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Phil Fulmer Gets the Last Word with Tennessee Firing/Lane Kiffin Hiring

While the shocking news that Lane Kiffin was bolting from Knoxville after just 14 months on the job caused many people in the community to riot, it did leave a smile on the face of someone in Vol country (no, we’re not talking about Urban Meyer either). Despite being one of the most loyal Vols supporters around, you know former coach Phil Fulmer had to enjoy a moment of satisfaction upon hearing the news of Kiffin’s departure. Kiffin may have talked a big game but he only went 7-6, got blitzed in a bowl game, and didn’t come close to Fulmer who started off 10-1 in his first head coaching season. That brings me to Fulmer’s thoughts on Kiffin’s departure which he released in a statement:

Recent events have been painful and an embarrassment to all of us who care about UT. I love the University; I am loyal to my alma mater and am ready to help as the University makes one of the most important decisions in the history of our football program. However, to prevent any misunderstanding, I am not seeking to be a candidate for the head coaching position.

I am looking forward to embracing the next coach and have some strong beliefs about the kind of man he should be. He must embrace Tennessee’s culture and traditions, be mature and of good character, and demonstrate integrity and leadership to our young men who desperately want to be shown the way.

In other words, Kiffin was everything I wasn’t. Oh yeah, Lane was an embarrassment too. The part Fulmer mentions about culture and traditions is key; Fanhouse said that one of Kiffin’s main focuses was to turn Tennessee into the USC of the South instead of further developing Tennessee’s tradition. He was a fish out of water to begin with and he screwed things up for any potential outsider to land a big SEC job in the future. Way to be selfish, Lane. Nice going. Fulmer meanwhile has no reason to take the job now — all the people who wanted him gone would love to have him back at this point. What more satisfaction could you want than that?

Tom Coughlin Better Watch His Back

Bill Cowher is one of the All-Star head coaches that was unemployed this season, joining a list of several jobless Super Bowl champs. That group includes Jon Gruden, Tony Dungy, and Mike Shanahan. Of that crowd, only Shanahan has a new gig while the others have either passed on job offers or job interviews, or both. Since Cowher will not be coaching next season, it will be three years off for The Chin, which is probably a longer break than anyone expected. Why is that the case? The Bus says The Chin is waiting on the Giants gig:

Jerome Bettis said the reason Cowher hasn’t returned to coach is because he’s “holding out” for the Giants job to open up. In fact, he told Chris “Mad Dog” Russo today on Sirius XM’s Mad Dog Radio that Cowher would have gotten the Giants’ job in 2008 if Tom Coughlin hadn’t taken the Giants on that magical, Super Bowl XLII run.

“That’s the team that he really coveted,” Bettis said. “This is where he always wanted to be. The Mara family, he’s been very close to them. … He’s known them very well and was on the inside track — before the Giants won the Super Bowl — for that job. And I think he’s holding out for that opportunity if it presents itself.”

Bettis has previously said that Cowher will make sure his new team has a franchise quarterback with whom he can work because Cowher endured the inconsistencies of a franchise without steady quarterback play (Kordell Stewart, Tommy Maddox). By holding out for the Giants job, Cowher also seems to be following the Gruden plan which is only return to coaching if your team includes a Manning brother. It sucks to think that Tom Coughlin will no longer be good enough for the job only two years after winning the Super Bowl but another season like this and he should be fired.

(also see The Last Angry Fan)

Back When Jim Haslett Played Dirty

Jim Haslett was recently hired as the Redskins defensive coordinator, replacing Greg Blache who retired. Haslett reportedly was Mike Shanahan’s second choice behind Mike Zimmer who signed a three-year extension to remain with the Bengals. Haslett is a former head coach of the Saints and interim head coach of the Rams (he replaced Scott Linehan two seasons ago). Now Haslett’s with the Skins and as The Sporting Blog points out via DC Sports Bog, he’ll fit in perfectly with Albert Haynesworth. Check out this video of Jim Haslett stepping on Terry Bradshaw back in the day:

Haslett explained his action by saying that was the only chance the Bills had to win the game. Not sure if that was Haynesworth’s explanation for stomping on Andre Gurode of the Cowboys, but the plays sure are similar. Remember?

Better Proposal: Colt McCoy to Rachel Glandorf or Ian Johnson to Cheerleader?

Texas quarterback Colt McCoy proposed to his college girlfriend Rachel Glandorf on Monday night and she said yes. The proposal was done very much in the Texas spirit — bigger and better than anything else. McCoy reportedly brought Glandorf into Darrell K. Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium on Monday night. Then “When they got to the field, “Will You Marry Me?” was on the stadium’s giant high definition scoreboard screen.” McCoy was down on his knee proposing to Glandorf who said “yes.” McCoy’s proposal got plenty of headlines but it wasn’t as well-known as Ian Johnson’s Fiesta Bowl proposal.

Rachel Glandorf Pics

Many sports fans won’t forget the Boise State running back who got down on one knee following David’s win over Goliath. Ian Johnson proposed to his cheerleader girlfriend following Boise’s Fiesta Bowl win over Oklahoma and the two are happily married today as a Sports Illustrated followup indicated recently. Minus sideline reporter Chris Myers who spoiled the surprise, Johnson earned major points for his ballsy move on national TV. Colt’s proposal was pretty smooth, but without footage I think I’ll have to give Johnson the nod. Does anyone have a video of this stadium scoreboard proposal or what?

UPDATE: Sports by Brooks has provided pictures

USC Hires Lane Kiffin to Offend Other Pac-10 Coaches

Multiple reports say USC will make Tennessee head coach Lane Kiffin the school’s new football coach, replacing Pete Carroll. Lane was an assistant at USC from ’01-’06, serving as tight ends coach, then offensive coordinator and recruiting coordinator before accepting the coaching job with the Oakland Raiders. Kiffin just completed his first season as the head coach at Tennessee but he ran into several problems with the NCAA and opposing coaches. His penalty for leaving his Tennessee contract early is supposedly $800,000 and the news comes as a surprise at least to Vols fans. While USC is getting a familiar face, there are several reasons for me to question the hire by USC.

First off, Lane Kiffin was already being investigated by the NCAA for several different potential violations. He got into hot water for talking disparagingly about South Carolina, saying Urban Meyer violated rules when recruiting Nu’Keese Richardson, and then he saw three of his freshman get arrested for attempted robbery. As if that wasn’t enough, his hostesses got in trouble for traveling to recruit high school players in South Carolina. This is really the kind of guy USC wants in there especially when they’re facing potential problems with the NCAA for the Reggie Bush and Joe McKnight violations? Is there goal to reach Rose Bowls or SMU’s fate?

As for Kiffin, I really don’t understand how he can in good faith leave Tennessee after just one year. The Vols opened up the door to him, supported him with the highest compensated staff in the country, and he thanks them by bolting after one year. He might actually be doing them a favor because of the problems he had already created but it’s still a slap in the face to act excited about getting a job only to leave a year later. We’ll never know what Kiffin would have achieved in Knoxville and they now have to start from scratch when other top candidates have already found jobs. That sure was considerate of him and it’s no surprise Tennessee fans are already rioting.

Well, what goes around comes around and Lane will probably receive what he deserves — a program about to be punished. Ed Orgeron will probably be able to out-recruit UCLA but what good will it do with only 15 scholarships a year?

Darrelle Revis Was Robbed by Charles Woodson for Defensive Player of the Year

Forgive me if I begin sounding somewhat like Rex Ryan for saying that Darrelle Revis deserved Defensive Player of the Year over Charles Woodson. I’m not saying that Woodson didn’t have a fantastic season but I am saying that Revis was more dominant. To me, Revis missed out on the award because his stats weren’t as pretty as Woodson’s. Woodson had nine interceptions, three returned for touchdowns, two sacks, and 74 tackles. Those are good numbers. Revis had six interceptions, one returned for a score, no sacks, and 54 tackles. Good numbers but not eye-popping the way nine picks are. Revis was by far more dominant than Woodson, he just didn’t make the types of plays Woodson did, probably because he was so good teams were afraid of him. In fact, the stats opponents didn’t accumulate against him tell the story better than his own stats do. Check out the stats for opposing receivers against Darrelle Revis:

The stats after week 12 don’t reflect specifically what Revis did against that player man-to-man but what the opposing team’s top receiver did against the Jets. Chances are most of those numbers were against Revis though. It’s plain to see that Revis was nothing short of dominant even against the League’s best players. He impacts opposing team’s gameplans by essentially erasing their top receiving threats. Did Charles Woodson do that? I think we saw in the playoffs that he was no match for Larry Fitzgerald. Yes he did have a strip — another pretty play — but I doubt Revis would have been lit up in the same way. No Revis’ stats weren’t as appealing as Woodson’s were, but he was the more dominant defensive player. Revis deserved Defensive Player of the Year.

(half the stats from the chart courtesy of Revis Island)

Ray Lewis Is a Family Man

ray-lewis-dad

Am I the only one who thinks it’s odd to see an intimidating, beastly presence like Ray Lewis who goes about 6’1″ 250, wear a t-shirt after the game that says “Best Dad?” You can’t completely see the shirt with that picture but I believe it has hand prints below the best dad script across the chest, likely coming from Ray’s kids. Let me get this straight: you run around a field for 60 minutes knocking helmets and kicking the crap out of your opponents but at the end of the day you want to remind everyone you’re just a sweet family man? I just found that shirt so paradoxical I had to post it.

As for the ballgame, it was a convincing win by Baltimore over the Patriots and it came easily considering they got up 24-0 in the first quarter. I can’t see the Ravens beating the Colts without more of a threat from their passing game but their win may have been much more significant than that. It’s hard to see such a shellacking and not question whether this playoff loss officially closes the door on the Patriots dynasty from the 2000 decade. New England’s defense was spotty as it was against the Colts and Saints, a far cry from their staunch defenses the past 10 or so years. The front office may have overestimated themselves when they dealt Richard Seymour to Oakland and their pass defense was shaky against good offenses.

On the offensive side of the ball, losing Wes Welker to a knee injury is a major hit and they lack receiving threats outside of Moss, Wes, and Edelman. In the type of offense they run, they need at least three high quality receivers. Sam Aiken, Isaiah Stanback, and Ben Watson aren’t enough — they need more depth. Lastly, and quite alarmingly, Tom Brady looked very average down the stretch. For now I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt figuring all his injuries caught up to him. The problem is I didn’t see Brady throw one tight spiral all game indicating to me his broken finger hindered his game and resulted in wobbly passes. The long off season should do him a lot of good.