Enough of the Horrendous Nate Kaeding Suicide Jokes

I suppose if I were a Chargers fan then these jokes would be funny. Or acceptable. Or true. They’re not any of those things. I was disgusted by a host who told one of these jokes on the radio Monday afternoon. It was much worse to read on Deadspin that several of these “jokes” have been said since the game ended. What is so funny about suicide and what is so funny about making someone so miserable that they actually contemplate it? I’m not claiming to be holier than thou or above criticizing the performance of a professional athlete but I do realize when lines have been crossed. Suicide jokes are completely inappropriate and have no place in the minds of fans or media members.

Furthermore, I want to revisit Norv Turner’s decision to attempt the onside kick against the Jets. The guy was in a terrible spot and he’s receiving criticism because his decision didn’t work out. He would have been criticized just as much had the Jets run for a first down following a kickoff and the game ended — people would have wondered why they didn’t try the onside kick. Additionally, I’ll continue to defend the onside kick decision by reminding folks that Nate Kaeding had missed three field goals and that assuming the Chargers could stop the Jets, they probably would have relied on a Kaeding field goal to send it to overtime. Had they recovered an onside kick, they would have had a more reasonable shot at the end zone, thereby bypassing Kaeding.

Lastly, just like Rumors and Rants points out in their detailed analysis of what went wrong with the Chargers, so much more contributed to the loss than Nate Kaeding’s misses; it’s just that he’s easy to blame because we need our scapegoats. What about the dropped passes, missed blocks, shoddy tackling and turnovers? Why aren’t those errors and issues pointed out as criticism? I also agree with Rumors and Rants in their assessment of Norv Turner. He should be fired because he has underachieved with this team. The Chargers should grow a sack and pay Jon Gruden or Tony Dungy top dollar to come coach them to a Super Bowl while they still have the talent.

Classless Brett Favre, Vikings, Run up the Score Against Cowboys

Beating the Cowboys in the playoffs 27-3 apparently wasn’t good enough for Brett Favre. Throwing for three touchdowns clearly wasn’t enough. No. Brett Favre needed to make sure the Vikings impressed polesters with their margin of victory so he called for a play action fake on 4th and 3 from the 11 with under two minutes left and the Vikings already leading 27-3. If that script sounds familiar it’s because it is; Favre chucked one deep with three minutes left in the first Vikings/Packers game with his team already up 30-20. Why do it? Because he was trying to rub it in and embarrass his opponent. In fact, Brad Childress was pissed at Favre for calling an audible in that situation when he was really supposed to hand the ball to Adrian Peterson. I’m guessing the same thing was called on the 4th and 3 play before Favre decided he wanted to pad his stats and rub it in.

The Vikings of course got a meaningless touchdown that only served to make the final score appear more embarrassing and Favre’s stats look more impressive. Several members of the Cowboys were pissed after that play — Wade Phillips and Dave Campo were upset at the Vikings coaches and Keith Brooking most notably was irritated. Brooking said: “I will say it was classless. It was disrespectful to do that. We get paid to stop them. But I just think it was totally disrespectful what he did in the end. I don’t think that’s what the NFL is all about.” He’s right and I agree. It was totally classless and disrespectful, but would you expect anything less from Favre? If he was chucking for the end zone on 4th down with five minutes left, why not go for the score on 4th down with two minutes left.

I hope Favre enjoyed his victory on Sunday because karma will get him back next weekend. Maybe those four touchdowns will turn into four turnovers. All because he had to rub it in. What a jerk. Here’s the play in case you missed it:

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Maybe Cowher Wants the Chargers Job

The Chargers were upset by the Jets 17-14 at home on Sunday, losing their Divisional Round playoff game. The Chargers outgained the Jets in the first half by a wide margin but only led 7-0, partly because All-Pro kicker Nate Kaeding missed two field goals (from 36 and 57 yards out). In the second half, the Jets’ pressure was strong and it forced two interceptions — one was a fluke play on a ball that never hit the ground, the other seemed to be a poor read by Antonio Gates over the middle. Then Nate Kaeding missed yet another field goal with 4:38 left, this time from 40 yards away. That seemed to be the nail in the coffin for the Chargers but San Diego managed a stop and a touchdown in only 2:24, leaving 2:14 left on the clock. At that point they faced a key decision: kick it deep and rely on a defensive stop or attempt the onside kick.

Norv Turner decided to go for the onside kick but Kerry Rhodes recovered it for the Jets. New York then converted a critical 4th and 1 with 1:09 left to seal the win. Turner’s decision was questionable because he had two choices at kickoff and his decision did not work out. That doesn’t mean it was the wrong choice — both scenarios were low probability — but it didn’t work out. After the game, the CBS crew acted as if Turner had made the worst call of the century and that the alternative was clearly the right choice. In fact, Bill Cowher provided the most biting criticism, with Boomer Esiason coming in a close second:

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Gaines Adams Dead at 26

Talk about some shocking and saddening news, there’s nothing worse than waking up in the morning to hear that someone who was in excellent health the night before has now passed away. Apparently that’s exactly what happened with former Clemson and Buccaneers defensive end, Gaines Adams. The Greenville News via PFT first alerted us to the news that Adams died Sunday morning after being taken to the emergency room. Early reports suggest Adams died in his sleep because of a heart attack.

Adams, you’ll remember, was the 4th pick in the draft back in ’07, selected by Tampa Bay. After two disappointing seasons, former Tampa defensive line coach Rod Marinelli convinced the Bears to acquire Adams in a trade this season. Adams hardly played for Chicago, registering only seven tackles with the Bears and 17 this entire season. He had 13.5 sacks in his career and he reminds us once again that it’s always a bad idea to listen to Marinelli. Our thoughts go out to the Gaines family during this difficult time.

Reggie Bush, Saints Inspired by ‘Bring the Wood’ Baseball Bat

The Reggie Bush that showed up for the Saints on Saturday in their playoff game against the Cardinals was unlike any other Reggie Bush we had ever seen. This Reggie Bush ran north-to-south, into tacklers, and over tacklers in a physical style. This Reggie Bush sought contact and played with the aggressive, inspired style we’re used to seeing from guys like Adrian Peterson and Maurice Jones-Drew. Combining the new attitude with Reggie’s speed and shiftiness yielded a dynamite MVP-type performance from Bush. So what was the cause of the new play? Some inspiration provided by coach Sean Payton in the form of an inscribed Saints baseball bat that Bush carried with him onto the field:

[The bat] was a present from head coach Sean Payton. Every player got one during a team meeting on Friday. Payton had these words emblazoned on the barrel of each bat:

“Saints vs. Cardinals. Jan. 16, 2009.”
“Bring The Wood!”

Bush said after the game that the message on the bat fired him up: “Just like the bat said, ‘Bring the wood!’ I brought the bat out because it represented to me who we are and who we were going to be today.” While it’s somewhat sad to think that Reggie needed a pep talk and inspirational bat to finally play with a physical style after nearly four years in the league, I’m glad that Bush finally figured things out. Now the challenge will be to keep that attitude up for an entire season. If he can, then he’ll be closer to living up to his hype entering the draft in ’06.

By the way, anyone else think Sean Payton got the idea from John Harbaugh? Just a thought …

The Hit that Ended Kurt Warner’s Career

Calling this play the “hit that ended Kurt Warner’s career” might be premature but it likely is the hit that ended Arizona’s season. As mentioned two weeks ago when Ole Miss played in the Cotton Bowl and Jevan Snead got crushed after a turnover, defensive players love interceptions because it gives them a chance to hit the opposing quarterback. Take the second quarter of the playoff game between the Cardinals and Saints when Kurt Warner was picked off by Will Smith. On the return, Kurt Warner was crushed by Bobby McCray. Check out the video:

Warner left the game with a chest injury and Matt Leinart took over from there. Warner reappeared after halftime but once the game got out of hand Leinart came back in. With all the talk last weekend that Kurt was considering retirement after the season, you have to wonder what he will do. It’s hard to envision him going out after a butt-whooping like that but taking hits like that might make him think twice.

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)