Friday, February 29, 2008

Thank You Barry

This afternoon I post with a heavy heart. Ok so I’m exaggerating a bit, but it is somewhat an end to an era in Oakland. ESPN’s John Clayton is reporting that the Raiders will cut Barry Sims today.

I’ve already seen unbridled joy expressed on one Raider board over the termination of Sims’ contract. Its one of those things that I will never understand, how some fans can be so unappreciative of a player who gives it his all on the field each and every game.

Sims was never an all-pro player. Coming of an injury his senior year the Raiders picked him up as an undrafted free agent. Early in his career he bounced around the line before grabbing hold of the left tackle spot and, other than the ill-fated Art Shell year, never letting go.

His detractors will point to the Super Bowl loss to Tampa and the following seasons embarrassment in Tennessee and put much of the blame on Sims inability to handle speed rushers and label him a false start artist.

Was Barry susceptible to the speed rush? Sure, but no more so than all but the top 3 or 4 left tackles in the league. I know at one point, after another round of Raiders fans calling for “False Start” Sims’ head I went through all the false start numbers for offensive tackles and found that Sims was middle of the pack for the NFL.

Barry was an above average left tackle in the NFL. His detractors are those who will not appreciate any player unless he is playing at a hall of fame level. And if he was playing at that level they would find something to criticize until he was gone and they realized what big shoes he had left to fill.

Other than the Art Shell year, you never heard a disparaging word from Sims towards the organization. And in that year it was only due to him loosing his spot without a fight. And even then Sims didn’t demand a trade, he bit his lip, sucked it up and did his best to transition to left guard, a position he was ill-suited for in Shell’s scheme (if you could even call that abortion a scheme).

Injuries have robbed Sims of what little speed he had, and the writing has been on the wall for a couple years now. He performed adequately in yet another system this past year under Tom Cable. But you had to know that if another option came available the Raiders would pursue it.

That is the story of Barry Sims’ career, always solid, never spectacular, always looking over his shoulder. But that is the NFL, there is always someone “better” waiting in the wings. Your team is always looking for the next guy to come in and replace you. That is what makes Sims’ all the more admirable for what he accomplished. As an undrafted free agent he held off younger, bigger, faster, stronger, more highly touted and better paid competition for 7 seasons at left tackle.

Barry Sims was not the best left tackle to ever put on the Silver and Black. He was a step slow, he never overpowered the competition, and he made mental errors. I won’t lie and say I never cursed at my TV when I saw him make a mistake, I won’t say that I didn’t hope that the Raiders would bring in an upgrade. But he was also a fighter; he gave everything he had on every play. He played injured, he didn’t complain when left on an island against superior competition. He did not make excuses for his errors or pin blame on others. There is a reason that Barry Sims wore the captain’s “C” in what appears to be his final year in Oakland.

Barry Sims was a football player; he was not a prim Donna looking for the paycheck. He was the last link to that superb line that allowed Rich Gannon days to find open receivers. Barry Sims was the kind of competitor that I would take on my team any day. But most of all, Barry Sims was a RAIDER. For that I thank him.

Unless he signs with KC, Denver or SD, then fuck him.

Free Agency - Kick Off

It’s the silly season in the NFL, while not as satisfying as watching actual games, as a fan its intriguing to say the least. We are less than 12 hours into the official start of free agency and things are already getting ridiculous. As a Raider fan I’ll concentrate most of my attention on the Silver and Black, but rest assured I’ll have thoughts on just about everything that happens, and will share some of them here.

So lets delve into what’s occurred so far.

The Raiders make Tommy Kelly the highest paid DT in the league.

Its not easy being a Raider fan these days. You turn on a sportscast these days and you are almost guaranteed that the Raiders are going to get lambasted for one thing or another. Whether it is the perceived instability of the front office or the contracts they offer.

Last night was no different. The NFL network kicked off their free agency special with Solomon Wilcotts blasting the Raiders for their signing of Tommy Kelly, and for the rest of the show both he and Adam Schefter took turns taking pot shots at the Raiders for what they perceived as a bad deal. Now I’m not going to defend the deal…yet. However lets take a look back at recent deals and how they were initially perceived.

Last year Nate Clemmens was reportedly given a HUGE 7 year deal to sign with San Francisco. Now Nate was the premier CB on the market and the deal didn’t get lampooned like the Kelly deal, but more than one outlet wondered aloud if the Niners had overspent. Well a couple of weeks later the real details leaked out and it was hardly the blockbuster that had been reported.

Later in the year, Cleveland endured lengthy negotiations with Brady Quinn. After Quinn missed some training Camp he finally reached a deal and reported. Initial reports were that Quinn broke the Browns and that his agent had gotten him a deal commiserate with a top 10 pick, not a mid 20’s pick. Once again the smoke cleared a week later and the deal was nowhere near what originally was reported.

So what is the point? The teams are not releasing this contract information, the agents are. Drew Rosenhaus was on the free agency preview show last night and said that he has a great working relationship with Schefter and that Adam would be the 1st to know about any deal. There is a very simple reason for this. Media outlets like Schefter are these agent’s best marketing tools. All Drew has to do is call up Adam, give him the best case numbers, based on his client making every unreachable incentive, and Adam runs to NFLnetwork studios to break the story. From their every media outlet runs with the numbers Drew wants published and Rosenhaus collects the press clippings to show to potential clients.

(Edit – hey look who just broke the news of Corey Williams signing blockbuster deal with Cleveland…Adam Schefter, looks like Mitch Frankel also uses the marketing firm of Adam Schefter Inc.)

This is made all the easier when dealing with an organization like Oakland. The Raiders are extremely tight lipped when it comes to negotiations. They are not going to issue a press release stating, no we didn’t get screwed in the deal, and here are the real numbers. Media outlets have to wait for the actual information to go through the NFL and NFLPA leading to the week delay in actual numbers being known. By that time there is a shiny new story making the rounds and the Raiders deal is yesterday’s news. Sure an outlet like PFT may publish the actual numbers, but for the most part they fall through the cracks, and the agent’s purposes have already been served.

So I’m going to withhold judgment on the Kelly deal until such time the actual numbers are released. Sure right now it looks like the Raiders overspent. Kelly is not a top tier DT. However it is not clear how the Raiders plan to utilize Kelly this year or in the future. Sure there are reports that Kelly is being moved to DT to replace Sapp. But once again, where are these reports originating? Not from the tight lipped Raiders. More likely from Kelly’s agent, who know that it makes a bigger splash if his client gets a round of coverage as the highest paid DT in NFL history, than if he gets a quick note as a highly paid DE.

So remember, in the coming days, as blockbuster deal after blockbuster deal is announced, most of these numbers are incredibly inflated. Take them with a grain of salt.

The Cleveland Anderson / Quinn mess

I’m just going to come right out and say it. Cleveland wants someone to make Anderson an offer that he can’t refuse and they can pass on. They have spent too much money and resources on bringing in Quinn and his backup of choice to not put him on the field and sink or swim with him. They would be more than happy to be able to go to their fans and say, “we did all we could, it was Anderson who betrayed you, but at least we got these two picks out of the deal”.

And there will be some team out there who is willing to play their game. If NFL teams are willing to pay tens of millions of dollars in the draft for players who haven’t seen a down of action, they will be more than willing to give up those draft picks and put the money into a player like Anderson who has shown he can succeed if given the right tools.

If I were the Bears, I’d be on the phone with Anderson’s agent right now. They are stuck in the middle of round 1, no QB in this years draft is worth the slot they have, and chances are no option that will instantly upgrade their team as much as Anderson will be there. The same goes for the Lions, Vikings and Bucs. Are any of those three really sold on the fact they have a long-term solution at QB? The Ravens, Chiefs and Falcons all would also make sense, but draft too high to just sign Anderson to an offer sheet, they would need to work out a sign and trade deal with Cleveland, which may be a deal breaker as it would destroy the illusion that Cleveland is trying to create.

Are the Chickens finally coming home to roost in New England?

As football fans we have been regaled with stories of how nobody manages the cap as well as New England, how they are the model franchise in the free agent / salary cap era.
Well Scott Pioli now faces his biggest challenge since turning New England into a perennial contender.

At wide receiver the Pats made a huge splash last year bringing in Moss, Stallworth and Welker. They now are looking at the very real possibility that Welker is the only one who returns for a 2nd year in New England, and if Moss does return he will not be returning for the chump change that he received last year, no he is going to command the kind of deal that makes resigning all their other vets all the harder. Brady may find it very hard to repeat last year’s success with Wes Welker and Kelly Washington being his two main targets.

At linebacker the Pats have continually made due with older Vets. Well as Raider fans know, eventually old vets become just old. Colvin is gone; Bruschi is resigned, but noticeably lost a step as last year progressed. Seau most likely is done, and if he does come back is a one-year stopgap. For years NFL observers have said that the Pats need to address this core through the draft, then the Pats have taken another TE, and it has been dismissed, as Pioli and Bellichick know all. Well they had better know something we don’t this year, or that defense that started to look old towards the end of last season may have real problem from the get-go this year.

In the Secondary the Pats are also looking at the very real possibility of major turnover. This has seemingly been a plug and play group for Bellichick, as Law was let go and Brown played both ways. But things are looking very thin again. Samuel is most likely going to follow the money elsewhere. Harrison is on his last legs, and is starting to be a step slow on plays he used to make. And someone is going to overpay for Randell Gay, either the Pats to retain, or another team that will be looking to add a winner to their squad. And lets not forget Eugene Wilson is also a free agent.

Now don’t get me wrong, even with all this potential turnover, the Pats are still the team to beat in the AFC east. Both Buffalo and the Jets are most likely a year away from competing for the division, and Miami is Miami. And the Pats are still solid up front on both sides and have Brady. But the mantle of best-run organization could be handed to another team this year if Pioli cannot work his magic again.

2008 - Brickinthebox Mock-Draft - St. Louis Rams - Bulger and Blue Cheese

Brickinthebox is live on tape delay from an Indianapolis bar across the street from the NFL combine. We secretly taped the conversations that occurred between ourselves and NFL bigwigs to gain some incredible insight into the NFL draft, which we are sharing here with our reader. Warning – Spoilers ahead.

Shortly after Parcells and S left, the server showed up with Romeo’s meal. While the smell of the fried chicken made me hungry, the sight of one man inhaling 4 chickens in a 10-minute period, only stopping twice as he choked on a bone he inadvertently swallowed, made me quickly loose any interest in food.

With Romeo finished, I tried to turn the conversation back to the combine.

Brick – So Romeo, what is your biggest regret draft wise over the course of your career?

Romeo – Other than letting that fat sack of shit Charlie the whale talk me into suggesting to our draft team that we trade back into the 1st round to take Brady Quinn last year. I mean look at the kid, he spends his time touching other guys, or dancing onstage with cockrockers like Poison. Now Fat Fuck Charlie sees that his precious butt fuckin Irish are going to collapse and he needs a 1st round QB on the resume so that he can get some recruits And now he expects me to bail him out and take his little bitch in the 1st round of the NFL draft. That faggot ass bullshit may have flown at a fairy factory like Notre Dame, but in Cleveland, that shit don’t fly.

Brick – Common Poison ain't that bad.

Romeo – Well sure, they had some catchy songs, but to dance with Brett Michaels, you have to admit, that looks like you like to bite pillows.

Brick – Not that there is anything wrong with that…

Awkward silence…

Romeo – (laughing) no nothing wrong with that… unless it’s true.

Brick – OK then, how about we talk about this year’s draft, now that we know what the Dolphins are going to do, what do you think of St. Louis.

Romeo – Maybe you should ask him.

Brick – Him who?

Romeo points under adjacent table where a man is cowering.

Brick – Are you Mark Bulger?

Man – Are you a defensive end or lineman, or perhaps a blitzing corner.

Brick – No

Man – are there any defensive ends, lineman or blitzing corners in the room.

Romeo – I can assure you that there are not.

Man – Could you please go check outside and make sure that there are no defensive ends, lineman and linebackers that look hungry on on the street and thinking of coming in here.

Humoring the man, I get up, go to the door, look outside and come back to my seat.

Brick – Nope, no defensive players running loose on the Street.

Man – Ok, if you promise not to tell anyone I’m here, I’ll tell you my name.

Brick & Romeo – we promise

Man – You were right, I am Mark Bulger. (Cautiously looking around, Mark climbs out from under the table and sits down at our table).

Brick – How long were you hiding under there.

Romeo – He followed the waiter in when they brought the chicken. He was under his apron.

Bulger – Shut up, you can’t give away my hiding spots.

Waiter comes over

Waiter – anything else I can get you gentleman.

Bulger – get me a shot of scotch, I need to calm my nerves.

Romeo – how about a salad with blue cheese, extra blue cheese on the side.

Brick – nothing thanks, So Mark, who would you like to see the Rams draft.

Bulger – Are you kidding me, who the fuck do you think I want them to draft. I’ve taken more sacks in the last year than …(waiter puts shot glass down on table, Mark downs shot and motions for waiter to keep them coming). What was I talking about?

Romeo – Do you even know where you are?

Bulger – last thing I remember is getting on a plane to Tampa Bay.

Brick – you mean for your game in week 3?

Bulger – Ok so I do remember some things since then, mostly pain. And I have no clue how I ended up here, oh good another shot (waiter shows up with another shot and Romeo’s salad, Bulger takes shot glass from waiter and downs it).

Brick – This is going nowhere (much like this blog)

Bulger – did you say Blog, I hate bloggers.

Romeo – No he didn’t say blog, that’s just something the editor put in. He doesn’t even read blogs.

Bulger – OK

Brick – back to the draft, who do you, want to see the Rams take, I’ve seen a lot of places say Chris Long, or Dorsey, but for my Mock-draft he is already gone.

Bulger – Fuck no I don’t want Chris Long; there are all ready too many DE’s out there. I don’t want one on my team who can actually hit me in practice. Its bad enough that Carriker tries, we can’t afford two guys who can play on the D-line.

Brick – Wouldn’t that help your team to have two legit D-linemen?

Bulger – Team, TEAM… who cares about the team, I got paid last year, I need to survive another couple years until I retire. We had better draft someone who can protect my ass (takes another shot) Waiter, make the next one a double. What was I saying?

Romeo – Hey there, is that Dwight Freeny?

Bulger screams like a little girl, jumps back under the table. Romeo laughs so hard that blue cheese squirts out his nose. I’m not sure that he even had eaten any salad yet; I think he was just drinking the blue cheese on the side.

Brick – God damn it Romeo, don’t do that. Common out Mark, Freeny isn’t here.

Bulger – where are we.

Romeo – Indianapolis

Bulger – than how do you know that Freeny isn’t here.

Brick – look around, there are no Defensive ends in here.

Bulger – yeah, but he may be in town. You don’t know for sure, you can’t offer me any protection. Nobody has given me any protection since Orlando died.

Brick – Orlando isn’t dead, he is just injured, and he may play another year.
Waiter shows back up with double shot, looks confused, I point under the table, waiter rolls his eyes and hands the shot glass to Bulger, who quickly downs it and crawls back under the waiters apron.

Bulger – Orlando may not be dead, but he is dead to me, unless he gets his fat ass back on the field, I need protection.

With that, the waiter leaves with Bulger crawling after him.

Brick – So I guess I should pencil in Jake Long for St. Louis.

Romeo – it worked for us last year, might as well put the Big 10 tackle in the 2 spot. The Rams aren’t going to keep him or Steven Jackson on the field unless they upgrade their protection.

Brick – You make a good point Romeo, and you still have a drop of blue cheese hanging off your nose. But if you are going to put it back in your mouth, please wait for me to turn my head.

Romeo – What, you expect me to wipe it on my napkin, that’s wasting good blue cheese, I ain’t no sucka.

Brickinthebox mock draft:

1. Miami Dolphins – Glenn Dorsey, DT, LSU
2. St. Louis Rams – Jake Long, OT, Michigan

Thursday, February 28, 2008

2008 - Brickinthebox Mock-Draft - Miami Dolphins, enter Romeo

Brickinthebox is live on tape delay from an Indianapolis bar across the street from the NFL combine. We secretly taped the conversations that occurred between ourselves and NFL bigwigs to gain some incredible insight into the NFL draft, which we are sharing here with our reader. Warning – Spoilers ahead.

11am, 2/22/2008, 1st day of the NFL combine. (I have taken up a spot at an empty table here in the bar; I won’t be naming the bar as not to compromise this location for future years. Its pretty quite, I have been here for about an hour setting up the monitoring equipment. I got some strange looks, but explained I have OCD and can only eat if I can later review the audio. Seemed to work.)

After settling down with a nice frosty beverage and the bar menu, I get my 1st surprise of the day. A portly black man asks if he can sit down. Before I can even answer Romeo Crennel joins me at the table.

Brick – Romeo, shouldn’t you be across the street at the combine?

Romeo – Are you done with that menu?

Brick – Um, sure here you go, I’m not hungry anyway

Romeo – Thanks, stupid Browns, trading our #1 pick for that fairy Brady, now I have to waste a weekend in February here in Indy. I should be enjoying a week in Thailand, you know those women will do anything for American dollars.

Brick – I know nothing about that (my wife may read this blog)

Romeo – Did you say something about a blog(starts to get up).

Brick – Blog, no, I didn’t say anything about a blog, that line was added in during editing, you never heard that, I don’t even read blogs.

Romeo (Sitting back down) OK, that’s good, I wouldn’t want it to get out that I skipped out on part of the combine to come over here for lunch.

Brick – So with no 1st round pick, what are you looking at here in Indy?

Romeo – Lunch

Brick – Anything else, I mean you could have had lunch in Cleveland

Romeo – That’s what I told the Browns, but no, they put me on a flight from Cleveland in coach, those cheap fucks didn’t even get me a direct flight, I had stops in Chicago, Atlanta and Cincinnati before getting here. Well actually I was only scheduled to change planes in Chicago, but I got stuck in the john. Have you ever been stuck in the john in an airplane? They must design those things for midgets. I went in just after takeoff in Cleveland, dropped the Cosbys off at the pool, and finished my business as they announced we were approaching Chicago. But I couldn’t open the door I must have banged on that door for a good 20 seconds before passing out from the smell of my own feces. Apparently the plane continued to Atlanta, with me passed out in the shitter, the flight crew didn’t discover me until after we landed in Atlanta. Then I had to wait an hour for a flight to Cincy and another 2 hours for a flight to Indy. So I need some lunch.

Brick – Sorry to hear that, airlines suck (interrupted by waiter taking orders)

Romeo – I’ll have four fried chickens and a coke.

Server – Four fried chickens and a coke?

Romeo – Your right, I need to remember watch my weight, don’t want to end up like Wies, make that a diet coke.

Server – And you sir?

Brick – I’m all set for right now.

(In walks Bill Parcells and Dolphins head coach Tony Sparano)

Parcells whispers something to Sparano

Sparano – Romeo, Mr. Parcells would like to join you for lunch.

Romeo (now sounding like Mr. T. for some unknown reason)– Sit down fools

Parcells once again whispers something to Sparano

Sparano– Mr. Parcells would like to know whom this man is that you are sitting with.

Romeo – Some sucka who who aint eatin notin.

Parcells leans in and mumbles something in Sparano ear.

Sparano – Mr. Parcells requests that you show the proper respect and kiss his ring before he allows you to have him join your table.

Brick – Um sure, whatever. (Kisses ring, Parcells and Sparano sit)

Brick – Mr. Parcells, is there anyone who has stood out to you so far this combine?

Sparano – Mr. Parcells believes that if you are going to cook the soup, you should be allow to shop (Parcells cracks S in the back of the head, leans over and angrily mutters to Sparano)

Sparano – I would like to apologize for misrepresenting Mr. Parcells. The dolphins are taking a close look at a number of players at the top of the draft, and all have impressed so far.

Romeo – WHO is this Mr. Parcells cut the jibba jabba, that be the big Tuna, call him Tuna fool.

Sparano – Please Mr. Crennel, show the proper respect to Mr. Parcells, as a former associate, you should understand this better than most.

Romeo – Don’t be playin me for no Sucka, Parcells ain’t here to see no limp wristed QB out of bean town, he loves fatbodies.

(Parcells leans back, laughs, and then leans over to Sparano)

Sparano – Mr. Parcells appreciates your candor. And you are correct, Mr. Parcells prefers to draft heavyset individuals early. In fact when interviewing Glenn Dorsey and Sedric Ellis today, he challenged each of them to a hotdog-eating contest.

Romeo – Bet he flew in Nathan’s for those two suckas to eat.

Sparano – Quite correct, both of them failed to best Mr. Parcells in the contest, as is to be expected, however Mr. Dorsey performed much better (Parcells once again winds up and knocks the snot out of Sparano)

Sparano – I should apologize, I should know better than to discuss the family business with those outside the family. (Parcells hands Sparano a note) Gentlemen, it appears due to my indiscretion, I will not be permitted to have lunch with you, and Mr. Parcells and I will be leaving now. Please kiss Mr. Parcell’s ring in appreciation for the time he has spent with you.

Romeo stands, walks over to Parcells and drops to one knee and kisses the ring. Not wanting to get whacked, I follow suit. Parcells and Sparano get up and leave.

Romeo (speaking normally again) – God damn, I’m glad that I don’t work for him anymore. I hate talking in the Mr. T voice. Did you know he made Weis dress up like a fuckin leprechaun for work every day.

Brick – I was really hoping to get more info on who they were planning to draft.

Romeo – Are you kidding, Sparano gave up the Nathan’s results. There is no way that they aren’t taking Dorsey. The real reason he was against taking Terry Glenn was that Glenn is the only person to ever beat him in the contest. Parcells to this day claims it was because he had strep throat, and Glenn later let him win a rematch just to start. Hell, Parcells is so dominant at eating hot dogs that Nathan’s won’t allow him to take part in the July 4th contest as it wouldn’t be fair, that motherfucker would lap Kobayashii.

Brick – Thanks, so I can put down Dorsey for my mock draft.

Romeo – Bet on it fool.

Brickinthebox mock draft:

1. Miami Dolphins – Glenn Dorsey, DT, LSU

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

2008 - Brickinthebox Mock-Draft - Intro

I know, I know, It’s been a bit slow here at brickinthebox over the last few weeks, but there is a good excuse. We have been gearing up for the NFL draft. Over the last few days we entrenched ourselves at a bar in Indianapolis across the street from the RCA dome. While there we cornered representatives from all 32 teams in an effort to gain some insight as to whom they would be selecting in the draft in order to make ours the most insightful mock draft in NFL history.

Over the next couple weeks we will be transcribing our secret tapes of these conversations. You may not want to read these if you are worried about having the draft spoiled for you. We found that most of these NFL types were all to willing to reveal their secrets to what appeared to be a drunk fan sitting next to them at the bar or inviting them over to their table for a free lunch.

Before we start transcribing the tapes, we would like to thank a couple people for making this possible.

1st, our boss. We had to skip work for a couple days in order to get to Indy and make this historic mock draft. We would like to thank him for not even noticing that we weren’t in the office. Remarkably when we returned on Wednesday we were complimented for how much more productive we had been the last couple of days. Yep, we are more productive when we aren’t at work, that’s the sign of a great job.

2nd, the Cleveland browns. We weren’t even looking to talk to the Browns, as they don’t have a 1st round pick in this draft. However, as you will find out in the next couple days, they were instrumental in our effort to get access to the upper echelon of the NFL. This will most likely the 1st and last time that the Browns are instrumental in anything.

And finally, we would like to send out a special thank you to Matt Walsh, former Patriots employee. Without his help we would not have had the 1st clue about how to set up the secret taping equipment needed to discretely monitor the conversations going on in the bar. Both those that we were directly a part of, and those going on around us. As we have been listening to the tapes the last couple days, we have found some great information that we didn’t even notice while we were there in person.

So sit back, relax and enjoy the ride. Starting tomorrow I will be posting my findings for 1 team per day (sorry I won't be posting these on weekends, unless I change my mind) at least until my employer shuts down my internet privilages.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Ouick Hits - 2/25/08

I know, I know, both of my readers have been sorely disappointed in my blog output of late. Things are about to turn around here. I’ve got something I think you are really going to like starting later this week. For now though, just some quick hits on things that I’ve noticed of late.

California 500 – sure the race didn’t get going due to rain, and will be finished later today. But a couple things I saw that need comment.

Is there a more fitting sponsor than Juicy Fruit for Juan Pablo Montoya? That cracked me up. Honestly, I think that he just decided to come out while in California, he probably has never even heard of the gum.

Let me get this straight (not talking about Montoya) if you are an overrated LB who does steroids you get to be the official starter for the race? I couldn’t believe Shawnriod Merriman was the official starter. I also cracked up looking at his hat, “Faith” must be the street name for HGH.

I hate when Clint Bowyer drives the DirecTV car. There is just something missing when the black Jack car isn’t in the race.

The lovely Mrs. Brick kept changing the channel to Oscar coverage since the race was on constant delay. Can the TV guide channel get more annoying people to host? The fat Nysnc guy just laughs at his own jokes the whole time. And the washed up actress on the red carpet doesn’t know how to hold a mike. I am now dumber for seeing that.

“No Country for Old men” won the best picture. Haven’t seen it since it was in theaters here for all of 10 minutes. The best film I saw was “There will be Blood”. And I was glad Daniel Day Lewis won best actor. Looking back, maybe it wasn’t the best picture, but it was by far the best performance. I DRINK YOUR MILKSHAKE.

Darren McFadden is fast, so fuckin what. James Jett was fast. The guy is still far from a complete NFL running back. I really hope the Raiders don’t fall in love with his 40 time.

Buffalo Wings are maddening to me. I love Buffalo Wings, but can’t understand how so many places can fuck them up. I went to a bar in Bridgeville, PA recently and tried their wings and they came so close to being excellent that I was disappointed that they just came up short. The sauce was right, the wings were cooked right, but they had the wings sitting in a puddle of sauce rather than correctly coating the wings in the kitchen. The wings on top were dry and the ones on the bottom were soggy. If you are planning to make wings, please make the pilgrimage to Bernie Murrie’s in Elmira, NY. Learn from the best.

That’s it for now. Check in Wednesday for the start of something big.

I’m Finished.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Man of the Year - Award

Friends, the day you have been waiting for is finaly here. Brickinthebox is ready to name the 2007 man of the year.

Our crack research team has spent a good part of the last month thoroughly investigating the qualifications of the nominees for 2007 brickinthebox man of the year. (Ok, there is no team it’s just me. And research consisted solely of googling pictures of each nominee for this write-up, all “facts” are things right off the top of my head, or are fabricated.)

The 1st nominee is Tom Cable

Cable is the offensive line coach for the Oakland Raiders. He came to the Raiders this past year after spending the previous couple of years in Atlanta. Along with him he brought the zone-stretch blocking scheme that turned Denver into a rushing juggernaut.

The Raiders were coming off perhaps the most pathetic offensive line performance ever seen in the modern NFL. Art Shell and Jackie Slater had the line looking more like a bunch of keystone cops than professional football players. Opposing defenses salivated at the thought of double-digit sack totals and negative rushing yards when facing the Raiders.

The Raiders did little in the off-season to supplement the talent on the line with the additions of Jeremy Newberry (old and broken) Cooper Carlisle (adequate starter) and Cornell Green (journeyman) as experienced help. The Raiders also lost their starting left tackle, Langston Walker, to free agency.

The burden of turning this line into a competent unit fell entirely on Cable’s broad shoulders. And Cable proved himself more than adequate to handle the task.

The Raiders went from 3.9 YPA (18th) to 4.1 YPA (11th) a huge improvement considering the time it takes to learn the new system and the fact that the Raiders counted on Justin Fargas to carry the load at running back for most of the year.

Even more impressive was the improvement in Pass blocking; the Raiders went from allowing a sack once every 6.7 pass attempts to once every 11 attempts. An improvement of almost 2 less sacks per game.

Sure some of this success can be attributed to implementing an NFL offensive scheme rather than the Pop Warner offense seen last year. But for providing the blocking that made this improvement possible, Tom Cable is a deserving candidate for brickinthebox man of the year.

Our 2nd nominee is Clint Bowyer.

Bowyer came out of nowhere in 2007 to challenge for the Nextel cup. Riding a consistent, but not spectacular year to a 3rd place finish.

Bowyer was viewed as sort of a fluke as the chase for the cup commenced with 10 races left in the season. 9th in the standing, Bowyer had not notched a win all year and only had 1 pole on the year.

Things changed as the pressure ramped up with the chase. Bowyer won both the pole and the race in New Hampshire to kick off the chase, and never looked back. Only a bullshit call to end the race in Dover kept him from being a factor in the last 3 weeks for the overall title. Bowyer announced his presence on the circuit as a contender with authority to close out the 2007 season.

Through in that Bowyer drives the Jack Daniels car, wears silver and black and since he is a good southern boy most likely packs his lip full of Skoal and there are few better individuals to represent brickinthebox as the 2007 man of the year.

The final nominee for 2007 brickinthebox man of the year is King Leonidas from the movie 300.

The actual King Leonidas may have actually lived 2500 years ago, and his exploits came nowhere near those shown in the movie 300, but he served as the inspiration for a cinematic masterpiece.

The movie was essential a 2-hour battle scene, with a little political intrigue thrown in to, who the fuck knows why it was thrown in, studio execs are stupid.

Leonidas banged the incredibly hot Lena Headey with the cameras running for the moviegoers benefit. He beat the shit out of the Persians. Aw, whom am I kidding, he kicked ass, but his nomination is just a thinly veiled excuse to post a picture of Headey in the man of the year column.

Go see the movie if you want to see her tits, this is not a porn site… THIS IS BRICKINTHEBOX.

After careful deliberation, brickinthebox is proud to announce that…

Tom Cable is the 2007 brickinthebox Man of the Year.

Bowyer came in a close 2nd, but he let Gordon place ahead of him in the final standings. Had he wrecked that prick intentionally at least once he would have been a shoe-in.

Leonidas came in 3rd, but what do you want from a movie character.

Tom, you can look forward to a tastefully done certificate of merit in the mail, when I get to it.

Monday, February 4, 2008


And One, what beautiful words, and one. Let those two words wash over you for a minute. That is some satisfying shit right there. Two words and my faith in the football gods has been restored. Two words and I have had a huge smile on my face since about 10pm last night. Two words and all my masshole coworkers can come up with are stuttering excuses and what was the Raider’s record retorts.

For 18 weeks I was subjected to endless hyperbole of how this Pats team was the greatest of all time, and I had no counterargument. This was the best football team that I could remember seeing. They were doing things that no other team in the salary cap era had accomplished. As a football team they were truly remarkable. Unfortunately the Pats fan base is so hard to stomach it took away from my ability to watch the football equivalent of a Picasso being created.

Most days I ride too and from work with a Pats fan. He endlessly would regale me with his theories on the Pats motivation, the Pats strategy, the Pats Perfection. He and the other Pats fans at work would joyfully expound on the Pats exploits for hours. The best I could come up with was that the season wasn’t over yet and if they didn’t win the Super bowl than all would be for naught.

Every week I would pin my hopes on one overmatched team after another. Looking for some way that David could hit Goliath with that fateful stone. Every week Goliath laughed.

Until all was left was Eli. I had to pin my hopes on Eli. Sure he had had the best game of his young career against the Pats. Sure his team matched up as well as any other David had all season. Punishing pass rush, punishing run game, the two factors that gave this Goliath fits. But week after week tough defenses and run games wilted under the Onslaught of Goliaths execution.

Here I was, pinning my hopes on Eli, a guy whom up to this point had his picture next to wilting in the dictionary. Impossible expectations had been heaped upon the lesser Manning since college. He was expected to be his brother, but seemingly would never measure up. How could this mere mortal be expected to come through on the biggest stage in American sports?

The game went much the way I expected. It was a tough physical game. The Giants as a team matched up well. Then in the 4th quarter the Pats offense put together a drive that seemingly put a dagger in the hearts of the football world. Eli came out onto the field and looked shaky as the Pats D applied their most consistent pressure of the game. It looked as if yet another team would falter in the waning moments to Goliath’s onslaught.

Then something miraculous happened. On 3rd down the pressure was all over Eli. The game was seemingly over. The Pats had Eli surrounded. Somehow, someway David hurled his stone and found a receiver. A collective holy shit went up from football fans everywhere. One of the greatest plays in Super Bowl, nay, Football history happened on the biggest stage at the most critical junction of the game. Goliath had been hit between the eyes. The game wasn’t over, but the monster was staggered.

The rest of the game was a blur. I was on the edge of my seat. Hoping that this hope wasn’t snatched away as it had been so many times before where this Pats team was involved. All of the sudden, Eli was no longer Fredo Manning, Eli was the chosen one, a couple plays later and the writing was on the wall. Eli had not wilted, he had done his part and succeeded where so many others had failed.

Goliath was reeling. The offense now took the field and looked panicked. A team that calmly had marched down the field in the past when time was short now swung wildly looking for a knockout shot. The poise that had been there in Super Bowls past and all season was gone. A couple long bombs later the game was over.

A Giant had felled Goliath.

Everyone in my living room jumped up. Cheering and clapping as if we were actually at the game. Never in my life had I celebrated a win that didn’t involve the Raiders in this manner. There was not one Giant fan in the room, but we had all come together to support the underdog, the most American of all rooting interests. We had shared our food and drink and now our joy. As we started to disperse it didn’t feel like hyperbole to call this the greatest game we had ever seen. We were all witness to the impossible occurring in some far off stadium.

My wife wanted me to call my parents, both Pats fans, to rub it in. But I declined they were surely heartbroken enough. They hadn’t called me to apply salt when the Raiders fell to the Bucs, they were the 1st Pats fans to admit to me that the Raiders had been jobbed in the Snow Bowl. This wasn’t the time to call them.

Besides, they weren’t the Pats fans who had taken joy in rubbing my and my coworker’s noses in our teams collective failings all year long. I had a simple enough retort for those who had delighted in pointing out the shortcomings of others all year long.

Once I arrived at work this morning the whiteboard in the conference room received a simple message.


Nothing more needed to be said. As the Pats fans trickled in the expected tired retort came my way. “Well at least we made the Super Bowl, where did the Raiders finish?” To which I replied, “The same place as the Pats, without a ring”.

Then, as I expected, someone erased the message on the whiteboard before our Monday morning meeting, so that those who aren’t in the office wouldn’t know that this is a haven of N.E. supporters. The same board that once counted down the Red Sox magic number and wins needed to clinch a World Series ring, suddenly was to important to be relegated to sports info. The morning meeting came and went, with the local Steeler fans talking about the great game last night, and a strange silence from the out of town Pats fans. The board stayed blank, despite needing to be cleared for important business.

I sat quietly knowing that it may have taken 5 months, but all was right in my football world again. Little to no mention of football dominance will be made by the collective bandwagon for a while.

Soon the euphoria will fade and the realization that no meaningful football will be played for 7 months will sink in. But until then I can reflect on a great game and those two words… and one.