Buckle up gang. We're here, and there's too much happening. The Falcons and Titans are coming into the area today to practice — we had a full breakdown in Sunday's TFP and ace columnist Mark Wiedmer talks more about it here http://www.timesfreepress.com/news/2012/aug/06/Mark-Wiedmer-titans-and-falcons-are-both-excited/?sportsColumns. There's the final golf major this week. There is the homestretch of the Olympics. The high school football jamborees are this weekend — which also means we're covered up in high school football preview stuff.
Basically we're dealing with a lot of stuff, and while candlesticks always make a nice gift — we could even find out where they're registered and get a place-setting — we need to to get to it.
From the "Talks too much" studio
Olympics feel olympic
Maybe it was the crowning of Michael Phelps. Maybe it was the gripping intensity of the 100 meter dash. Maybe it was the move from archery and ping-pong — while somewhat enjoyable in their oddity — to track and more.
Who knows, but for some reason the Olympics felt special this weekend. For much of the first week of the games, the competition felt more Optimist Club challenge than Olympic quest, more county fair than country free-for-all.
That changed this weekend. And it was punctuated by two guys that do every day things better than anyone we can remember.
Phelps capped his record-setting career with gold in his last individual race and final relay race. His final tally of 18 golds and 22 total medals seems almost Cy Young-like.
Then there was Usain Bolt, who delivered a breath-taking 9.63 seconds of speed in the 100 meters finals Sunday night. It was awesome. Dude changed gears about the halfway point.
Beyond the speed — a fundamentally basic concept of sports at its core: Who's faster, you or him — there is something engaging and pure about any champion defending what's his. Phelps did it, pantsing Ryan Lochte and his bedazzled grill last week. So did Bolt, the defending 100 meter champ who was not the story of the prelims and then embraced and stole the spotlight in the single coolest race in the world. (That's right, we said it's the coolest race in the world. What's cooler than being the fastest man on the planet? Not the fastest driver, or the fastest rider or swimmer or miler. But the world's fastest human. We would so put that on our business card.)
You know what, we'll call this the Ric Flair corollary, and we all appreciate the fact that to be the man you got to beat the man. And the man is the man for a reason. Ask Phelps and Bolt and those that tried to take what's theirs.
(Side note: And while we firmly believe that there are more whack jobs at wide receiver than any other position, the concentration of prima donnas among male sprinters is overwhelming. The introductions of the field of the sprinters Sunday night looked like a mix between a sign-language version of a rap song, landing a 747 with the orange flashlights and the next installment of "Step Up: Sprinting Dance." Seriously, the prerace routine of some of those cats made Billy "White Shoes" Johnson look up and go, "Gosh, that's a little over the top.")
We're excited that the Falcons and Titans are going to practice at Coahulla Creek, a local high school. We think it's even cooler that they are not charging admission. Good call all around.
Plus it was nice to see actual football on the TV Sunday night. Granted we were face-down in the TFP's 80-page high school football preview section, but still the knowledge that there was real football on if we so desired was comforting. Was it bad football played by a slew of guys who will be looking for real jobs in a month? Sure it was. But it was football nonetheless.
We even saw replacement referees as the NFL tries to work out a new deal with the officials' union (would that be the official officials' union or the unofficial officials' union?). And talk about awesome bargaining chips: The replacement refs bungled the coin flip, saying the Saints won the toss when actually the Cardinals did. Oops.
That said, it would have been understandable if Roger Goodell did not notice the gaffe. Dude is mired in a tug of wills with the Saints and most notably linebacker Jonathan Vilma, who is looking to reduce his season-long suspension for his role in the Bounty-gate stuff.
Vilma has filed suit against Goodell and the NFL for defamation of character, and it appears the league's legal eagles may want that to go away and could encourage the league to drop Vilma's suspension from 16 to eight games in exchange for dropping the suit. We're OK with that.
Goodell wanted to make 100 percent certain that something like this will never happen again, and whether Vilma misses the whole season or half of it or a quarter of it, Goodell accomplished his goal.
Not funny or cool
We've made no bones about our stance on Penn State and the tragedy left in the wake of former coach Jerry Sandusky being convicted on more than 40 counts of child sex abuse.
We even wrote from day one that these events did not change Joe Paterno's legacy — they erased it.
That said, Jeff Ross showing up at the comedy roast of Roseanne this weekend dressed as Joe Pa with two young guys wearing nothing but a towel and a football helmet, was not funny, clever or cute. It was classless. Period.
And we could careless about the Paterno reference — even though it was inaccurate since there has never been a single mention about Paterno doing anything more than keeping quiet and potentially covering up Sandusky's acts of evil.
And we're sure the Paterno family will issue some sort of statement, and for once we're probably going to agree with them. In fact, that Paterno clan — a group so vested in and blinded by this entire mess they are individually trying to appeal the NCAA ruling — actually have a legitimate complaint speaks volumes about how tasteless Ross's stunt was.
Dude has complete right to make any joke he wants, but as a professional comedian, making fun of boys who were sexually abused or making jokes about the shootings in Aurora, Colo. (yes, his skit included a couple of jokes about the theater shooting last month) is funny how exactly?
This and that
— Watching Spain vs. Russia in basketball looked like Smyrna First Baptist vs. First Methodist in church hoops. All they needed was some higher shorts, hiding hairlines and hotter tempers (dude, if you think the church league hoops does not get intense, well, bless your soul). Tons of pick and rolls and ball fakes and extra passes. We think they actually played with peach baskets on the backboard, but we're not sure.
— Jeff Gordon won a race. What is this 1996? Are these Olympics in Atlanta? Is Glavine starting for the Braves tonight?
— Speaking of the Braves, it was a nice weekend, taking two of three from Houston. Remember when the Astros were fun to watch? Don't know if we can name an everyday regular for these Astros. The Braves are three back of the Nationals in the East and lead Pittsburgh by half-a-game in the wildcard standings.
— Looks like T.O. may have found an NFL gig in Seattle. Here's hoping that Owens embraces this chance.
— Wow, how about that gag job Jim Furyk dropped on Sunday afternoon? We got enough interest to do a PGA Championship contest this week? Discuss.
It's a free-for-all Monday.
Discuss whatever's on your mind, provided it's safe for the F-O-I-B nature of the 5-at-10.
Need a starting point? OK, what was the biggest story of the weekend?
Need another? OK, we had forgotten how blue those old Cardinals baseball uniforms were from the 1980s. That said, we were somewhat surprised that those unis were better than we remembered. Who has the best throwback uni?
Need another? Well, you may have to wait for tomorrow. OK, one more — if this Dream Team does not win gold heck if they lose a game — how big of a disappointment will that be and will they have to write notes to every member of the 1992 team — including Christian Laettner — apologizing for earlier claims?
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 ...