Snoop Robby Blog

Monday, November 12, 2012

The Lakerghini

He felt the smooth leather under his fingers as he grasped the steering wheel, imagining himself accelerating off the line in yet another fully-loaded supercar. But, just as he was about to start it up and hear the roar of the finely-tuned machine, the dealer came over and said, "Uh...Phil, we need those keys."

"But, they're mine, right? I mean, I'm Phil freakin' Jackson."

"Sorry, sir. We just don't want to make the modifications necessary. First of all, your giant seat won't fit in the front and, second, we need someone who can drive it all the time, not just when it's convenient."

"But...I'm Phil freakin' Jackson. I've done nothing but drive supercars my whole life..."


And with that, he stepped out of the vehicle, handed the keys back to the dealer and ducked under the door as he returned home to his Zen garden...

"Here you are, Mr. D'Antoni," the dealer said as he handed the keys over to the mustachioed man to his left.

The man took the keys, opened the door and stepped into the driver's seat of his new ride. After moving the seat forward, he grabbed the wheel and ran his hands around its contour as he looked in wonderment at what he had just been given.

"Something seems familiar...," he thought to himself. Just then the navigation powered on:

"Hey coach, where would you like to go?"

"Steve? Is that you...?"

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

I, Tebow

Somebody needs to open up the access panel on Tim Tebow's back and make sure one of his control switches didn't get set to repeat. I tried to watch the press conference introducing him as the Jets latest sideshow, but the repeated answers just became too monotonous. Every response was canned and coached and, to his credit, delivered masterfully with a million dollar smile. He has been perfectly programmed by his handlers to output the optimum response every time. 

But can't we see the real Tim Tebow at some point? Will we ever see some actual emotion? He must have a warehouse full of pencils he's chewed into diamonds in order to keep that black lab attitude toward everything in life. He's the Ned Flanders of football. Everything is awesome. Everything is great. It's sickening.

Those of us who are imperfect and actually experience human emotion can only hope that somewhere Tebow has a secret room where he keeps the puppies he kicks when he's angry (not really, nobody condones kicking puppies) and that it's right next to the room where he keeps his drugs and strippers.

He does have a bit of an ego, though. In the press conference he stated that he had no intention of going anywhere to be the backup. That can only mean he went to New York with the intention of taking the starting job away from Mark Sanchez.

And that would make him the king of New York. He would have an even bigger platform to spread his message. Perhaps the biggest platform possible, and that might be even more important to him than anything else. Joel Osteen already has masses following him and hanging on his every word. Can you imagine if Osteen was the starting quarterback for the New York Jets?

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Night of a Thousand Sharpies

Believe it or not, I was once the bodyguard for an NFL linebacker. This slight fellow with biceps the size of the football player's wrists once served as a human shield between DeMeco Ryans and hordes of relentless and ravenous Sharpie-wielding fans clamoring for an autograph like zombies on the hunt for delicious brains. The ominous drone of "Auuuttoooggrrrapphs..." filled the air in horrifying unison as I was the only barrier between the crazed mass and this million dollar, finely-tuned athlete who could crush me if he so chose.

Week after week, the vacuous and ink-thirsty horde came in waves with arms outstretched in starved desperation to obtain the mark of this man I was bound to protect. They moved in on the small corner of the building that served as our safe haven, bringing forth a shadow that made the dark room even darker. The red tips of their Sharpies stood out like the eyes of a thousand devils.

When it seemed like I could no longer hold them back, something would always cause the horde to subside and allow me to wipe away the wet ink that had begun to stream down my face like blood running from a gushing wound. The only thing that could calm this horrid horde was something even more powerful than the lust for an autograph. It was the intoxicating odor of burning flesh coming from the hot and hellish room in the back. It was the lust for...hamburgers.

Yep, hamburgers. See, I wasn't really a "bodyguard" for an NFL linebacker. I worked in promotions for 790 The Sports Animal in Houston and always did the weekly DeMeco Ryan's radio show that took place at a local sports bar famous for its hamburgers. It was my job to keep people in a single-file line and make sure that the rules for getting an autograph were followed. While I may not have actually been protecting anyone, I did play a pretty important role. I mean, if not for me, the line could have become double-file, or even triple-file, and I don't even want to imagine what kind of chaos that could have created.

Because of that radio show, DeMeco Ryans is pretty much the only NFL player I've been within 1000 feet of and I spent an hour with him every week for about seven weeks. He is an awesome guy and could not have been more appreciative of the fans that came out to see him.

And that's why I don't like him being traded from the Texans. I'm not making any judgement on the merits of the trade from the perspective of a running a football franchise. That's not what I do and that's not my role. I'm a fan. And I simply want DeMeco on my team because I want to cheer for him.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

A Career in Hinesight

The blind side assassin has called it quits. Hines Ward, the roughest, toughest, meanest wide receiver in recent history, is hanging up his cleats and walking away from the game.

The NFL is losing one of its most charismatic characters and a player who embodied what it means to be a football player. Not just one of those wide receivers who simply caught passes and tried his hardest not to get hit, but a guy who sought out contact and loved to lay out defenders, especially if they happened to be looking the other direction.

You will be missed, Hines Ward. For that big smile and the relentless attitude that set you apart from the diva receivers that have taken over the game. Hopefully, we'll see you on a television set somewhere reminding us of a game that was once about toughness and grit, but has now, for better or worse, become a sport of flash and finesse.

Now you can ride off into the sunset with your Super Bowl rings shining and your big grin flashing. You were one of a kind when you played and we will likely not see another like you. The game was changing, but you refused to. And that will always be respected.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Te-bowing Out

Is the Tebow "era" over in Denver? Has the great experiment in mediocrity and unrealistic expectations come to an end? Will the false praise bestowed upon an undeserving figure fall silent?

Yes, it will. The same fans that once clamored for Tebow's elevation to the starting position will now cheer the arrival of the true prophet. He'll get a pat on the back and a thanks for the memories, but the Denver fans aren't as clueless as their devotion to Tebow made them seem. They embraced it while he seemed the best option, but they just traded in their Honda for a Lamborghini. Albeit, a Lamborghini that just got out of the shop, but still, a Lamborghini.

When, and if, the Peyton deal does become final (sources say he will, but reporting has become so shoddy that you can't trust it until it actually happens), a fan base once in awe of a scrambling "quarterback" will be awakened by a stalwart statue whose passes actually help the team win. The Denver fans will come to their senses like a person being startled from a daydream and think to themselves, "Oh yeah, that's what it's supposed to look like. I think I've seen something like that before".

It was fun while it lasted. Everyone got caught up in the Tebow hype. Even as pundits everywhere pointed out that the defense was winning the game and Tebow was swooping in with some late-game heroics to steal the credit, no one cared. People just enjoyed watching him win. And that's fine. That's what it's all about. But, Tebow carried the team about as well as he threw the ball.

Maybe he'll go off to some other team and have success, but only if he can get into a Trent Dilfer role. Well, Dilfer with even less passing because the less of a quarterback Tebow has to be, the better off the team will be.

Monday, May 16, 2011

The ESP End?

I didn't think it was possible, but I'm pretty sure I'm growing tired of ESPN. The triviality of some of the things they decide to cover is getting ridiculous. Certainly, almost any news having to do with sports is pretty trivial, but I sometimes cringe at their willingness to make a story out of anything. Or nothing, really. Recently, they spent a large portion of the day discussing a hug. The details don't matter. They were analyzing a hug. I'm serious, a hug.

They'll even magically make a story out of whether or not a story should be a story. When Ben Roethlisberger was "caught" by a cell phone camera going out to a bar with his offensive linemen the week leading up to the Super Bowl, they showed the pictures all day and the story was actually whether or not it should be a story. But, when they have a good character and can turn sports into a soap opera, they'll use any opportunity to do so.

They also used to show things called highlights and stats. A pretty novel idea for its time. Now, the highlights are simply used to further the storyline they've decided to focus on and the stats don't do much to help, so they get left out. I know I can go online to get all the stats I want, but I'm already looking at something that is supposed to deliver sports information, so deliver me some actual information.

When it comes down to it, ESPN's focus has shifted from usually showing sports to mostly talking about sports as promotion for the rare time when they actually do show sports.

Some of the personalities bother me too. And Skip Bayless is about the biggest culprit. I actually used to like him. But, his head growth would make Barry Bonds jealous and his inability to ever consider the mere notion that he might possibly be wrong is simply astounding. He would argue the sky was green until he was blue in the face. And rather than actually debate people, he rotates through a group of reporters willing to concede to his reasoning in order to appear on the show.

Also, Chris Berman. Nothing more need be said.

The forced infusion of pop culture in the SportsCenter anchors' references has also gone a little too far. John Buccigross is the worst. Dude, we know you know the names of the lead singers of some mildly eclectic music groups. We get it. Please stop.

Beyond the shows themselves, the way they pick and choose what becomes a story also irks me. They are pretty much the only source for sports information on television so they really have the ultimate power to decide what becomes news. They can look down a list of things that happened and pick what to cover and, of course, they pick based on what is best for them, not the viewers.

Their selective coverage of NASCAR, something they broadcast, is an example of this. It's a personality-driven sport that's not strong enough to survive if its main personalities have tarnished images. So, ESPN doesn't cover the personal lives of the drivers as closely as they cover the personalities of other sports. You can't tell me a 22-year old, millionaire race car driver doesn't do some of the same things that an NBA player would be severely criticized for. But, they don't seem to get the same kind of scrutiny.

On the other hand, they cover athletes in major college programs and the big three sports like high-profile celebrities because those sports are popular and established enough to survive their athletes having a bad image. People would still watch the NFL if most of the players got out of jail the morning before. Or, fought dogs to the death as a hobby.

I do still enjoy some shows on ESPN and watch them daily. Shows like Pardon the Interruption, Around the Horn, Sportsnation, and others like them. They are still about the escapism in sports and don't treat it like actual news. It's still about the fun and enjoyment.

I guess ESPN has just fallen victim to the 24-hour news cycle; another outlet needing to fill time with any story they can find or, more often, any story they can make. I like the old days (is that a gray hair?) when they replayed the same thirty minute SportsCenter from 6-am to noon and then followed that with some motocross or surfing. Those were the days. Now, we have constant live coverage of something that hasn't happened yet and "breaking news" when it does.

Just show me some tape-delay powerboat racing for goodness sake.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Reggie the King

After staring blankly in a state of shock, I've finally been able to come to grips with it. Or, begin to. It's been rough so far. The weight of this new reality pressing down on me. It's almost too much effort to lift my head. The thought is still unreal. I can just stare at the ground and shake my head...

The joy. The triumph. The heartbreak. The amazement. He gave it all. Defying all odds and silencing thousands. Bowing to the crowd as boos cascaded down from every direction. Soaking it all in. Reveling in the hatred for him.

He knows they only hate him for what he's done. With a callous heart he's broken theirs. Time and time again. Enjoying it more each time.

He turned dreams into nightmares...

His foil was his greatest inspiration. To watch him suffer brought him joy. To stare him in the face and watch the gloom wash over it. To see his heart broken. That's why he did it. That's why he loved it...

Reggie Miller. The king. The record may not be his, but the title remains. The timing and the pressure. The killer instinct. The shear brutality of his cold-blooded shots. His three-pointers raining down like bombs bringing destruction to an entire city's dreams. The net exploding with each swish. The crowd erupting in agonizing moans and then falling silent. That's what fed him. And he was hungry...

More than just three points, his shots meant the elation of one city and the utter depression of another. His threes squashed hope. His threes brought opponents to their knees, head in hands, all hope lost. His threes made people either love him or hate him. But, most of all, his threes made us watch with bated breath.

And for some of us, they made him a hero. A hero who took a small town team and thrust them into the national spotlight by taking on the mighty Knicks. He brought down Goliath with his own form of that famous weapon. His arms his sling and the ball his rock. From long range he struck again and again with a fury unseen. Until the giant had fallen...

Raise your arms in triumph, Reggie...For you are still the king.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Basketball Makes the Heart Grow Fonder

As I watched college basketball last Saturday, I was reminded why I like the BCS. Of course, the BCS has its flaws and it's by no means a perfect system, but it makes the regular season important. I don't even really care to watch college basketball until March Madness. Well, I do enjoy regular season games and will watch them if they're on, but at the same time I know they don't really mean that much. Even if it's a great game between two great teams, it doesn't really matter who wins. The regular season's only real purpose is to seed for the tournament and the excitement they try to build around "bubble" teams is pretty pointless as well. Besides the occasional cinderella, a team that barely made the tournament isn't going very far, much less win it all. They could just substitute them for any other mediocre team and nobody would really care or notice. In fact, I'd prefer they play about ten to fifteen games just to gauge the teams and then have the tournament. Maybe even just go straight to the conference tournaments. It'd save a lot of tedium.

For sure, the college football regular season would still be much more exciting than college basketball, if only because of fewer games, but a playoff would drastically dampen the intensity. As it is now, every game matters in football and every win or loss can make or break a season. A game in the first few weeks can be the most important game of the season. College basketball doesn't really have an important game in the regular season. At least not a single game that can mean success or disaster for a team. In college football, that's every game. Every single week matters. Every play matters.

Having a playoff wouldn't really stop people from feeling like their team got slighted either. Only so many teams would be in the playoff and some would get left out. It'd be a whole new debate. Then it'd get expanded so more and more teams would be let in and then eventually their regular season would only be slightly less meaningless than college basketball's.

I'm not sure it'd even crown a "true" champion either. Admittedly, there would be much more consensus, but fans would still be able to find a way to argue that their team was deserving of a better chance, or even that their team was better than the champion. For example, say USC beat both Oregon and Notre Dame during the regular season and they did so pretty easily. However, all three teams still make the playoffs. Due to seeding, USC plays Notre Dame in the first round. After being blown out in the first meeting, Notre Dame barely beats USC to knock them out of the playoffs. Then, Notre Dame and Oregon end up in the championship game and Oregon wins. Two teams that were blown out by USC during the regular season are playing for the championship. But, based on the regular season results it would be hard to argue that Oregon is a better team than USC. But, Oregon won the tournament so they are the "true" champion, even if they are arguably not the best team.

In fact, as it is, the BCS is a playoff system in a way. It's basically a double-elimination tournament. Plus, it's not like in a traditional playoff every team has to play every other team so that's not a requirement to crown a "true" champion. Nobody seems to complain about the lack of a playoff during the regular season. People, of course, want it both ways. They want to keep the intensity of the regular season and have a playoff. That's not how things work, though.

Another plus of the bowl system is the bowl themselves. People will say we can keep the bowls and still have a playoff, but it wouldn't be the same. Is the NIT any real consolation for not making the NCAA tournament? Plus, even with a playoff, a team that loses more than a few games wouldn't really have a chance to win it all. But, with the bowl system, teams get rewarded at the end of the season even if they have no chance to win the championship. Sometimes even getting to a bowl is reward enough for a team. With a playoff system, they'd be outsiders playing meaningless games. A playoff system would be even more exclusionary than the BCS because it would take the meaning out of a bowl victory for a school just happy to be there.

So, I like the BCS system because I don't want the football regular season to become the basketball regular season. Basketball's regular season is simply a prelude to the postseason. The games don't really matter. Not compared to football, at least. In football, the regular season pretty much is the postseason. Every game can mean the end of your championship run. But, hope is not lost because a loss by another team can put you right back in it. It's a three month emotional roller coaster and I enjoy the ride every year. If you love college football's regular season, then you love the BCS.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Too Obvious to be Oblivious?

To be honest, I don't really know what to make of the Cam Newton situation. It's been pretty well determined that his father shopped him around, but the only school that's been proven guilty is one he never went to. He left Florida to basically avoid expulsion after getting caught cheating academically. Then, he attended Blinn Junior College and was extremely successful on the football field. It was there that Cam's father, Cecil, negotiated with people with ties to Mississippi State about paying him for his son to go there. It was ultimately decided however, for reasons unknown, that his son would go to Auburn.

It's hard to imagine that Auburn got him for free. But, nothing's been proven. Even if something is proven, the NCAA seems to have inexplicably set the precedent that as long Cam doesn't know about it, he is eligible. However, I would think that if he didn't know at the time, but does know now, then that would make him culpable. And how could he not know? I can imagine him not knowing before his father's actions became public, but I can't imagine him not remembering things or tying events together after he found out. If he didn't downright ask. The only way he would not know is if he didn't want to know. It would be the Ken Lay defense and it's not a very good one.

It seems like his father is the bad guy in this situation. And he is. But, he's not the only bad guy. He exploited a corrupt system. He knew what he was doing was wrong and everyone involved knew the same. It may have been a common occurrence that just got brought to daylight, but that doesn't excuse it or make it less wrong. A corrupt system can never be blamed for individuals making bad decisions. Corrupt systems exist because of many people making many bad decisions and using it as an excuse only serves to perpetuate it. So, Cecil Newton has to be painted as a bad character in this situation, but so do many other people. But, I guess the only real question is whether or not Cam Newton is one of them.

To answer that, there are only two possibilities. One is that he knows absolutely nothing. He did what his father told him and never asked questions. His father did an exquisite job of keeping it quiet and never slipped up or let on to anything. That is the only solution in which Cam could be cleared. But, unless Cecil is a former CIA agent and Cam just isn't that bright, it seems pretty unlikely.

The only other possibility is that he knew. Either he knew something was going on but just never asked, or he knew all along. Even if he didn't want to be part of it and avoided knowing anything, or if his father protected him from it and ensured that he knew nothing, he still must've known there was something going on. To think that his father could be found guilty of offering him up for sale to one school and then let him go to another for free is pretty hard to imagine. And it seems like Cam must realize that too.

Well, I did leave out one solution. It's the one in which Cecil asked for money from one school and then sent his son to another school for free. But that's not really a possibility, is it?

I also can't figure out how I feel about Cam Newton. If he's simply a pawn, as he claims to be, then I feel sorry for him because his father treated him like a commodity and tried to sell him to the highest bidder. To know nothing and simply be told what to do doesn't seem very pleasant. He seems to appreciate his father, though, so maybe it's not so bad. I just wouldn't want to live like that.

However, I can't imagine him not knowing so I'm a little perturbed. It seems like he's smiling in our faces and knows he's pulling a fast one on us. He just doesn't care. Cam Newton and his father exploited a corrupt system, profited, and now he's about to play in the BCS Championship game, Heisman in hand, and then make millions in the NFL. He beat the system and he knows there's nothing anyone can do about it. But, maybe that's because no one is willing to. The fans want to watch him play and the schools and sponsors want to line their pockets. Everybody wins. Nobody wins.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Mild Christmas

I'm dreaming of a mild Christmas,
Just like the ones I used to know,
Where the sweats not glistenin',
While to the forecast we're listening,
Hoping it'll be sixty or below...