Seahawk Distress

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Mayday.

My Seahawks looked mortal today. The were beaten by the San Diego Chargers 30 to 21. They didn’t perform like the same team. The defense was clearly shocked by the heat (it was 97 degrees) and the ferociousness of the Charger offense. They didn’t let up. It seems like the Seattle offense barely got a chance to play, and I don’t think Marshawn Lynch had a dozen carries. It wasn’t our day.

Worried? Maybe. It’s hard to have two championship seasons back to back. Not many teams are capable of it. Playoffs? For sure. I won’t say today that I expect the Seahawks to be back in the Superbowl this year.

Time to regroup. Next week its Denver, at home in CenturyLink Field. Peyton Manning knows what it’s like to play in the midst of the 12th Man. After today’s performance though, I take nothing for granted anymore.

Olympic Badminton Players Game the System

It’s easy to view the games in London as an exhibit of what the human body can do when put to the test. Unfortunately, in many cases that same human body is being fed artificial substances that make it do un-natural things. Doping in sports is legend, and it finds its way into every training room. But this isn’t a treaty on the issue of drugs in the veins of athletes. It is something more far reaching than the modern phenomenon of human growth hormones. It’s called…

Gaming the system.

Badminton officials took the extraordinary step of tossing out four pairs of women — two from South Korea and one each from China and Indonesia — for deliberately trying to lose their preliminary matches Tuesday night, the latest judging controversy to sweep through the Olympics.

The federation determined at a disciplinary hearing that the players in two separate matches tried to serve into the net and hit shots out of bounds. Their play led to hoots and catcalls from the packed house at Wembley Arena, with some fans yelling, “Off, off, off.” In one match, a Danish umpire warned the players that they could be thrown out by flashing a black card, a rare action in the sport.

Why would anyone who has trained for years to get to the Olympic Games in the hopes of winning a medal do something as stupid as this? Throwing a game? Really? The explanation is rather simple.

Even before the disqualifications, the matches Tuesday triggered hand-wringing throughout the sport. This is the first Olympics to include preliminary rounds in which four teams play one another once to determine who will advance to the knockout stage. The extra preliminary round was designed to give all teams — including those from weaker countries that might have been knocked out after one match under the old rules — a chance to play at least three times.

All four pairs who played Tuesday had secured spots in the quarterfinals, so jockeying for an opponent — not winning or losing — was the imperative.

Because the Chinese so dominate the sport and are so numerous in the tournament, they have an incentive not to play one another when possible. And because they are so good, teams from other countries do their best to avoid the Chinese until they have no choice.

Throwing matches has been a persistent problem, and some players and officials have accused the Chinese of being the worst offenders.

Bottom line? Officials inserted the extra preliminary round to give weaker teams another shot at winning, even after they proved themselves unworthy of championship play.

Kind of like giving everyone a trophy.

Better yet, call it, T-Ball.

I don’t get it. If your country doesn’t have a Badminton team it can field that can survive with the toughest (in this case, the Chinese), then why enter the championship at all? Are Olympic officials hoping for a rare moment where the Chinese completely choke and the team from the Cook Islands wins gold? What’s the likelihood of that? A million to one?

Or is it merely that the fix is in? Are the Olympics so tainted by money and political prowess that they’ve become the modern day Twenty-One?

Where is the crack unbiased investigative reporter when you need one? Oh wait, I already know that answer. There are none.

In the 24/7 wired world we live in, hi-jinks like this will be easier to expose. I think it is more widespread than most people realize, and I’m worried now that the games have been tainted for decades. We’re due an Olympic sized overhaul of athletic competition. Does the will exist to bring the games back to their original intention?

Thank You For Your Inspiration, Mr. President!

How sweet it is.

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Clemens Gets What He Asked For

Roger Clemens asked to appear before a Congressional committee to give personal testimony in his challenge of the Mitchell report. Well, he had his moment, and now he’ll face the music. The same Congressional committee has now asked federal law enforcement authorities to investigate whether Clemens lied under oath.

In a letter sent to Attorney General Michael Mukasey on Wednesday, the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform said it could not conclusively say whether Clemens lied under oath as part of the committee’s investigation into Clemens’s challenge to the Mitchell report but believed that the Department of Justice should look into the matter.

“We believe that his testimony in a sworn deposition on February 5, 2008, and at a hearing on February 13, 2008, that he never used anabolic steroids or human growth hormone warrants further investigation,” the letter, which was signed by committee Chairman Henry Waxman, Democrat of California, and the ranking minority member Tom Davis, Republican of Virginia.

Clemens should have listened to reason and kept his mouth shut. Unfortunately, he listened to his ego instead. As a result, his life, and more importantly, his family life, has been destroyed. His record is tarnished. Put his picture next to Pete Rose.

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Roger Clemens, Baseball, Steroids, Pete Rose

Unbelievable

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Just a couple of weeks ago I predicted a 31-17 Patriot win.

Wow.

Congratulations Giants.

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Patriots, Giants, Super Bowl

Brady Speculation is Amusing

I dunno, I just think this is complete insanity.

For the second consecutive day, Patriots quarterback Tom Brady wasn’t in the locker room or at practice when reporters and cameramen were allowed inside Friday.
During the 45-minute period in the locker room, several cameramen lingered near his locker, but he didn’t show up. Nor was he there for the first 12 minutes of practice that the media were allowed to watch.

Asked if he could say whether Brady would practice Friday, New England coach Bill Belichick said, “Not now. We’ll see.”

Brady was photographed in New York on Monday wearing a protective boot on his right foot. He took it off later in the day and hasn’t been photographed wearing it since. He reportedly has a minor high ankle sprain that isn’t expected to keep him out of the Super Bowl against the New York Giants on Feb. 3.

Brady wasn’t seen during the first 15 minutes of Thursday’s workout to which media were admitted, nor in the locker room.

Do you really think anything short of complete cardiac arrest would keep Tom Brady from playing in the Super Bowl? This speculation over his status is nutso.

My prediction? 31-17 Pats. Mark it.

The NFL is Serious Business

Heh.

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NFL, Seahawks