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Two Parent Homes Attractive for Character Conscious Scott Pioli

About a month ago there was a fantastic feature in SI written (of course) by the great Joe Posnanski about Chiefs GM Scott Pioli. Pioli is private and often avoids interviews in an effort to keep his personality and business methods to himself. In this sense the GM is able to maintain a competitive advantage over his competition — keep in mind, Pioli played a large role in forming three Super Bowl-winning teams with the Patriots.

The SI piece (well worth your time) provided excellent insight into Pioli’s ideals when building a team. He searches for high character team players who love the game, want to win, and aspire to achieve greatness for their teammates. One aspect for Pioli in identifying high character players is finding ones who come from two-parent homes.

This point was brought to my attention while watching Inside the NFL on Showtime. I didn’t realize it, but this was actually the subject of an article in the Montreal Gazette two weeks ago, and though it doesn’t mean Pioli restricts himself to players from two-parent homes, it points to the stability two-parent homes provide that is appealing for the Chiefs. Six of the seven players they drafted were captains of their college teams. 11 of 17 key players on their squad came from homes where their parents played a prominent role in their lives.

Kansas City may not have the absolute best players, but they’re going for the right players for what they want to do. And that’s not to assemble the greatest collection of talent in the NFL, but to create the best team.

Dolphins Handling of Tony Sparano is Completely Unprofessional

When all the dust clears, it’s likely that Tony Sparano will return to coach the Miami Dolphins and feel fortunate to still have a head coaching job in the NFL.  However, that doesn’t mean the relationship between he and Miami owner Stephen Ross won’t be strained.  Why shouldn’t it be?  The Dolphins have been openly and actively considering new candidates for their head coaching position — a position that has remain filled by Sparano the entire time.

Miami is 25-23 in three seasons under Sparano.  That record is nothing phenomenal, but it’s not all that poor either.  Whether or not he deserves to remain the coach of the Dolphins is beside the point.  While Sparano was still under contract with the team, Miami was courting Jim Harbaugh and setting up meetings with Eric Mangini.  Harbaugh has since accepted a position to coach the 49ers and Ross insists the meeting with Mangini was for nothing more than to pick his brain as a “consultant” who has intimate knowledge of the AFC East, but I doubt any of this talk made Sparano feel all warm and tingly.

According to Pro Football Talk, the Dolphins may end up making a “financial apology” to Sparano now that they realize he is their best option and don’t want to fire him afterall.

The bottom line is Miami’s front office has handled the situation in a completely unprofessional manner.  News is now circulating that Sparano will be “back” next season, but the problem is he never left.  Teams are never allowed to talk to other players who are under contract with other teams, so why should they be allowed to interview coaching candidates when they don’t have an open position?  If I were Sparano, I’d make sure that “financial apology” had a lot of zeros on the end of it.

Jim Harbaugh Accepts Offer to Coach San Francisco 49ers

After a roller coaster week regarding his future, former Stanford head coach Jim Harbaugh has decided to take the leap into the NFL and coach the San Francisco 49ers.  Harbaugh reportedly signed a five-year contract worth $25 million after a week when it was speculated that he may be offered up to 5 years and $80 million to coach the Dolphins.  That clearly was never the case, as it would be tough to imagine any coach turning down that sum of money.

Harbaugh was 29-21 in four seasons at Stanford.  He led his team to a 12-1 season this year that was capped off with an impressive 40-12 win over Virginia Tech in the Orange Bowl.  Harbaugh is responsible for injecting life into a Stanford football program that was 1-11 the season before he took over in 2006.

As the week progressed, it appeared Harbaugh might stay at Stanford for another season.  Sophomore quarterback Andrew Luck made a surprising decision to pass up a guaranteed No. 1 pick in the draft and return to school for his junior season, so many believed it was likely his coach would join him for another run.  Instead, Harbaugh decided to cash in on the opportunity to coach at the NFL level.  He replaces Mike Singletary, who was a disappointing 18-22 in two-plus seasons as the coach of the 49ers.

Report: Egotistical Charlie Weis and Todd Haley Often Screamed at Each Other

A head-scratching news item was revealed last weekend, just before Kansas City’s season finale against the Raiders. It was reported and then confirmed that Charlie Weis would be leaving his position as offensive coordinator of the Chiefs for the same role at the University of Florida. Because Weis was not ascending in the coaching ranks — and arguably descending going from the NFL to college — many people wondered what sparked the move.

The carefully crafted public relations message conveyed was that Weis was moving to Florida to coach along with his son who is going to be a freshman in Gainesville. I never believed that nonsense, as only a sucker would, but I still wondered what the real reason was. Well luckily I got to hear an interview with KCSP host Nick Wright on JT The Brick’s Show on FOX Sports Radio, and let’s just say Wright did not hold back. Check out all the information he offered that most people would be afraid to say:

They bold-faced lied everybody. Todd Haley said it’s ‘bittersweet’ for me and that it’s purely family. That may or may not be true, here’s a few facts for you — Weis and Haley screamed at each other throughout the season. A handful of different players compared it to a bitter married couple. That’s a fact.

What’s also a fact, is that Charlie Weis is as egotistical, and worries more about who gets the credit than any coach I’ve ever been around. And it is not a shock to me at all that Charlie Weis left for Florida. You think the Chiefs wanted this [news] out? The Chiefs don’t let us talk to their players half the team. Charlie Weis let them leak it.

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What Makes Brandon Jennings Qualified for the Slam Dunk Contest?

Maybe you’re a big fan of the Slam Dunk Contest.  Maybe you’re more like me and just can’t get excited about it.  Last year’s contest lacked creativity and was pretty boring as a result.  With Blake Griffin agreeing to participate in the 2011 Dunk Contest, expectations are high.  Everyone is hoping Blake will use his freakish athleticism to come up with something new, and it certainly wouldn’t surprise us if he did.  After all, he’s on his way to becoming one of the greatest dunkers of all-time.

Aside from Griffin, the other three contestants are Serge Ibaka of the Thunder, JaVale McGee of the Wizards, and Brandon Jennings of the Bucks.  Ibaka and McGee make sense, but why Jennings?  We’re a little over a third of the way through the NBA season, and here’s how many dunks each of the contestants have thrown down this year:

Griffin — 83
McGee — 57
Ibaka — 41
Jennings — 2

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Hedo Turkoglu ‘Shake Weight Dance’ is Tough to Look At (Video)

Would someone like to please explain to me what that was?  Rumor has it they’re calling it the “Shake Weight Dance,” and I suppose I understand that.  The only frightening thing about that is giving it a name implies the dance could become a mainstay.  We’ll keep our fingers crossed that doesn’t happen.

This is the second embarrassing moment Hedo Turkoglu has had since returning to the Magic.  The first, a missed dunk attempt, was probably more humiliating for him but not nearly as ridiculous to us.  For the love of God, Hedo — no more dancing.  Thanks to Off the Bench for the video.

Congratulatory TCU Billboards Pop Up in Ohio State Territory

An unidentified person or group of people has paid for 20 billboards in the Columbus area — surrounding Ohio State — touting TCU’s victory over Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl. The billboards are an obvious jab at Ohio State’s president E. Gordon Gee, who stated a few months back that schools like TCU and Boise State don’t deserve a shot at a national championship because they don’t play enough quality opponents during the regular season.

Gee, the former president of Vanderbilt, claimed that those schools don’t have to go through gauntlets like the SEC and Big Ten. That’s true, but the Horned Frogs’ victory over the Badgers proved that schools from non-major conferences can compete against the “big boys,” despite soft conference schedules. Toss in the fact that Ohio State should have lost to Arkansas — granted they are an SEC school — in the Sugar Bowl, and Gee can officially insert his foot into his mouth. The billboards are “signed” by the “little sisters of the poor,” a reference to Gee’s estimation of TCU’s and Boise State’s conference competition.

The oddest aspect of this story is that someone in Columbus allowed it to happen. This is just an assumption, but wouldn’t the companies in charge of the billboards be able to block something like this from hitting the streets? Then again, money talks. In any event, Ohio State fans aren’t as rabid as I thought. Maybe the maze and blue faithful should look into spicing up the rivalry a bit with a billboard of their own.

Photo Credit: The Matador Sports