If there’s somethin’ strange in your neighborhood, who ya gonna call? Around the Dorm! We welcome back the usual suspects in this crossroads of sports knowledge, creative thought and pandering to the judge. We have Signal sports editor Lauren Kohout, WTSR sports director Patrick Lavery, Signal sports writer Ray Lodato. I’m your ref for this exchange, Rob “It’s just my opinion, but I am right” Viviano.
1) The Northeast is home to many sports teams, but they come in a dichotomy of extremely successful and extremely disappointing. It’s easy to be a fan of the former, but which team in the area lets down its faithful fans the most year-in and year-out?
LK: Well, you know it’s a Philadelphia team. I’m stuck between the Eagles and the Phillies. With the Eagles you have four trips to the NFC Championship with just one win, the worst display of time management ever seen in the 2004 Superbowl, two simple letters that plagued the 2004-05 season – ‘T’ and ‘O’ – and now going through an entire game scoring just three points. Then, you have the Phillies, who have made it to within one game of making the playoffs two years in a row. Not to mention, the Phillies haven’t been to the playoffs since 1993. I have to go with the Birds on this one though, just because they ruined my last weekend. City of Brotherly Choke-artists is more like it.
PL: It’s difficult to pin this answer on just one team, simply because there are so many teams in this area with rich, storied histories that haven’t done so well in recent years. I’m going to have to pick a pair of old Eastern Conference NBA stalwarts: the Boston Celtics and the New York Knickerbockers. For the Celts, Len Bias’ post-draft death in 1986 really doomed the franchise; Bird and McHale were never the same. The club endured the death of Reggie Lewis, not to mention the whole Rick Pitino mess at the end of the ’90s, and then there was the relocation of the team from the storied Boston Garden to the not-so-storied Fleet Center. And last year, they acquired the “Human Ebola Virus” himself, Michael Olowokandi. The Knicks just suck. Really bad.
RL: Is this seriously even a question? Philadelphia sports fans are the most tortured on the East Coast. Philly has the longest championship-less streak among all four-sport cities in the United States – 23 years – as the Sixers brought us our last title when they defeated the Lakers in 1983. Most recently, our Eagles have pulled a poor man’s Buffalo Bills, making four straight NFC Championship Games and losing three consecutively, and blowing the Super Bowl in the second half against the Patriots. Only in a city like Philly can you get beaten on a 62-yard field goal; the examples continue on infinitely. The Philadelphia sports fans’ depression and plight, yet strong passion is widely known. Sure, Philly may pelt Santa with snowballs and throw batteries at J.D. Drew, but the passion that causes those acts is exactly what makes us so tortured. You can’t be in agony if you don’t absolutely live and die with your team.
RV: Deciding which pitiful tale of woe is the most depressing is difficult – which is why Pat’s originality and his humorous timeline (obituary?) of the complete implosion of the Boston Celtics gets 3 points. Oh, and yes, the Knicks do suck really badly. Lauren and Ray both make me happy to be from New York, where our good teams are great and our bad teams give us false hopes of victory. How do I differentiate their responses? The answer is hitting Santa with snowballs! I’m giving Ray the 2 points for reminding me how harsh being a Philly sports fan is on your psyche. Lauren is just barely edged out to 1 point.
2) Seeing as Mario Williams has gotten himself 4.5 sacks, one safety and a sizeable amount of face-masking penalties, I am giving him more credit than I did two months ago, but I still do not buy that getting him was the right choice for the first pick. If you were in charge of the Texans on draft day, who would you have drafted, knowing the Texans’ needs at the time?
LK: What is the one thing the Texans are really lacking? Fans. They needed to draft a name. They really needed to draft Reggie Bush. Everyone has heard of him and he would bring fans to the stadium and possibly even get non-Texan fans to join their ranks. The Texans are also falling short in their running game, something Bush knows a little something about. He might not be showing it, but we all know his potential and what he is capable of.
PL: Hey, look. It’s not Williams’ fault he was the first pick, and he’s doing a great job at the position he plays to justify his selection in that slot. But whether I had an established running back and a weak defensive line or not, there is absolutely no way I could pass up possibly the most talented college football player since Ricky Williams, if not Barry Sanders a decade before that. Here’s what you have to remember before you criticize the Texans: neither Sanders nor Williams were the first picks in their respective drafts. So, a first-round draft choice really does hinge on a team’s needs. If I were the Texans front office, though, you’d have an awful hard time convincing me not to take Reggie Bush first.
RL: Reggie Bush. I would’ve drafted him then and I would draft him now. The Texans’ former GM, Charley Casserly, stated that they drafted Williams in order to put pressure on Peyton Manning and beat the Colts. Well, guess what? You beat Peyton Manning by keeping him off the field. The Texans had a chance to grab a player so special in his skill set that he could’ve legitimately changed the game every time he touched the ball. I think a big part of why the Texans drafted Williams first was his eagerness to sign; he inked a deal before the draft had even occurred. Not only does that save them cap space, but it provides zero headaches as well. Unfortunately, there are zero headaches for the opposing squad too, as seen by his performance thus far. Williams is a workout wonder, not a No. 1 pick.
RV: For a very relevant history lesson on the cracked logic of the Texans’ former GM and for picking Reggie, 3 points right off the bat for Ray. For concisely noting that what the Texans lack more than anything else is fans, which bring in the money and ads – 2 points to Lauren. Pat, I know that you draft what you need, but let me point out that Mario Williams, decent or not, was a mistake with four or five seriously huge-name people who have earned their hype. You make a good point, but it doesn’t, as you admit, excuse the Texans for their mistake – 1 point.
3) I’m sure at some point we’ve all heard Chris Berman utter, “Daylight come and you gotta Delhomme.” Then there was the ever popular “Boom goes the dynamite,” which while originally from Ball State, has also become a SportsCenter basketball coverage staple line. My question is, what is your favorite cheesy catchphrase used by the SportsCenter anchors?
LK: I’ve always been a fan of Kenny Mayne and his dry wit and I have a few favorites when it comes to his cheesy catchphrases. Considering my position at the College, I’m a big fan of this one: “We’re gonna show it again, cause we have editing equipment.” It is so dry, but you have to laugh because, seriously, who points out things like that? Then there is one regarding how many home runs someone has gotten: “Not all on one play, that’d be a record or something.” Then my favorite home run call: “He hit it over some fencing they had set up in the outfield.” Oh man, I can’t contain myself. ROTFL!
PL: I happen to love SportsCenter catchphrases; I bought a T-shirt adorned with a list of them some years ago. Chris Berman’s nicknames are in a league of their own. My all-time favorite catchphrase, however, has to be from Mayne. Mayne doesn’t do a lot of SportsCenters anymore, but I’ll always remember his comment when someone would make a fielding error in a baseball game: “A-Rod should rent the Tom Emanski Defensive Drills video; it’s endorsed by Fred McGriff.” For shamelessly plugging a frequent commercial on ESPN that apparently hasn’t been updated since 1991 and offering a simple suggestion for those unfortunate players, Mayne gets my vote for favorite catchphrase. By the way, favorite Berman nickname: former Yankees third baseman, Scott “Supercalifragilisticexpiali-” Brosius.
RL: Whew boy! This one is a gold mine. My absolute favorite is little known among the general public, but popular among the sports crowd: “You’re with me, Leather.” The story is as such: Chris Berman, with Tom Jackson as his wingman, walks into a bar in Arizona in 1996 following a Diamondbacks game. Sportswriters and such are convening in the bar while one in particular has been working on an especially gorgeous girl wearing leather pants. Well, the married Berman, realizes this writer is working on this girl, walks over, slaps the leather-clad woman on the behind and utters, “You’re with me, Leather.” The girl looks up, recognizes Berman and leaves the bar with him without saying anything. This pick-up line, simple in syntax yet devastating in execution, has become an absolute joke among the sports community with anchors ranging from Keith Olbermann to Neil Everett using the line on the air. Berman is extremely sensitive about it and has been known to flip out behind the scenes whenever “Leather” is referenced. Such is the life of Chris Berman, King of Womanizing.
RV: I have to deliver the golden 3 points to Pat for coincidentally choosing my personal favorite Kenny Mayne quote, since I find the defensive drills commercials hysterical and its usage on SportsCenter even funnier. The ability of Mayne to point out the obvious for humor and Lauren’s collection of these quotes deserves the 2 points for second. Ray, I love it. I love it so much, but I can’t give it the points it deserves because it’s one of the three banned phrases of SportsCenter, along with any reference to “Breaking the 11th commandment: thou shall not stealeth Ichiro home runs” and “Mysteriously absent like Olbermann.” You can’t give me a phrase that damns your career if said – 1 point.