published Monday, August 6th, 2012

5-at-10: Full Monday

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 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

  • photo
    United States' Michael Phelps has his 18th gold medal placed around his neck at the Aquatics Centre in the Olympic Park on Saturday, Aug. 4.
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

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.")


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    Atlanta Falcons tight end Tony Gonzalez (88) runs after a catch against Tennessee Titans middle linebacker Colin McCarthy (52) and Tennessee Titans strong safety Jordan Babineaux (26).
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

NFL stuff

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.


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    A Penn State University student walks across campus in front of Old Main on main campus in State College, Pa. Penn State's general liability insurer hopes to deny or limit coverage for Jerry Sandusky-related claims.
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

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.


Today's question

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?

about Jay Greeson...

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 ...

Comments do not represent the opinions of the Chattanooga Times Free Press, nor does it review every comment. Profanities, slurs and libelous remarks are prohibited. For more information you can view our Terms & Conditions and/or Ethics policy.
chas9 said...

I don't like censorship and I favor a broad interpretation of freedom of speech. But I believe comedians and other artists need to use sound judgement as to what's over the line. There are always a few who don't have that kind of judgement, and they should hear from us when they mess up.

Good description of the pre-race posing in the 100 meter race. I like Bolt's after race routine. Maybe the posing should be limited to the winner, after the race.

How about them Braves?

August 6, 2012 at 10:33 a.m.
Livn4life said...

First off, I am no Olympicaddict. I am for the USA but they lost me somewhere when we started sending professionals to an amateur event. Please, please, no whining about how the Soviets did it, blah blah blah! What really got in my craw was the whining that our sponsors can't make money. The Olympics are not about making money. OK, I'm done, when will they be done, I'm ready for college football. NEXGT: No Surprise that a Roseanne roast would yield the ridiculosity involved. Let's face it, most anyting associated with Roseanne will likely result in a dramatically lowered BARR. Kudos to Jeff Gordon. I shook his hand when I lived about a mile from Bristol Speedway, in another millenium. By the way he won his first race not long after that shake. FURYK--Sad man just really sad. My question for TO, will this comning attempt become another TKO for him late in his career.

August 6, 2012 at 10:54 a.m.
BIspy4 said...

Usain Bolt in the 100 meters was and is must see TV. Period. Dude knows how to put on a show. He eased up the last 10 meters in the semis but when it came time to go all meep meep Roadrunner on the Wile E. Coyotes racing against him, he kicked in the afterburners.

I hope no one went to the "Lightning Bolt" headline, especially given what happened in the parking lot at Pokeyno after the race.

August 6, 2012 at 11:06 a.m.
Todd962 said...

I was at a local watering hole that I frequent Saturday night, and despite the bar having no sports affiliation, the entire place erupted during the tape delayed rerun of Phelps final race. Some of the beverages being served may have fueled the exuberance, but it was cool to see everyone still getting that pumped up over a USA win. USA USA USA!

Tv and media often have a lack of tact when it comes to the sensitivity of certain subjects. Things such as a roast have a little more rope than other outlets but everything has its breaking point. I was reading ESPN's article Sunday morning regarding Garrett Reid's death and was a little disappointed that they included the fact that he was arrested with 89 pills a few months earlier in his rectum. Yeah, I can understand reporting the arrest, but to include the embarassing side of the story in an article reporting his death? Probably unnecessary. Dont try to take a condoling side and express grief for the family and then shame them a paragraph later. Nature of the business I suppose, we demand all the facts on one side and are mad when we get them on the other.

August 6, 2012 at 11:32 a.m.
fechancellor said...

Ten Ring, Furyk turned his "Reverse C" into an F, twice of late (US Open, Bridgestone), when parring in would win. Dude is 42. On the other hand, it was nice to have the winner on the course, not in the club house checking his card, before the action was concluded.

Furyk, according to information tough to obtain, left a whopping $735,000 on the 18th green. No word from our new Ambassador of Golf, Sir Nick, about the monetary expense of that flock up.

Kegan Bradley, winner $1.4 million, fires a fabulous 64 on Sunday and deserving of victory, however, that's what it took to be in position to take advantange of a possible Furyk meltdown.

August 6, 2012 at 11:35 a.m.
Stewwie said...

Team '12 is clearly the favorite to get the gold, though they are not unbeatable. That said, it would be very disappointing if they didn't win it all since this is the second greatest team ever assembled (at worst). The rest of the world caught up with us a long time ago, but we'll be fine so long as we bring our A-game.

The Lithuanians exposed a longtime weakness of ours...defending the pick and roll. The one loss we've had with Coach K at the helm was in '06 against Greece who burned us with the pick and roll all game long. I thought by now we'd have those kinks worked out, but I guess not. The close contest on Saturday will be a good wakeup call if nothing else and will help the guys re-focus as they prepare to play Argentina later today.

How about Andy Murray stunning Federer for the gold? Great win for that guy, although unfortunately for him, it is considered more important that he is still "ofer" (sp?) in slams.

I know the replacement refs in last night's NFL game were probably crazy-nervous, but c'mon man, the coin flip is the easiest call of the night!

August 6, 2012 at 1:47 p.m.
LaughingBoy said...

I understand completely hyping up the Americans but the Olympic gymnastic coverage last night nearly turned my stomach. The announcers all but said the other competitors in the vault were not worthy of being in the same arena as McKayla Maroney-who ended up on her rear and took second. I wasn't happy she failed to take the gold. But I was satisfied it toned down the rhetoric a bit from those three stooges who praised for her an hour and ignored the other competitors, continually showing and repeating the line that every other girl had no chance. One of them sounded as if he was about to cry when she fell. They can hype the American without mocking the other gymnasts.

I've watched about 5 minutes of a "Comedy" Central roast and I think I lost 5 IQ points. Viacom as a whole puts out a lot of garbage and this is some of the worst. These celebrities and wanna-be celebrities laugh and cut up about drug abuse and wife beating, and then when it happens to someone they know closely they're all "how could this happen?" Possibly because such behavior is tolerated and treated as a joke, not condemned out there. These idiots should watch old Dean Martin roasts and learn a little class if they have it in them at all anymore.

I hear the Titans will not be signing autographs or sticking around. It's a Falcons event but surely they know they'll be turning off a lot of Chattanooga fans by doing that.

August 6, 2012 at 1:53 p.m.
jgreeson said...

9er —

Concur all across.

Livn(Large) —

Got to say, we enjoyed the amateur versions of the US Olympic teams, too. That said, the announcers actually had an excellent point this week. If the US Olympians were still amateurs, there's no way Michael Phelps happens. Who could afford to train for 12 years and not work from the ages of 15-27?

Spy —

Was in the newsroom last night (stupid football tabs) and as soon as Bolt won, we said, "No Lightning in the headline." In fact, top three tired sports headlines:

3) Lightning Bolt

2) xxxx Slams the 'Dores (when Vandy loses)

1) Tide rolls (when Alabama wins)

962 —

Love sports bars when everyone is into it. During our "wilder" days in the early-to-mid 90s when the Braves were sweeping Atlanta, there were a slew of joints that were just as good if not better than being at Turner Field.

And it's a delicate line. You have to write the story — the whole story — and young Reid's history is pertinent. We would have likely left out the details where those pills were found though.

FE to the C —

Don't know about you, but even if we had an eight-figure bank account, missing a $735,000 putt would ruin our week.

And yes, it was better to watch someone go win the tournament as the meltdown was happening — as opposed to watching Ernie Els eat a sammich while Adam Scott was imploding.

— 5-at-10

August 6, 2012 at 1:56 p.m.
jgreeson said...

True Stew —

The '12 team will win, but you're right Borat and the boys opened some eyes and possibilities.

And great win for Murray — but it's also maybe the only time in Olympic history the guy that won the gold would trade it for a win over the same dude a month earlier.

Laughing —

Been underwhelmed by the commentators on these Olympics and gmynastics and figure skating are always the worst of the bad.

The two jokes Ross made about Aurora were actually worse than the Paterno decision.

Fair point about the Titans not signing — we'll see if we can find out if that was part of the deal. We've also heard that the Titans and Falcons are trying to make this an annual event and next year the Titans would host it somewhere in Tennessee.

— 5-at-10

August 6, 2012 at 2:07 p.m.
Livn4life said...

No Excuses, No Professionals, the spirit of the Olympics was destroyed when it became ok to send those making money off their events to the games. No Michale Phelps, I don't think that is necessarily so but then, I know so little. I do know I'm ready for SOME FOOTBALL.

August 6, 2012 at 5:41 p.m.
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