December 7, 2006

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LONGSHOTS: Lions and Gators and Bears, oh my
by Dave Long

Here’s a series of random thoughts that flashed through my mind as I spent Sunday muttering under my breath while the Patriots were submitting three quarters of effort worthy of being booed out of the razor before turning it on to put out the lights on Detroit:

That Dartmouth’s apology to its Native American students over scheduling the North Dakota Fighting Sioux put the issue of inappropriate sports nicknames back in the news. I’d argue that some names tied to the past of Native Americans aren’t always insulting—like the Golden State Warriors. The term “warrior” has been used as the ultimate compliment forever for players like Dave Cowens or Dick Butkus. So unless the logo is offensive, I don’t see the beef. But others are blatantly offensive. The two worst are the Cleveland Indians and its racist logo and the REDSKINS, who only play in the same city where the President and Congress of the United States reside.

Here’s a Sports 101 Quiz that I didn’t get the answer for: who was the first black player to be drafted first overall in the NFL draft?

Here’s an indication of how much longer the pro sport seasons have been extended over the olden days. On this date in 1940 those same Washington (politically incorrect) Skins were beaten by George Halas’ Chicago Bears 73-0 in the NFL title game! That means the NFL season has gone from ending on the eighth of December 66 years ago to now ending when the Super Bowl is played the first weekend in February. Good thing for global warming.

And that score is why the Patriots’ 46-10 nightmare to those same Bears in Super Bowl XXX is considered kind of a hum-hummer for fans in the Windy City contemplating its all-time wins.

Sad to see the David Ball era at the U end with a loss to UMass on Saturday, but they didn’t lose to a slouch. Plymouth State had the highest all-time winning percentage of ALL schools playing college football when Don Brown left on the road that eventually took him to Amherst and the Panther football program has not recovered since.

Is Tony Romo going to become the second untested quarterback to lead a team to the Super Bowl after replacing an ineffective Drew Bledsoe? Yes, it’s drew, er, true an injury opened the way for Tom Brady, but Bledsoe hadn’t played well for two years and had the job by default because no one on hand at the time was good enough to replace him until they had to.

Speaking of Hall Of Fame voting, there’s no contest as to which is hall is harder to get into, baseball or football. If you think it’s baseball, consider this. Art Monk can’t get a whiff despite winning three Super Bowls with the Redskins, catching a pass in a record 178 straight games and once was the NFL’s all-time leading receiver. What more can he do?

Did you realize Tom Brady leads the AFC in interceptions with 12?

In case you missed this: the Patriots will face the third-ranked defense in football when they travel to Miami this week to take on the rejuvenated Dolphins.

One more Hall Of Fame issue: here’s my take on voting for Mark McGwire. My friend Mike Moffett says he should get in because steroids weren’t illegal in baseball then and there’s no proof he did them. True, but if that’s the case why didn’t he answer questions directly during his pathetic appearance before Congress? Since he elected to use an “it depends on what the definition of is, is” rope-a-dope defense, he’s the one who put the doubt in the mind of the media. So until he acts like a man and says exactly what he did, voters have no choice but to draw their own conclusion.

Thanks to great play by Brady and company in the red zone, Steven Gostkoski’s 17 are the fewest field attempts in football. In my eyes, that leaves Gostkowski still untested in crunch time as the playoffs loom.

Glad to see there is at least one nitwit out there like me who’s made nuts by a bad pick in one of those “Best Ever” ESPN rankings. According to Ron Borges in Sunday’s Globe, former Raider coach Tom Flores was ticked off when his 1983 Raiders were just the 19th best Super Bowl winning team. I hear ya, Tom, but—I hate to tell you—they weren’t even the best Raider Super Bowl winner. They did win big, but John Madden’s club in 1977 also won big in dominating a much better Viking team. Sorry.

With its first ever 0-4 start, I’d say this quote Stan Spirou gave to the UL’s Kevin Gray (or is it Grey I can never remember) after SNHU’s loss to Pace was one of the toughest I’ve ever seen him make in the media: “Our upperclassmen are giving us absolutely nothing…. We have guys who just want to score. They don’t want to make the commitment to play defense and play hard.”

Even with a nice turnaround after their horrendous start the Bruins are still 16 points behind the red hot Buffalo Sabers. And how can a team be over .500 at 12 and 10 as I write this and still be a minus 17 in goals scored to goals allowed?

Ernie Davis was the first African-American drafted number one overall in the NFL. It came after winning the Heisman Trophy playing for Syracuse in 1961, an astonishing 14 years after Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in baseball. Sadly, he never played in an NFL game as he was diagnosed with leukemia shortly after being drafted and died the following year.

With just one loss while playing in arguably the toughest conference, Florida is as deserving as Michigan. But I bet the rematch factor had as much to do with their spot in the BCS title game as did just their record.

Dave Long can be heard on Sports Night with Dave Long nightly from 6 to 7 p.m. on 610 WGIR-AM


11/30/2006 Does Fenway frankness roll to the negative side?

11/23/2006 Turkeys and thanks as the big day arrives
11/16/2006 Green-around-the-gills Celts looking to earn some respect
11/9/2006 Blame game reaches new local low
11/2/2006 A week of highs and lows in sport
10/26/2006 Curses! The U is foiled again
10/19/2006 Time for a trip to the sports mailbag
10/12/2006 U turns Granite Stare around on football
10/05/2006 James' gang riding into town to face the Celtics
09/28/2006 Words to describe a lost Red Sox season
09/21/2006 Football Friday can't stack up to Saturday
09/14/2006 A lesson to be learned in remembering a somber day
09/07/2006 Usual pat choice to win AFC East questioned
08/31/2006 Whining won't yank AL East away from NY
08/24/2006 Spring forward or fall behind for Sox
08/17/2006 Trash talking abounds in the Empire over Sox and Pats
08/10/2006 Monarchs call press conference to crown new leader
08/03/2006 Deadly Fenway duo leave mark on history
07/27/2006 Word of the wise gets lost in sports translation
07/20/2006 Looking beyond the Big Three
07/13/2006 Cream rises to the top of baseball talk at the Dot
07/06/2006 Greetings and salutations toThe Nation at mid-year
06/29/2006 Being dealt is a consequence of the trade
06/22/2006 A year later, Boudreau's cup runneth over
06/15/2006 See dogs and cats battle for a different fan experience
06/08/2006 Not Bad Anymore league makes a comeback
06/01/2006 Luck goes Sox way with Lowell in Massachusetts
05/25/2006 Pitching in to help the Sox trade a few places
05/18/2006 Going to school by cutting Red Sox payroll
05/11/2006 Columnist blows his mind; here are the results
05/04/2006 Yanks stormed Manchester 37 years ago this week
04/27/2006 Regular crowd nowhere to be found come playoff time
04/20/2006 Questions and answers from the mailbag
04/13/2006 Local sports teams spring into action
04/06/2006 Predictable Red Sox season lies ahead
03/30/2006 Analyzing this and that as Pats roster shrinks
03/23/2006 A week of following the bouncing balls
03/16/2006 The beginning of four days of basketball bliss
03/09/2006 Many miss the central point of the story
03/02/2006 Better late than never to jump through local hoops
02/23/2006 Celtic green means raw, not envy as it once did
02/16/2003 An issue that is all black and white
02/09/2006 Nomar curses from the UL's Sullivan
02/02/2006 Super memories from 40 years of watching the big game
01/26/2006 A certain uniformity to the inquiries in the mailbag
01/19/2006 Sudden end to Pats' season leave just one thing to do
01/12/2006 Pats on the back for the football team
01/05/2006 Predictions for Manchester Sports 2031
A lesson for Leo the Lip and nice guys everywhere

Chop House opening is Berra of good news
Event-filled weekend missed en route to evil empire
Hero’s death lays to rest misuse of the word
Saint Theo ascends to new heights in The Nation
Santa sack filled to the brim with sports
Patriots march through injuries toward threepeat
Sports talk should be on the air
Stars shine brightest when winning is in the mix
The Demonization of Johnny Damon
Thirty-seven topics and so little space
Too many holes in Sox for repeat
Trip to the injured list makes it a long weekend for local scribe
Turkeys and giving thanks take center stage this week
Yanked from the edge of your seat