Wednesday, March 14, 2007

We have a slight delay before we can get to the tool of note segment. Bill Simmons shamelessly picked Holy Cross to defeat Southern Illinois. Perhaps it comes from living under the blanket of smog which, according to Ray Bones in Get Shorty is the reason for the beautiful sunsets in LA. Or maybe it comes from attending a school starved for any athletic achievement since Tommy Heinshon tore it up on Mt. St. James back in the 1950s.

I have seen Southern Illinois play. And Holy Cross has more chance of winning the BCS national championship than they have of winning this game. Watching the Holy Cross game against Bucknell, I got a reasonable idea of the strengths and weaknesses of Tim Clifford. In my stream of consciousness post on Friday last, I described him as a cross between Quentin Tarantino, Boo Radley and the Missing Link. I stand by that. There is no way he can handle Randal Falker on the SIU front line.

Falker gave Patrick O'Bryant a tough time in last year's MVC Championship game. O'Bryant was a lottery pick in last season's NBA draft. Tim Clifford won't be a lottery pick, unless of course you mean the state lottery. Or Ainge is even worst than I think and overreacts when the Cs lose out in the lottery. And the idea that the RA can handle Jamaal Tatum is totally preposterous.

People can sell the MVC short all they want, and against the power conferences you might be right. But Holy Cross comes from the Patriot League. So Bucknell caught Kansas by surprise a couple of years ago, and statistically speaking the odds of lightning striking the same place twice are no worse than the odds of it striking at all. Nevertheless, if HC loses this game by less than 15, I will regard it as a minor miracle.

But enough about Holy Cross, it's time for the tool of the note. I hadn't really expected to do this, but this mess has gone on too long. I am sick to death of Lance Briggs. At first, I thought it was going to be a big loss for the Bears when he demanded to be traded or else. Now I'm not so sure.

First of all, how do you whine about $7.2 million for one year's work and expect the fans to sympathize with you? Maybe you would command a lot more guaranteed money on the open market, but most of the fans would play for the Bears for $7.20. And yes, you could get hurt and risk losing the $20 or $25 million in guaranteed money, but you could also slip in the shower or hurt yourself working out or fall on some ice while you're holding out.

I liked Lance Briggs before this situation developed. I was on his side as far as the franchise tag was concerned, but after he came out in the ESPN interview and started talking about taking out loans to sustain him through the holdout, I'm out. I'm sure Lance won't lose much sleep over losing my support. It is his right, and his choice, but there are a lot worse things than playing out a season on a one year deal worth the average of the top five salaries at your position.

Yes, he led the Bears in solo tackles this past season and went to his second consecutive Pro Bowl. But none of that justifies the massive ego he shows the world on his website and in his recent interviews. The highlight montage is depressingly narcissistic. And ordinarily I don't have a problem with massive egos (just look at my continual defense of Terrell Owens). But I usually like to see a little bit more to justify that ego than what Lance Briggs has turned in to date.

His numbers are good, but I can't remember a single defining postseason moment, and I watched every minute of the Bears loss to Carolina last year and the Super Bowl run this year. Terrell Owens, whose massive ego is undeniable and whom I have defended so often that a friend joked that I would probably defend him even if he came to the door and kicked me in the groin, has two major defining postseason moments. First, there is the huge TD catch that beat the Packers when he was with the 49ers (which also redeemed him from several big drops that day). The other is the day he totally outplayed Super Bowl MVP Deion Branch when Philly lost to NE.

I think the real villain in the Lance Briggs saga is his agent and well known archtool, Drew Rosenhaus. For the record, I am aware that Rosenhaus is also TO's agent, and Rosenhaus has an extremely well-publicized record of getting big deals for his clients through (or in spite of) this type of saber rattling. It's just that I find myself wondering whether he could get his clients good contracts without getting his face on TV so often.

And in the interest of fairness, I had to go to TO's website. I know those of you who read this probably won't believe this, but it's my first visit. I have to say, as much as I love to watch him play football, TO sucks as a rapper. But then, I'm not the best judge of music. I think it might be good thing that BIG and Tupac died young. Make no mistake, the manner in which they departed was deplorable, and I do not condone violence in any way, shape or form. I just think that people who look at what might have been and say why not (with apologies to the late Robert Kennedy) are a little bit optimistic for my taste.

Listen to any track off The Chronic (especially Deep Cover, my personal favorite) and tell me it doesn't kick ass on Dre's later work. And can you tell me that asking a little mama to show you what she's got in ever so slightly different ways over and over is an artistic achievement on par with Hard Knock Life, but I must thank Shawn Carter for not murdering everything moving since his subsequent material (only part of his situation) did not improve on that particular track. Very, very, very few people keep getting better with age in any profession.

The list of people who lose whatever fleeting, ephemeral quality that makes them phenomena is a mile long. Dennis Leary was the first to bring this trend to my attention in No Cure For Cancer, and it applies to him too. What has he done that was as funny (but he does great things for fallen firefighters and their families)?
But I digress. After all, no one comes to Sedition in Red Sox Nation for their perspective on the history of hip hop, or at least I hope they read me for other reasons like my gentle sarcasm and kind words for tools.

PS - In case you care, my response to the Owens kicking me in the groin joke was that I would, and I'd assume I had done something to deserve it. Unfortunately, I can't promise that I would be as eloquent as George C. Scott in Man Getting Hit By Football from one of the all time great Simpsons episodes. And I'm sorry if I misspelled the name of Torey Thomas (HC point guard and RA) in last Friday's post. I would wish I had a better excuse than laziness if it were more important to me that I knew his name in the first place.

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