Here we go...
Thanks for the memories
File this under lessons learned. It was right at a year ago that Derek Dooley was hired as the head football coach of the University of Tennessee.
Dooley replaced Lane Kiffin, who we all know high-tailed it West in the middle of the night.
Kiffin was the head coach of the Oakland Raiders for almost two seasons in his previous stop before coming to Knoxville. Kiffin was fired by Oakland owner Al Davis, who was less than flattering about Kiffin after the fact.
Yes, the 5-at-10 knows you know this — Kiffin's lack of integrity is probably in state history books that will be used by middle schoolers next year.
Anyhoo, Kiffin sued Davis and the Raiders for wrongful termination and the case was resolved Tuesday night. Kiffin's suit was denied and one Oakland executive said in a statement that the league stated that Kiffin showed "a stunning lack of concern" for the terms of his contract and for the rules of the club.
Davis, of course, was more to the point. According to David White, who covers the Raiders for the San Francisco Chronicle, Davis said he won the lawsuit because, "I beat him because he lied. He's a liar."
Well, all of East Tennessee knew that. Now before you go and nominate Al, the 81-year-old who has a somewhat loose relationship with reality, for the Supreme Court, know that Davis went in a lot of directions in the news conference announcing the ruling.
Among others according to White, he called the Auburn quarterback Kim Newton, he called the liar Lance Kiffin and discussed Bobby Pedrino, who the 5-at-10 can only imagine is a code name for Arkansas coach Bobby Petrino.
Don't forget the defense
It's a commonly known fact around these parts that the 5-at-10 believes the NFL is (everyone together) a quarterback-driven league. Quarterback, after all, is the single most important position in all of sports (Or as Al Davis might say, "Kimmy Newton is a great player — he won a Heimlich after all — and we all know quarters are the most important coins in all resorts.")
Anyhoo, let's not forget the defensive difference-makers as the NFL approaches its final four weekend. The league is loaded with great defensive players — too many to list actually — but the true impact guys on defense are the players that demand attention.
Those select few that before every snap, the offense has to account for where that defender is because of his ability to alter the entire play. It's a special and rare quality, and it's difficult to gauge and predict.
Each of these teams are flush with defensive impact guys: The Jets have cornerback Darrelle Revis; the Steelers have Troy Polamalu and James Harrison; the Bears have Brian Urlacher and Julius Peppers; the Packers have Charles Woodson and Clay Matthews.
Watching these guys — and how the quarterbacks adjust for these guys — will be a show this weekend.
The 5-at-10's personal rule about jerseys is simple: If you are a male over the age of 14, then the only jerseys that should be worn will be handed to you by someone you call coach.
In this day and age, though, support your team however you see fit. Being a fan is more and more bordering on a lifestyle choice as much as a team choice. It's as much hobby as it is habit, and if that means you have a closet full of jerseys from your favorite teams and/or players, knock yourself out. (It's got to be better than those Raiders fans, who have body paint and spikes and everything else. Or as Al Davis would say, "We have the greatest fans in the wor...ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ. Where was I? Dang that Lance Kiffin.)
That said, If the 5-at-10 was going to get an NFL jersey, the choice would be Polamalu, the uber-athletic safety that changes so much by simply being on the field.
If you asked each head coach which player they could least do without this weekend, each coach would say his starting quarterback because .... (Everyone together).... "It's a quarterback-driven league." But Pittsburgh coach Mike Tomlin would have the most to think about, because his Steelers are a completely different defense when Polamalu is not on the field.
How 'bout you Brian Williams? Game tied, clock dwindling down, Vols throw up an airball and there's Williams, muscling his way toward the ball and through the Georgia defender. Williams, the mammoth Vols senior center who is 100 pounds lighter and 100 percent better player since his freshman year, grabs the ball and softly tosses in the game winner as he's falling down.
Afterward, Williams told our new UT ace Patrick Brown that he's like Kobe Bryant with a little Dirk Nowitzki mixed in. That, dear friends, is good stuff.
The Vols appear to have corrected their slide, and if they make a run to get to the NCAA tournament, aren't we all going to remember the final two minutes of the first half of Saturday's rally against Vandy. UT trailed by 17 before closing the first half on a run to cut it to 10 before coming back for a close home win over the Commodores. If that rally doesn't happen, the Vols' hole would have been huge heading to Athens for last night's game.
Now, UT is 2-2 in the league and in the mix — especially considering Kentucky's puzzling loss at Alabama last night.
Armstrong strong arms accusations
Cycling's most famous peddler refused to backpedal at the latest round of accusations of performance-enhancing drugs.
Lance Armstrong told the AP, "I have nothing to worry about on any level," about the allegations raised in a recent report by Sports Illustrated. The SI report uses an unnamed source to report a number of connections and links and stories about Armstrong's ties to PED.
And, of course, Floyd Landis, the disgraced former Tour de France champ and a former Armstrong teammate who is happy to point the syringe at every other cyclist, was quoted.
The 5-at-10 believes that there is a lot of smoke here, but it feels like the same plumes as we've seen before. The 5-at-10 also finds it hard to believe that the US Postal Service gave Armstrong's team roughly $32 million from 2001-04. The AP reported that two marketing firms stated that investment was worth more than $103 million in domestic value. That's great and all, but why does the 5-at-10 have to pay almost 50 cents for a stamp? Let's ask Al....
"That 50 Cents is a talented fellow. I can remember when he was just two bits, boy did he have promise. Where was I? Dang you Lane Armstrong."
Jay was named the Sports Editor of the Times Free Press in 2003 and started with the newspaper in May 2002 as the Deputy Sports Editor. He was born and raised in Smyrna, Ga., and graduated from Auburn University before starting his newspaper career in 1997 with the Newnan (Ga.) Times Herald. Stops in Clayton and Henry counties in Georgia and two years as the Sports Editor of the Marietta (Ga.) Daily Journal preceded Jay’s ...