Archive for February, 2008

Stadium Issue
Tuesday, February 19, 2008

A new stadium on Qwest Center parking lots C and E is the recommendation of Omaha Mayor Mike Fahey’s stadium review committee, which has been studying the future of baseball in Omaha since October.

Ken Stinson, chairman of the CWS Oversight Committee and chairman of Peter Kiewit Sons’ Inc., on Monday said that the CWS Stadium Oversight Committee unanimously reached the preliminary recommendation. Stinson said the stadium would be the new home for the College World Series, the Omaha Royals and Creighton University.

Stinson said he can’t yet talk about cost or financing deals until the NCAA sees the plan, which should happen next week. Fahey said he’ll take the fall if the plan doesn’t work, and that’s why he asked the distinguished committee members to fully investigate the options.

MECA said last week that the board would consider going to court if the city pushed for putting the stadium on Qwest Center property. But on Friday, chairman David Sokol said he would support a new baseball stadium in the Qwest Center parking lot if the city lets MECA run the stadium and its surroundings.


Now, I may just be an ignorant sportscaster, but I was always under the impression that the College World Series could not be played at a college program’s full-time field. As far as I know, that was the NCAA’s stance. So, I’m left wondering how Creighton factors into this. Will they play only a small portion of their games at the new ballpark, just as they’ve done at Rosenblatt?

There are plenty of road blocks to this proposal.

The bottom line to you: Would you rather Rosenblatt be renovated? Or are you in favor of a brand new downtown ballpark?

Submit your comments below.

Rocket Takes the Hill
Thursday, February 14, 2008

Capitol Hill, that is.

Roger Clemens and Brian McNamee were at the center of attention on Wednesday, as a House Committee peppered them with questions for more than four hours.

After watching the key exchanges, it is clear to me (and most) that Roger Clemens is in a lot of trouble. Most damaging for Clemens is the testimony of his friend, Andy Pettitte. Pettitte’s sworn testimony verified McNamee’s statements regarding Clemens’ use of HGH. Pettitte told congressional lawyers that Clemens informed him nearly a decade ago he had used human growth hormone and said McNamee let him know in 2003 or 2004 that Clemens had used steroids.

By all accounts, Pettitte is a God-fearing man of integrity. Why would Pettitte lie about this? Clemens contends that Pettitte “misremembered.” Why would someone damage the career of a close friend with information that he was not entirely certain about? Pettitte even admitted to using HGH in 2004, which had not previously been known. Committee members thought so highly of Pettitte that they granted his request to be excused from testifying at Wednesday’s hearing. Can you imagine how interesting the hearing would’ve been if Pettitte had been there?

Either Clemens or McNamee committed perjury on Wednesday.

Clemens is obviously going to stick with his story to the end.

I just don’t think anybody is buying it.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Our Weekend Poll Question:

How many of Nebraska’s 30 walk-ons do you think will make a significant impact over the next four years?

A) 5 or fewer
B) 6-to-10
C) Up to 15
D) More than 15

Putting on a Clinic
Friday, February 8, 2008

My head is still spinning.

No, not from the over-analysis of national signing day (actually, I do have a headache from that). I’m talking about a clinic that Bo Pelini gave earlier in the week.

A Rare Opportunity

Tuesday night, Pelini and his coaching staff were on hand at an Omaha establishment. They glad-handed with metro high school coaches as they shared core defensive philosophies.

I met a couple of the new coaches for the first time, including Mike Ekeler. The linebackers coach is one of the easiest coaches to talk to. I spent a few minutes with him, sharing my astute knowledge of football (that portion lasted 8 seconds).

Later on, Bo spoke to the coaches about his defensive schemes. It was clear that there was at least one member of the media in the room (I was holding a giant camera). The coaches, however, didn’t seem to care. They obviously weren’t too concerned about me understanding anything that was going to be discussed. They could not have been more correct.

Initially, the clinic was very easy to comprehend. This was the portion when Pelini thanked the coaches. “We have a lot of respect for what you guys do,” said Pelini. “Coaching ball at the high school level… That’s where it all starts. It’s important to us that you guys know that you’re an extremely big part of our program. We’ll always be there for you guys. Having a great relationship with you is an important base for our program. Our doors are always open for you guys. It’s gotta be a mutual relationship. We’ll have your back, and we hope you guys will have our back. It’s on all of us to make this program the best that it can be. The best in the country. Without you guys it’s not gonna happen.”

Pelini has a deep appreciation for all coaches, especially those in the home state. Calling on the support of all the area coaches is a smart way to get the entire state on board with what he’s trying to accomplish.

I was still in-tune with the discussion as Pelini talked about the basic coaching fundamentals. “It’s not about what you do, it’s about how you do it. If you don’t understand the why and the how, then you don’t have anything. How can they feel the confidence and have the belief in you, your system and each other to be able to play at an extremely high level.”

“(Denver Broncos coach) Mike Shanahan once told me, ‘Bo, if you ever start thinking it’s about you and not about your players, then you need to take a step back.’ It’s carried me a long way. I always go back on that… A great idea isn’t necessarily a great idea if the players don’t develop an understanding of what you’re trying to get accomplished.”

It was interesting to listen to Pelini as he talked about his core philosophy, which focuses on multiplicity with simplicity. It’s about forcing offenses to adjust to your defense instead of the other way around, while not confusing your own players. “We tell our guys from day one, don’t memorize pictures. Don’t memorize your assignments, learn concepts. Learn tag names. Make sure your terminology remains consistent in everything you do. The way you word it is extremely important. Your players need to hear ‘same as this, same as this.’ “

Something tells me that the vernacular of Pelini’s defense won’t sound like Callahan’s offense. It better not. The play-clock is only 35 seconds long.

As a fairly ignorant sports broadcaster, defense would seem to be the least complicated aspect of football. Pelini quickly demonstrated why most media members don’t know what they’re talking about.

“This is lever-spill-lever.”

“If we have an under cover two, we’ll install an over the same day.”

“This is Under 1 Flex.”

“The lever key is right here. That’s outside lever key.”

“The Mike linebacker takes it on thick, releases outside the block, once again he will be the backside A-gap player.”

“We ran the stick.”

There were diagrams, video replays, power-point presentations, and he lost me at “hello.”

In order to thank Pelini for allowing me to hang out in the room and get a better understanding of his defense, I am offering for Bo and his staff to come down to the KETV sports office, where I will share my core sports broadcasting philosophies. The coaches will have to follow closely as I throw out phrases that may require further explanation.

“If I write a SOTVO, the pad on the VO must be at least ten seconds longer than scripted.”

“Follow the timecode on the DVC-Pro tape in order to quickly find your MOS.”

“Press B-2 for Doritos.”

Just give me a call, Bo.
And prepare to be amazed.

So Long, Good Knight
Tuesday, February 5, 2008

From the associated Press:

LUBBOCK, Texas (AP) – Texas Tech basketball coach Bob Knight has
retired. Chris Cook, a spokesman for the school’s athletic director, says Knight is retiring immediately.

The program will be turned over to his son, Pat Knight, who was named head coach-designate in 2005.

Knight’s resignation was first reported by the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal.

Knight has 902 career wins, more than any coach in the history of Division I men’s basketball. Win number 900 came last month against Texas A&M.

The 67-year-old has been a head coach for 42 years at three Division I schools. He got his 100th victory at Army, then moved to Indiana, where his Hoosiers went 662-239 and won three national championships from 1971-2000.

His first NCAA title came in 1976 when Indiana went undefeated, a feat no team has done since. In 1984, he coached the U.S. Olympic team to a gold medal in Los Angeles.


Texas Tech visits Nebraska on Saturday. It will be a different “Coach Knight” on the opposing bench. Have the Huskers caught some breaks or what? First, Missouri suspends half of its lineup the week of the Nebraska game. Now the Red Raiders have a huge distraction heading into their weekend tilt with the Huskers.

Now, about that trip to Manhattan on Wednesday…

Knight’s Legacy

I’ll be honest, I’ve never been a fan of Bob Knight. Yes, he’s a coaching legend; a great x’s and o’s guy who knows the game better than most. But he leaves behind a legacy of controversy. His courtside antics were out of line. As a member of the media, you felt like you needed to have your parents sign a permission slip before you could walk into his post-game news conferences. He treated reporters like garbage, and often times did the same to his players.

On the flip side, he graduated his players and turned boys into men. Rarely did you hear about a Bobby Knight-coached player in trouble with the law. He deserves a lot of credit for that. I’m just not so sure that his accomplishments won’t be overshadowed by his detriments.

One other thing: does Bob Knight get a free pass for retiring mid-season?

Super Finish
Monday, February 4, 2008

For the first three quarters, it was a super bore.

The final quarter was just super.

I won’t say it was one of the best games in Super Bowl history, but I will say it was arguably the best fourth quarter ever. The New York Giants beat the New England Patriots 17-14, as Eli Manning threw a 13-yard touchdown pass to Plaxico Burress with 35 seconds left for the winning score.

One year after his brother Peyton won the Super Bowl and was named MVP, Eli does the same. It’s truly a remarkable story.

New England actually applied for a trade mark on the phrase ” 19-0 ” before they defeated San Diego in the AFC Championship Game. They could probably still apply for “18-0* “, but something tells me they won’t.

Honestly, who would wear those shirts anyway?

Maybe Giants fans.

Brotherly Love

Maybe I’m a sucker for family values and brotherly bonds, but I couldn’t get enough of Peyton in his suite cheering on his brother. He looked genuinely thrilled for Eli. Seeing him try to hurry the Giants to the line to avoid a delay of game, or wrench his fists in disgust following an incompletion, it was almost as if he were quarterbacking the game himself. “I was pumped,” he said. “And I got a lot of messages telling me to calm down because I was excited and pumped after the big plays he was making.”

I wonder, though, if Peyton winning last year’s Super Bowl allowed him to emotionally invest himself fully into his brother’s big game. Had Peyton lost last year, I would have to imagine it would’ve been difficult to watch Eli go out there and perform the way he did; not because of jealousy, but perhaps with his own internal genuflection. (That was a powerful phrase I just used, and I’m not quite sure if it made any sense)

I watched a video feed after the game of Peyton greeting his brother in the locker room. Cameras were rolling as the two Super Bowl MVP’s dissected the game-winning touchdown. “The cornerback squatted on that route,” said Peyton. “Yeah, he squatted. He was sitting on the slant,” said Eli. “They brought seven every time on the last drive…” “Yeah, everytime.” Later, Eli recalled a conversation they had earlier in the season. “You said you’d want to be down four points (going into the last drive),” said Eli. “Yeah, because if you’re down three, you’re probably playing for a field goal. And if you’re down three, they’re not blitzing on that last play,” said Peyton.

Later, Peyton said goodbye to his younger brother, “We’ll have a few tonight,” he said.

I’m sure he meant high-fives.

Super Bowl Double Extra Large
Monday, February 4, 2008

Patriots and Giants.

New England vs New York.

Destiny vs Desire

Perfection vs another appropriate word that begins with “P”.

React to Super Bowl XLII (and the commercials) right here.

Jays Come Back
Sunday, February 3, 2008

They didn’t deserve to win the game, they tried as hard as they could to lose it… but the Bluejays nipped Wichita State Saturday night 65-63 in a nearly-improbable comeback.

Creighton trailed by 15 with a little more than nine minutes to go in Saturday night’s game. Then the Jays came to life, with Cavel Witter providing the impetus for the rally. The sophomore scored all 14 of his points in the second half, hitting a big three and making a big steal down the stretch.

The Jays needed this win.
Now they need another one.

They host Northern Iowa Tuesday night.

Oh, and by the way — an 8pm game on a Tuesday night?
Thanks for nothing, ESPNU.

Care to Make it Interesting?
Friday, February 1, 2008

Pundits often joke that the Super Bowl is a series of commercials interrupted by a football game. Not this year. This may be the most highly anticipated Super Bowl since XXXII (Denver/Green Bay).

Regardless of the matchup, proposition bets abound. After perusing the Internet, here are some interesting bets that will have the addictive gambler reaching for his credit card.


How many times will Archie Manning be shown on the TV broadcast?
– Over/under is 4.5

How long will it take Jordin Sparks to sing the National anthem?
(The clock will start when Jordan hits the first note)
– Over/under is 1 minute 42 seconds

Will Don Shula be on the field to shake Bill Belichick’s hand after the game?
– Yes/No

If the Patriots win, will Bob Kraft mention the ’72 Dolphins during the trophy presentation?
– Yes/No

Which quarterback will Troy Aikman mention first after the opening kickoff?
– Manning/Brady

Will the entire Fox pre-game team pick the Patriots to win the Super Bowl?
– Yes/No

How many times will Joe Buck mention Peyton Manning’s name during the broadcast?
– Over/Under is 5.5

The first missed field goal will be?
– Wide right/left
(Scott Norwood hates this question)

First beer commercial during halftime?
– Bud Light (2-3), Coors Light (3-2), Miller Draft (7-1)

First car commercial during halftime?
– Ford (6-5), Chevrolet (3-2), Toyota (3-1)

What song will Tom Petty open with?
– “Free Fallin’ “ (3-1), “The Waiting” (10-1), “American Girl” (7-4), “Running Down a Dream” (11-10), “Learning to Fly” (6-1), “I Need to Know” (10-1), “Don’t Do Me Like That” (16-1), “Even the Losers” (5-2), “You Got Lucky” (25-1).

During Petty’s halftime performance…
– Michael Jackson will sing a duet with Petty (10-1); Petty will trip and fall on stage (100-1); Petty’s pants will rip during the performance (10-1); Janet Jackson will be a secret performer during halftime (100-1).

Here are some of my prop bets that I’m proposing to area bookies:

How many times will a “David versus Goliath” reference be made?
– over/under is 1.5

Will Jimmy Johnson’s hair move during the broadcast?
– Yes/No

Will Jordin Sparks and Tom Petty be lip-syncing during their performances?
– Yes/Absolutely Yes

How long will it take for an announcer to mention Phillipe Sparks’ name after his daughter finishes the National anthem?
– over/under is 4 seconds

How many times will Troy Aikman begin a sentence with a variation of: “When I played in the Super Bowl…”
– over/under is 2.5

After the Patriots win, how many tears will Mercury Morris shed on camera?
– over/under is “too many to count”

Will Bill Belichick dress up for the game by wearing a hoodie that he’s actually washed in the last 18 months?
– yes/no

How many times will we hear the phrase “spygate”?
– Over/under is 13

How many times will we see a promo for “American Idol”?
– Over/under is 87

If the Giants win, will Bill Belichick give Fox the mandatory interview from the losers’ locker room after the game?
No/Absolutely not


There is plenty to keep even the casual fan interested in the Super Bowl… if you care to make it interesting.

If you have any prop bets of your own that you’d like to share, feel free to post them here.