Last week was a very busy one in the sports world - the Roethlisberger suspension, the NBA and NHL playoffs picking up steam, the NFL Draft that ran Thursday through Saturday and euphoria turns to sadness for the Colorado Rockies.
Welcome to the first installment of TSF’s News and Notes.
One of the most troubling debates to come out of the Ben Roethlisberger situation was the fact that he could possibly NOT face a suspension handed down by Commissioner Roger Goodell BUT by the Pittsburgh Steelers. Had this been the case, Goodell’s authority as commissioner would’ve been called into question, not to mention women’s activist groups and possible mention of a double standard for high profile White players. Goodell avoided both potential problems and placed a six-game suspension on Roethlisberger with the possibility of it being reduced to four. Roethlisberger has also been ordered to undergo counseling.
Of couse many want to compare the suspension of Roethlisberger to other players – most notably Michael Vick. I’ve heard some people state that Vick received a lesser suspension. Much to the contrary Vick was suspended indefinitely in August of 2007 without pay. Prior to reporting to prison in November of the same year. And served two more games at the start of the 2009 season. I think that Roethlisberger is one offense away from being traded, this isn’t his first or second offense. The Steelers franchise is embarrassed and are now at zero tolerance with their quarterback.
The 75th NFL Draft was a dramatic as it was long, personally I enjoyed the new format and I thinks it allows teams to gather themselves and improves draft strategy in the later rounds (Unless you’re the Philadelphia Eagles). Some of the standout picks and transactions:
- The Denver Broncos selection of Tim Tebow (25th overall) has Josh McDaniels’ fingerprints all over it. I like many others consider the choice somewhat of a reach, but at the same time the Broncos had 2 first round picks at #22( WR Demaryius Thomas, Georgia Tech) and Tebow at #25. One way or another, the selection of Tebow will define the coaching career of McDaniels. Love him or hate him, Tebow is a gamer and can help the Broncos if used in the right situations. Expect to see Tebow in the red zone and some short yardage situations – and not necessarily at quarterback.
- I have a feeling that the jokes about owner Al Davis and the Oakland Raiders will cease real soon. The Silver and Black took some major steps forward this weekend in selecting Alabama linebacker Rolando McClain 9th overall. The Raiders added DE/DT Lamarr Huston out of Texas as well as WR Jacoby Ford from Clemson and tackle Bruce Campbell out of Maryland. However, the Raiders biggest move came when the Raiders traded for former Redskins quarterback Jason Campbell, who was made available after Donovan McNabb was acquired via trade earlier this month.
- Pete Carroll has let it be known that his Seattle Seahawks are going to be a force in the AFC West THIS season. The Seahawks used their two first round picks to select tackle Russell Okung and safety Earl Thomas both standouts at Oklahoma State and Texas, respectively. Notre Dame wideout Golden Tate was a second round choice of Carroll. The Seahwawks improved their short yardage ground game as former USC standout LenDale White was reunited with Carroll and change of pace back Leon Washington was acquired from the N.Y. Jets.
- The Cowboys may have the steal of the draft in wide receiver Dez White from Oklahoma State.
- When someone figures out what the Philadelphia Eagles were doing in this draft let me know – first they trade up to draft Michigan DE Brandon Graham who they plan to use in their ROTATION! Hello, unless your team is a player away from making a Super Bowl run you don’t draft this height to bring in a player that is not on the field every down. Passing on safety Earl Thomas may haunt this team for years. Second, they trade the 55th pick overall TWICE for third round picks that may not even challenge for a starting job. Finally the Eagles had several chances to draft an offensive lineman and failed to do so. But who am I to question an organization that knows it all?
- Other teams with impressive drafts: San Francisco 49ers, N.Y. Giants, Tampa Bay, New England and Kansas City.
I’m not crazy enough to think that Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers will lose their first round match up with the Oklahoma City Thunder – not this year anyway. But what can you say about guard/forward/center Kevin Durant that has not already been said, The Durantula is blessed with a supporting cast (Russell Westbrook, James Harden, Jeff Green, Thabo Sefolosha and Nenad Krstic) that I think will take the Lakers to a Game 7 in the first round. Expect the Thunder to make a power move for Toronto Raptors center Chris Bosh in this summer’s free agent bonanza.
- Can’t say enough about Joakim Noah not backing down from the King. The Florida alum refuses to kiss the ring or posterior of LeBron James as he has endeared himself to the city of Cleveland with derogatory comments about their lack of vacation appeal. Despite being down 3-1 to the Cavs and facing elimination, Noah is playing like a man possessed - averaging a double-double.
- The San Antonio Spurs are fighting like the last battle of the Alamo, going up 3-1 on the Dallas Mavericks is one of the huge surprises of the playoffs. What’s impressive is that the Mavs are at 100% and have one of their better and more versatile rosters in recent memory. The Spurs are playing good ball in spite of Tim Duncan aging before our eyes (was 1 for 9, 4 points in Game 5). Richard Jefferson, George Hill, Manu Ginobili, and a healthy Tony Parker have played solid ball for Greg Popovich.
- The #5 seed Utah Jazz have put the #4 seed Denver Nuggets on the brink and to make matters worse the Nuggets are showing frustration while coach George Karl is undergoing treatment for throat cancer. After their Game 5 loss, Nuggets forward Carmelo Anthony stated that, “He cannot do it by himself.” While teammate Josh Smith has labeled the team as “Selfish” – I’m not sure if that’s a veiled shot at Anthony, but you can expect changes in the off season. Jazz coach Jerry Sloan has done a great job minus big men Mehmet Okur and Andrei Kirilenko. Deron Williams has been unstoppable in this series.
- The Milwaukee Bucks have tied their series with the Atlanta Hawks at two games apiece. Brandon Jennings has been a force in this series as Carlos Delfino, John Salmons and Jerry Stackhouse have been able to match their young leader’s intensity. All of this minus center Andrew Bogut.
The NHL Playoffs are the most dramatic and compelling in sports. Be it because more than half the league makes the playoffs, basically nullifying the regular season or the fact that any contest can turn on the bounce of a puck or a hot goalie. The first round series between the Philadelphia Flyers and the New Jersey Devils historically have been dominated by the Devils…until this year. The Devils are led by goalie, Hall of Famer Martin Brodeaur while the Flyers were down to their third goalie Brian Boucher. The two teams split the first two games, in the next three games the Flyers would outscore the Devils 10-3 despite losing leaders Jeff Carter and Simon Gagne. The Flyers now await the winner of the Washington Capitals/Montreal Canadiens series.
In one moment the Colorado Rockies franchise was celebrating the first no-hitter in franchise history – in the next they were mourning the loss of their team president.
On Saturday April 17, pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez threw the first no-hitter in Rockies history in a 4-0 shutout of the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field. The following Tuesday, team president Keli McGregor was found dead in a hotel room where he was staying in Salt Lake City. McGregor was 48 and is survived by his wife Lori, three daughters and a son. McGregor, an avid sports lover did a short stint in the NFL before settling in with the Rockies in 1993.
*Join us next week as we recap the Floyd Mayweather/Shane Mosley bout and the Kentucky Derby