Friday, April 1, 2011

It's Official: Headed To Tampa Bay!!

I figured today would be a perfect time to write this being that the next couple of weeks are going to be a little busy with the move and all. I wanted to write a thank you letter to all the great people I was privileged to work with in my eight years here in the greatest city in the world, Chicago.

For those that do not know, I have accepted the Assistant Program Director position with 620AM WDAE in Tampa Bay, FL and will begin working there on Friday April 29th. My final day at 670AM WSCR will be Thursday April 21st. This position is a great move not only for my career but also for my family, and I look forward to the new challenges/people/places I am scheduled to face in the next month.

With that being said....A huge thank you to the people I am about to list and forgive me if I forget someone. My time in Chicago has been filled working with many people in many areas, and my memory only holds so much as I'm sure you can understand.

To my current staff on Mike Mulligan, Brian Hanley, Dustin Rhodes, DJ Nozar and Dennis Gambino:

Thank you for the past few years for accepting me into your show. I feel we have grown tremendously since the first days of morning drive, and I only hope that you enjoyed our time together as much as I did. I know your show will only continue to grow as you have become the voice of the Chicago sports fan in the morning. Thank you so much, I am humbled for my time with you guys.

Mitch Rosen - Thank you so much for helping me grow as a producer and allowing me the opportunity to grow as a talk show host in the #3 market in the country. Although we have had ups and downs in our working relationship, I value all the experiences we have shared together. Thanks for all your help and I only hope to stay in touch as you help the Score grow and I do my best to make The Sports Animal the best AM station on the dial in Florida.

To the Chicago Bears Radio Network crew at WBBM.

Ron Gleason, Jim Schwantz, Jay Hilgenberg, Joe Bartosch (the hardest working man I know), Adam Franklin, Andy Giersher, Brad Robinson, Tuan Coleman, Al Rosen (God Bless you my friend!), Zach Zaidman, Jeff Joniak, Tom Thayer, the entire Zerang crew (the best engineers in the city), and all the wonderful people who give up their weekends at WBBM NewsRadio 780AM during the long 10-11 hour broadcast. You are the most professional group of individuals I've ever worked with and your success as a crew will only continue no matter who sits behind that soundboard. I have learned so much in my time there, and I thank you for the many memories we shared each NFL Sunday for the last 6 seasons.

To All My Colleges At WSCR 670AM The Score (Past And Present) among others.....

Russ Mitera, Chris Collins, Matt Abbatacola, Laurence Holmes, Jason Goff, Jay Zawaski, Nick Shepkowski, Ben Finfer, Adam Harris, Joe Ostrowski, Chris Tannehill, Herb Lawrence, Adam Hoge, Craig Miller, Chris Rongey, Connor McKnight, Dave White, Brendan McCaffrey, Kerry Sayers, Mark Grote (Focker), Mark Joliffe, Dan McNeil, Matt Speigel, Terry Boers, Dan Bernstein, Mike Esposito, Les Grobstein, Hub Arkush, Dan Hampton, Barry Rozner, Brad Biggs, David Haugh (Thank you for all your kind words), Joe Cowley, Paul Sullivan, Brett Lyons, Mellissa, Michaels, Otter!!!, Cy Strezo, Ryan Sudol, Dave Kerner, Julie Swieca, Dan Zampillo, Drew Hayes, Matt Fishman, Mike and Bebe North, Jen Patterson, Matt Weber, Fred and Pat Huebner, Mike Murphy, Steve Buchman, Anne Maxfield (Thanks So Much For Everything!), Paul Agase and all the people in sales/traffic!, Rachel Stob, Jackie Spencer, Ande Saldivar (Thanks for putting up with my stupidity), Ernie!!!, David Schuster (Take a day for gosh sakes!), George Ofman, Andy Garcia, Chris Hubble, Dan Jiggetts, Dan Pompei, Danny Zederman, Dave Eanet, David Kaplan, Doug Buffone, OB, Doug Warnicki, Jesse Rogers, J-Hood (Blue Collar!), Joy Dinaro, Maribel Lopez, Matt Peebles, Nick Scafiezzo, Oney and Ozzie Jr., Ray Flores, Steve Goffman, Tim Bock, Steve Koscik, Steve Stone, Tim Doyle and any one I may have forgotten.....Thank you so much for everything.

Thanks to everyone at the former JACK FM (WJMK): Bob Lawson, Floyd, Penny, among others.

Thanks to The Down and Dirty staff!!! Frank Fontana and Mike Piff!!! Much Love Fellas!

Thanks to WDUZ in Green Bay for having me each of the last three seasons as a Bears Expert: Thanks to Sportsline's own Chris Havel and Mark Haley. Go BEARS!!!

Thanks to Scott Davidson and everyone at Rebel Radio. (Still hungover from that Hatebreed Concert)

Thanks to Michael Caserno for his help with "The Point" and allowing me to go on the road and live a dream of interviewing bands like Killswitch Engage, Machine Head, DragonForce among others.

Thanks to everyone at the former WCKG 105.9 FM.....for that one magical night with the Bulls!

Thanks to the Illinois Center For Broadcasting for the schooling I needed to break into this crazy business we work in. Kevin O'Connor (RIP), Brian Halford, Mike Pentz (congrats on the baby!), Stacey, Maribel, Mark D., Adam, Stan, and all the other students I spent time with in the studios with. Hard work does pay off....

To Jimmy Greenfield and the staff at I can only hope that The Rock Report was a success. Every person who spent a second reading what I thought about the day in know I was always about the conversation. Thank you so much for allowing me the opportunity on the best online blog in Chicago.

To anyone who listened/texted/messaged on facebook or tweeted.....thank you for giving me a chance. I only hope I was able to entertain you. Thank you so much.

Now onto Tampa Bay, Florida where new beginnings shall begin and new challenges must be met. I can only hope that everyone that I've worked with/met/worked for has enjoyed the time we spent together as much as I did.

Thank you.


Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Lebron James' Bathroom Stunt Unacceptable.....


No athlete is above the game they play, especially one that has yet to do anything of significance in their respective sport. That is what LeBron James fails to realize in his latest stint which occurred last night in his former home town of Cleveland. Like any NBA game, the pre-game introductions went off without a problem. Big lights, loud music and a raucous crowd waiting for their former hometown hero to return one more time to face the music he created with his "decision".

The lights on and music rolling, the crowd welcomed back the self-anointed king with a rousing sound of boo's.....yet the King was fashionably late.

Just the latest insult the King has thrown to his former minions in Cleveland. Further proving that LeBron James does not care about anyone else besides LeBron James and LeBron James Incorporated.

Here is why I (like many who posted tweets to his @KingJames Twitter account) say LeBron James is a b***h.

Monday, March 28, 2011

The NCAA Couldn't Have Scripted The Final Four Any Better.....


March Madness
is in full effect. You want to know how you can tell? Look at your own bracket and compare it to the real thing.

Who in their right mind would have picked these final four teams in their bracket as the ones who would be standing tall headed to Houston, TX attempting to win college basketball's greatest prize? Some may have picked UCONN and Kentucky based on their runs in their respective conference tournament championships. Some could have picked Butler because of their unpredictable run last year and thought it could carry over to this season. No one could have predicted the last team to enter the tournament field as one of the Final Four.

How many people even knew what VCU stands for?

While some may criticize the way the tournament was seeded or why certain teams got snubbed over others, the NCAA is sitting on a great finish to a mediocre tournament.


Friday, March 25, 2011

Why Is Jay Cutler Not Being The Leader Of The Chicago Bears?


Nothing is more irritating than waiting on millionaires and billionaires to figure out exactly how to divide a $9,000,000,000.00 pot of revenue. With over 9% unemployment in the United States, the NFL (owners and players both) should feel ashamed of themselves for not figuring out a way to make a successful business continue on in this economic climate. While there have been no training camp time or games missed as of yet, football is a 365 day a year sport which rolls on like a steamroller on the American sports landscape.

One of the effects of a NFL lockout is the fact that the players and coaches cannot organize workouts in the off season let alone even talk to one another. Like many Chicago Bears fans, I was waiting to see exactly who would be the one to step up for the players and try to organize off season workouts with other members of the team.

You would think the captains of the team (Urlacher, Peppers, Cutler, Kreutz, Mannelly) would be the ones to take the bull by the horns and get the ball moving on theses off season workouts. Unfortunately we come to find out in today's Chicago Tribune (via Vaughn McClure) that free agent wide receiver Rashied Davis is the one organizing the workouts.

While we all remember the way the season ended for the Chicago Bears, how come Jay Cutler is not organizing these?

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Geno Auriemma Needs To Shut Up About Attendance Figures....


One thing that I have never understood in my time working in sports media is why players/coaches/organizations fire back at their fans. The relationship between a fan and his/her team is something special and should by no means become a burden. My personal experience with the Chicago White Sox led by a displeasure of the direction of the franchise officially ended this past off season because of their lack of forward thinking.

However while fans can pick and choose who they root for/root against, the same simply cannot be said about the opposite. Collegiate and professional teams rely so much on their fan base financially that any criticism toward the fans is a fight that teams will never win. If you insult the people who support your program/team through the good and the bad, it simply is the beginning of your personal end.

Geno Auriemma is a seven time national champion as head coach of the University of Connecticut women's basketball program. He has over 700 wins in his career and is the current leader among active coaching in career winning percentage (.861%). Auriemma is a six time Naismith College Coach of the Year award winner and has led the UCONN women to four undefeated seasons in his 26 seasons as head coach including back to back perfect seasons in 2008 and 2009.

With all the success the UCONN women have had in his tenure as head coach, the last people "Geno" should be taking on are the fans of the UCONN lady Huskies.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Proposed NFL Rules Changes On Kickoffs Open Pandora's Box....


I have never seen a league adapt to outside pressures so much than the current day NFL. For example the famous "tuck rule" established after the 2002 AFC Championship Game, or just this past off season when the new OT rules came into affect following an overtime loss to Brett Favre's Minnesota Vikings. The biggest issue outside the current day NFL lockout is the increasing amount of concern about concussions in the sport of football.

Remember this past season where the NFL increased punishment for what was once termed "devastating hits"?

While to longtime football fans and players these new regulations may seem like the NFL is going "soft" on the simple physical nature of the game, the NFL Competition Committee is not stopping there. The NFL is proposing new changes to the game which would affect an entire phase of a team's offensive game.

Could it be the NFL Competition Committee fears the extinction of their game so much that the special teams phase of the game could be abolished?

Monday, March 21, 2011

Jake Peavy Injury May Look Bad, But Could Be More Of A Blessing...


What does winning the lotto, cheeseburger diets and Jake Peavy all have in common?

Sometimes things are too good to be true.

Yesterday the Chicago White Sox put out a statement that pitcher Jake Peavy is experiencing some right rotator cuff tendinitis, and has been since the early part of the month. Jake Peavy is attempting to return to the White Sox starting rotation since he detached his latissimus dorsi muscle in his right shoulder on July 9th of last year. This revelation comes after three straight weeks of the White Sox doctors and coaching staff saying that their 16 million dollar starting pitcher was "ahead of schedule" and on his way to a miraculous recovery.

Then again this latest setback could be in fact a good thing, here is how.


Thursday, March 17, 2011

Reinsdorf and Williams Will Lose BIG Gamble On Early White Sox Attendance....


As spring officially begins on Sunday morning, the changing of season means that America's past time is right around the corner. Opening day for the Major League Baseball season is now two weeks away and camps in Arizona and Florida are beginning to trim their rosters down to the final 25. As each hour passes in the countdown to first pitch, excitement continues to build as fans look forward to a new season and a fresh start for their respective team.

The 2011 Chicago White Sox are what they have termed "All In". With the off season addition of slugger Adam Dunn and re-signing veterans Paul Konerko and AJ Pierzynski, the White Sox could possibly have the best assembled roster in the American League Central. To have a roster of that caliber, the White Sox have had to raise their payroll to a record high 125 million dollars.

While the White Sox front office is making a large investment in a team that has only made one playoff appearance since winning the 2005 World Series, their logic on how to justify this record payroll is somewhat skewed. How can the Chicago White Sox gamble on their own fans to support the reasoning behind this risky financial decision?

Monday, March 14, 2011

Three March Madness Bracket Tips From An Amateur Expert.....


There are certain things in life that we will never claim to be. While we obey most of the laws of the land, are we law-abiding citizens if we have a little case of lead foot? Very few men will consider themselves culinary experts because they make one hell of a sloppy joe.

I will never admit to be an expert on March Madness. Then again, this time of year....who really is?

For the first time ever, you will have only one day to fill out your bracket of 68 teams and choose what team will embrace that "One Shining Moment". With the sure fact that most people who fill out a bracket does not watch a lot of regular season college basketball, we each have our own unique way of picking the games. Some rely on the national experts since they are the few souls that watch every conference and every team in the NCAA tournament. Some rely on what our friends and co-workers have picked already. Others choose the more fun "whose mascot would win in a fight" method. There simply is no correct way to go about filling out your field of 68, because the odds of a perfect bracket are astounding. In fact (according to, after the play-in games starting tomorrow (TUES), there are 9,223,372,036,854,775,808 possible brackets.

While I am not any sort of expert of the college game, here are three tips I always go by when picking my bracket.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Blackhawks Visit With Obama Overshadowed By Bad Blood??


The greatest honor any American citizen can have is to be celebrated at The White House. Lately it has become common place that professional and college sports teams that win championships or accomplish something which The White House deems honorable get their day in the sunshine by dressing up and heading down to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

This Friday the defending Stanley Cup Champion Chicago Blackhawks get the rare opportunity to meet the leader of the free world face to face. Of course with President Barack Obama being from Chicago, you can expect some jokes boasting about his hometown hockey club on top of a jersey to be presented to the President. The team will surely get a tour of the Oval Office, photos that will mark numerous sports and news websites, and a street hockey workout on the South Lawn of The White House. Just another lame way to show people how passionate President Barack Obama is about sports. Even the ones he does not watch on a regular basis. Standard operating procedure.

However the story leading up to the Blackhawks visiting The White House will not be who is attending, but who is not attending. With the roster turnover the Blackhawks have had to face in the past six months, could this day in Washington reveal some hidden bad blood between the organization and their former players?

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Jim Tressel Suspended For Doing His Job....

You have to wonder sometimes why have rules to begin with because we all break them. For instance driving home today on Lake Shore Drive where the speed limit is 40 MPH, I was easily breaking a law by surpassing the limit to keep up with traffic. Those who prefer transportation by foot in the city for sure have began to cross a street without being signaled to in the first place. Rules are set only because without them, there would be chaos....we think.

College athletics is no different from real life in that the rules that are set are routinely broken. The latest example of such is the suspension of Ohio State (sorry....THE OHIO STATE) University's head football coach Jim Tressel. Tressel was suspended two regular season games by the university for failing to disclose some e-mails he received about student-athletes who sold memorabilia. This latest suspension follows five game suspensions handed out by the NCAA to five Ohio State football players who received improper benefits from a tattoo parlor. Those to-be-suspended players of course were allowed to play in this past January's Sugar Bowl in which Ohio State defeated Arkansas 31-26.

While the debate has gone on for several years now, Tressel's admission of disclosing possible evidence of a violation of NCAA rules is just the latest example of why NCAA athletes should be paid. What Tressel did may have violated the rules of the NCAA, but what he did was in the best interests of what matters to both himself and Ohio State.

The success of the program.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Could These Chicago Bulls Win An NBA Title This Soon?

Who does not love a good surprise? A Christmas present that was totally unexpected. A new job possibility opening. A basketball team that exceeds expectations.

OK, so maybe some thought the Chicago Bulls would be this good this quick. Not this blogger.

At 43-18, the Chicago Bulls currently stand as the second best team in the NBA's Eastern Conference while eclipsing their win totals of each the last two playoffs seasons. By sweeping their season series with the Miami Heat yesterday winning nine of their last 11 games, the Chicago Bulls made a statement in South Beach. Not necessarily to the local media contingent, but to the national one. By defeating the big three for the third and final time this regular season, critics are starting to take notice that the Bulls could indeed be a legit contender for the Eastern Conference crown.

Wait a second......what did I just say?

Is it too early to believe that this Bulls team could win a NBA title this soon?

Friday, March 4, 2011

Fights Must Stay In Hockey For The Good Of The Sport.....


Evolution affects everything including sports. Remember when dunks were not allowed and steroids were not technically illegal in baseball? How about the three point line in the NBA and football was played with leather helmets. Sports are like everything else in life, they change with the times. Although change is not always welcomed and many people fear it, most of the time through change the product becomes better.

For generations fighting in the sport of hockey has been a hot topic of discussion when it comes the sport evolving. More than any of the four major sports, hockey has seen more change since its inception in the early 19th century. Remember when goalies used not to wear masks? How about the two line pass? The sport of hockey has not only seen the most change since its inception, but even today constantly embraces new ideas to improve the game.

If the NHL wanted to rid itself of fighting much like the regular season ties, it would be making a huge mistake.


Thursday, February 24, 2011

Chicago Bulls Stand Pat At NBA Trade Deadline.....

The last drop of sand has fallen in the hourglass of the NBA trade deadline, and the 38-17 Chicago Bulls decided to stand pat. With rumored deals involving names from Houston's Courtney Lee to Memphis' OJ Mayo, the Chicago Bulls who are in need of more offense from the shooting guard position choose that team chemistry is more important than an improvement on the offensive end of the ball.

Without a doubt, the Chicago Bulls are the most surprising team in the Eastern Conference. After an off season where they decided to use the money they freed up for the likes of LeBron James and built a team with it, Gar Forman and John Paxson once again make the right moves...this time by doing nothing. The Chicago Bulls are already one of the best teams in the NBA on the defensive side of the ball. Adding another new body to a team whose best three players have only played eleven games together would totally destroy any chances of the starting five having any on the court chemistry before the playoffs arrive.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Kenny Williams States His Crusade To Save Baseball....


Welcome to my first post on the Chicago White Sox for the 2011 MLB season. Now I know in the past many readers/tweeters/fellow ChicagoNow bloggers and some columnists in town may believe that I have a certain slant towards the franchise that I used to call my own. As a White Sox fan for almost 30 years I was fed up with the same theory when it came to the direction of the ball club. I felt the White Sox needed a new voice in terms of the direction of the on the field decisions, meaning I was no longer a fan of "Guillen Inc."

Since I have dropped my former beloved team, "Guillen Inc." has had an extension picked up (based on what?), started his own website (which the club originally did not want), and has won some local sports honor (from stations which the White Sox own a share of). All the while the franchise he manages has gone "all in" signing players such as Adam Dunn, Jesse Crain, and Will Ohman to join the likes of what is left of the 2005 World Series Champion team in Paul Konerko, AJ Pierzynski, and Mark Buehrle. Clearly it has been a busy off season not only for the White Sox but also for GM Kenny Williams who has spent a record amount of this 2011 club in their efforts to win another championship for the city of Chicago.

Yesterday in a sit down with Comcast Sportsnet's own Chuck Garfien, Kenny Williams made some bold statements about the imbalance of payroll in Major League Baseball and specifically the situation of a team paying Albert Pujols up to $30,000,000 dollars a season. What Kenny failed to realize however is while he may be correct in some of his statements, it is hard to "cry wolf" when you are one of the top dogs in MLB.


Monday, February 21, 2011

March Madness Flourishes With A Sport In A State Of Demise....

Thumbnail image for ncaa.jpg

February is an interesting month when it comes to covering sports in the Chicago market. Termed "the dead period" or "sports abyss" by some sports radio personalities in town, you can term this duration of the sports calendar as simply the "tweener" of the end of the NFL season and the NCAA tournament. There has never been the buzz of a NFL/MLB season in the time between those two events as they are the two major sports of this city.

Local television and radio outlets in town during this time period begin to dabble into areas of sports which does not necessarily relate to the general daily viewing/listening audience. One of those discussions/topics anchors/hosts attempt to get into is college basketball and why the Big Ten regular season (which by the way is ending soon) matters. Now while Chicago may not have a high profile university attached to the city limits, one of the biggest events of the sports year is the NCAA Tournament. More people than ever are watching/listening/gambling on the tournament yet fail to recognize that the madness begins early November.

What I find interesting is successful as March Madness has been, the sport of college basketball is suffering more than ever and it is time to fix it.


Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Marlon Byrd Raises Eyebrows With Revelation Of Victor Conte Relationship......


One reason why I like spring so much is because it brings a renewed hope for the coming year, especially when it comes to our baseball teams in town. Baseball fans of all ages counting down the days till their favorite team breaks camp and opens the season with a feeling of a clean slate. Whatever happened the past year no matter how surprising or disappointing no longer matters because the new year begins now. With all the positive vibes coming from both camps in Chicago and the experts beginning to weigh in on their projections before the first pitch is even thrown, baseball is back and that is all that matters.

Last night I was watching HBO's wonderful sports program Real Sports With Bryant Gumbel, and all the positive vibes I felt from the Cubs camp came to a screeching halt. I was not aware of two things which the multi Emmy winning program revealed last night.

One was convicted steroids madman Victor Conte was out of prison and working with athletes again.

Two....Cubs outfielder Marlon Byrd is his top baseball client.

Like MLB I wondered to myself what in the hell is Marlon Byrd thinking teaming with the man who is most associated with baseball's black eye.....the steroid era?


Monday, February 14, 2011

Chicago Blackhawks Should Start Marty Turco Every Game Till NHL Trade Deadline....


There comes a time in every sport where a team need to define how they are going to approach the remainder of the regular season. The choice is very simple. You are either a "buyer" or a "seller" when it comes to deciding the path your franchise will take nearing the trading deadline. That is the decision Chicago Blackhawks General Manager Stan Bowman must make before the NHL's Feb. 28th trade deadline.

The decision is actually easier than you may think.

At 28-22-6 sitting three points out of the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference, it seems more unlikely as the days go by that the defending Stanley Cup Champions will not have an opportunity to defend their title. With 26 games left on the schedule, the next six games will tell the tale of where Stan Bowman believes his team is headed. With one deal already done and over shipping first round pick Jack Skille to Florida, the Blackhawks have made a statement they are willing to negotiate over standing pat. Even though some other Blackhawks may be better options to be moved, the Blackhawks should start veteran goaltender Marty Turco every game till the trade deadline to see if they can find a possible "buyer".


Friday, February 11, 2011

Top Five Sports Professions I Would Never Retire From.....


Yesterday another veteran coach gave in to the current day situation with the torn relationship between players and those who are hired to make them better at their craft. Jerry Sloan stepped down from a position he has held with the Utah Jazz since I was six years old. The 23 year veteran head coach of the Utah Jazz finished with 1,221 career wins. There are currently 40 NBA players who were not even born when Sloan took over the head coaching position on December 9, 1988, and Derrick Rose was all but two months old that day.

Whether or not you believe in the stories of a rift between Sloan and superstar point guard Deron Williams, the point is Sloan stepped down from a job that he surely had until he did not want it anymore. In fact during his press conference yesterday, Sloan said:

"Again, I've been blessed. Today is a new day. When I get this over with, I'll feel better. My time is up and it's time to move on."

The retirement of Jerry Sloan got me to thinking. I do not necessarily want to dive into the meaning of his retirement or if Sloan stepping down shows us that no coach is safe from a player controlled league like the NBA. Sloan stepping down got me thinking if there are jobs in sports that I would never retire from.


Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Why Can't America Accept The New Michael Vick?


Failure is not something we all aim for, but only through failure we learn our greatest lessons. Life is full of failures from not getting a job, to failing in a relationship, to failing at your job. In each failure you learn a lesson about the task you failed attempting to accomplish. The one result that all of us cherish because of failure is a second chance at either accomplishing the task or you have learned to move away and try something new.

I do not understand why criminals should not have that same second chance.

The last two years have brought sports fans the debate about Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick. After serving 19 months in federal prison for dogfighting charges, he was released and given a second chance at continuing in his profession of being a professional football player. Yet nearing 20 months after his release from federal prison, the nation continues to debate if Michael Vick should have been given the same right and privilege we all would want in the first place.

Why is Michael Vick still an enemy of the people?


Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Chicago Bulls Road Woes Will Cost Them In The NBA Playoffs.....

Thumbnail image for 59230201.jpg

The old saying goes "To Be The Best, You Need To Beat The Best." Meaning to become the absolute top of your craft, you need to find a way to be better than the top of your field. Businesses around the world use this saying as a way to motivate their employees always to go that extra mile because it is always better to be the best in your position/field. We all want it and while only some of us strive to be the best in our professions, the desire to be better is always there.

The NBA is no different. The Chicago Bulls are currently the third best team (record wise) in the Eastern Conference at a record of 34-16 only trailing the Boston Celtics and the Miami Heat. Outside the San Antonio Spurs you could argue that the Chicago Bulls are the most surprising team in the league while they continue to win games missing key pieces of their starting rotation. You could also say that the reason behind the success of the Chicago Bulls is because they have the MVP of the league in Derrick Rose running the point for them.

Although I am not ready to hand over the MVP to the first overall pick of the 2008 NBA Draft, the Chicago Bulls could have a real problem come the playoffs that has nothing to do with any health issue of any player on the floor. In fact it is something so small that most fans do not even recognize it.


Friday, February 4, 2011

Why Fans Shouldn't Care About The NFL/NFLPA Negotiations Following Super Bowl XLV


As the hours continue to count down to yet another entertaining final game of the NFL season, a dark cloud has continued to loom over the hype and excitement surrounding Super Bowl XLV. A cloud that does not include what Ben Roethlisberger was doing on a Tuesday evening at a piano bar or even Aaron Rodgers texting every quarterback in the league and congratulating each of them on a great season. That looming cloud is none other than the upcoming NFL/NFLPA discussions about the expiring collective bargaining agreement.

With each day passing and the end of the 2010 NFL season come Sunday, the story of the entire NFL offseason will be the ongoing discussions to find agreement on a new CBA between the owners and the players. Even this week, both the NFLPA head DeMaurice Smith and Commissioner Roger Goodell both will hold news conferences to address the state of the expiring CBA and the talks between the two camps.

While the NFL continues to gain more revenue than ever and Sunday's game between the Green Bay Packers and the Pittsburgh Steelers will surely set record television ratings, the possibility of no football in 2011 is a legit possibility. Could a nation that salivates for football more than any other sport survive without it?

Then again should football fans even care.


Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Can America Accept That Big Ben Is One Of The Greats..... Read more:

Thumbnail image for ben-roethlisberger-suspension.jpg

As we approach the end of the NFL regular season, it is time to look back on the bigger stories of the year 2010. Of course locally the surprising year of the Chicago Bears finishing at 11-5 and making it all the way to the NFC Championship Game only to fall to their division "rival" from Green Bay. Some might consider the biggest story from the 2010 NFL season the return of a much improved and polished quarterback in Michael Vick. A man who proved that when given a second chance, anyone can turn around their life for the better.

Then there is the story of Ben Roethlisberger who is one step away from winning his third Super Bowl title at the age of 28. Earlier this year "Big Ben" was accused of raping a 20 year old Georgia College and State University student inside a women's restroom at the Capital City Nightclub in Milledgeville, Georgia. Although never charged with a crime, he was suspended by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell for six games without pay which was subsequently reduced to four games.

The buildup to Sunday's Super Bowl will indeed include the conversation about Ben Roethlisberger and what exactly happened on that one night in March. However if indeed the Pittsburgh Steelers go on to win Super Bowl XLV, is America ready to accept that "Big Ben" and all his baggage is the best quarterback in the game?


Thursday, January 27, 2011

Derrick Rose Might Be The NBA MVP, But Has Yet To Be "Elite"....


In an attempt to move on from the Jay Cutler hysteria the last four days have given us, I will begin by stating to my reading is time to move on. We as a city need to realize that football season is over, and we need to look toward our other teams in the city to provide us with our sports commentary for the next few months. That is until we can start debating who hits in the six hole for the Cubs and are the White Sox truly "all in" as they have stated on their billboards around town.

If you did not know the Chicago Bulls are sitting pretty as the third best team in the Eastern Conference. Only trailing the likes of the Boston Celtics and the big three down in Miami, the Chicago Bulls who have only played a small number of games at full strength have somehow found a way to win 31 of their first 45 games. If you are searching for a reason why the Bulls are fairing so well this season with injuries to Carlos Boozer and Joakim Noah, you do not need to look any further than Derrick Rose. The number one overall pick in the 2008 NBA Draft this season has developed leaps and bounds much faster than expected, and has the country debating Rose for the NBA MVP award.

Now while the MVP race is still so far away with only a little over half the season done and gone with, Derrick Rose has proven without a shadow of a doubt that the Bulls made the right choice in picking him over standout forward Michael Beasley from Kansas State in the 2008 NBA Draft. However with half the season over and possibly being named the first starting Chicago Bull to play on a All Star team since Michael Jordan, there is one label that Rose still has yet to achieve.

All Star = Check

MVP = Maybe

Elite Point Guard = No


Monday, January 24, 2011

Jay Cutler Morphs From Hero To Goat In Loss To The Green Bay Packers.....


With every end comes a new beginning. What the Chicago Bears did in the 2010 season was not only shock the football universe by surpassing all expectations reaching the NFC Championship Game and finishing the year with a record of 11-5. The Chicago Bears took a giant leap from where they were only one season ago. The season may have been filled with surprises and a little more luck than usual, but the sign of a good team is when opportunities are given to take advantage of them. All season long (myself included) most of this city was waiting for that moment when the Bears turned from the horse drawn carriage back into the pumpkin to puff out their chests and demand props for being right about this Bears team all along.

Yesterday was that day.

Like flies to a light droves of Bears "fans" came out of the weeds where they had been hiding all along and renounced their ire for their own franchise. The new target is simply the same old song. Point to Lovie Smith, Jerry Angelo and now the once heralded "savior" of the Bears franchise Jay Cutler. Turning Christ into Judas was extremely simple as Bears fans watched their "savior" sitting on the bench for most of the second half in the biggest game of his career. While the organization did not do Cutler any favors by releasing what the issue could be with Cutler's knee, the seconds ticked by as more and more Bears fans started to believe that Cutler was more wimp than warrior.

Talk about over-reaction Monday Morning Quarterbacking.


Friday, January 21, 2011

Three Keys To A Bears Victory Over The Green Bay Packers.....


Finally the week of hype has ended and now all that is on the horizon is the game. I am sorry. I should have written THE GAME instead. The greatest game in Bears Packers history since the last time these two teams hooked up in the playoffs back before our current President was even born. If you were wondering, President Barack Obama did pick the Bears (his favorite NFL team outside the Pittsburgh Steelers) to win 20-17. All the talk, all the press conferences, all the back and forth between Bear Nation and Packer is time to get to business.

It is almost impossible to point out exactly what will be the difference in this game no matter if you are a fair weather fan or the greatest NFL expert around. Most of those NFL experts (I do not consider myself one of those) had the Chicago Bears to finish with no more than nine wins this season anyway. You can talk about everything from trends to field conditions, there is not one singular thing that you can point at to convince me that the Bears will win because of _______ or the Packers will win because of ________.

With that being said, of everything we have heard this week and believe will are my top three things that the Bears must do to head to their first Super Bowl since 2006.


Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Bears/Packers National Anthem Causes Senseless Protests.....


If you locked into the world of social networking and are signed up on Twitter with more than a billion people around the world, you know some of the shorthand lingo that people use to fit a complete thought into the 140 character limit. Much of the lingo is derived from text messaging since the use of your phone is very similar to the use of Twitter. For instance:

LOL - "laugh out loud"

TMB - "tweet me back"

F2F - "face to face"

These are just a few of what seems to be an endless second language shared with "tweeps" online on a daily basis.

Yesterday I got into a heated discussion with some of my followers on Twitter about the decision to scrap local artist and American Idol winner from season nine (I do not know that from heart, promise!) Lee Dewyze (@LeeDewyze) from performing the National Anthem at Solider Field instead to bring back Jim Cornelison to perform the song before the Bears/Packers game on Sunday. The conversation and some responses from my followers simply left me SMFH.


Monday, January 17, 2011

The Bears/Packers Rivalry May Be Dead, But Both Teams Live To Play Another Day....


What a gift the Chicago Bears gave to their fans yesterday by defeating the 7-9 NFC West Champion Seattle Seahawks 35-24 to advance to the NFC Championship game next Sunday at Soldier Field. An even better present that Bears fan are dying to unwrap is a victory over the "rival" Green Bay Packers to advance indeed to their first Super Bowl since 2006. Jay Cutler took another step in his football career by playing an outstanding game in his first ever postseason trip. In fact Jay Cutler played so well he can now be mentioned in the same breath as the Hall Of Famer Otto Graham as the only two quarterbacks in NFL postseason history to throw and rush for multiple touchdowns in a single game.

While Cutler still has awhile to amass a career like Graham's, the Bears defense stepped up to the occasion for three quarters of the game. The game completely out of hand by the start of the fourth quarter as the Bears led 28-3, the 21 points allowed in the fourth quarter may be the only negative from the entire game itself. Other than that the Bears played a great game in all phases against a team considered to be one of the worst playoff teams in NFL history. What did we learn from this game as the Bears moved one step closer to a possible return trip to the Super Bowl? It is so hard to tell since they played an inferior opponent like the Seattle Seahawks. In fact I was two years old (1983) the last time the Seahawks won a road playoff game and the entire week leading up to the game itself there were very few who believed in the team that took down the defending Super Bowl Champions the week prior.

So here come the Green Bay Packers to Soldier Field for the second time this season as a 3/3.5 point favorite which was predictable. So far in less than 24 hours I've heard/read the following already:

"The greatest rivalry in professional sports"

"Round III"

"This is the way it is supposed to be"

"The greatest event in Chicago sports history"

I know the Monday following a NFL weekend is reserved for extreme over-reaction by fans and media alike, but the hype machine is already on overload and we are not even 24 hours in.


Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The Chicago Bears Will Beat The Seattle Seahawks....Right?


It is NFL playoffs time and here come the Seattle Seahawks! That is right! Call your sons and daughters, batten down the hatches and get yourself ready for the barn burner of all barn burners!!

Wait.....the Bears are playing the Seattle Seahawks? Really? That team that finished the year 7-9 and winning the NFC West becoming the first team to win a division with a sub-.500 record?

YES!! That team!

All season long the debate has been are the Chicago Bears more lucky than an actual good NFL team. While the schedule week in and week out has worked in their favor and the only NFL team to face three third string starting quarterbacks this season, the Chicago Bears are what their record is....11-5. They are the second seed in the NFC and will host the Seattle Seahawks this Sunday at noon for the opportunity to play for a trip to Super Bowl XLV in Dallas, TX on Feb. 6th. There is no way that the Chicago Bears after the year they have had will lose at home to a team they already lost too at the Lakefront this season twice.



Monday, January 10, 2011

Chicago Blackhawks To Honor Hull/Mikita At Michael Jordan's House....


Yesterday the Chicago Blackhawks honored the 50th anniversary of the 1961 Stanley Cup Championship with a wonderful ceremony before the current defending champs took on the lowly New York Islanders. Eight representatives of Chicago's last team to hoist Lord Stanley's Cup (prior to last season) were introduced to the sellout crowd of 21,000+, each receiving a rousing ovation from the people in attendance. On top of each member receiving a framed 1961 championship replica banner of their own, it was announced that the United Center would get two more monuments added to the area outside the United Center.

It was announced that Blackhawk legends Bobby Hull and Stan Mikita would be represented forever outside the United Center with two bronze statues that will join the famous Michael Jordan statue. Now while I do not expect Larry King to be broadcasting the debut of the pieces of art outside the UC like he did with Jordan, but the honor bestowed on Hull and Mikita seems a little confusing to me. While Hull and Mikita are indeed fixtures of the history of the Chicago Blackhawks, these statues and this honor seems a little too miscalculated.


Friday, January 7, 2011

Will Chicago Bears Fans Miss Lovie Smith If He Leaves?


Being a head coach of a football team requires certain aspects/traits that many of us simply do not possess. Besides being a teacher of the game of football, coaches also need to be leaders of men. Sometimes that includes becoming the male role model for some players, and sometimes it becomes the male disciplinarian for others. Strength, focus, patience, and work ethic are all quality values that a head coach of a football team needs in his repertoire. Whether it be in the college ranks or the pros, the demand for the best of the best on both levels (college/pro) is something that is incomparable to any other job.

This past winter the talk around Chicago was about the possible firing of Bears head coach Lovie Smith and the outrage by many that the organization decided to stay the course and make changes outside the man in charge. Today with a 11-5 record secured and a first round bye in the playoffs starting this weekend, I wonder if Bears fans attitude and feelings toward Lovie Smith have changed. The question is not whether Lovie Smith should receive a contract extension, but if he leaves will anyone miss him.


Monday, January 3, 2011

Lovie Smith's Luckiest Game Of The Year Comes With A Chicago Bears Defeat....


Very few things are shocking anymore in professional sports. Only once in a great while will a Butler Bulldogs come around and get to a national title game or an eighth seeded Edmonton Oilers make the Stanley Cup Finals. However what I saw yesterday from Lovie Smith and the Chicago Bears absolutely shocked the living hell out of me. Like many of you I waited with baited breath for the inactives to be released to see if that would give some sort of clue on exactly what Lovie Smith was going to do with playing time for his starting lineup. Like many of you last week, I was sick and tired of hearing the continuous conversation of what Lovie Smith should do versus what Lovie Smith will do handling who will play and who will not play. Like many of you I was shocked that the starting lineup for the Chicago Bears played the entire game against a Green Bay Packers team playing for their playoff lives.

While many (including myself) will remember this year as a year where the Bears were more lucky than good by catching the right teams at the right times, even in defeat yesterday that was Lovie Smith's luckiest game of the year.