Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Bill Walsh....Rest in Peace

Football lost one of it's greatest coaches, innovators and men yesterday.

Bill Walsh was perhaps most famous for popularizing the West Coast Offense. Nearly every modern NFL team incorporates some version of it in their playbook. He had the foresight to view the game going beyond the "Three yards and a cloud of dust" basic running attack. His innovations, along with other Hall of Fame coaches, revolutionized the sport and made it a more entertaining game to watch.

However, his legacy spreads far beyond game strategy.

Walsh was on the forefront of hiring Minority coaches, encouraging the league to further break down the Racial Barrier. His Coaching Tree (which is honestly more like a forest) includes the names of Lovie Smith, Tony Dungy, Ray Rhodes and Dennis Green...distinguished coaches who may not have gotten an opportunity were it not for the efforts of Bill and others like him.

His players laud him for his patience, his demanding nature that they constantly set higher goals for themselves and, most of all, for his ability to see the potential in them that they themselves didn't know they had.

Owners and coaches around the league are also unanimous in their assessment of Walsh: He played it fair, he played it straight and his 49er team was always one of the most difficult games on their schedules.

They also echo a similar sentiment about him off the field as well: As great a coach as he was, he was a much, much better man.

Rest in peace, Mr. Walsh. All of those who love the game of football will never forget the contributions you brought to the game and to the lives of those who knew you.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Michael Vick

Some things I find easy to stomach: Brownies, pancakes, pizza and sushi.

Some things I find difficult to stomach: Vegetables, Fear Factor-type shows and W.’s Press Conferences

One thing I cannot stomach at all: Crime against the Innocent.

I was recently on an NFL message board which was red hot with speculation regarding what the final outcome of the Michael Vick situation would be. While I found most of the posts to be well thought out and reasonable, there were a few which nearly made me sick. Those particular posts were from individuals who were defending Michael Vick due to the fact that his alleged transgressions occurred against dogs, not people.

At best, these degenerates were simply trying to rile up people into debating their posts for some sort of sick amusement. Immature to say the least, but better than the alternative: That they actually believe that crimes versus animals should not warrant a suspension.
If they do subscribe to this truly sick viewpoint, one can only assume that they are either sociopaths or diehard Falcon/Vick fans. If they are sociopaths, they need to seek help immediately if they cannot understand that criminals who exhibit the level of cruelty listed in the indictment will sooner or later commit those crimes against humans (thereby negating their argument). Read up on just about every serial killer and you will find that they tortured animals in their youth. There is something indescribably evil that exists inside a person who is capable of even conceiving the idea to wet a dog down and then electrocute it. Thank God that this ability is absent from most people in the world.

Regarding being a Falcon fan who doesn’t wish to see his team’s season go down in flames because Vick cannot take the field due to suspension, I couldn’t even dignify that as being a legitimate argument. Hey, I’m one of the world’s biggest Jets fans. But if Chad Pennington were involved in an illegal activity which embodies morally reprehensible actions, I’d be the first one emailing Jets headquarters to inform them that I will not be spending one more dime on the team until his name is expunged from it’s roster.

I’m willing to take a completely naive viewpoint here and say that I could believe that, hypothetically, Michael Vick did not personally commit any violence towards dogs, he had absolutely no knowledge of the activities on Moonlight Road, and he is just the poor and unfortunate victim of a public lynching because he put his trust in the wrong people. Fine.
Even with all those factors in place, he is still guilty of allowing (consciously or not) illegal activities to take place on a property he owned. The law, which can be obscure on a great many issues, is crystal clear on this.

To Roger Goodell, I say this: I am not advocating that this case be tried in the newspapers or on the Internet. By all means, let Michael Vick have his day in court. Let the justice system do its work in punishing the guilty or exonerating the innocent.

However, should he be found guilty, you must deny him the privilege of stepping on to an NFL field ever again. The severity of this alleged horror calls for nothing less.

Welcome to Pigskins & Pucks

This Website and Blog is for fans of Pro Football and Hockey, the two greatest spectator sports in my book (and this IS my book..my blog, anyway).

Hope you enjoy it and, by all means, please contribute your opinions.

For the record, I am an Islanders and a Jets fan, but supporters of all teams are more than welcome.