Archive for February, 2012

It’s interesting because a couple of weeks ago I got an email where I was asked “how come we always like comparing white quarterbacks with black quarterbacks?”  And I think it’s a great point. Brett Favre, Caucasian, was a better athlete than Jason Campbell – whose still in the league and is of African American background. I think the media tends to marginalize the black quarterback and says “oh he’s an athlete ” Now it should be noted that to a large degree, many of the black quarterbacks like Randall Cunningham, Michael Vick, and Vince Young have been extraordinary runners and there haven’t been regular white quarterbacks who run – Steve Young obviously was the exception.

But historically, that’s the exception! He’s the outlier. But I will say this – and thanks again to the emailer for raising this very important point, and I think we have moved past this “type casting” with quarterbacks. I always thought Tim Tebow was Vince Young – and I never thought that with either one you could build a franchise around. Tim Tebow is basically Vince Young but with a better work ethic. Both were profoundly successful in college, mechanically flawed at the next level, first instinct is to run and not throw outside of an “easy to catch” deep ball and both have limited showing/throwing into tight windows, so Tim Tebow/Vince Young…same guy.

I think Cam Newton is Big Ben because both are physically gifted; both extend plays beyond anything we’ve ever seen before when they first arrived in the league, both have well above average arms and both have stuff off the field we’re not all entirely comfortable with. I think Andrew Luck at Stanford is Eli Manning but with more mobility. Both have high IQ’s, dad is an ex-NFLer, their escapability is excellent, but Luck is just the better runner, they both make extraordinary pre-snap decisions. I think Robert Griffin has a little Drew Brees in him because they’re both undersized, great head’s for the game, both go to non-traditional powers at the collegiate level, both have an IQ that elevates them in the draft, both throw a tremendous deep-ball for their size, which is small in terms of comparable guys in the league.

So to me, Robert Griffin feels a lot like Drew Brees, Andrew Luck feels like a more mobile Eli Manning, Tebow has always felt like Vince Young and Cam Newton feels a lot like Big Ben. Michael Vick and Steve Young both broke into the league and were extraordinary running quarterbacks, there are some comparisons. The difference between the two is that Michael just wasn’t a student of the game; Michael just cheated himself for the first 6 years. Nobody cheated Michael; it was just Michael cheating Michael. He didn’t work very hard, he admitted later that he didn’t study film, was the “last to practice, first home” so I always felt bad for Michael Vick because Michael cheated Michael, nobody else was out to get him. Michael just had bad judgment, he didn’t put in the time and Steve Young was a student of the game and you can still argue that he may have been the smartest quarterback to ever play the game – he’s way way up the cerebral ladder.

Rich McKay, president of the Atlanta Falcons was interviewed not too long ago and talked about how comparisons do matter. He cited his days when running the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and how he would always ask all his scouts to “write 3 current NFL players that compare to the guy you want to draft”. In any business, you are bound to make comparisons, whether they’re racial or not. If you’re going to draft Andrew Luck and you’re the GM of the Colts, you’re going to ask all your scouts on Luck “Who is he? What does he compare to?” comparables! I mean you do that in the pharmaceutical business, you do it in the medical business, in the radio business, the real estate business etc. When you’re going to buy a house on the market, they tend to give you comparable houses that were on the market and what they sold for. So I don’t think comparing quarterbacks is really that bad of a habit – Trent Richardson right now is being compared to NFL running backs.

Eric Mangini was interviewed about a month ago on the Scott Van Pelt Show on ESPN radio and talked about the reason why the Patriots liked Danny Woodhead. He claimed that Belicheck had a theory and said that what Belicheck does is take a list of players, but won’t put their names down, but will have size and speed comparables for every player. Danny Woodhead – when you didn’t care where he went to college, if you just looked at his size, his speed, his shuttle time, vertical and all his measurables, Danny Woodhead was an NFL player. He didn’t go to Oklahoma; he didn’t even go to Oklahoma State or even Oklahoma Tech! But Danny Woodhead – on the measureables, comparing player to player, size to size, shuttle to shuttle and speed to speed, they believed that Danny Woodhead was an NFL player, so guys are compared all the time.

Robert Griffin is going to be compared to black quarterbacks, to white quarterbacks, the few latino quarterbacks…he’s going to be compared to everyone. When you sign a quarterback, you are making a commitment of about 6 years. You don’t want to do what Arizona did and commit to Kevin Kolb and then a year in and you’re like “you know! Should we swallow the $7 million?” You gave up a draft pick, Marty Rodgers, $10 million; you want to give up now another $7 million now, so all this stuff, there is a reason why there’s comparables.


So over the past week or so I’ve been reading all these stories – I read one on USA Today, on everyone asking “how did everyone whiff on Jeremy Lin of the Knicks?” I think it was easy to miss out on him because he’s not a transcendent talent! Come on Jeremy Lin fans, don’t go Tebow on me. Jeremy Lin, great kid and nice player, he blends in and his talent blends in…but he’s not Kobe at 15 or Randy Moss elite. A lot of this story – and let’s be honest about it, is that he fits into Mike D’Antoni’s system. Do I think scouts were anti-Asian? Well I mean he was under-recognized and under-appreciated; I think we’d all agree on that. There are also certain stereotypes that we all either benefit from or are burden with – but Jeremy is not a remarkable talent. He’s talented – thousands of people are talented though, but you have to remember, he wasn’t this type of player [skills & ability wise] back then. He’s thin now; he was 18 pounds lighter back then.

By the way, I’m hearing so much about this “oh Andrew, but he was a California high school player of the year” First of all, there are hundreds of regional player of the year awards, county player of the year awards, district player of the year awards, all-state player of the year awards, would all of them get Division 1 football and basketball scholarships? Like Ohio State passed up on Big Ben! So for these big schools like USC, Texas, Oklahoma, Ohio State, Alabama – they are passing up on dozens of all-regional kids in their own states because it doesn’t matter how good you are in high school, it’s how you project at college and a lot of kids peak early.

Stanford for example gives out like 2 basketball scholarships a year maybe 3, and they had a guard who projected better at the next level. I mean holy smokes, if there was any school that was pro-Asian, Stanford would be one of them right? Wouldn’t you think? A large percentage of their student body – just like my undergraduate school Waterloo, is Asian.  Listen, I’m pro Jeremy Lin and this thing is going to last a while, but at the same time don’t kid yourself, a lot of this is the system. I mean, Golden State and Houston let him go – the guys that run those organizations, they’re not all dumb! “But Andrew, Jeremy Lin played in 3 Central Coast Division Title Teams” so what!! That’s not exactly a glamour league within California high school sports – it’s not a hotbed of NBA and NFL talent. California is an enormous state with 33 million people I believe, there’s 400 -700 leagues and some of those leagues – just like Central California; they don’t have giant population centers.  They’re going down to LA County and Orange County and around the Bay area to grab the basketball and football talent.

So this whole thing where people are asking “so how did you guys whiff on him?” listen, 95% of the working population in both Canada and the United States succeed because they’re part of a system, not because they are uniquely gifted. It’s much more ridiculous to me that Bryant was chosen 13th, you wanna fire a GM? Fire all 12 guys that didn’t draft Kobe Bryant! His dad even played in the NBA. At 15 years old in high school gyms in Philadelphia, he was working college and NBA players. I read in an article recently where Tim Legler, ESPN NBA Analyst, walked in on Kobe at 15 in one of the gyms in Philadelphia and asked everybody “who is that? Who is that college kid” and people said to him “no, he’s a high school sophomore”

Somebody drafted Todd Fuller two spots above Kobe, fire that GM! But Jeremy Lin on 20 NBA teams is not coming close to what he is doing now – in fact I’m going to let you read what Jeremy Lin said last week. I heard this while sstreaming the Michael K Show on 1050 ESPN New York.  Read on how he viewed himself. Michael asked him “do you every doubt yourself?” and Jeremy replies by saying “I always told myself that if I find the right situation, I definitely could see myself as a rotation player. But there have definitely been times where I doubted if I’d ever get that oppourtunity and even times where I wasn’t sure how I’d play in a particular game because I only had one in pre-season to show what I could do”

So did you read what he said? You think Michael Jordan or Kobe Bryant or Allen Iverson ever thought “well, if I get into the right situation – A, then B, I could be a rotation player and C, I’m not even sure if I’d play that great in one game if you put that pressure on me.” So even Jeremy Lin saw himself like that. So, I love the story about this guy and I think it’s great and all, but when people are asking “why did everybody whiff on Jeremy Lin?”  Because talent evaluation is really really hard and I’ll give you an example. A lot of people peak early in life and a lot of people in life are late bloomers. Samuel L. Jackson peaked in his 40’s, Emilio Estevez peaked at 14! George Clooney banged around Hollywood for 9 years doing The Golden Girls and Hunter. Chris Rock was buried in Saturday Night Live for 2 years, you never saw him! Some kids develop later and some kids peak early.

I recalled this story and told my day last night while waiting for the Daytona 500 to resume – true story, little league baseball and I’m playing for my little local all-star team – shortstop, and we go to a little league all-star tournament somewhere north of my hometown. There was a player, can’t remember his name, but this kid had a moustache and he was 11, hairy chest – he looked like Harrison Ford and he was 11. He hit a ball – I swear to God he looked like he was Mickey Mantle and he hit this ball a mile long in little league, he had big muscles with a hairy chest and he’s 11 – I had never seen an athlete like this because he was so much bigger than all the other kids. So I saw him like 4 years ago when in my 2nd year of studies at Waterloo. I was visiting U of T, I’m 4 inches taller than him, he has a receding hairline and he’s balding. I grew 9 inches to a foot and he grew like 2 inches – I towered over him and I’ll never forget that. He went onto become a great college baseball player but he reached right up to my chin line in university.

Moral of the story? You can’t tell and you don’t know!! There was a recent survey which found that 33% of USA Today 5-star players – compiled from places like,…found that 33% of them are busts, another 1/3 underachieve, now a third of them end up being Matt Barkley or Adrian Peterson. But talent evaluation is really really tough!

Did you see Jeremy Lin’s number’s Monday night? For the uninitiated, let me write it out for you: 21 points, 9 assists, 4 steals and 7 rebounds. Only 5 players in the NBA in the last 2 years – Lebron, Rose and Chris Paul are 3 of them have had numbers that good. By the way, Derrick Roses’ numbers Monday night – in a win: 30% fewer assists, 400% fewer steals, 30% fewer rebounds and an extra turnover, but we love Derrick Rose because his team won.

I’ve said it before; I’m not a day trader because that’s not what I do. I’m mostly a long-term investor in real life and in sports; if I buy something, I stick with it. Jeremy Lin was great Monday night because when he wasn’t on the floor in the first half Monday night, the Knicks started gunning 3 balls. When he goes back onto the floor – they start pushing the ball around, going inside, the right guys are taking shots. Now, is the Linsanity show going to slow down? Absolutely! Don’t kid yourself. The Miami Heat – easily the best team in the NBA, lost 3 straight games earlier this season…why? They were on the road! They lost to Golden State, the Clippers and Denver. It’s the NBA; this isn’t college basketball where one guy, max, is a borderline NBA player. The best athlete’s in the world, you play 3 times in 4 nights, you’re traveling nationally, and great teams in this league get wacked! I mean the Lakers will wack the Suns one night yet 4 nights later the Suns will hammer the Lakers. It’s the NBA!

Monday night though, Derrick Williams was philthy! The other thing – sometimes you cannot stop an avalanche, there’s just nothing you can do about it. I was watching television Monday night and there was this guy on television that created this thing where you pull the chord and it creates this bubble so you can survive an avalanche – and even he said it “it really doesn’t mean that you’re going to survive it, it just gives you a little better chance.” Sometimes in life, there’s bad break avalanche! Have you ever been poor? Car breaks down, washer/dryer doesn’t work, being of Hispanic background I know all too well about that and it’s just an avalanche of bad breaks. It seems like whenever you’re really poor, you can’t get a break! Your car breaks down…right before payday! 2 days before and you have to take the bus to work. There are bad break avalanches, there’s chirp-on-your-shoulder-can’t-miss-from-three-point-land-Derron Williams avalanches and it was one of those nights where Derron Williams was philthy.

By the way, Mike D’Antoni said it after the game that you could tell very early – in the NBA, sometimes teams are flat and the Knicks Monday night, I watched it, they were just DOA. “Our energy wasn’t where it had to be – you know, I can maybe understand the first quarter a little bit, you’re flat and you’re coming off an emotional win…okay. But we had to pick it up early in the end, we just couldn’t do it” Now, in regards to the Melo thing – to me, I think it’s totally fine.  Now, there are a lot of guys that aren’t going to work with Jeremy Lin – Tony Douglas? Get rid of him! Barron Davis? Get rid of him as well, J.R. Smith? I’m not a fan of…eventually get rid of him. Carmelo Anthony is going to work fine with Lin. Jimmy Boeheim was interview on the Scott Van Pelt Show last week – I watched the Melo thing Monday night with Jeremy Lin, I think it’s totally fine! One of them likes to pass the other likes to shoot.

Jimmy Boeheim was on the radio show last week and he was asked about his predictions on Melo and Lin on the court, he said “in all the scorers that I’ve ever seen – whether it’s Kobe or Dwayne Wade, you name any top scorer you wanna name – Reggie Miller, they all have that mentality “I’m here to score, this is what I do” But I think Melo fitted in great here [Syracuse] we had a balanced team , like he averaged 20 points, but that’s basketball. We had another 3 guys in double figures as well…I have no doubt that when he’s back on the court, he will fit in great with him, they’ll play well together. I think the Knicks are going to rise and fall on how well they play defense.” And that’s the irony of the whole situation – where we’re paying attention to Amare, Melo and Lin yet the reason why they’re probably going to lose to the Miami Heat – and I don’t think they can beat the Miami Heat 4 times nor Chicago is because they don’t defend like those teams.

So to me, Monday night is a speed bump, the kid is producing prodigious and profound numbers at point guard, they’re going to be fine! I like watching them play…heck, I’m watching Knicks/Net’s game…when was the last time I ever did that? The kid for sure has had a positive impact on the team. Now the other thing – and I’m sorta talking about how everyone wants me to be a day trader…I love fans, I’m a fan…so I love fans. But the one thing that drives me crazy though is “hindsight” guy, the guy that emails you at like 1:38am, right after his team win – those guys are ridiculous and I can’t stand fans like that. Have the courage – LSU fans are the worst because before the National Championship, when I said that Bama was going to beat them, got like 200 emails yet didn’t get one when they got smoked! Everybody thinks they’re an “expert” before the games.

Everybody this morning could look at the Portland Trail Blazers and bag on the fact that they drafted Greg Odon before Kevin Durant – you’re the guy I can’t stand! Your “hindsight” guy because Portland drafted the right guy because how could they know that Greg Odon was built on tongue depressors and saran wrap? They had Brandon Roy, they had LaMarcus Aldridge – they had 2 emerging stars! And their arch nemesis, the Lakers, had drafted the year before Andrew Bynum – this prodigy, this 17/18 year old kid from Jersey and the Blazers knew “if we don’t get a big, we’re going to have to face Kobe and Bynum” So it’s really easy today to say – and I heard Tom Penn, who use to work in the front office of the Blazers interviewed on Fox Sports say “I loved Durant, but we had enough guys scoring on the wing…we needed a big” it’s easy to blast the Blazers in hindsight.

Even when they drafted Sam Booey before Michael Jordan – do a little homework, the Blazers two years earlier had drafted Clyde Drexler – who had a profound college career, who broke into the Blazers and when Jordan was available, he was averaging 18 points per game for Portland as a two-guard, shooting 50% and was the most popular Blazer since Bill Walton. The idea that you could’ve plucked out Jordan and said “Clyde, sit on the bench” Drexler from the minute he arrived there was wildly popular “Clyde the Glyde” and this was when college players stayed in college for 3 or 4 years and came out like Reggie Busch or Tebow – microwavable stars, into the next level. College basketball guys coming out now, you’ve never heard of them. But Clyde was a star in American sports as a college player – he was Tebow and Reggie Busch, so the Blazers had a two-guard, they didn’t need another two-guard. They needed a big and went out and got Sam Booey.

Now, you could argue that they could’ve drafted a point guard or this and that with Sam Booey having some injury problems…Greg Oden had injuries. Everybody is an expert in hindsight. So everybody wants sportscasters to be day traders. If I was a political guy, you’d want me to have Milt Romney tonight, Rick Santorum tomorrow night and Newt Gingrich the night after. I’m a Jeremy Lin guy, I don’t care if they win or lose, his numbers are profound, and the guy can play! I get the Greg Oden thing completely because with Kevin Durant, they had that guy already in their roster – they had LaMarcus Aldridge, who’s a great player. Brandon Roy was a great player it’s just unfortunate that Roy fell apart physically early in his career. Here’s the thing though, I don’t like bashing people or making fun of people who can’t defend themselves – kids, puppies, senior citizens and injury plagued centers! I just don’t like picking on them.

I like picking on people that can handle it and with Greg Oden I just feel terrible for Portland, I feel terrible for the city, I feel terrible for the employee’s, I don’t think there is another sports franchise in the U.S. that has had worse luck. I mean, Brandon Roy had to retire – the man was an All-star, if Greg Oden had given you 14 and 11 every night, which is what I honestly thought he always was – I didn’t think he was offensively gifted, if he gave you 14 ½ points, 11 ½ rebounds and 3 blocks and Roy was healthy, you’d have right now: Oden, Roy an All-Star, a legit big man which almost nobody in the league has and LaMarcus Aldridge – you’d arguably be the 2nd best team in the West behind Oklahoma City, first or second best team. So I just feel terrible for them, but if you’ve not heard the news, Greg Oden is out again needing another micro fracture surgery.

So his name is formerly Ron Artest but he changed his own name to Metta World Peace – it’s Ron Artest/Metta World Peace, he plays for the Lakers but not much lately as he has been futing as of two Friday’s ago with Mike Brown the coach because he’s not getting the playing time. Metta World Peace came out and said “I’m trying to win and right now, coach is a stats guy. His background is video coordinator or whatever – so he’s all stats. But Ron Artest is all feel”  so Metta World Peace went third person in that quote and got his own name wrong! He continues “he worried about me shooting bad from the free-throw line and I was like I could care less because I’mma get a stop at the end of the game. He didn’t understand the rhythm that we had – me, Fisher, Kobe and Pau” sigh

I have to transcribe this for you; it’s honestly the world’s worst logic – open up the following link in a different tab and read the rant as it plays along ( “I told Mike Brown that if I’m 1 for 10 from the free-throw line, 3 for 15 from the 3 point line” this is Metta World Peaces’ quote “29% from field goal range, no rebounds and no assists…and we won? Bam!! It doesn’t matter, because at the end of the game, I’m going to get a big stop” uh actually Metta World Peace it does matter, because if you actually hit 2 of 10 from the free throw line and had just 2 rebounds in 29 minutes you WOULDN’T NEED a big stop in the end. Metta World Peace also had this logic on curfews “I don’t believe in them because if you come home late enough, you can be early for tomorrow” more illogical logic from Metta World Peace!

Sometimes athletes are just absurd! His quote is “if I’m 1 for 10 from the free-throw line, 3 for 15 from the 3 point line, 29% from field goal range, no rebounds and no assists…and we won? Bam!! It doesn’t matter, because at the end of the game, I’m going to get a big stop” it does matter because you stink! And you need a stop because you’re always getting hammered because you’re terrible on the floor. Meta-logic “why wash my hair today, if it’s just going to be dirty by tonight…I’m Metta World Peace” the guy is goofy I tell you! I love the guy but he sure is goofy!

So Randy Moss wants to play again in 2012 – he just turned 35 last Monday, no thanks! Been there and burned that with the New England Patriots yet ESPN NFL Analyst Chris Carter said the Patriots are a perfect fit for Moss. “Since the time when he was on the team in New England up until 3 weeks ago when they played in the Superbowl, I believe that they [New England] would’ve had a distinct advantage. So I just believe that the perfect fit for Randy Moss – not only from a system standpoint but what they also can provide him mentally, the best fit for him is with the New England Patriots” By the way, Chris Carter also said “ I believe it’s the elephant in the room – I believe it’s called quit” and I think it’s what we have to talk about when discussing Randy Moss.

You can do a lot of things as an athlete – but don’t quit on me! My opinion on Randy Moss has always been “the guy quit.” Some people say that Randy Moss can run a 4.3 at 35 years old – Usain Bolt is not going to run a 4.3 at 35 years old, so I don’t buy that for a second! I don’t think there is a human being alive, who is not on cattle steroids, running a 4.3 in a 40 at 35 years of age, I think it’s absolutely absurd! By the way, John Clayton has an idea of where Randy Moss could possibly end up “I don’t see him going back to the Patriots, I do think that that door is closed, but let’s say for example if Plaxico Burress doesn’t go back to the New York Jets, and I could see Randy Moss being a possible fit there. So there may be a select group of teams interested, but I can definitely see a select group that as the franchise tags go, who could go after Randy Moss”

All these diva wide receivers – I mean seriously, do they have television sets? Do they not watch one wide receivers’ career after another collapse in shame? Andre Rison, Plaxico, T.O., Ocho, and Moss – I thought they all had big flat screens and television sets!! Edmund Burke – a British philosopher once said “those who don’t know history are bound to repeat it” he was apparently talking about NFL wide receivers. Forget Nostradamus – he was apparently way ahead of his time.

Fans are goofy on Randy Moss; fans are goofy on all these guys. It’s the Letterman jacket kind of theory that you just can’t give up the past! The NFL has implemented new rules which is why these college guys can come into the NFL and be stars – like Victor Cruz and Miles Austin became overnight. Even Jerry Rice struggled as a rookie because you use to be able to mug wide receivers – you can’t do it anymore though. It has been a huge advantage to quarterbacks and wide receivers and as a result you don’t need to spend a fortune on a diva. You can bring in a guy – Justin Blackmon from Oklahoma State will come into the NFL this year and make 75 catches in his first year.

A.J. Green was a star 3 games into the Bengals’ season! So you don’t need to spend a fortune and have these headaches anymore – you did have to in 1990 because it took receivers 2 to 3 years to develop. But with the new rules in the NFL, if Dez Bryant can memorize the playbook, he would be an 80 catch/12 TD guy tomorrow…you can’t touch him! All the rules are for quarterbacks and wide receivers right now, all the rules! You don’t need to roll the dice on guys like Randy Moss – you had to 10 years ago but it all changed in 2004/2005. Chris Carter said what the biggest challenge is in playing at 35 “I don’t think it’s going to be a physical problem, because for him I believe that the time off not only gave his body enough time but his mind enough time to heal from that season where he went to New England, went to Minnesota and ended up in Tennessee. Age, it is a number, but I believe that he can be very very effective in not only in this season but probably for a couple of seasons”

Athletes struggle to see outside of their work reality mainly because sports is their entire life, so academically they’ve mailed it in and because they are all zillionaires, they don’t live like the rest of us. So last week, Roddy White – who is a very good receiver for the Atlanta Falcons, I think he’s a really good player but he wrote on Twitter last week that he could not believe that Rodger Goodell was going to make $20 million dollars a year by the year 2019.

Now first of all, that sounds like a lot of money – and it is, but never forget this about commissioners. The NFL is a private company and the owners are the equity stakeholders. So Roger Goodell has neither company share nor stock options, so that’s all he gets. I’ve got news for you; it’s a $9 billion dollar business annually. There are people making $15 million a year that are in $800 million dollar companies, he’s running a $9 billion dollar company – and that’s what it makes now! When the new TV contracts kick in 2 to 3 years time, it’ll be an $11 billion dollar industry. “Well Andrew anybody can run that thing…” really? Have you seen baseball’s popularity and cultural significance erode in 25 years? You don’t think commissioners matter?

The NBA was dead before David Stern! They were putting the Eastern Conference finals on tape delay at 11:30pm after the local news….the NBA was dead! David Stern came in, put the name on the back of the jersey in front and made players stars, not teams, rivalries or cities. I’m happy to report that the league is now doing very well. If you just think that sports stays the same…your nuts! It’s Tagliabue and Roger Goodell who have negotiated seamlessly monster contracts. Meanwhile in baseball, let’s be honest the New York Giants’ first game of the NFL season beat a Yankee playoff game in New York – that doesn’t happen 25 years ago, leadership is key. If you don’t think leadership matters – and just because you’ve got a great education anybody can run anything, I give you October 2008 Wall Street. Ivy League guys put the U.S. in a financial dumpster.

Leadership is hard to find – go look at the U.S. Congress. Wide receivers are incredibly replaceable, it’s called a draft, and it happens every April. Favre exits, Aaron Rodgers arrives…not a speed bump. Peyton is out; Andrew Luck is in – business as usual. Now I gave you two examples where it was more seamless than usual, but if you don’t think leadership matters, the Patriots had 18 undrafted players along with 11 more drafted 4th round or later yet made it to the Superbowl. The Raiders 1st and 2nd round picks everywhere, couldn’t make the playoffs in a lousy AFC West. Why do the Steelers, the Patriots, the Giants and Eagles keep winning? Why don’t the Buc’s , why don’t the Lions, the Raiders, the Bengals…leadership I’d argue, is worth every penny if it’s really good.

I have to tell you something, one of the things about the U.S. that drives me nuts is why people resent what other individuals make. Resent an inefficient and wasteful government, resent corporations – 60% of which don’t pay any taxes. Why would you resent another individual? A recent study indicated that if you double the taxes of the top 1% of individual income earners, it would make absolutely no dent whatsoever to the national debt. But if you simply had a 15% flat tax on corporations and on all corporations – domestic or overseas, in would make a significant dent in the national debt. Yet the government and corporations get exactly what they want: people complaining about individuals’ wealth and not the real issue, of government inefficiency and corporate scapes to bypass taxes. Those are the real issues that are where you solve the national debt. It’s not on the guy that owns a lumber yard earning a million bucks a year; it’s not on that guy!

So I have no idea why a wide receiver in the NFL would resent – and for the record, couldn’t everybody in the U.S. argue that a very replaceable wide receiver, like they’re dropping 9 a year out of college like Victor Cruz went to UMass, couldn’t I argue that a wide receiver is overpaid? Listen, Roddy White, love yah brother but please stop talking because you’re being ridiculous. Anybody who’s worked for a bad boss or a bad company – no matter how great the employee talent is, it can’t overcome it. If you’re a school teacher and have a lousy principal, it doesn’t matter if you have 70 great teachers…you’ve got a bad school. Leadership is worth every penny!

The Cleveland Browns are a great example, the Lions, the Raiders and the Bengals are also great examples! You know, it’s about having the guy up at the top. Don’t resent the individual rich guy – there is a lot of people to resent, resent an inefficient government and resent corporations that are paying no taxes! That’s what should drive you insane! When studies have proven that if you tax corporations, you can totally get out of this mess. It’s not about the rich guy across the room that’s driving a Lexus; it’s totally irrelevant because there aren’t that many of those guys anyways. There’s not that many people making 7 figures in this country, there just simply isn’t. Basically Goodell is helping to run 32 individual companies that even compete against each other, yet they are all pouring into the same pot. That’s no easy challenge because you’ve got Jerry Jones over there, Dan Snyder over here and the Rooney’s over there and they’ve all got personal interests. It is hard to run a league!

I hate to demonize people off of one mistake – outside of John Wall, but generally speaking, we all make mistakes and I don’t think it should overwhelmingly frame us for the rest of our lives. People do things at 15 that were stupid, you did it and I did it. I think it’s funny with Phil Mickelson, if you ask people about Tiger Woods they’ll be like “the legend” yet if you ask people about Phil Mickelson, they’ll be like “uh, underachiever, little bit of a choker” and I think that’s totally unfair to the guy.

First of all, John Stockton is the second greatest point guard ever – he played during the Jordan dynasty. Anybody who ever watched John Stockton – take out one guy named Magic Johnson, John Stockton is the best point guard ever. If you don’t think I’m right, go look at the top 10 scorers in league history and find out which out doesn’t fit …Karl Malone. If Karl Malone had an average guard, he’s not even a top 20 scorer. Stockton made Malone, absolutely made him into the player he turned out to be. Now it’s not to say that Karl couldn’t play, but he certainly doesn’t become the 2nd all time leading scorer in league history! Karl Malone?? Does he even have one great playoff series win…ever? He’s surrounded by the Wilt’s, MJ’s, Kareem’s and Kobe’s.

So Phil Mickelson’s career is really lower than what it should be because for Tiger, we’ve certainly placed him in the right spot when it comes to his greatness in the sport but for Mickelson, people tend to drop him because he has struggled in big majors. Think about this, in the history of Golf – we are talking about a century or more, here are the players with 40 PGA tour wins and 4 majors, there’s eight of them: Samuel Snead, Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods, Ben Hogan, Arnold Palmer, Bryon Nelson, Walter Hagen and Phil Mickelson –that’s pretty rarified air if you ask me. By the way, all-time Phil is 13 and 13 against Tiger.

What’s really hurt Phil Mickelson is the U.S. Open. Where he’s finished second 5 times yet lost by a total of 9 strokes: he lost by 1, 2, 1, 2, and then 3 to Tiger – when Tiger was absolutely dominating the sport like nobody ever has. He lost 5 U.S. Opens by 9 strokes. But simultaneously played against the hottest, greatest golfer whose ever played the sport. Think about this, if he wins just one of those U.S. Opens – and he lost 2 by a stroke, he’s got more majors than Bryon Nelson, if he wins just two of those – if you just give him two stokes, he’s got as many as Sam Snead, Arnie and more than Bryon Nelson. Phil Mickelson – just like Oscar De La Hoya, I always gave Oscar De La Hoya credit because he was willing to fight the best while Roy Jones Jr. dodged people.

Phil Mickelson loves playing Tiger and loved playing against him last Sunday and is the first guy to say – if you can give me anybody in my threesome or foursome, make it Tiger! “He seems to bring out the best in me and in the last 4 or 5 years I’ve played some of my best golf with him. I just seem more focused and I know that his level of play is just so much greater when he’s playing his best than anybody else is and it just forces me to focus on my game more intently and hit more precise shots. I hope that he continues to play better and better and I hope that he and I have a chance to play together more in the final rounds” You go look at guys in the history of the sport, 40 tour wins and 4 majors, there are only 8 of them. For the record, the U.S. Open gave all sorts of great golfer some real problems.

Tom Watson won 8 majors yet only 1 U.S. Open, the U.S. Open gave Arnold Palmer some major problems with 7 majors but only 1 U.S. Open. Mickelson has won 3 Master’s, a PGA championship, in non-majors he has obliterated people. He is arguably the greatest shot maker in the history of the sport – I mean a humongous talent. But like a John Stockton, Patrick Ewing or a Charles Barkley, he just happened to get caught up in the Tiger Tsunami, the Michael Jordan Tsunami and nobody, historically, could win in that era. But Mickelson has lost 5 U.S. Open’s by 9 strokes!! He’s better than what we all make him to be.

Well, I’m not a “-mania” guy, so the whole “Tebowmania” or the Vick thing after a Monday night football game doesn’t work for me. Since day one of my blog, my mission has always been to add some perspective, I try to be a judge – you guys can be the jury because they get swayed by emotion, I’m a judge and I’m not suppose to and that is basically what every rant strives to do. A lot of times I get called a hater or a cynic…whatever! I’m just not into “-mania”. Now, that’s not to say that all “-mania’s” mean that the person has no talent. The Beatles – there was a lot of “-mania” around the Beatles, but they were producing A+ work.

So we have a new “-mania” now and people see me as “anti-Tebow” but the truth is that I was never anti-Tebow, I was just “anti-TebowMANIA” because it was based on the wrong thing. I believe that Jeremy Lin of the New York Knicks – and that “-mania” has real teeth. So let’s go back to the “Tebowmania” which was the last “-mania” we had in sports, let’s break it down. So he led the NFL in jersey sales without playing a single game. It was all based on a profound college career, good looks and overwhelmingly, his faith. Tebow was sitting on a bench and selling more jerseys than Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady or any rookie from this past season who was actually playing.

Tebow finally plays and is statistically – how should I say this…terrible! The team wins narrowly and I have to put up with hate mail and “Tebow MVP” mail. That is a “popularity over production” story where things overwhelmingly not of sport, primarily his faith, are what makes the hype. I guess that’s totally fine but let’s call it what it is. Now let’s look at the Jeremy Lin story. Hiscollege career? Irrelevant. His faith? You and I don’t know what it is. Looks? I asked my mom and 10 female friends…average to below average. Now, when did he get popular though? It was based entirely on his play! Goes 25 and 7 against Derron Williams, an All-Star. Goes 28 and 8 against Devon Harris who is an above average point guard. Goes for 38 against the Lakers. So Jeremy Lin mania is based on play, performance, stats…I buy it!

Now, is it a bigger story because it is in New York? Yes! If he was doing this with the Golden State Warriors, it would still be a story, but it wouldn’t be this type of story. Is New York aiding it? Absolutely! But they certainly aren’t driving it. Promotions and marketing can aid a restaurant’s sales; the food and the service still have to drive it. Secondly, I think that Mike D’Antoni’s system is perfect for Lin because it is very point-guard friendly. Steve Nash was the most dominant player in the league under Mike D’Antoni…he was an MVP! D’Antoni leaves Phoenix, Steve Nash is still very good, he’s excellent but the trophies dry up. So is New York aiding this story? Sure! Is D’Antoni’s system helping Lin? Of course! But lots of systems help athletes but it still comes down to player production and Jeremy Lin is producing. Now, nobody is calling him an MVP – at least credible NBA analyst’s and I don’t think he merit’s it 5 games into his career.  But it is a great story about a really nice player who is a perfect fit for a team that was lacking a point guard.

Now the question segways to the next level because he’s doing this without Carmlo and Amare – like Amare I’m predicting is going to love this kid because much like D’Antoni and Steve Nash in Phoenix, it benefits Amare. The question now becomes – and I was hearing this all day today “uh oh, Melo is coming back, there will be big problems…” wrong, not so fast!! My opinion on this is this: Did Carmelo makes the Knicks better last year? Yes, I think he did. They were horrible, got Carmelo and made the playoffs. Doesn’t matter if they don’t win in the playoffs – a lot of teams don’t win in the playoffs, they still have talent! Lakers didn’t win as many as they should have…but they still have talent. So I believe that Melo made things better last year for the Knicks. The Knicks’ problem this year is not Melo but the fact that Mike D’Antoni’s system is entirely based on a point guard…but they didn’t have one! They literally didn’t have a point guard.

You can’t ask a football coach – known for the option, to have an immobile quarterback and then ask a wide receiver to play quarterback and then blame the wide receiver. The reality is that Mike D’Antoni’s system is so heavily weighted on a point guard than any other system in the current NBA framework. Phil Jackson had his triangle offense, D’Antoni’s got his point guard driven offense. The man was asking Melo to be a point guard! You can’t blame Melo. The reality is that Jeremy’s numbers are going to come down because Melo and Amare are going to take shots, but the Knicks now are going to be a very tough out.  Lin is a high IQ basketball player with a real game. He was an All State California guy, Fran Freschilla had him; he was also a John Wooden Finalist and a Bob Cousy finalist in college at Harvard, so the guy can definitely play. Fran Freschilla knew it; he had him as one of the top 10 college basketball players. Jim Calhoun a couple of years ago, when UConn blasted Harvard, Jim Calhoun said “that kid [Jeremy] we’ve had a lot of teams come in here, that kid can play with all of them, including Syracuse”

So, the question now – let’s get to the next spot, the question now is that when Melo comes back, how is it going to work? I think it’s going to work fine!  I think it’s easy to paint Melo as the bad guy early this year yet as I’ve already argued, Melo clearly made the Knicks better last year and he’ll make them better this year, just not as a point guard! You can’t ask Melo to be a point guard and then blame him for the problems, he’s a wing player. So Magic Johnson, Chris Broussard and John Barry talked about Lin and Melo and the adjustments that will have to be made yesterday.

“Johnson:  it’s still gonna come down to Carmelo Anthony and Amare on how they see Jeremy Lin .If they do not accept him, they may not make the playoffs because this is going to be the key – and make no mistake about it, when you got two guys in the game with ego’s that they have, they have to buy into Jeremy Lin. Broussard:  Melo is the guy though, that has got to accept Jeremy Lin the most, cause Amare is going to benefit from Jeremy thinking he’s the Steve Nash type, cause when Jeremy is coming down the floor, he’s not looking for one person like they’ve been doing all season, he’s going to hit the open man and Melo is just going to have to accept that…” I do believe that it will work! There are a lot of naysayers that are blaming Melo for the entire mess so far this season; I’m blaming the fact that they didn’t have a point guard!

So, I didn’t buy into the Tebow stuff – and still don’t, like think about Lin and Tebow: Tebow? Atrocious statistically. Lin? Good statistically. Tebow? Struggled with basic quarterback skills. Lin? Does multiple things well for a point guard. Tebow? The defense often carried him. Lin? Has actually had to carry the Knicks. Folks, these are not the same stories! Jeremy Lin can play in this league, he is a long 6’3, can use both his hands around the rim, super high IQ, very nice distributor, makes terrific decisions, doesn’t really lack anything for a point guard in my opinion, he’s got a lot of things going on for him and they all work. With Tebow, we’re going 3 years in and he still can’t throw the ball into tiny windows…he’s a quarterback! That story is based on a lot of stuff that is not football. Jeremy Lin’s story is based on hoops, the guy can play! So I totally buy what he’s doing and I think that the Knicks are going to now be a lot like Phoenix under Mike D’Antoni. I don’t know if they are built to win a championship, but they are going to win a lot of games, they are going to be a great watch and are going to be a tough out. So I can’t wait to do field work tomorrow night in Toronto and watch him play the Raptors!