atlantic Coast Conference will have a minimum of six entrants into
March Madness 2002. ACC dominance has bounced talks of parity right out
the window. No other conference, major, mid-major, semi-sweet major, or
other, has nearly the level of talent and coaching across the board that
the ACC flaunts, says SC's Sam Selden.
MLB: The rich get richer
By Mason Williams
There has been more movement on the frozen lakes of Minnesota than there
has been in MLB this winter. The exception to this rule are the Yankees
and the Mets. While most MLB teams are watching their pocketbooks with
more scrutiny than Ebenezer Scrooge at a tax audit, the Yankees and Mets
keep throwing money to players like drunken sailors in the red light
MLB: Musing from the void (January)
By Peter Friberg
Did anyone notice that there's barely a month until pitchers and
catchers report to Spring Training? SC's Peter Friberg has a potpourri
of subjects he wants to cover in an admittedly random fashion. Without
further ado, here is January's Musings From the Void.
NFL: Wildcard weekend
By Piet Van Leer
The first weekend of the NFL playoffs has arrived, and not a minute too
soon to wash that awful BCS taste out of our mouths. SC's Piet Van Leer
has come up with an in depth look at the games, and also a reason as to
why the NFC is such a prohibitive favorite over the AFC before teams
have even been placed in New Orleans.
TENNIS: 2002 tennis kicks off
By Tom Kosinski
The New Year has begun and that means only one thing for tennis fans:
tennis is right around the corner! SC's Tom Kosinski takes a look at a
pretty good start to the 2002 professional tennis season and gives you a
brief preview of the upcoming Australian Open.
NFL: The end of the story
By Andrew Kulp
Giants defensive lineman Michael Strahan broke the single-season sack
record in Week 17's loss to the Packers in controversial fashion. Why
the heck is this such a big deal? One play seemed to be the biggest
controversy in the NFL's final week of regular season play. However,
this sack was about as important as a game between the Lions and
Panthers would have been, says SC's Andrew Kulp.
NBA: The future meets the past
By Brian Ault
For years, the Spurs and the Jazz have had one of the best rivalries in
all the NBA. Even though it's been a bit dulled as of late, it can still
get very competitive. But this year, SC's Brian Ault has noticed some
similarities between the best team in the league and one of the best
Jazz teams of the past decade.
NFL: Different treatment in the coaching fraternity?
By Jeff Daniels
The top players in the National Football League are African-American,
but currently, there is only one African-American head coach. This
offseason, the NFL will have at least five or six job openings and it
will be very interesting to see if any of those head coaching jobs are
given to African-Americans. But don't bet on it, says SC's Jeff Daniels.
NHL: Patrick Roy: A character in action
By Josie Lemieux
When Patrick Roy started his Quebec major-junior hockey career as a
Granby Bison in 1982, the stats were not revealing anything particular.
Today, the NHL goaltending world is used to the recordman. For some, he
is the greatest. For others, a tempered, arrogant performer. Stats
sheet? Thanks, but no thanks. Instead, let's look through the looking
glass, people, says SC's Josie Lemieux.
|-- FEATURE ARTICLE --|
Tuna on the Menu in Tampa?
"I like football," Bill Parcells told Sports Illustrated. "Sometimes I
miss one o'clock on Sundays. It was my life for a lot of years. But you
can't do this forever and guys like me aren't for everyone. I do feel
like this is it for me. If I get through January, I'll be in the clear
forever." Well it's beginning to look like he couldn't get through
January, as Bill Parcells seems likely to be confirmed as Head Coach of
the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the next few days or weeks. The Big Tuna is
back - and thank the Lord for that.
By Mike Round
Genius. An over-used phrase applied, predominantly, to the undeserving.
The network guys love hanging the "genius" tag on football coaches,
though - it's a good storyline that can fill up some valuable airtime. I
like to keep score of who's this weeks/months/seasons genius. Mike
Shanahan is a perennial Genius Pro Bowler. Until this season, so were
Tony Dungy, Jim Haslett, Jeff Fisher, Mike Holmgren, and George Seifert.
Butch Davis and Mike Martz look shoe-ins for the Genius Pro Bowl of
2002. Steve Spurrier is the next great NFL genius, at least to some in
the press. Don't believe the hype. The NFL doesn't have a genius amongst
its coaching ranks, but it may have soon: Parcells.
Personally, I'm not that impressed by the modern NFL coach. Too much of
that "win one for the gipper" type nonsense that only has a short life
span with today's pro. Jim Haslett is the perfect example. Once the team
starts losing, they don't know what to do, because the big speech and
the rallying cry has worn thin with the grizzled veterans.
The modern NFL coach is also saddled with the modern NFL pro, a guy who
is wealthy, enjoys hearing himself talk, and bolts for the exit door at
the first hint of "disrespect." So, such as in Minnesota, you end up
with a players committee running the team and pretty much doing as they
Bill Parcells rules by fear, pure and simple. He's not interested in
consensus or discussion. You do it his way, or find another team. It's
never going to work in today's NFL, I hear you cry. It worked in New
England and it worked in New York. It'll work again in Tampa -
Parcells is a throwback in some ways, but on the cutting edge in others.
Stick him on the sidelines in the 1960's against Lombardi or Landry and
he'd have looked as part of the scenery as bushy sideburns and
bell-bottom pants. But Parcells eats, drinks, and breathes football -
modern football, not historical football.
His time at the networks hasn't stopped him from amassing a huge
database on players, salary cap, free agents, and potential draft picks.
Not for him, though, the pseudo-Stanford professor act of Bill Walsh,
the Sam Malone hair obsession of JJ, or the earnest scholarly look of
George Seifert. He looks like a football coach. He even looks more of a
football coach than John Madden ever did. Ill-fitting pants, hair
refusing to be controlled, and eyes veering everywhere looking for
someone to chew out. The only man in the NFL to look better dressed in
Gatorade than a suit.
It isn't just the look with Parcells though that makes him a throwback.
He believes in ball control football. Mistake-free football. Fun and
gun, run and shoot, West Coast offense - whatever fancy-dan names you
gave to pass first systems - Parcells isn't buying into them. He likes a
dependable QB who doesn't throw high-risk passes, a solid between
tackles runner, tough, disciplined defense, and a solid special teams
game. After the victory in Super Bowl XXV over the pass-happy Bills, one
hapless journalist asked Parcells if the victory justified his sort of
ball control football. Parcells fixed him with a glare and replied
tersely, "That type of football never needed justifying. It was the
other that did."
Not that Parcells is a conservative coach. He just knows how to get the
best out of his teams strengths, and hide it's weaknesses. He likes to
gamble on 4th down more than most, likes to throw a firecracker in the
game such as Ray Lucas or Dave Meggett and isn't afraid to go with his
instincts on a player.
His knowledge of his players (and coaching staff) is what separates
Parcells from his peers. The endless hours at training camp seemingly
just chewing the fat, had a purpose; to get inside the player's heads.
LT was a wild one with a night-time schedule not exactly compatible with
his athletic commitments. On the surface, a clash of the titans - an
intransigent head coach with a reputation for discipline and a party
animal star player. But the ends justified the means for Parcells. He
let LT have his head and it paid off with two Super Bowl rings for both
Conversely, Parcells never got off Phil Simms' back. Rarely did a game
go by for Simms without he made his way disconsolately to the sidelines
to be greeted by the inevitable barrage from his coach. But Parcells
knew he had to ride Simms to get the best out of him. Nothing mattered
to Parcells other than the win, loss column. Sentiment, style, players
feelings, reputations, fans, media acceptance? Parcells once said, "The
only thing anyone remembers about a coach was 'Did he win the game?'"
For a guy who is famously terse with the media, Parcells is remarkably
media-savvy. He'll spend hours hanging out and talking off the record
with his team's beat guys. Parcells knows it is time well spent - it
gives him a sympathetic guy in the press box when things aren't so rosy.
But those press conferences were a different matter. Ask a question
judged to be dumb and you got a withering stare, a reply laced with
sarcasm and the trademark bark "Next question." A Parcells press
conference - after a loss - was as enjoyable as root canal work.
If things are often terse between Parcells and the media, it is Cold War
with owners and GM's. You disagree with Parcells - it's him or you. The
team is his personal domain. Everyone has to be going in the same
direction - his - or they part company. Patriots personnel chief Bobby
Grier drafted Terry Glenn against Parcells wishes in the 1996 draft,
which set off a year long war between owner Robert Kraft, Grier, and
Parcells, culminating in an against-the-odds run to the Super Bowl and
Parcells bolting to the Jets' straight after. The Patriots have done
nothing since, until recently restored to something acceptable,
ironically by Parcells prodigy Bill Belichick. The Jets went from a NFL
joke to contender in one foul swoop.
You hire Parcells and your team is instantly better. Pre-Parcells, the
Patriots were 9-39 in the '90s. Four years later, they were in Super
Bowl XXXI. Pre-1983, the Giants had had one winning season in 10. Four
years later, they were Super Bowl champions. A 1-15 season in New York
under Rich Kotite was turned into 9-7 and the following year the AFC
Championship game in Denver.
There have been many legendary head coaches in football history. Who's
the best coach of the last two decades? Bill Parcells. Next question.
Mike Round is married to Sandra Bullock, is 6'5" tall, devastatingly
handsome, single-handedly recaptured the Falklands Islands for the U.K.,
and once purchased AOL shares at 69 cents.
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|-- SPORTS BRIEFS --|
And now, a collection of the latest and hottest sports stories on the
MLB: Congress nixes talks on loan
MLB: Here's hope: Young arms
NFL: Six ways to become a Bears fanatic
NBA: Shaq snaps after hard foul against Bulls
NFL: Random thoughts while watching 49ers-Packers
|-- THE LANCASTER REPORT --|
By Ross Lancaster
In this week's TLR, the contamination of upsets around division 1 is
examined, as well as a new edition to TLR. Read on!
--> The Upset Bug
The Upset Bug is back. You know it as when elite
team-after-team-after-team falls to the likes of college basketball's
nobody's, such as Clemson knocking off Virginia and Duke falling to
Florida State, both in the ACC. However, the ACC is not the only
conference affected by surprise teams, with Big Ten's elite team,
Illinois, falling, as well. The "bug" was no more evident than last
weekend. When the weekend began, four undefeated teams began: Duke,
Virginia, Miami of Florida, and Oklahoma State. When the weekend ended,
none stood with zero in the loss column.
Upsets have given surprise teams like Oregon, Pittsburgh, N.C. State,
and Ohio State a way to get into the national college basketball
spotlight. Upsets sure are fun to watch, and they are a sign of just how
much parity is in Division 1 nowadays.
--> The Lancaster Top 25
[Editor's Note: This was before Kansas' loss to UCLA Saturday.]
6. Oklahoma State
17. Boston College
18. Wake Forest
21. NC State
25. Texas Tech
--> The 65
Every day comes closer to March, which is why I am debuting a new
feature on TLR, The 65. It will tell the 65 teams that I feel should
make the NCAA Tournament at time of writing. Conference champions this
early in the season are determined by RPI and is the first team listed
in a conference.
ACC (5) – Duke, Maryland, Wake Forest, N.C. State, Virginia
America East (1) – Vermont
A-10 (1) – State Bonaventure
Atlantic Sun (1) – Samford
Big East (6) – Syracuse, Pittsburgh, Miami (Fla.), UConn, Boston
College, State John's
Big Sky (1) – Montana State
Big South (1) – High Point
Big Ten (5) – Illinois, Ohio State, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan State
Big 12 (6) – Kansas, Texas Tech, Texas, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State,
Big West (1) – Utah State
Colonial (1) – UNC Wilmington
C-USA (5) – Cincinnati, Marquette, Louisville, South Florida, Memphis
Horizon (1) – Butler
Ivy (1) – Pennsylvania
MAAC (1) – Manhattan
MAC (1) – Bowling Green,
MCC (1) – Missouri-Kansas City
MEAC (1) – Hampton
MVC (2) – Northern Iowa, Southern Illinois
MWC (2) – Utah, San Diego State
Northeast (1) – Central Connecticut
OVC (1) – Tennessee Tech
Pac-10 (6) – Arizona, UCLA, Oregon, Southern Cal, California, Stanford
Patriot (1) – Colgate
SEC (5) – Georgia, Florida, Kentucky, Mississippi State, Alabama
SWAC (1) – Alcorn State
Southern (1) – College of Charleston
Southland (1) – Louisiana-Monroe
Sun Belt (1) – Western Kentucky
WAC (2) – Fresno State, Hawaii
WCC (1) – Gonzaga
--> Games to Look For
January 15 - No. 1 Kansas @ No. 6 Oklahoma State
January 15 - No. 9 Virginia vs. No. 18 Wake Forest
January 15 - No. 13 Iowa @ No. 15 Illinois
January 17 - No. 2 Duke vs. No. 4 Maryland
January 19 - No. 1 Kansas vs. No. 5 Oklahoma
January 19 - No. 2 Duke vs. No. 18 Wake Forest
January 21 - No. 6 Oklahoma State vs. No. 19 Missouri
January 22 - No. 8 Syracuse vs. No. 22 Pittsburgh
January 24 - No. 12 Stanford @ No. 16 UCLA
Have a good week, and enjoy the games!
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