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Friday, January 30, 2009

Top Ten Super Bowl Prop Bets

TTCS does not condone illegal gambling. But if we did, here are ten prop bets we’d suggest wagering on come Super Sunday.

- All lines courtesy of betus.com

10: 1st quarter points Over/Under-- Total 10

In the past decade, since Super Bowl 33 (Broncos over Falcons), only one Super Bowl has seen a total of 10 points or more in the first quarter: Bears/Colts in 2007. The teams in the big game are so nervous being out there, so jacked up to finally be running around and hitting an opposing player after two weeks off, that the first quarter is usually sloppy. Take the under and enjoy the sloppyness.

9: First song of Bruce Springsteen’s halftime show

The two favorites, “Born to Run” and “Born in the USA” are not very big payoffs, with “Run” going at +200 and “USA” at even money. Instead, I’ll take a sleeper pick, “Glory Days”. It just sounds like a song that would kick off a Super Bowl halftime show. The current line is +250, a nice payoff for an upset pick.

8: Player to score first touchdown

Lots of choices here, from Larry Fitzgerald and Willie Parker (both 5-1) to no touchdown scored entire game (100-1). The best bet for your money is probably Tim Hightower, the Cardinals goal line back, who is sitting at 9-1. Arizona likes to bring him in when they are near the end zone, shown by his 10 TD’s this season. I’m not sure if the Cards will score the first touchdown, but if they do, the best bet is Hightower.

7: John Madden food references Over/Under-- Total 2.5

Apparently, this line started out at 1.5, but so many people took the over, it moved up to 2.5. This one is hard to tell, because it seems like with a big game like this, Madden will try to focus on the football. Then again, 25 years of announcing history says that Big John will eventually start discussing his favorite subject: what’s on his plate. Take the over, but be careful if that line moves up any more.

6: Will Arizona score in the 1st and 2nd quarters?-- Yes +130, No -150

In all three of their previous playoff games, the Cardinals have scored early. Now, I just told you to go with the under for the first quarter, and the Steelers have a great D. But assume the Cards get a first quarter field goal before the game opens up in the second, giving Arizona points in each of the first two 15-minute periods. Lay the 100 bucks, take the Yes and cash in on the $130 you earned next Monday.

5: Super Bowl MVP

In bets like this, unless you really have a good feeling about a player, never go with the favorite. Ben Roethlisberger is at +175 and Kurt Warner comes in for +200, meaning you essentially make double your money on those bets. Instead, take somebody like Anquan Boldin (+1,500) or James Harrison (+3,000). Putting down $100 on either of those guys, both of whom have realistic shots at MVP, would bring back quite the payoff.

4: Jennifer Hudson’s National Anthem length Over/Under-- Total 2 minutes

In this case, always go for the over. These singers realize the entire world is watching, so they will stretch the song out as long as they possibly can. And considering how patriotic Chicagoins are feeling these days with Obama in office, expect the Windy City native to display her love for America longer than 120 seconds. Put the cash on the over and use the anthem as a good time for a bathroom break.

3: Combined interceptions Over/Under-- 2.5 interceptions

With two Super Bowl winning quarterbacks facing off, the common thinking is that this one will be under. But I’m not so sure. Both defenses go for the big play and each quarterback will be under constant pressure. In Roethlisberger’s only career Super Bowl, he threw two picks, and in Warner’s last Super Bowl while on the Rams, he threw two INT’s as well. It’s a bit of a risk, but I like the over.

2: Who will have more on February 1? -- Steelers points (+1.5) or LeBron James points (-1.5)

One of the best things about Super Bowl prop bets are the crossover-sports wagers. The Steelers averaged 22 points a game this season, so if you add the spread, that’s 23.5 points. On the other hand, King James, if you subtract the spread, averages 26.5 points a game. So it really comes down to this: Whose defense is better, the Arizona Cardinals or Detroit Pistons? It’s close, but go with LeBron.

1: Hines Ward receiving yards Over/Under-- 68.5 yards

The MVP of Super Bowl 40 is one of the toughest and most talented wideouts in the entire NFL. He also has a banged up right knee that has limited him in practice the last two weeks. This bet, like all other ones for players, is only applicable if Ward actually plays in the game. That’s a good thing, because all reports are that he will try to give it a go but is unsure how long he can play for. So unless Ward has 69 receiving yards before his knee starts bothering him, the safe bet is clearly the under.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Top Ten Super Bowl Party Essentials

It's important to have everything you need on Sunday because once the game is underway, you don't want to have to run out.

So to help you prepare for the biggest Sunday Funday of the year, here are the Top Ten Super Bowl Party Essentials.

10. The Remote Control

You don't want your girlfriend or wife trying to sneak in a few minutes of The Real Housewives of Orange County during the game do you?

Before kickoff, make sure you designate a replacement remote operator so that nobody has to suffer through that nonsense.

9. Taco Dip and or/Nachos

I challenge you to find me anyone who doesn't like a variation of either Sunday Funday snack. Easy to make, easy to consume and both go so well together with a frosty mug filled with your favorite brew.

8. Comfortable Clothing

Think elastic waistband and you'll do just fine. A hoodie, some warmup pants and you're set for the rest of the day.

Either that or get yourself a Snuggie.

Has anyone noticed how the Snuggies in the commercial are all the color of the Arizona Cardinals?

Side note: Just to give credit where credit's due, our friend over at SI's Hot Clicks, Jimmy Trainia, was the first to reference the Snuggie. That is, if he really even wants to be known as the man who turned the Snuggie into a Pop Culture icon.

7. Chicken Wings

The hotter the better as far as I'm concerned. I'm only interested if I start sweating before I even take my first bite. I don't want to be able to taste anything for a week.

Can you handle that?

6. Super Bowl Drinking Game

You're going to have plenty of beer so including it on this list would be pointless. But what's a little boozing with friends without a game to play along with the game?

After doing a little snooping around, I found this gem (NSFW).

5. Comfortable Seat

Having a comfortable place to sit is paramount in terms of your overall Super Bowl enjoyment. Think of it as your home base. It's where you'll eat, drink, talk trash and possibly even sleep.

Just make sure you call seat lock before getting up.

4. The Bacon Explosion

I see this thing and I want to start grunting along with Tim Taylor on Tool Time.

But has there even been a more manly concoction than this thing?

You create a woven wrap of bacon, spread a layer of ground Italian sausage over it, add crispy bacon, BBQ sauce and some seasonings and you've got yourself the stuff of legends.

For the full recipe, visit the Bacon Explosion's creators: BBQ Addicts.

3. Toilet Paper
Let's be honest.

You put a bunch of guys in a room together that have been drinking coffee all morning, eating greasy food washed down with beer in the afternoon, you're going to have some bombs a brewing.

While we're at it, throw in some Glade pine tree air freshener.

2. Big Screen, HD TV

Once you go HD, you never go back and you don't want to watch the Super Bowl on anything else.

1. Squares or Strip Cards

It's the Super Bowl!

Everyone gambles on the Sunday of all Sundays. Before everyone shows up, or you leave your house, make sure to bring about thirty bucks in an assortment of bills. That way you'll be included in all the action.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Top ten Chicago Super Bowl connections

10. Mike Gandy

Mike Gandy is about as 'Chicago' as you can get: grew up in upstate Rockford, attended Notre Dame, drafted by the Bears - sucked -, went on to find success with another team. Few would have guessed it a couple years ago, but now Gandy is starting the Super Bowl, protecting Kurt Warner's blindside. Since the Cards make their living through the air, you can argue that Gandy will be as important as anyone on Sunday.

As for his Bears days
, here's what Gandy told the Sun-Times' Mike Mulligan today:

''It's tough when you have so many holes,'' Gandy said of his 3½ years with the Bears that included only one winning season. ''We had a ton of holes going into every season, especially on the line. You can't jell on an offensive line unless everybody is playing together. We used a lot of different guys. We had trouble at the quarterback spot. A lot of things didn't work out. It's not good for a left tackle when you are changing quarterbacks every year.''

9. Russ Grim

Though he's still a lowly offensive line coach for the Cardinals, some may remember that Grimm nearly became the head coach of the Bears in 2005. After axing the perenially mediocre Dick Jauron, the Bears coaching search narrowed to two candidates: Grimm, and current coach Lovie Smith.

8. Kurt Warner

No, Warner has never played for the Bears, nor is he from the area. But doesn't it seem like every time the dude is a free agent, the Bears are rumored to be going after him? Even still.

And for the record, I don't really want any part of Warner this offseason. Three reasons: a) he's 37, b) after leading the Cards to the Super Bowl, he'll command of a truckload of money, and - most importantly - c) playing QB is just a tad easier when you're throwing jump balls to Larry Fitzgerald rather than Rashied Davis.

7. Rashard Mendenhall

I used to, and I suppose still do, fancy myself as a bit of a draft nerd. Roughly fourteen months ago, I really only wanted my beloved Bears to draft one guy: Rashard Mendenhall. The Bears (rightfully) passed on Shard in the first round to grab the far superior Matt Forte in the second, and the former Niles West and U of I star slid until he was picked by Pittsburgh at No. 23.

Mendenhall was put in a tough situation from the start, having to backup star tailback Willie Parker, but didn't do himself any favors with a lengthy training camp contract holdout. A shoulder injury eventually KO'd his season, but I'm not ready to him a bust just yet.

6. Dave McGinnis

Ah, Dave McGinnis. Remember him? If not, maybe Wikipedia can help:
McGinnis was the focal figure in an embarrassing public relations blunder by the Chicago Bears in 1999. After McGinnis interviewed for the vacant head coach position on Thursday, January 22nd, team president Mike McCaskey prematurely organized a news conference for the following day with local and national media to announce the hiring of McGinnis as the 11th Head Coach of the Chicago Bears. The news came as a surprise to most notably Dave McGinnis, who had not reached terms on a contract. In an attempt to save face, the Chicago Bears postponed the news conference and issued a personal apology to McGinnis from the patriarch of Bears ownership, Ed McCaskey. However, Dave McGinnis remained disenfranchised with the order of business conducted by the Chicago Bears organization and officially declined future consideration.

The Bears went on to hire Dick Jauron, while McGinnis became head coach of the Cardinals.


It has long been my opinion that Da Coach's name should be spelled only in all caps. I don't know, it just seems fitting. Has their ever been a more beloved man in our city's history? What's even scarier is that had Ditka decided to take the Republican nomination in the 04 senate race, there's a small chance Barack Obama might not be our president right now. MIKE DITKA says "keep the change".

Oh yeah: Ditka grew up in Western PA. Count it.

4. Todd Haley

The Cards' offensive coordinator was thrust into the spotlight this postseason after a highly publicized on-field battle with star receiver Anquan Boldin. What people may not remember is that Haley was the Bears' wide receivers coach just a couple years back. Now he's arguably the hottest assistant coach in the NFL.

The Bears: ruining great offensive minds for at least the last 21 years.

3. Denny's rant

Until this unlikely run to the Super Bowl, what is the one thing most people remember about the Cardinals this decade? Come on, this one's too easy... (a little bit of NSFW language here)

2. The winner of this game will be the first pro team to meet President Obama

I think the headline pretty much speaks for itself.

Also: there is obviously no way this is ever ever ever ever ever going to happen, but, hypothetically, let us just assume the Cubs win the World Series in the next four to eight years. This will naturally be followed by pigs flying and hell freezing over, but work with me here for a second. Would the prez act hostile towards the North Siders? Refuse the meeting, even? Would he wear his signature beat up Sox cap to the photo op? So many questions. Too bad we'll never get any answers.

1. South Side Cardinals

Not only were the Cardinals once Chicago's, but while the Bears were slumming it at Wrigley, the Cards were playing in gorgeous Comisky Park. If that's not enough reason to root for them on Sunday - assuming you can overcome the Ditka connection.....DITKA - I don't know what is.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Top Ten reasons why the Illini are flying high

Okay, so this year’s Illini team is probably still one or two years away from being a top team nationally again. And when you consider the fact that Illinois won the second most games in the nation from 2001-2005, trailing only Duke, this year’s fast start hardly has people forgetting the trio of Dee, Deron and Luther and the amazing ‘05 team.

Still, reflect on where Illinois was at this point last year; on their way to a 16-19 season and 10th place finish in the Big Ten with some people even calling for Bruce Weber’s exit because of his in-state recruiting failures. At the beginning of this season, most people pegged them to finish in the middle of the Big Ten, and an NCAA tournament bid seemed very unlikely.

Now, off to a 17-3 start and ranked for the first time since 2006, Illinois has been arguably the biggest surprise in the country. Here are 10 reasons for their surprise turnaround.

10. Senior leadership Illinois’ seniors seem determined to go out on a high note and get rid of the bad taste in their mouths from last season. Chester Frazier has provided great defense and steady ball handling, Trent Meacham outside shooting, and Calvin Brock energy off the bench. Those three seniors have also provided great leadership for a team that starts three sophomores, and has another sophomore and junior college transfer seeing significant playing time.

9. Unselfishness Last week I heard Jay Bilas say that Illinois has assisted on 72% of their field goals, an amazing stat. Four guys average between 11 and 12.5 points per game, and seven different players have led the Illini in scoring. Without a go-to scorer, Illinois has needed to share the ball and keep all five guys involved in the offense.

8. Bench If Kentucky transfer Alex Legion can start to hit his shots more consistently, he turns a good Illinois bench into a great one. Brock isn’t really a scorer, but he is the team’s best athlete and can do a little bit of everything on the court. Dominique Keller, a junior college transfer, has shown signs of late and could start at small forward next season. This is probably the deepest team Weber has had at Illinois, deeper than even the ‘05 team whose only real reliable sub was Jack Ingram.

7. Soft non-conference schedule The only likely tournament team that Illinois played in the non-conference portion of their schedule was Clemson. Their best wins out of conference came against Missouri, Tulsa, and Vanderbilt, all very average teams. Still, last season Illinois lost non-conference games to Tennessee State and Miami of Ohio, so give them credit for not overlooking anyone this time around.

6. The maturity of Demetri McCamey He and Weber haven’t always seen eye to eye, but McCamey is the key going down the stretch. Of late, outside of the Michigan State game, McCamey has stepped up his game and become a more complete player. It’s hard to believe this guy wasn’t more heavily recruited coming out of St. Joe’s (high school teammate Evan Turner probably had something to do with that). At this point, McCamey is even with or maybe even ahead of where Deron Williams was when he was a sophomore at Illinois.

5. Bruce Weber
Say what you want about his recruiting struggles the past few years (although that is finally starting to change), but the guy can flat out coach. In a conference filled with some of the best coaches in the country, Weber has done a remarkable job of getting a pretty young team to buy in to his system. He has always been one of the better in-game coaches around, and his teams respect and play hard for him, this year’s group especially.

4. Defense Illinois doesn’t have that take over the game type scorer, so great defense has been what has carried them so far, holding opponents to just 56 points a game, best in the conference. Frazier is one of the best on-ball defenders in the country. The credit goes to the players’ commitment on the defensive end and Weber’s persistence.

3. Development of the two Mike’s With Shaun Pruitt and Brian Randle last season, neither Mike Tisdale nor Mike Davis got much of a chance to play. They combined to average just six points and four rebounds as freshmen. This season, the two have used their size and athleticism to combine for 22 points and 12 rebounds a night. Considering both are still pretty raw, it’s scary to think how good each could be once they get a little stronger and get more experience.

2. Recruiting The sophomore class of Tisdale, Davis and McCamey has been the first of what looks like will be a string of real good recruiting classes. Next year, Brandon Paul and D.J. Richardson highlight a strong class, while the 2010 class looks loaded with star potential in Jereme Richmond and Crandall Head. Even the state’s top sophomore, Mt. Carmel’s Tracy Adams, has already committed to Illinois for 2011. Hopefully, the days of Weber missing out on the state’s top players like Derrick Rose, Julian Wright, Jon Scheyer, and Sherron Collins are gone.

1. Better chemistry Several players already have mentioned how last year everyone played for themselves and how this year everyone’s focus is solely on winning games. You can blame Pruitt and his running feud with Weber for a lot of the turmoil that surrounded the team last season. Watching Illinois this year, it’s obvious these guys are much more coachable and have fun playing together. Good chemistry is often a direct result of winning.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Top Ten's Top Ten

Top Ten Chicago Sports celebrated our one-year anniversary a week ago Friday and we celebrated by having one of our "Original Six" quit. But we felt that we had better commemorate our hard work and the time you took out of your day to check out what was going on. So below is our "Top Ten Top Ten," the ten greatest posts our site produced in its first year.

10. Top Ten athletes we'd like to party with

Captain Matt debuted with a bang. One of our first posts that will surely have to be modified now to make room for Pat Kane, but Olsen set the tone from the get-go.

9. Top Ten fat guys

We saw this reposted recently, and it would be hard to argue against any of these guys.

8. Top Ten John Daly quotes

Former TTCSer Scott Phillips posted this shortly after another run-in Daly had with authority, and numerically, this post was viewed by more people than any post. Roughly 25,000 people ventured onto the site to see and hear the "Best of John Daly."

7. Top ten reasons to care more about your Madden dynasty than your homework

Nobody likes doing homework and Ricky gave me a reason to play video games instead of focusing on studies.

6. Top Ten Chicago fights we want to see

Danny S. did a great job filling in and has earned a weekly spot because of posts like this.

5. Top Ten reasons soccer won't succeed in America

One of the more controversial lists and who would have thought it would have thought it would have been something regarding soccer. The world's greatest soccer blog, Unprofessional Foul, strongly disagreed with what was written, and they did not take too kindly to my ideas.

4. Top Ten Chicago accessories

My personal favorite, this post has a little bit of everything.

3. Top Ten replacements for Jay Mariotti

This Ricky O'Donnell's prized article. When asked what posts we should put on this list, Ricky said "Can you put the Mariotti one on there? I poured my heart and soul in that one."

2. Top Ten Chicago draft busts

This is where it all began, our first post (and Phillip's favorite). The first, and only time the six of us actually sat down, put our heads together and collaborated. It's been downhill from there.

1. Top Ten "Major League" quotes

While the only thing related to Chicago sports to go along with the list was Jack Parkman, overall this post was a wild success. Seen by thousands of people who had a lot of great comments, this list tops our first-year posts.

Thank you for continuing to tune into TTCS, we hope to be able to keep doing this at least long enough to have a second list like this.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Top Ten Chicago athletes who were ‘Mo Money Mo Problems’

With a movie based on his life now in theaters, it seemed like the right time to honor one of the greatest rappers ever to grip a microphone, The Notorious B.I.G. And since Biggie himself was a fan of top ten lists (check out “Ten Crack Commandments”), this is the perfect place to honor him. So I’ve decided to take the theme of one of his greatest songs and translate it to Chicago sports. Here are ten guys who started being a problem on the field or court after they got big contracts from their teams.

10: Devin Hester

In his first two seasons, Hester was the greatest kick/punt returner in NFL history. Yet the Bears weren’t satisfied with his 11 regular season and one Super Bowl returns for touchdowns. They wanted him to be a #1 receiver as well, and in exchange, Hester started singing a different classic Biggie song: ‘Gimmie the Loot’. #23 threatened to hold out of 2008’s training camp, but eventually, the Bears agreed to a four-year, $40 million (with incentives) contract. After getting his cash, Hester responded with his worst season to date, not coming close to returning a kick for a score and putting up receiving numbers (51 catches, 665 yards, three TD’s) worthy of a number three wideout, not a number one.

9: Jeff Blauser

During the 1997 season, while playing shortstop for the Braves, Blauser hit .308, drove in 70 runs and made the NL All-Star team. He was the top hitter for a team that won 101 games and was one of the most sought-after free agents in the winter of ’97. The Cubs, in constant need of a quality middle-infielder, scooped up Blauser for a two-year, $7.5 million contract, with a $4 mil. team option for third year. The teams reason for giving the 32 year-old Blauser the big deal? He it well over .300 in his career at Wrigley Field. Of course when signed by the North Siders, he no longer got to face Cubs pitching, and after the two years where Blauser hit around .230, the team let him go.

8: Luol Deng

After his dominant 2007 playoff series against the Miami Heat, there wasn’t a more popular guy in the Windy City than Deng. Fans begged GM John Paxson not to include the forward in proposed trades for Kevin Garnett or Kobe Bryant (Neither of which was actually close to taking place) and instead to sign him to a long-term deal. In the summer of ’08, the Bulls finally agreed to o a six-year, $70 million contract with Deng. Of course since that signing, he’s averaging 14 points and six rebounds a game, both career lows since his rookie year. Now fans are begging Paxson to get rid of Deng any way he can.

7: Brian Urlacher

It’s hard to call Urlacher a ‘problem’, considering he has been the best player on the Bears for 95% of the time since he was drafted. Yet the truth is, before he signed his latest contract, the Bears middle linebacker always was near the team lead in tackles, was great at forcing turnovers and clearly the guy opposing offenses game-planned to stop. Then, as B.I.G. said, Things Done Changed. Urlacher was given a new extension in 2008 that pays him about $6.5 million yearly until 2012 and responded with a career low in tackles, sacks and fumbles forced (excluding 2004 when Urlacher was hurt). Some fans say the Bears should move Lance Briggs to MLB, others say just cut Urlacher. It will be interesting to see what GM Jerry Angelo does with the face of the franchise.

6: Javier Vazquez

According to the trusty folks at baseball-reference.com, the White Sox paid Vazquez a total of $36 million in the three years he pitched for the team. For all that money, the Sox got 38 wins, 36 losses and an ERA over four. Considering he was brought to the South Side in the winter following the World Series to make the rotation the best in baseball, it definitely cannot be considered money well spent. I doubt anybody disagrees that the Sox made the smart decision this winter to trade Vazquez to the Braves for a quartet of minor league prospects.

5: Eddie Robinson

If there’s one thing the NBA has a lot of, it’s perimeter players that can jump out of the gym but don’t understand the real fundamentals of basketball. Eddie Robinson was one of those guys. So in the summer of 2001, when Bulls GM Jerry Krause signed E-Rob to a five year, $32 million contract, it was seen with puzzled looks around the city. Turns out the critics were right. After two seasons of injuries, laziness and DNP-CD’s, the Bulls bought Robinson out of his deal, paying him $10.5 million to just go away. This past November, Robinson was taken in the fifth round of the D-League draft, but ended up not making the roster of the Albuquerque Thunderbirds.

4: Mushin Muhammad

The title of Biggie’s first album could easily share the name of a story recapping Muhammad’s time with the Bears: Ready to Die. After putting together multiple good years with Carolina, the Bears signed Muhammad in February of 2005 to be the big play wide receiver they have always lacked. The deal- six years, $30 million- was by far the biggest contract the team had ever given to a wideout. Turns out the moment Moose put on the blue and orange uniform, his skills went away. In three years with the Bears, Muhammad never had a season where he had more than 65 catches, 870 yards or five touchdowns. The team cut him last February, and after re-signing with the Panthers, Muhammad put together a season where he matched or exceeded all three of those statistical benchmarks.

3: Paul Konerko

After being a key member of the White Sox championship team in 2005, Konerko entered free agency that winter as one of the most sought-after players on the market. He got offers from a bunch of teams, but ended up going back to the South Side, agreeing to a deal worth five years and $60 million. The Sox thought they were getting an All-Star caliber player; instead they ended up with a player who has struggled at the plate the last two seasons. There are now almost daily trade rumors about Konerko, many involving a deal to Anaheim, a team he was close to signing with in the winter of ’05.

2: Latroy Hawkins

Three years and $11 million doesn’t seem like that outrageous of a contract, especially compared to other players on this list. But the reason Hawkins is number two on this list is because his year and a half with the Cubs still give the Wrigley faithful nightmares. Signed in the winter of 2003 from the Twins, Hawkins was supposed to shore up the Cubs bullpen. Instead, thanks to his 6-8 record with 13 blown saves during his time in Cubby blue, he pretty much single-handedly kept the Cubs out of the 2004 playoffs. The team traded him in May of 2005 to the Giants and Hawkins is currently on Houston, which means he will face the Cubs 18 time a year, something Cubs fans couldn’t be happier about.

1: Ben Wallace

There’s no doubt that the man known as Big Poppa- real name Chris Wallace- would have been disappointed in the one called Big Ben- real name Ben Wallace. The former Piston was a key member of Detroit’s rise to dominance in the Eastern Conference, winning NBA Defensive Player of the Year four times and leading the Pistons to the ’04 NBA Title. In the summer of 2006, the Bulls signed Ben to a 4-year, $60 million contract, an astounding deal for the then-32 year old big man who didn’t even fill the team’s biggest need, low post scoring. After a year and a half in a Bulls uniform, where Wallace averaged about five points and 10 rebounds a game, the team dealt him in a three-team trade to division rival Cleveland.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Top Ten Changes That Need to be Made to the Super Bowl

It's a national holiday, or at least the day after should be.

The Super Bowl is the biggest sporting event of the year, but that doesn't mean it's perfect.

Far from it.

Here are the Top Ten Changes That Need to be Made to the Super Bowl.

10. No Domes

It's football. It's meant to be played in the elements. It's meant to be a struggle against the man in front of you in the environment around you.

How can a player run off the field without a grass stain on his jersey and feel like a champion?

9. Lose the Interpretive Dance

The NFL tries to show its softer side by allowing these ridiculous, modern dance routines into the stadium.

What is that even supposed to be?

8. Lose the Red Carpet

I'll keep this one short and simple:

At no point during the Super Bowl should Ryan Seacrest ever appear on my television screen. Let alone working the red carpet outside of the stadium.

7. Lower the Prices

According to this MSNBC article:

LiveStub, a secondary ticket site that doesn't charge commissions for tickets it sells, says the average selling price is $2,278 per seat. eBay's StubHub has the average this morning at $2,790 per seat.

How can anyone that's making the average salary possibly come up with that kind of money to see their team in the Super Bowl? Add in travel expenses, lodging, food and merchandise and you're somewhere in the neighborhood of a $5,000 weekend.

6. Start the Game Earlier

If you've already lost 85% of the senior citizen demographic before kickoff, how is starting the Super Bowl at midnight actually helping you out?

After the senior citizens pass out, the rest of the population that doesn't worship football rolls over at halftime, puts on the sleep timer and calls it a night.

This isn't brain science Mr. Goodell. It's common sense.

5. Announcers are Chosen, Not Assigned

NFL referees are graded throughout the season based upon their performance in game situations. The highest rated crews are chosen to officiate the Super Bowl - the highest honor in the profession.

Why not the same for NFL announcers?

We need to set up a system that grades announcers on their ability to improvise, accuracy and level of knowledge. Based upon those grades, two weeks before the Super Bowl the announcers would be chosen.

ESPN could even buy the rights to the selection show.

4. Let the Real Fans In

When the Bears made to the Super Bowl a few years back, the entire population of Chicago tried to get tickets. Of the five that actually got lucky enough to secure a seat in Florda, four were the kind that yell at you for standing up to cheer during a game.

Where are the real fans at?

3. Pick a Half Time Show People Actually Want to See

At this point, we're about two years away from seeing Yo-Yo Ma and Michael Buble at the 50-yard line during halftime.

Look, Nipplegate had just as a dramatic effect on my life as anyone else (I had no idea you could put something like that on your...).

But come on, does watching Paul McCartney or The Rolling Stones really get you pumped up to play some football? If you can't picture anyone in the locker room listening to any of these artists on their iPod before a game, find someone else.

It's time.

2. Bring the Bud Bowl back

Growing up I looked more forward to the Bud Bowl than the actual game.

Side note: Now that I think about it, that may explain alot of things. I can't imagine how I'd react to seeing a 10-year-old kid screaming Budweiser at the top of his lungs in front of the TV.

Bottom line, the Bud Bowl was the perfect Super Bowl companion and revolutionized the way people felt about commercials.

1.Change it to a Saturday

The NFL waved bye bye to tradition the minute they turned the game itself into the longest running advertisement you'll ever see. So don't give me, 'but it's always been on Sundays, it's a tradition', kind of arguments in the comments section.

This is the biggest cash register in professional sports right now and I'm truly shocked the NFL hasn't made the move yet. More people would watch, bars would sell more drinks, grocery stores would sell more junk food and less people would call in sick to work because of a Super Bowl Monday hangover.

You want to help the economy Mr. President?

Super Bowl Saturday it is.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Top ten Chicago sports championship moments

All the Super Bowl hype got us thinking of happier days. Here are the 10 best Chicago sports championship moments.

10. 1992 NBA Finals: The Shrug

9. 2005 World Series: Geoff Blum Game 3 homer
(Why aren't these World Series highlights on YouTube? Step your game up, MLB)

8. 1997 NBA Finals: The Flu Game

7. 2005 World Series: Scott Podsednik Game 2 walkoff homer

6. 1991 NBA Finals: MJ switches hands

5. 2005 World Series: Konerko's grand slam

4. Super Bowl XLI: Hester takes it TO THE HOUSE

3. 1998 NBA Finals: MJ's final shot in a Bulls uniform

1-2. Super Bowl XX Bears highlights
* Lets be honest: the 1985 Bears are so renown, they deserve two spots.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Top Ten things overheard in the Bulls locker room


I’ve always wondered what it would be like to be inside the Bulls locker room, especially after a loss like yesterday’s heartbreaker to the Knicks. Were the players more upset about Quentin Richardson scoring 24 points and Chris Duhon scoring the go-ahead basket, or were they more concerned about finding the best NY pizza joint for lunch? My guess would be the latter.

Face it, other than Derrick Rose, this is a team of individuals that either forgot how they won 49 games in 06-07’ (playing defense), don’t care about winning anymore (new contracts might have something to do with that), or a combination of both. If I ever did get access to the locker room, here are 10 things that I bet I would hear.

10. Kirk Hinrich
“Remember two years ago when I was the most important player on the Bulls and also made the NBA-All Defensive Second Team?”
9. Larry Hughes
“Forget Stephon Marbury. I’m the real missing piece if the Celtics want to win another championship.” 8. Andres Nocioni
“I wonder how long it will be until they realize I don’t really play good defense, I can’t make threes, and all my antics are really just for show and not a sign that I care about winning?”
7. John Paxson
“Can I go back to the night of June 28, 2006 and have a do-over?” 6. Tyrus Thomas
“Damn, I could be a senior in college now. Then basketball might still be fun.”
5. Luol Deng
“Haha, what a bunch of suckers.” 4. Vinny Del Negro
“At least I’m doing a better job than Jim Boylan. Right? If these guys would just listen to me we could be great. I mean, my background speaks for itself.”
3. Ben Gordon
“More shots= more points = more money = more happy. Plus, who do you want shooting instead?” 2. Joakim Noah
“Me and my Florida boys would have owned this city.”
1. Derrick Rose
“These guys suck. Losing sucks. I better start trying to make close friends with Dwyane Wade. I’ll try and sell him on the fact he could go to a lot of Richards high school basketball games if he came to Chicago.”

Monday, January 19, 2009

Top Ten NFL draft prospects for the Bears

While the NFL Draft is not until April, the deadline for underclassmen who decided to leave school early and enter the draft came last Friday. The Bears have the 18th pick of the draft and to be totally honest, I don't like any of the guys that are scheduled to fall to them. Personally, after Taylor Mays crushed my heart and decided to stay, I concluded that the Bears should really try and trade their pick to the highest bidder.
But seeing as how it is low-risk Angelo at the helm, odds are that won't happen. So below are ten guys Chicago should try to acquire.

**NOTE** Excluded are players like Crabtree, Stafford and Curry, guys who will surely be gone by the time the Bears pick. This list will probably be re-done at least once a month until the actual draft.

10. Michael Johnson, DE, Georgia Tech
The Bears did not get to the quarterback enough this season. While both Brown and Ogunleye did shine on occasion, it just wasn't enough. Johnson's stock has fallen in the past few months because of his toughness and speed, but this would not be the worst decision.

9. Percy Harvin, WR, Florida
My fellow TTCSers know my thoughts on receivers. There is no way that any of them not named Michael Crabtree are going to make huge contributions to this team. However Harvin is a playmaker, and while the Bears have Devin already, two big-play guys could be what is needed for a quarterback like Orton to succeed.

8. Darrius Heyward-Bey, WR, Maryland
After Crabtree, I think that DH-B has a chance to be the best wideout in the draft. I would take him over both Harvin and Maclin for the reason that while the three of them are speedsters, Darrius is the only one with some height to him (nearly 6' 2"). The Bears are going to need a target man, and this could be the guy.

7. Brian Cushing, OLB, USC
I know he is not that bad, but I just can't stand Hunter Hillenmeyer. Cushing could learn a thing or two from Briggs and is far more athletic and is a harder hitter than HH.

6. Michael Oher, Tackle, Ole Miss
Everybody who has read "The Blind Side" knows what type of athlete he is. The Bears did take Chris Williams with their first-round pick last season, and while the O-line did impress people this year, they are not any younger. The Bears could easily put Williams on the right and Oher on the left and it would not only make the line younger, but stronger and just better overall.

5. Knowshon Moreno, RB, Georgia
While Chicago does have a very good tailback in Forte, #22 led the NFL in carries last season. Moreno would be a great change-of-pace spell back and is a guy who runs hard despite an undersized body.

4. Rey Maualuga, MLB, USC
After a painfully mediocre season for Brian Urlacher, a feeling has come over the city that Urlacher might be past his prime. While Rey would probably not get much time in his rookie season, the hard-hitting ILB could become the future of the Bears' defense.

3. Aaron Maybin, DE, Penn St.
I talked earlier about how Chicago needs to return to the days of a continuously tough pass rush. Maybin led a Nittany Lions' defense that was the most feared in the Big 10 and one of the best in the nation.

2. Mark Sanchez, QB, USC
I don't know how many people feel Orton can really become a reliable quarterback in the NFL. I have never felt that way. While even Pete Carroll feels he left too early, the USC offense is so similar to an NFL offense that the transition would be easier for him than any prospect. I truly see him as the most likely draftee to sign with the Bears.

1. William Moore, Safety, Missouri
I had this spot reserved for my boy Mays like I stated earlier in this post. Moore is not quite as ready as the USC safety, but he would relieve what I feel is the weakest part of the Bears in the team's safety play.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Top Ten Chicago Fat Guys

Ed. note: In honor of the Sox signing Bartolo Colon, we're going to take a trip back in the time machine and give the Top Ten Chicago Fat Guys.

This list is best enjoyed while drinking a tall glass of chocolate syrup.

10. David Wells

I don’t know what’s more surprising, the fact that Wells is possibly only the third most irritating person in the sports world nicknamed ‘Boomer’ (see: Esiason, Berman) or that he actually thinks he can pitch successfully in the majors in 2008.

9. Ron Coomer

The last time Ron Coomer saw 90210 it was on his scale.

8. Keith Traylor

Damn YouTube. Video of Traylor’s 67 yard interception return in 2001 against the Jaguars, arguably one of the five funniest plays in sports history- is no where to be found on the site.

7. Mac, Jurko, and Harry

Arguably the city’s most popular radio crew, each member has a waistline as big as their opinions on Rex Grossman.

6. Bartolo Colon

White Sox fans everywhere were horrified when news came out late last week that Colon was coming back to the South Side. Thankfully, Colon’s Sox will be a different color next season. Unfortunatlty for Boston, his dietary plan will still be the same.

5. Michael Sweetney

ESPN’s Bill Simmons once joked that Sweetney was one more Big Mac away from playing in the NBDL. Unfortunately for Sweetney, he couldn’t even make it that far. Sweetney is currently out of basketball all together. His resume should just say ‘will play for chocolate’.

4. John Kruk

Kruk was a fan favorite everywhere he played, including his one season on the South Side, because of his ‘everyman’ status. If everyman looked like John Kruk, I would stop writing this list and immediately open a Taco Bell.

3. Eddy Curry

Two weeks ago, Eddy Curry’s former trainer sued him for breaching a contract on a loan. If anything, Curry should sue his trainer because he is such a fat slob.

2. Ted Washington

The best compliment anyone ever paid Washington in Chicago was that he was good at ‘keeping defenders off Urlacher’. That is just a kind way of saying he was simply too fat to be block by a single human.

1. William Perry

“They call me The Frige and I’m the rookie. I may be large, but I’m no dumb cookie.” I rest my case.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Top Ten Worst John Paxson Draft Picks

The most frightening part of this list is that since John Paxson took over as general manager for the Chicago Bulls, he's drafted in some way or another 15 players. And out of those 15, I was able to compile a Top Ten list of his worst picks.

In reality, this could have been a Top 14 Draft Picks Pax has screwed up because the only one he got right - D. Rose - was by default.

10. Omer Asik - Turkey
36th Overall, Second Round

What the Bulls need desperately now, and what they've needed since Pax took over, is a big man down low to provide some points and defense in the paint. So instead of trying to take a player able to contribute immediately, Pax goes for the Turkish Asik. A kid who won't even sniff the NBA for a few years and has missed the majority of his Turkish team's season due to injury.

(He's the one on the right in case you were interested)

9. Jackson Vroman - Iowa State
31st Overall, Second Round

Vroman is currently playing for BC Lietuvos Rytas of Lithuania and can brag to his friends about the career high 15 points he scored in the Association.

Worse part about that is it wasn't even for the Bulls.

8. JamesOn Curry - Oklahoma State
51st Overall, 2nd Round

Pax never shies away from a project and Curry was no exception.In 2004 Curry was arrested and charged with two counts of possession with intent to sell and deliver marijuana, two counts of sale and delivery of marijuana, and two counts of sale, possession, and delivery of a controlled substance.

Curry never played in a regular season NBA game and is currently playing in France after bouncing around the NBDL.

7. Aaron Gray - Pittsburgh
49th Overall, 2nd Round

He's progressed in his short time with the Bulls and may fit the bill for the 'Goofy White Center' role every championship team needs. But he's too soft in the paint, too slow to run with Derrick Rose and will forever be relegated to bench duty. He's more valuable to the team because of the six fouls he's allotted every night per league rules.

6. Mario Austin - Mississippi State
36th Overall, 2nd Round

In Pax's first draft, he went after the tantalizing Austin and ended up getting a lifetime's worth of headache's in return.

I'll let this ancient Blog-a-Bull piece sum up what happened:

"Austin, a 6-9 power forward, was drafted by the Bulls in the second round of the 2003 NBA draft. When he didn’t catch on with the team after playing in the Bulls’ summer camp last year, Austin signed a $1.15 million, two-year contract with CSKA, which he says Duffy misled him into signing, a claim Duffy denies."

What followed was a series of he said, she said arguments that Pax got dragged into. Not a good indication of things to come.

5. Joakim Noah - Florida
9th Overall Pick

Truthfully, Pax didn't have much to choose from with this pick. But looking back, anyone may have been better than Noah.

He's had multiple outbursts that have caused harm to the team and has already been arrested for smoking a doobie while sitting on a curb in Florida. One night he's playing like a maniac and others he looks completely lost.

4. Thabo Sefolosha - Switzerland
13th Overall Pick

The Swiss Jordan had high praise from scouts coming out of the Alps. He's got the length to become a lock down defender and enough quickness to run the break. However, Sefolosha never put the entire package together and is a turnover machine the likes of which this league has ever seen.

Though his TTCS provided nickname, Snuffleupagus, is still a fan favorite.

3. Ben Gordon - University of Connecticut
3rd Overall Pick

There's no denying that Gordon can light up the scoreboard when he's on one of his patented hot streaks. Yet, with the third overall pick we'd expect to see a lot more in other aspects of the game. You know, play a little defense, share the ball and generally just become a solid basketball player.

Instead, Gordon is content to just chuck it up whenever it touches his hands and has the uncanny ability to completely ignore teammates at the most crucial situations.

2. Luol Deng - Duke
7th Overall Pick

The other half of the 2004 draft day disaster engineered by Pax himself.

Touted as the next big thing to come out of the Windy City, Deng seemed to be on his way to becoming as some scouts put it, one of the top ten players in the NBA (future list?). And after receiving an exorbitant six-year, $71 million contract from the Bulls, his career started to sink faster than the Titanic.

He's lost in My Coach Vinnie's offense and doesn't look to be a good fit alongside Rose. Perhaps the greatest contribution he could have made to the Bulls was being a good soldier and leaving town in a deal for Kobe Bryant.

But Pax screwed that one up too. Go figure.

1. Tyrus Thomas - LSU
4th Overall Pick

On a draft day trade, the Bulls secured the rights for Thomas from the Trailblazers in exchange for LaMarcus Aldridge.

Think Pax wouldn't want that one back?

Ty-Rise has teased with his freakish abilities, but can't string a season together in which he maximizes his potential. He plays out of control and confuses that with effort. He tries to throw up jump shots when his greatest strengths lie underneath the rim.

Back in 2004, the last thing the Bulls needed was another project. What they did need was a back to the basket, sweet shooting big man like Aldridge.

But now they're stuck with Thomas and his constant temper tantrums. This is a relationship that won't end well for either side.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Top Ten Chicago athletes to watch in '09

10. Osiris Eldridge
The best guard in the state doesn't reside in Champaign, he's in Bloomington. After a few solid years of recruiting, Illinois State looks like a tournament team in 2009. They'll go as far as Eldridge can take them.

9. Alexei Ramirez
While we're not sure if his D will hold up at shortstop, is there any reason to doubt Ramirez? No one would have thought he'd be in the majors last season, let alone one of the top second basemen in the American League. Year one gave us an incredible grand slam against the Tigers, and Ramirez played a major role in helping the overachieving Sox win their division. What can he do for an encore?

8. Luol Deng
The entirety of 2008 was forgettable for Deng on the court. Sure, he still scored a 72 million dollar contract, but he earned it in ‘07. If Deng can't turn it around this year, it'll be another strike against John Paxson.

7. Mike Davis
The Illini have been a pleasant surprise so far this year, and Davis deserves the bulk of the credit. The sophomore forward has really come into his own this season, leading the Illini in scoring and rebounding. With Davis, fellow sophomores Demetri McCamey, Alex Legion and Mike Tisdale, and a few strong recruiting classes heading in the next few years, the Illini's future looks bright.

6. Alfonso Soriano
It doesn't take a rocket scientist to tell you the Fonz's high power-low patience combination should make him a middle of the order run producer, not a leadoff hitter. But will the Cubs finally figure it out in year three? Soriano hasn't been bad his first two years in Chicago - and hey, the Cubs have won the Central both years he has been here - but in an eight year contract, one great season sure would be nice.

5. Nikolai Khabibulin
Remember when the Hawks waived Khabibulin before the season started? Sort of reminiscent of when the Red Sox did the same thing to Manny, and eventually won the World Series. The Hawks paid a ton of money to bring in his replacement this offseason, Crisobal Huet, but it's Khabibulin who has been the Hawks' best goaltender this season, and one of the most important pieces in their turnaround.

4. Derrick Rose
He'd rank higher, but here's the thing: we have 100 percent faith Rose will only continue on his path to greatness, but will he have enough around him to rally the troops to higher ground this year? Sadly, we doubt it.

3. Devin Hester
Hester would like to forget 2008, thank you. While he did sign a phat new contract and begin his development as a receiver, it's still a little hard to believe the GOAT didn't take one kick to the house this year.

2. Carlos Quentin
Quentin was a revelation in his first year on the South Side. But can he keep it up? If you ask me, no diggity, no doubt. Yet there will be critics who proclaim his 2008 a fluke until he does it again. Prepare yourself.

1. Kyle Orton
This is easy: the Bears are Chicago's favorite sons, and quarterback is the most important position in sports. Orton was down then up then down again in ‘08. If he's to be the stabilizing force at QB the Bears have been searching for in what seems like decades, 2009 will be critical.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Top Ten reasons the Cubs will take a step backwards in 2009

Look, I like Jim Hendry. He’s one of the better general managers in baseball. After the Cubs won 66 games in 2006, they’ve won 85 and 97 respectively the last two seasons, with a lot of that credit going to the moves Hendry made (the Fukudome signing aside).

So, just like I’ve done with Kenny Williams in the past, I want to give Hendry the benefit of the doubt. After all, this is the same guy who in consecutive years got Aramis Ramirez and Derrek Lee for basically nothing.

With that said, I’m looking at the changes the Cubs made this offseason and asking myself, huh? As it stands now, I would have to grade the Cubs offseason a D. Luckily, everyone else in the NL Central got worse too, so it’s still clearly the Cubs’ division to lose.

Still, I don’t see this new-look team winning anywhere close to 97 games again. In fact, here are 10 reasons why I think they’ll take a pretty big step back in 2009.

10. Disappointing end to last season For six months, the Cubs had the city in a frenzy. Winning the World Series and breaking their 100-year curse seemed very much within reach. Then, it was all over in a span of three games, where the heavily favored Cubs were outscored 20-6 by the Dodgers. How will the team bounce back from last October’s disappointment? We won’t know for quite a while, but it’s a fair question to ask.

9. Injury concerns Outside of Alfonso Soriano missing eight weeks in the first half of the season and Kerry Wood’s customary DL visit, the Cubs were relatively healthy for all of last season. Chances are, that won’t happen again this year, especially when you consider the history of both Rich Harden and Milton Bradley. Also, keep an eye on Carlos Zambrano, who wasn’t the same pitcher from August on last season in large part due to a sore rotator cuff.

8. It’s only natural It will be virtually impossible for the Cubs to play as well as they did in the regular season last year. Ryan Dempster probably will come back down to earth a bit. Same for Ryan Theriot, Ted Lilly and Geovany Soto. Jim Edmonds was better than anyone could have expected in center. The only player key players that underachieved last year were Fukudome, and, to a lesser extent, Lee.

7. Not trading for Jake Peavy Now there’s still a small chance this could happen in the next month, but it appears the Cubs blew their big chance back at the winter meetings in Vegas. It’s pretty simple really: Peavy is one of the top 10 pitchers in the league. Sean Marshall, who will likely become a starter unless the Cubs acquire Peavy, is okay, but he is better suited for a long relief role. Imagine a rotation where Harden would be your number four and Lilly your number five.

6. New ownership Cubs chairman Crane Kenney said back in mid-December that he expects the franchise to be sold by spring training. There is a lot of uncertainty right now in regards to the new owners. Will they keep the same payroll or increase it? Will they leave the same management to run things or will they bring in their own people? This situation could prove to be a major distraction for a team that is already always in the spotlight.

5. Getting rid of Mark DeRosa and Kerry Wood DeRosa was arguably the Cubs MVP last season. He actually drove in more runs and scored more runs than Bradley, while hitting only one fewer homer. His versatility and leadership will be sorely missed, qualities that neither Aaron Miles/Mike Fontenot can provide. With Carlos Marmol moving to the closer role, Wood’s absence will be felt in middle relief, where guys like Jeff Samardzija, Kevin Gregg, Neal Cotts and Chad Gaudin will all have to step it up.

4. Age Taking a look at the roster, the window of opportunity is closing real fast. Soto and Theriot are the only young guys in the lineup. Lee and Soriano are both past their primes, Lee especially. The pitching staff should be one of the NL’s best, even without Peavy, but it’s getting up there in age, other than Marmol and Samardzjia. The Cubs don’t really have anyone in the minor league system who will make a significant contribution this year, with the possible exception of Micah Hoffpauir.

3. Pressure from fans and media
Despite what happened in the playoffs last year, as soon as the Cubs are in first place by July, talk of a World Series will begin. That’s just the mindset of Cubs fans, and it always will be, no matter what happened the previous year. There’s even more pressure than usual this year, considering last season’s playoff debacle. If the Cubs get off to a slow start, fan patience will be severely put to the test.

2. Still no leadoff hitter It’s the same problem the Cubs have had ever since, gulp, Juan Pierre left. As we all know by now, Soriano should be hitting third, in front of Ramirez, Bradley and Lee. Theriot is a fine number two-hitter, but doesn’t get on base enough to hit leadoff. Joey Gathright can run, but if the Cubs are counting on big things from him, that’s not a good sign. Miles, nope. Calling Brian Roberts/Chone Figgins.

1. Signing Milton Bradley
The Tribune’s Rick Morrissey just doesn’t get it. He wrote two different columns in the span of a month saying how Bradley’s interesting and intense personality will light a fire under a Cubs team that sleepwalked through its last two trips to the postseason. It doesn’t work like that, not in a sport like baseball. Bradley’s competitive nature isn’t suddenly going to grab the rest of his teammates attention at crunch time. It’s more likely his sulking will create unnecessary drama in a veteran clubhouse. Add in the fact that Bradley played only 20 some games in the outfield last season, put up career numbers in a contract year, and will have to deal with the pressure of being expected to produce right away, and this seriously has all the makings of another Jacque Jones deal.

Ed. note: For those of you who think it’s too early to be talking about baseball, consider two things; 1) spring training is only about a month away 2) what else am I going to write about in Chicago? (you could argue the Blackhawks, but I have as much business writing about hockey as Luol Deng does getting 71 million guaranteed from the Bulls.)

Monday, January 12, 2009

Top Ten Chicago sports' womanizers

There is no real reason or purpose for this list, but I feel like there are plenty of Chicago athletes who's names could fall under this category.

10. Koskue Fukudome
I don't know what the percentage of Japanese in Chicago is, but there is no way that the cities wealthiest Asian isn't finding something new on a daily basis.

9. Zach Martin

Now former TTCS ladies man has remotely recently found a girlfriend (right?), but just one conversation with the man and I am sure you will find his traits deem himself more than worthy of a spot. Check out his new site slowbreaker.com, which debuts sometime in the next few weeks.

8. Tyrus Thomas
He impresses young ladies by taking them to his private gym and dunking over them. It gets 'em every time.

7. Brian Anderson
Just one look at the guy and he'll even bring the Southern California out of most women.

6. Brian Urlacher

Urlacher threatened to hold out earlier this season because he needed that cash to pay child support.

5. Pat Kane
You heard it on this site first, Pat Kane loves to party. It is only a matter of time before the 20-year-old starts to get interested in girls. Then he'll be winning their heart one jaegerbomb at a time.

4. Kyle Orton

A picture is worth a thousand words. If I am not mistaken that is Aaron Rowand next to him. Would he have made the list in 2005?

3. Greg Olsen
(Mom do NOT go to that link and listen to what is said.)

2. Derrick Rose

The Englewood heartthrob could get any teen in the city. While he has a girlfriend, it doesn't stop girls from taking their stab at him. Girls, Derrick and I are Facebook friends, I read that wall of his.

1. Alfonso Soriano

Deadspin found a fun fact about Soriano a few months ago. Let's just say their piece is titled "Getting to know Alfonso Soriano's alleged road beef," which is interesting considering he has a wife and kids back in the Dominican. Interesting.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Top Ten Reasons to Commit to the...Blackhawks

Ed. note: This list was written back in October, but due to some technical difficulties, we're re-gifting it to today.

So disregard reason #5 as Savvy lost his job just after this was written. Otherwise, GO HAWKS!

This was once, and still is, one of the greatest hockey cities in the country. The Blackhawks are a cornerstone of the league and
are one of the original six franchises in the NHL.

Yet, hockey in Chicago has fallen on some hard times, leaving fans with nothing but memories of the days of Belfour, Mikita and Hull.

But this year's Chicago Blackhawks team is ready to ascend to the upper echelons and bring the hallowed hockey city of Chicago with them on a run for the Stanley Cup.

10. Cristobal Huet

He has gotten off to a pretty rocky start so far, but Huet should be an upgrade over the aging and untradeable Nikolai Khabibulin.

The importance of a solid goalie cannot be overstated and he's going to have to perform up to those lofty standards that accompany his $22.4 million contract.

9. Adam Burish

If you're the type of fan that loves a good old fashioned, gloves off hockey fight, this is the guy you want to keep your eye on.

Burish embraces the role of the Hawks enforcer whole heartedly and won't back down from a fight under any circumstances. Every team needs an Adam Burish and if you're interested in hearing about the NHL from his perspective, check out his blog, "Gloves Off" over at the Sun-Times.

His latest post: Why We Fight in the NHL.

8. HD TV

Unfortunately for hockey, the game itself never really translated to television and was difficult to watch for the casual observer.

Things have changed drastically in this regard now that High Defnition TV has entered the picture. You can follow the puck wherever it goes and the game is incredibly easy to follow. I'm convinced that HD was created specifically for sports and this only illustrates my point even further.

7. All the games are on

Let's face it. The old man was off his rocker.

Refusing to televise Blackhawks' home games was the most backward thinking and illogical thing any man in sports has ever done.

Now with every single one of their 82 games on TV, you can follow the Hawks every step of the way.

6. New Owners

Alright, not exactly new owners, but pretty close to it.

Rocky Wirtz is everything his old man wasn't: personable, willing to spend and willing to admit the past twenty years of Blackhawks hockey has been unacceptable.

Hiring Jon McDonough was a stroke of genius and will pay dividends in terms of bringing this franchise back to the heights it once resided.

5. Denis Savard

He gets it.

That's the easy way to describe Denis Savard.

Being a former Blackhawks center, Savard understands the tradition and principles this team is built upon. With Savard at the helm, this Hawks team has a wealth of knowledge and expertise at their disposal in their coach.

4. Pat Foley is back

This kind of reminds me of Steve Stone's return to the Chicago baseball scene. Even though I'm a die hard Sox fan, Steve Stone is the voice of baseball to me.

And the same is true with Pat Foley, he is the voice of hockey in Chicago.

After an ugly breakup with the Hawks, Foley is now back calling their games and longtime fans everywhere couldn't be more excited about it.

3. Brian Campbell

The Hawks made their biggest free agent splash by signing the best free agent defenseman on the market in Brian Campbell.

He'll help to get the puck out of the Hawks' zone quickly, translating into more goal production.

It's still unusual to think of the Hawks as a team that is willing to spend money on good players.

But it's essential for a competing team to do so and the Hawks stepped up when they picked up Campbell.

Let's just hope it pays off in a big way.

2. Toews and Kane

The Hawks have two of the best young talents in the NHL and it's time you took notice.

Kane is fresh off winning The Calder Trophy (Rookie of the Year) and is capable of pulling off an impossible pass or jaw dropping goal at any given moment.

Toews is the third youngest captain in team history and ended his rookie campaign as the team's heart and soul.

With these two young men in the fold, the Blackhawks future is certainly looking bright.

1. Playoff Potential

This team full of youngsters just missed making the playoffs in 2007. Because of last year's success, the Hawks have a world of expectations on their shoulders and anything short of a playoff appearance for the first time since 2002 would be a huge disappointment.

Pundits nationwide have been anointing the Hawks as the upcoming team in the NHL and if they do happen to make the playoffs, the sleeping giant that is Chicago hockey will be awakened and ready to do damage.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Top Ten Mike Ditka Quotes

With Bears fans struggling to come to grips with the notion that they're stuck with Lovie Smith and his best buddy Bob Babich for another year, it was time to bring you back to better times.

With Da' Coach.

No introductions are necessary for the man simply known as Hurricane Ditka.

Here are his Top Ten quotes.


"If you're not in the parade, you watch the parade. That's life."


Q: What's the difference between a 3-week-old puppy and a sportswriter?
A: In 6 weeks, the puppy will stop whining.

Da' Coach has got jokes too.


I always tell people I want to live to be 150 and they say why would you want to do that. I say, well there's a few people I haven't made mad yet, I want to get them.


Success isn't permanent, and failure isn't fatal.


I don't know how to put it, but yet you know we have so many people who the way they look at life, the way they work depends on what happens, us winning or losing. It's kind of crazy. So, I kind of got caught up in that, I'm gonna try to stay away from that.

Truer words have never been spoken by a coach. He gets it.


Those who live in the past are cowards and losers.


I'm not a mean player. You'll notice I never pick on a player who has a number above 30.


If God had wanted man to play soccer, he wouldn't have given us arms.

This is why he's Da' Coach.


You're 3-13 and you bring in Ricky Williams and it doesn't work out. You got to be a realist.

That about sums it up. Ditka traded away all of the Saints draft picks in 1999, plus their first and third in 2000 for the rights to select Ricky Williams out of Texas.

1. Ditka vs. Buddy Ryan
Final Score: 999,999 to -2.3

He's just jealous. You know what they say. Empty tin cans make the most noise, and he's an empty tin can. This game is between the Bears and the Eagles, not Ditka and Ryan. We all know who would win that one. Ditka, hands down.

- Da' Coach on former defensive coordinator Buddy Ryan

And here's a clip of Ditka being interviewed when it was rumored that he'd be the next Chicago Bears coach.

That's what this city needs.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Top ten things (I think, I think) we know about the Bulls

10. This play - and the subsequent reaction it caused - is the highlight of the season

Speaking of Stacy King...
9. The new announcers are fantastic

Sure, one of the blogosphere's chief rules is never compliment a) ESPN, b) T.V. announce teams, and c) Boston sports. We get it. And yeah: the vast majority of play-by-play guys and color commentators take something away from the game rather than add to it. But not Neil Funk and Stacey King. I'm not sure if this is the prevailing public opinion or whatever, but I really think they're far and away the best set of announcers in Chicago. That is, at least, until Hawk and Steve Stone go nuts this summer.

8. They miss Kirk

After a stinker of a season last year, Bulls fans - and probably 29 other general managers, too - began to sour on Captain Kirk. But please remember that he's still one of the Bulls' best players. He may not be worth $10 million + a year, but the Bulls would be in better shape if he was getting minutes ahead of Larry Hughes and Lindsay Hunter.

7. Noce can't play PF

Nothing makes the collective blood of Blog-a-Bull boil more than going small, and that usually means seeing Andres Nocioni manhandled on the glass. Need proof? Look no further than the 27 rebounds Marcus Camby snatched up on Dec. 17.

6. VDN is (most likely) clueless

Maybe we should have seen this coming. After all, Del Negro hadn't been a coach anywhere ever before John Paxson gave him the keys to the franchise. His lineups have been questionable, the team plays no defense (more on that later), he hasn't figured out how to get Luol Deng involved (this too), and we know no more or less about Tyrus Thomas and Joakim Noah than we did at the beginning of the season.

5. Gordon rulez

I've never been a huge Gordon fan - you know, there is something about 6-1, one dimensional streak scoring shooting guards that tends to rub me the wrong way - but his performance this year has been undeniable. Gordon is on pace to set career highs nearly across the board, and even his D seems to be a little less sucky than normal.

4. Luol Deng S.U.C.K.S.

Yeah sure, he's a great person. So was Mother Theresa. It doesn't make him a useful basketball player. This year, Deng has been anything but: while he has been battling nagging injuries throughout the season, Deng is following up a disappointing 07-08 campaign with a season much, much worse. Hey Luol, would it kill you to make a jump shot every once in a while? Just curious.

3. This team plays no defense

From _rew Goo_en to An_res Nocioni - and, yeah I hate to do this, even _errick Rose (see what I'm doing here guys!? Not even Z-Dubs is this clever) - the Bulls have proved to be one of the worst defensive teams around. And to think, basically the same crew (minus the best player) won 49 games two years ago on the strength of Scott Skiles' doberman-like D. That's not to say Skiles shouldn't have been fired - I think the timing was correct; the players seemed to tune him out - but virtually all of the success the Bulls had a few years back should be pinned on the coach.

2. Derrick Rose!

Words cannot describe how much I love this kid. Does it make me feel slightly bad about myself that he's two years younger than me and will make more money this year than I'll make the next three decades? Sure, maybe a little. But still: what is not to love about D-Rose. He's so amazing already, it's easy to get carried away thinking about how awesome he'll be as the years go on. To wit: when Rose calls it a career, I already feel safe saying he'll be the second best Bull of all-time. Also, if I were to get a tat right now, I'd probably go with the sick Englewood ink Rose has on his forearm. Then, finally, I would feel like I have some street cred.

1. John Paxson has to do....something

Really, I don't even care what it is at this point. But after watching the same problem (lack of inside scoring) kill this team for the better half of the decade, I think it's time to loosen the grip on the old core and make a move. The Bulls have some talent: Hinrich and Noce could be desireable to a lot of teams and, who knows, maybe even Larry Hughes (he of the expiring contract in 2010). This Bulls team, as always, is just so flawed. If only Kenny Williams could GM for every Chicago team, I think we'd be in better hands.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Top Ten odds on what Milton Bradley will do in 2009

The Cubs have signed Milton Bradley to a reported 3-year 30MM deal with some bonus possibilities. The Cubs believe he is the left-handed (technically switch hitter, I know) bat that will solve their playoff offensive woes. I, however, couldn’t disagree more. The Cubs said they were seeking a lefty power bat and, well, Bradley is not that. Bradley is the switch hitting version of Mark DeRosa, which is not bad, but it is not the kind of bat that will draw fear into the hearts of opposing pitchers. In my humble opinion, the Cubs should have gone after Adam Dunn because he is younger, has similar OBP numbers, stays healthy, has a TON more power and has higher production levels. Actually looking at it, like most deep count hitters, both strikeout a ton. The only real difference is the batting average, but personally I will take a 40 HR, 100 RBI (I know, I know) over a guy that hits .300, with decent power and can’t stay healthy. Anyway, here are the ten things that Bradley probably will do in 2009… with odds!!!

10/1: Stays healthy

Bradley is probably best known for tearing his ACL while arguing a call in 2007 as a Padre. However, this isn’t the first time he has been hurt in his nine-year career and probably not the last. Last year a brittle back led to him only playing in 126 games, mostly in the DH role. The most games he has ever played in a season was 141 in 2004. I guess I just don’t see him playing right field everyday and something bad NOT happening.

9/1: Hits over 20 HR

Bradley has hit over 20 HR only once in his career. Much of that has to do with his inability to stay healthy, but prior to last season, when he hit 22, his highest season total was 19 in 2004. I also suspect this will go down from last year simply because he is leaving the home run happy Rangers Park in Arlington.

8/1: Fights a fan

I feel like he is just due for this kind of transgression.

7/1: Bradley comes to fisticuffs with Z

This just seems like it is destined to happen as well.

6/1: Takes P-Kane’s spot as Chicago’s top partier

As I have mentioned before, Kane is the hardest partier in Chicago right now. My brother and I have seen him out on a few occasions absolutely hammered with a different girl on his arm each time. Bradley must make a name for himself and will do it by taking on the 20-year-old in an all night drinkfest, eventually topping the hockey player and taking the top spot in the Chicago party scene.

5/1: Hits over .300

Prior to 2007, Bradley hit .300 or better only once. However, the last two seasons Bradley has reached .300 and even surpassed it by 21 points last year. Hopefully, this trend will stay.

4/1: Hits over 15 HR

I feel this is more obtainable for the injury prone switch hitter. Like I said before, Bradley is not a power hitter by anyone’s definition and moving from a park with a short right field wall to one with a large bell, should make 15+ HR a good season for Bradley.

3/1: OBP over .400

Bradley supporters will point to his high OBP and for the past few seasons they would be right. The former second round pick’s game took off when he became more patient at the plate and it should remain around .400 as a Cub.

2/1: Lou verbally attacks Bradley; Bradley does not take it well

Bradley will definitely do something stupid or disrespectful and it will inevitably lead to a verbal altercation with Lou. Over and over again, Bradley has shown his ego to be bigger than the team and will most likely respond poorly. I predict an overturned table and thrown lunch spread will somehow be involved in this feud.

1/1: Is suspended for at least five games

As a well-known hothead and borderline retard, Bradley will do something to piss off someone. I can’t see him going through his first season in a major city without something going horribly wrong. If he doesn’t get some kind of suspension I, Zach Martin, will step down as Tuesday host here at TTCS. That is a promise.

Edit note: This is my last weekly post here at TTCS. The very talented Danny Sheridan will be taking my weekly Tuesday spot and I will be trying to post as often as I can from here on out. It truly has been wonderful time reading your comments that disagree with me or point out my minor mistakes in my posts. Thanks for everything.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Top Ten Chicago athletes that should become Jack Bauer's sidekick

24: Redemption re-aired last night, and I, being a stereotypical American male, opted to watch that (again) over "Superstars of Dance" or "Desperate Housewives". This got me thinking that I would do anything to be Jack's crony.

Due to my lack of a chiseled body and a certainty that I would go at least #1 in my pants if a gun was pointed at myself, things probably wouldn't work. But Chicago has some guys who could probably not only fill the role, but succeed in the never-ending quest of defending America.

10. AJ Pierzynski

Strength: Takes a Punch
Baseball's most irritable player could be the type of character were looking for. And at the end of the day, once the terrorists are all apprehended, we know AJP will be in their faces making fun of the guys.

9. Mike Brown

Strength: Healer
Nobody has spend more time in the doctor's office during their career than Brown. At this point we have to figure that if anybody could fix a gunshot wound or a stabbing, Brown would be the first one we would go to.

8. Mike Fontenot

Strength: ???
I don't know what his strength is, and while I am not bashing him, how this guy succeeds in baseball bewilders me. And if you can survive on the ball field, you can make it on the battle field. Or maybe it's the other way around. Regardless, I know you all wanted him on here.

7. Ben Gordon

Strength: Marksmanship
Gordon is never afraid to pull up and just take a shot, something that could save Jack's life somewhere down the road.

6. Kyle Orton

Strength: Master of Disguise
This is simple. A bearded Kyle Orton looks like a 15-year-old going through puberty. And a shaved Kyle Orton, well, he doesn't look much older. But this ability to grow a disgusting facial hair could help him blend in the with locals.

5. Alexei Ramirez

Strength: Man of Mystery
How does a man as scrawny as he is hit 21 homers? Nobody knows, it is truly an enigma. His size could fit him into small corridors and ventilation systems.

4. Vinny Del Negro

Strength: Inspiration
He can't coach, so why else would he be sent in? His inspiration could help Bauer in stopping Baroos and his family from an act of US destruction.

3. Mark DeRosa

Strength: Versatility
DeRo has gone onto greener pastures known as Cleveland (if that's what you call them) and I really feel bad for Cubs fans that they have to see him go. It is hard to find a guy who could play five positions as well as he did.

2. Lance Briggs

Strength: Wheelman
See image above.

1. Ozzie Guillen

Strength: Translator
Have you ever heard him try to talk? If Ozzie was Jack Bauer's translator the break in translation wouldn't come from informant to Ozzie but from Ozzie to Bauer.

Honorable Mention:
Jerry Angelo: Negotiator

Friday, January 2, 2009

Top Ten Chicago/national games of 2008

I wanted to do a top ten list on the best Chicago games of 2008, but then I realized there would be no Bulls games on it, only one or two Bears games, and the rest all Cubs and Sox. So, I decided to go with only five, and then have the other five be the best games overall of 2008. Sorry this is kind of a random list, but it was late, and I was really out of ideas.

Top Five National Games of 2008

5. Texas at Texas Tech (Nov. 1) After Colt McCoy took his team down the field for the go-ahead score, Texas Tech came right back and won with one second left on a 28-yard touchdown pass to Michael Crabtree (shouldn’t Jerry Angelo consider trading up to get this guy)? This game prevented Texas from playing for the national championship, and probably cost McCoy the Heisman trophy, even though he led his team back from a 16-point second half deficit. Tech quarterback Graham Harrell wasn’t too bad himself, throwing for almost 500 yards.

4. Gold Medal game vs. Spain In their previous international tournaments, the U.S. men’s team had embarrassed their predecessors by failing to win gold. The “Redeem Team”, led by Kobe, LeBron, and Wade, cruised to the gold medal game, where they managed to hold off a tough Spain team. Wade, by far the team’s MVP in Beijing, finished with 27 points. Despite routing Spain earlier in the tournament and shooting 60% for the game, the U.S. never could pull away at any point.

3. NBA Finals Game 4 Celtics vs. Lakers Midway through the third quarter, Boston trailed the Lakers by 20 points, and the series seemed destined to be tied at two games apiece. Led by the “Big Three” along with contributions from subs James Posey, Leon Powe and Eddie House, the Celtics stormed back to stun the Lakers and put themselves in the drivers seat for the franchise’s 17th championship. It was the largest comeback in the finals since 1971.

2. NCAA Championship Kansas vs. Memphis Derrick Rose was brilliant, but thanks to a questionable coaching decision by John Calipari, shaky Memphis free show shooting, and an unbelievable shot by Mario Chalmers, Kansas overcame a nine-point deficit in the final two minutes and ended up winning in overtime. These two teams were so evenly matched, I got the feeling if they played 20 times, they would end up splitting the games.

1. Super Bowl Giants vs. Patriots With apologies to the Jets beating the Colts and Broncos beating the Packers, this was without a doubt the biggest upset in Super Bowl history, maybe even in sports history. David Tyree’s circus grab on the Giants final drive will be replayed over and over, but the real reason the Giants pulled the shocker was the play of their defense, holding a record-setting Patriots offense to a mere 14 points. Nothing gave me greater satisfaction than seeing the Patriots 16-0 regular season go for naught, and seeing Bill Belichick walk off the field in disgust.

Top five Chicago games of 2008

5. Vikings at Bears (week 7) Before the season, did anyone honestly think we’d see the Bears score 48 points in one game? Granted, 14 of those points came on fluke special teams miscues by Minnesota, and the defense did allow Gus Frerotte to look like Tom Brady, but still, what an awesome game to watch this was.

4. Brewers vs. Cubs (Sept. 18) With the Cubs down to their final out and behind 6-2, three consecutive Cubs reached before Geovany Soto tied the game with a three-run homer. The Cubs, who would go on to clinch the division a few days later, won it in the 12th on a single from Derrek Lee.

3. Rockies vs. Cubs (May 30) Trailing 9-1 going into the bottom of the sixth, the Cubs' bats suddenly came to life. Homers by Jim Edmonds, Henry Blanco and Kosuke Fukudome brought the Cubs closer, and a two-run go-ahead shot by Mark DeRosa in the seventh capped a six-run inning and ignited what was still left of the Wrigley crowd.

2. Astros vs. Cubs (Sept. 14)
After missing his previous two starts with a sore rotator cuff, Carlos Zambrano threw the Cubs’ first no-hitter in 36 years in front of a pro-Cubs crowd at Miller Park. Zambrano was dominant, coming just one walk short of a perfect game.

1. Twins vs. White Sox one-game playoff (Sept. 30) John Danks pitched the game of his life in front of a “black-out” crowd, going eight scoreless innings on just three days rest. Jim Thome accounted for the game’s only run with a solo homer in the seventh, two innings after Ken Griffey Jr. kept the game scoreless by gunning down a Twins runner at the plate. Don’t forget about Brian Anderson’s diving catch to end the game either.