Monday, April 30, 2007

Hopefully Baltimore Doesn't Have to Play Denver Anytime Soon

By now, I'm sure that most of you know that Heisman Trophy winner(didn't Florida take that from him too?) Troy Smith was drafted in the fifth round by the Baltimore Ravens. Now the talk is that he's headed into a good situation there because Steve McNair doesn't have the best health record, and Kyle Boller's contract is up in the near future. Some are speculating that there's a decent chance he could be groomed as the Ravens' starting QB. All Florida vs OSU jokes aside, I'm happy to see a kid that seems humble and dedicated get a shot at playing in the NFL. However, he better hope that Baltimore doesn't have to face Denver while he's under center(cue Florida vs OSU jokes!).

Yesterday, Denver used two of their picks on defensive linemen from the '06-'07 National Champion Florida Gators team. Jarvis Moss went first, at number 17, and in case you forgot about him he tallied two sacks, a forced fumble, and lots of general mayhem when he faced Troy Smith in the BCS title game. The second Gators lineman to be drafted by the Broncos was Marcus Thomas. Thomas was kicked off of the Florida team in early November, and was arguably the most talented lineman of the group. I'm pretty sure he too could have given Troy Smith some fuel for his nightmares. Then, after drafting those players, Denver signs Steven Harris, another '06-'07 UF d-lineman, as an undrafted free agent. Harris didn't rack up too many stats against OSU(and is probably a longshot to make the team), but he was part of that group that harrassed Troy Smith all night back in early January.

So there you go, three Florida linemen from the '06-'07 national championship squad all on the same NFL team, for now at least. Mike Shanahan is probably wishing that Troy Smith would have been drafted by an AFC West team right about now.

Cheer Up, The CFL Draft Is Only 2 Days Away

The NFL Draft is over, and because of your former favorite team's draft choices(thanks Miami!) you've already given up on the 2007 season and need to buy a new TV. Things aren't all bad though because the Canadian Football League Draft is on May 2, just two days away. Yeah, it is sort of weird that they're holding it on a Wednesday, but I guess it helps break up the week and it is "Hump Day" after all. Besides, it's probably presented by Molson which instantly makes it cooler than anything the Coors sponsored NFL does.

Regarding the NFL Draft, here are a few of my thoughts.

I am a Miami Dolphins fan(thanks for the condolences). When Brady Quinn slipped to #9 I, along with most of the other Dolphins fans in the world, thought for sure that Miami would pick him up. If you watched any coverage of the draft at all I'm sure that you saw the graphic illustrating just how futile Miami has been in their efforts to replace Dan Marino since he retired. Seriously, I think there were about 13 different players on the list(woohoo, Sage Rosenfels!). At one point I expected them to bring in Jon Gries for a tryout. He does after all have a burning desire to make up for his team losing the state championship. Anyway, Quinn had to realize just how bad his day was going when a team that had been looking for a QB to build around since 2000 passed on him. Then they draft Ted Ginn Jr. Yes, Wes Welker is gone, and there's talk that Marty Booker might not be back next season either, but there were quality receivers available in round two(Rice, Jarrett, Smith). None of them quite have Ginn's speed or moves, but I don't think that John Beck has the experience of Brady Quinn either which is basically the comparison since Miami went receiver in round one and quarterback in round two(and Trent Green to Miami isn't a done deal). Regardless of whether or not you like Brady Quinn, he would have put more people in the seats than Ted Ginn will, and he would have given the Dolphins a piece to build around. My TV and I still can't believe it.

Friday, April 27, 2007

The WNBA's Newest Export? Girl Fights!

This past Wednesday night, WNBA player, Deanna Jackson, was arrested and charged with assault after punching an opponent, Ina Gourevitch, in the face and breaking her nose. Apparently, Jackson and Gourevitch "got into a skirmish and shouted insults at each other" towards the end of their league's championship game. Somehow, the action "spilled into the parking lot, where Jackson sought out Gourevitch and punched her, breaking her nose".

Now Jackson gets to spend some time in an Israeli jail, and has to stay in the country until at least May 3 when she's scheduled to appear in court. I'm sure that will be a wonderful experience.

Two things. First, if you're going to get arrested for assault you probably want to make sure that you do it in your own country. Going to jail in the U.S. is bad enough, but doing so in a foreign country, especially after just breaking the nose of a player who won a championship for that country isn't the smartest idea. Second, can you imagine if the "Palace Brawl" had spilled out into the parking lot? There would probably still be guys duking it out on the sidewalks.

Oh yeah, Carmelo could probably take some pointers from Jackson on exactly how to fight during a basketball game.

2005 NFL Player Salaries Comparison Finale, The Wide Receivers

Two positions down and one to go. Up to now, we've found that in 2005 the top 10 highest paid NFL quarterbacks cost their respective teams an average of $675,880 per touchdown pass and the top 10 running backs cost an average of $1,524,719 per rushing touchdown. Now it's time to see how the wide receivers of '05 stack up to those numbers and each other.

Snagging Their Spots In The Comparison, The '05 Wide Receivers

In 2005, the highest paid wide receiver was Chicago's Muhsin Muhammad. His $9,335,407 million in salary was roughly $700k more than second place's Joe Horn. Let's see how all of their salaries stack up when comparing receiving touchdowns.

Muhsin Muhammad: $9,335,407/4 receiving TD's = $2,333,851/TD

Joe Horn: $8,667,200/1TD= $8,667,200/TD

Jerry Porter: $8,003,080/5TD's= $1,600,616/TD

Derrick Mason: $8,002,090/3TD's = $2,667,363/TD

Marvin Harrison: $8,000,000/12TD's = $666,666/TD

Randy Moss: $7,750,880/8TD's = $968,860/TD

Braylon Edwards: $7,743,000/3TD's = $2,581,000/TD

Isaac Bruce: $7,400,000/3TD's = $2,466,666/TD

Roy Williams: $7,067,500/8TD's = $883,437/TD

Eric Moulds: $6,600,000/4TD's = $1,650,000/TD

Those are the salary breakdowns for the top 10 highest paid receivers with respect to their receiving touchdowns. On average, they cost their teams more than either the quarterbacks($675,880/TD) or running backs($1,524,719/TD) with a sum of $2,448,565 million per receiving TD. Like those two positions there were a few players that peformed well during the 2005 season, but weren't in the top 10 in terms of total salary. These five receivers each reached double digits in terms of receiving TD's, but weren't paid in the top 10.

Steve Smith: $1,850,000/12TD's = $154,166/TD

Hines Ward: $5,668,960/11TD's = $515,360/TD

Larry Fitzgerald: $5,344,590/10TD's = $534,459/TD

Joey Galloway: $3,591,430/10TD's = $359,143/TD

Joe Jurevicius: $852,640/10TD's = $85,264/TD

That group contains two big-time "steals", Steve Smith and Joe Jurevicius. They each came in well below the $2.4 million average set by the top 10.

That's it for the salary comparisons of the 2005 quarterbacks, running backs and wide receivers. Hopefully it provided some entertainment while you were counting down the days until the NFL Draft. I also hope that it provided you with some insight as to how the players at those three positions stacked up against each other within their position and outside of it.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Happy Hoofin' Barbaro

Right now you think you've got your weekend all planned out as far as sports go. Check out the NFL Draft(presented by Mel Kiper's hair!), watch some NBA playoff action, maybe even make some time for the Red Sox vs. Yankees, Byron Nelson Championship or the Aaron's 499. However, you're forgetting one glorious event.

Barbaro's 4th birthday! I've even included an invitation that you can send to your friends!

That's right, this Sunday people all over the country will be celebrating what would have been the fourth anniversary of Barbaro's glorious presence on this planet. According to Sharon Crumb, organizer of the "Celebration of Barbaro's Life", she'll have more than 500 FOB's(that's Friends of Barbaro for those of you not in the loop) attending a "day of racing, sharing stories and paying respects" at Delaware Park. Additional activities include a "'Fans of Barbaro' race in which 10 fans will be able to participate in winner's circle activities, Barbaro highlight videos and a screening of the independent film, 'The First Saturday in May'". Hopefully security has been told to keep an eye out for Dee Mirich.

Other cities, such as Tampa, Los Angeles and Las Vegas, will also be hosting Barbaro celebrations at local horsetracks.

One curious omission in the AP article is of the website address where FOB's have left messages for Barbaro. Hopefully it's not because the fine people at have driven them into hiding with their own contributions to the Barbaro messageboard. He was after all, Deadspin's 2006 Sportshuman Of The Year.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

What An Obscene Gesture Will Set You Back In Various Sports

Today, NASCAR fined Juan Pablo Montoya $10,000 for what they termed an "obscene gesture". Obviously that encompasses a lot of gestures, but the most popular is probably the one finger salute.

So NASCAR believes that an "obscene gesture" is worth about $10k(Martin Truex and Shane Hmiel have been fined similar amounts). What about other sports leagues?

One of the most recent cases in the NFL was during the 2006 season when Michael Vick showed hecklers in the Georgia Dome that he thought they were #1 by way of the middle finger. For his actions, Vick found himself down $10,000. Prior to that, Jake Plummer and Jeremy Shockey had each been fined $5,000 for "obscene gestures". Obviously at some point the NFL decided that that wasn't high enough.

In the NBA, Andrew Bogut, Josh Howard and Adam Morrison were each fined $25,000 for obscene gestures during the course of 2007 season. More than double what the NASCAR and NFL participants seemingly have to pay.

In the past, the MLB, NHL and tennis leagues have fined their respective players $5,000(Albert Belle) and $1,000(Theo Fleury/Natasha Zvereva) for obscene gestures. Though, amounts in those leagues may have increased in recent years.

Even the Olympics have been involved with obscene gestures when they fined skier Pierre-Emmanuel Dalcin $3,800 for his flip-off in front of the camera.

So, what have we learned? That out of most of the organized sports leagues the NBA is the most stringent when it comes to fines for extending your middle digit. However, the tough stance that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has taken regarding behavior problems in his league might lead to increased punishment in the NFL. If Bryan Cox were still around he might be two fingers short right now.

If You Ever Needed A Reason To Watch The Oxygen Network This Is It

Sure, you've snuck in a few episodes of Sue Johanson's "Talk Sex"(it's like a female cryptkeeper talking about orgasms *shudder*), but you've never really watched anything on the Oxygen Network. Well, that's about to change. On June 15, 2007 Oxygen is giving us another round of "Fight Girls". It "chronicles 10 tough female fighters who are out for the fight of their lives and attempt the impossible - to beat the best female fighters in the world in a battle for the World Muay Thai Championship".

Really, it's like a fantasy for many guys minus the Victoria's Secret lingerie, pillows and giggling. However, we still get to see some ladies(hopefully semi-attractive ones) duke it out, and looking at the current state of men's heavyweight boxing it can't be much worse. Oh yeah, it's being produced by the same guys that brought us "Pros vs Joes" so you know that it's got to be entertaining. If we're lucky, maybe Petros Papadakis will even get knocked out.

2005 NFL Player Salaries Comparison Continued, The Running Backs

So, we've made our way through the first set of players, the quarterbacks, and are moving on to their backfield mates, the running backs. Up to this point, we've seen that in 2005 the top 10 highest paid quarterbacks cost their respective teams an average of $675,880 per touchdown thrown. Let's see how the running backs of '05 compare to that and each other.

Stiff-Arming Into the Comparison, The '05 Running Backs

In 2005, the highest paid running back was Cincy's Rudi Johnson. He was paid $10,250,00 which put him about $1.2 million ahead of second place's Edgerrin James. Now let's take a look at how all of their salaries breakdown in terms of rushing touchdowns.

Rudi Johnson: $10,250,000/12 rushing TD's = $854,166/TD

Edgerrin James: $9,081,000/13TD's = $698,538/TD

Kevan Barlow: $8,131,400/3TD's = $2,710,466/TD

Deuce McAllister(5 games): $7,650,000/3TD's = $2,550,000/TD

LaMont Jordan: $7,550,000/9TD's = $838,888/TD

Brian Westbrook: $7,430,770/3TD's = $2,476,923/TD

Shaun Alexander: $6,323,000/27TD's = $234,185/TD

Tiki Barber: $6,003,960/9TD's = $667,106/TD

Cedric Benson: $5,670,000/0TD's

Domanick Davis(Williams): $5,384,400/2TD's = $2,692,200/TD

There's the top 10 highest paid running backs in 2005, and their respective rushing touchdown stats. Out of that group, Shaun Alexander was a "steal" at $234k per rushing touchdown scored. Barlow, McAllister, Westbrook and Davis(Williams) were all extremely costly with each of them costing more than $2 million per rushing touchdown, and Cedric Benson was paid over $5 million and failed to score one rushing TD. As a whole, the top 9(excluded Benson) highest paid running backs were paid an average of $1,524,719 per rushing TD. That's significantly more than the $675k that the quarterbacks averaged. As with the QB's, there were a few players that weren't in the top 10 in terms of salary, but performed well during the season. There were 6 that scored double digit rushing TD's, but weren't in the top 10 group. They were:

Larry Johnson: $678,000/20TD's = $33,900/TD

LaDainian Tomlinson: $5,001,320/18 TD's = $277,851/TD

Corey Dillon: $4,003,520/12TD's = $333,626/TD

Stephen Davis: $2,600,000/12TD's = $216,666/TD

Mike Anderson: $640,000/12TD's = $53,333/TD

Clinton Portis: $455,000/11TD's = $37,916/TD

In terms of running backs, L.J. and Coach Janky Spanky(Portis) were big-time "steals". They both came in well under the $1.5 million average set by the top 10. To give you an idea of some of the players that were paid more than both of them in '05 here are a few names: Rod "He Hate Me" Smart, Eric Shelton and Ryan Moats.

That's it for the '05 running backs. Tomorrow we'll tackle the wide receivers.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Revisiting Some NFL Player Salaries From 2005

Since most of the newest NFL news has been, and will continue to be, focused on one subject(The NFL Draft-presented by Mel Kiper's hair!) I thought it would be interesting to examine over the next three days how some of the NFL's players were paid during the 2005 season. I chose 2005 because it's the most recent year listed in the USA Today Player Salary Database. The data will, for the most part, be compiled from the top 10 salaried(base salary + signing bonus + other bonuses) players at the quarterback, running back and wide receiver positions. That financial data will then be compared to their passing touchdowns(QB's), rushing touchdowns(RB's) and receiving touchdowns(WR's) since that's what players at those respective positions are primarily paid to do. The data will only be from their regular season games since not all of the players had the opportunity to increase their stats in the postseason. A few players outside of the top 10 in salary will also be included for comparison.

Slingin' Their Numbers First, The '05 QB's

In 2005, the highest paid quarterback in the NFL was none other than Atlanta's own Valtrex spokesman Michael Vick. His $23,102,750 million in total salary put him almost $4 million ahead of second place's Matt Hasselbeck(first his salary, then the Super Bowl). Though, Vick threw 9 less touchdowns throughout the course of the regular season. Let's take a look at how the '05 quarterbacks compared to each other.

Michael Vick: $23,102,759/15 passing TD's = $1,540,183/pass TD

Matt Hasselbeck: $19,005,280/24TD's = $791,886/TD

Tom Brady: $15,654,180/26TD's = $602,083/TD

Brett Favre: $9,500,00/20TD's = $475,000/TD

Ben Roethlisberger: $9,498,840/17TD's = $558,755/TD

Eli Manning: $9,305,000/24TD's = $387,708/TD

Drew Brees: $8,082,070/24TD's = $336,751/TD

Jake Plummer: $7,630,200/18TD's = $423,900/TD

Steve McNair: $7,501,770/16TD's = $468,860/TD

Daunte Culpepper(injured, only played in 7 games): $7,042,090/6TD's = $1,173,681/TD

Based soley on those statistics, Drew Brees was a "steal" at $336,751 paid per passing touchdown, and Mike Vick's $1.5 million+ was pretty exorbitant for a quarterback.

Two names that are conspicuously absent are Carson Palmer, the league leader in passing TD's in '05, and Peyton Manning.

Palmer's '05 salary was $3,750,00 which ranked him 22nd overall, and he threw 32 touchdown passes. That put him at $117,187/TD pass. Pretty good when you compare him to the other quarterbacks. Manning's situation is a little skewed because a lot of his money came in the form of a $34,500,000 signing bonus in 2004. However, for comparison's sake Manning's total salary in '05 was $668,520 and he threw 28 touchdowns. That put him at $23,875/TD, and made him a very "efficient" passer in monetary terms for the 2005 season.

Tomorrow, I'll compare the running backs of 2005, and see how they stack up.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Floyd Landis' Urine Still Making Headlines

The French newspaper L'Equipe reported today that follow-up tests on the "B" samples of Landis' urine clearly showed traces of synthetic testosterone. Of course, there's still controversy surrounding how these samples were tested. Apparently, Landis' "expert", Paul Smith, was supposed to be able to witness the test along with two USADA officials. However, when the USADA officials didn't show up Smith was barred from entering the lab. Landis orginally wanted the samples to be tested in United States, but the machine at UCLA was broken(Ricky Manning Jr. probably thought it was a laptop).

The "B" samples themselves were under much speculation to begin with due to an "administrative error" during testing.

For now, it doesn't appear that any progress will be made in either direction until an arbitration hearing convenes on May 14.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

The MLB Is Not Amused With Your Flashing Light

Last night, a 40 year old Mets fan, Frank Martinez, was ejected and charged with "interfering with a professional sporting event" and "second-degree reckless endangerment".

The charges came about because Martinez flashed a "small streamline flashlight" at Atlanta pitcher Tim Hudson and shortstop Edgar Renteria. At that point in the game, the bottom of the eight inning, the Mets were already behind 7-0. So, either Martinez thought his magic flashlight was going to cause the Braves to self destruct, or he was drunk. Personally, I'm going with the second one.

The most interesting part of this story however, is not that Martinez was ejected and arrested for flashing his light. No, it's that "a law making it expressly illegal to interfere with a professional sporting event was passed by the city in 2003 following a disruptive incident involving fashion designer Calvin Klein".

What? Calvin Klein? And exactly what did Mr. Klein do?

"Klein stepped onto the basketball court at Madison Square Garden in March 2003 to speak with player Latrell Sprewell while a Knicks game was in progress."

I vaguely remember that incident, but had no idea that it had lead to a law being passed.

I guess it's a good thing they have no laws against pizza tossing in Boston.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

NFL Delayed Schedule Release Costing Chris Henry $25k?

On April 2, the NFL confirmed reports that the release of the regular season schedule would be delayed for a few weeks. At that time, it was unclear what type of punishment NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell would place upon the Bengals' Chris Henry and Titans' PacMan Jones. As of this afternoon though, we know that Henry will sit out the first eight games of the season, and Jones is out of the league for all of '07-'08. One thing that caught my eye was in reference to how much the suspension would end up costing Henry.

"Henry will lose $204,705.88 in salary if the Bengals' bye week comes after Week 8. He will lose $230,294.12 if the Bengals' bye week falls in the first eight weeks of the season, meaning he will miss nine weeks of pay."

So, the difference between a Bengals bye week in the first eight weeks of the season, and one that comes after Week 8 is a $25,588.24 loss in income for Henry.

I'm not exactly sure how easy it would be for the NFL schedule makers to change a team's bye week this late in the offseason, but with Commissioner Goodell obviously wanting to make a statement I wouldn't totally rule it out.

It will be interesting to see exactly where Cincinnati's bye week falls when the schedule is finally released.