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Ramblin' man/Mark Jalkanen

January 29, 2011
By Mark Jalkanen - DMG Web Columnist

Due to the two-week gap between the championships and Super Bowl we're doing a not-so-special mid-break edition (please recall that brevity is not our strong suit) of the column which will be followed by a post-Super Bowl version sometime after the effects of the festivities wear off, err, during aftermath week.

In the first title game to feature a pair of division opponents since the Niners destroyed the Rams 30-3 in 1989, the Packers defeated the Bears Ghidrah (bravo if you know, otherwise see Musings) quarterback, by a score of 21-14, and that is the starting point for our tangential ramblings about the Super Bowl, conference championship games, and other subjects that happen to pop into our collective consciousness.

The Green Bay victory allowed the Pack to move one step closer to overtaking the Bears in the all-time series record (now 92-84-6). It should be noted that the last time they led the overall series was in 1932, under the stewardship of Curly Lambeau, with an 11-10-5 record.

That means the teams have only tied once, in 156 meetings, since the tie of 1932.

The Packers move on to the fifth (3-1) Super Bowl in franchise history, the Bears have been in two (1-1), and the Steelers will be appearing in number eight (6-1).

Fans in Green Bay were breathing a deep sigh of relief as the team finally ended the 70-year playoff drought against their arch-rival and evened their postseason mark against the Bears at 1-1. Meanwhile, fans in Chicago, possibly with the tunes of Christmas still resonating in their craniums, led much of the nation in a chorus of, "O Come Let Us Abhor Him" in an extremely public, and somewhat misguided, crucifixion of Jay Cutler.

Nobody knew the facts yet everyone had a comment. He showed terrible body language (and bad posture)! If he can walk, he can play! He should help the backup quarterbacks! Why is he riding the stationary bike? Wipe that smirk off your face! Hey, Tin Man! The vitriol was immediate and the sources were disparate. Former players, fans, commentators, analysts, and even current players, were questioning the man. We can't remember a public piling-on this savage in the history of sport. LeBron James' treatment was tame in comparison and Alex Rodriguez's reception was more hero to Cutler's zero. We may never know the facts (Is it really a grade II tear? Did the team medical staff really sit him? Etc.) but we do know that Jay will have a number of opposing players in his sights next year and we'll be rooting for him to show as much mercy as they showed him.

Former Wolverine Todd Collins replaced Cutler in the third quarter and looked worse than his 0-4 passing would indicate. Collins left after injuring his shoulder and the team said, after the game, that he couldn't have returned.

After the putrid performance, nobody wanted him to return, but that doesn't change the fact that nobody called him a quitter and questioned his moxie even though, much like with Jay, there was never any sideline/in-game reporting that detailed the injury. It was assumed that he was benched for being lame, but it was an injury and he should have been equally excoriated. After all, it wasn't as if Cutler was turning in a scintillating performance prior to his affliction.

And for the fans in Denver sporting the "we-told-you-so" attitude perhaps you should step back and reevaluate the trade (we'll do it in Musings) and consider the position of the two teams just two years later. The Bears were in the NFC Championship game after winning the NFC North (which, coincidentally, sent a team to the Super Bowl) while the Broncos are picking up the pieces after a train wreck that led to the canning of supreme debuilder Josh McDaniels.

The impact of losing Chad Clifton for nearly a quarter in the first half was also completely overlooked by the media. TJ Lang was a disaster and the loss of Clifton allowed Julius Peppers to consistently pressure Rodgers, led to Brian Urlacher's sack, and caused the GB offense to spit and sputter.

It turns out that Lovie was shrewd for playing his starters in the final week of the regular season in an attempt to eliminate the Packers from playoff contention. In hindsight, a victory in that game may have meant a trip to Arlington for the Bears.

Lovie was not shrewd with his game management on Sunday. On the opening drive, with his team already trailing 7-0 and facing a 4th and 7 at the Green Bay 34, he meekly chose to punt. It must have been too early to simply wave a white flag.

In the second quarter, on the drive following the second GB touchdown, Lovie sent punter Brad Maynard in with the official terms of surrender as he punted from the Packer 31-yard line on 4th and 11, resulting in a touchback and a whopping eleven-yard net gain.

The folks living in the world of L. Frank Baum, imagining Cutler as the Tin Man, should be honoring Lovie with Cowardly Lion status and accusing him of possessing a Scarecrowesque medulla oblongata (an homage to Fight Club in an effort to counteract Lovie's apparent disinterest in fighting).

Where are the disparaging Tweets regarding Lovie? Former players had to consider those to be some of the most fainthearted game-management decisions, in a game that regularly celebrates bravado, so where was the verbal slaying/flaying? Just saying.

When you combine the invertebrate eschewed field goal attempts with the masterful punting of Tim Masthay, then the Pack clearly, and unexpectedly, won the special teams battle.

The Bears ended the season ranked first in average drive start, punt return average, and net punting against, however, it was Masthay (on eight punts), and the previously woeful punting unit (ranked 17, 22, and 28, in the same three categories), who limited the curiously silent Devin Hester to three returns for 16 yards with a long return of 11 yards.

For some inexplicable reason on Masthay's longest punt, a 65-yarder that was kicked from the GB 24-yard line late in the third quarter, Earl Bennett was back to receive while Hester was on the sidelines. The most returnable punt in the game was launched with the most dangerous return man in the game riding pine.

Was Twitter experiencing technical difficulties at the 57 second mark of the third stanza? Was Hester a quitter who couldn't handle the big stage or was it simply Lovie making another shrewd tactical move? Either way, the talking heads should have been calling for rolling heads, but the venom was reserved for Jay, and Jay alone, as lemon juice was dripped in the Cut (ler) and a dash of Brad Childress, NaCl, was rubbed in the wound.

By the way, Bennett returned the punt 22 yards (to the Chicago 33), which was the longest Bear return of the day.

To top it all off, Tim Masthay made an appearance on ESPN First Take. The worldwide leader actually wanted to kick-off the Super Bowl hype and celebrate the championship with a punter! Look up, see pig.

Masthay had never punted in a game before Ted Thompson signed him one year ago to compete in camp. It turned out to be one, of many, good moves for TT in 2010. The April shower that was the draft sent a deluge of young talent flowing into the locker room that eventually blossomed into May flowers.

The contributions from rookie draft picks such as James Starks (round 6) and Brian Bulaga (1) have been well-chronicled and integral to the success of the team. Players such as Andrew Quarless (5) and CJ Wilson (7) have also provided quality snaps and much-needed depth. If Morgan Burnett (3), who was the starting safety opening day, and DL Mike Neal (2), who was also pushing to start on opening day, had managed to avoid injured reserve, it may have been one of the most contributing (based on first year) draft classes in league history. In what turned out to be a gem of a class, Marshall Newhouse (5) was the only pick that really didn't make a meaningful contribution in his first year.

But Ted wasn't done when his draft picks were exhausted. He plucked Sam Shields, Frank Zombo, Tom Crabtree, and Robert Francois off of the undrafted scrap heap. Each of these rookies had their moments this season, with Shields becoming the latest Packer defensive back to dominate a game, with two interceptions (one ended the game), a sack, and forced fumble, in the NFC Championship victory. By our count, that makes an astounding 10 rookies who made meaningful contributions to the team at some point during the season.

Ted's magical year continued into the season as he found a treat with Erik Walden, who signed with the team (he was on the street) on Oct. 31 and immediately began to scare opponents. Walden's best game was the regular season finale and playoff clinching victory against the Bears in which he recorded 16 tackles and two sacks, garnering him NFC Defensive Player of the Week honors.

Ted wasn't simply a new talent acquisition machine; he also made sure that the existing performers would be around for a while. Due to his philosophy of grooming, and then keeping, young talent, the future of the defensive backfield is glistening. Along with the aforementioned Shields, Ted has secured the services of Nick Collins (four-year extension signed March 9), Charles Woodson (five-year extension on September 9), and Tramon Williams (five-year extension November 30), for the long-term, and has a nice blend of youth and experience across the roster.

Note to Ted: Far be it from us to tell you how to do your job (especially since you seem to be doing fine without us), however, it has come to our attention that Nnamdi Asomugha fancies Titletown. If you have a few shillings remaining in the DB budget, a CB trio of Nnamdi, Tramon, and Sam, with the dynamic duo of Woodson and Collins at safety, would be fierce.

For those who don't remember, or those who choose not to (perhaps rivals such as Dan, the Lion fan, and Dan, the other Lion fan), it was during the previous (2009) draft Thompson that procured the services of BJ Raji and Clay Matthews in the first round and added Brad Jones in round 7.

Remember Brad Jones? He was the rookie who stepped in 2009 when Aaron Kampman was injured. Once given the opportunity, he didn't lose the starting job until he was injured earlier this season. Jones was then replaced by Brady Poppinga, who also got hurt and was replaced by Zombo, who was also injured and replaced by Walden.

The NFL is a funny business and, although Ted rarely cracks a smile, the situation outlined in the previous paragraph has to make him at least smirk. So does the fact that after six seasons, 33 of his 58 total draft picks are still with the team and 14 are starters.

Only six players (Mark Tauscher, Nick Barnett, Donald Driver, Chad Clifton, Scott Wells, and Cullen Jenkins) are pre-TT players and just four (Barnett and Tauscher are on IR) will be playing on Sunday.

It is rare for a team with so many contributing rookies and second-year players (and Rodgers is just in year three as a starter), to be in the Super Bowl (it is also rare for a team to have 15 players end up on IR, which certainly contributed to the phenomenon), so expect an onslaught of questions regarding the relative lack of experience. However, the inexperience of the team could also be viewed from a different slant, perhaps the Packers are just too young to know any better and that will be their ultimate advantage.

When faced with a plethora of seemingly debilitating injuries, some folks start whining while others continue winning. Green Bay may have found a bunch of winners in Ted Thompson & Company, and Ted may eventually find himself in the conversation that usually starts and ends with the name Ron Wolf. Do not look directly into the future of the Packers. Doing so can cause retinal damage.

For those watching the ESPN family last week, the luminous future was well represented. Along with the punter making his national debut were rookies James Starks (First Take) and Sam Shields (Sportscenter) who also became friends with the folks in Bristol.

An NFL game usually amounts to a three-hour tour but for the Jets the weather started getting rough, and their tiny ship was lost, in the humility storm that was the first half. When they finally awoke the SS Minnow (gratuitous jab at former Jet QB Brett Favre) had run aground and the hole was too big to repair.

Whatever island the Skipper, Rex Ryan, and his little buddy, Mark Sanchez, beached (when using Ryan and beached in same sentence it is nearly impossible not to think about whales) their craft on, it put an end to the dead horse known as Revis Island (at least until next year).

The Jets aren't who they said they were. And with that most of America will breathe easier as oxygen is again allowed to flow freely within the country.

The Jets became the first AFC team to lose consecutive title games since the excruciatingly painful losses by the Browns (extremely pleasurable if you root for the Broncos) in 1986 (The Drive) and 1987 (The Fumble). The Eagles were the last NFC team to match the feat but they one-upped by losing three straight from 2001-2003.

Might the Jets be the AFC version of the Eagles? One more champ game loss next year and it will be official. Perhaps they should bring in McNabb to tutor Mark Sanchez.

With two more champ losses, they could be known as a lesser version of the Bills who lost an astonishing four straight Super Bowls in the nineties.

We'll be rooting for those scenarios to come true because the blustery Jets are the embodiment of Schadenfreude.

SUPER BOWL PICK (5-1 postseason record)

We went 2-0 on championship weekend, and even though it wasn't Cutler throwing the pick, and it wasn't a defensive back holding on to the ball, we'll take the cover by the Pack.

The Steelers did "do just enough, again, to win the game and advance to Dallas" and for that we thank them.

Last week, Obama picked the Bears to defeat the Packers 20-17. With less than two years until the next election (let the campaign begin!) we hope that voters hold it against him.

But then again, in 2004, the fine cheesers voted for John Kerry even though he referred to Lambeau Field as Lambert Field.

The bottom line is that, as he so often is, the president was wrong.

Coincidentally, when Barack doesn't approve of our message, it usually means we're right.

Woodson, who for some reason supports Obama (perhaps he should read the column more thoroughly), was firing up the team after the Chicago game and directed his rant toward Barry, "The President don't want to come watch us for the Super Bowl? Guess what? We're gonna see him." The team then started a "White House" chant and began to focus on the Steelers.

The celebration of two blue collar teams being in the Super Bowl makes us wonder what team considers themselves to be white collar.

Two weeks between champ games and SB makes sense. It gives teams time to rest, game plan, and heal (and write an extended column). We just wish that they would shorten the gap by a day. For obvious reasons, Super Saturday would be much more appealing to many fans across this fine nation of inebriation.

No gratuitous scantily clad cheerleader shots in the Super Bowl due to the fact that neither team employs a hot pep squad.

If Pouncey can't play, Raji may have his day.

Will anyone hit a punt off of the controversial stadium scoreboard in Dallas? It happened during preseason but not during the regular version.

Will this be the first game to use new postseason OT rule?

Fans of both teams should be hoping that their team isn't the focal point of the annual overblown controversy once the media and teams descend on Texas.

The Packers still haven't trailed by more than a touchdown all season.

The Packers own the NFL's best playoff winning percentage (.628, 27-16) followed by Pittsburgh (.627, 32-19).

The Packers are favored by 2.5 and, since our preseason SB pick is now reality, we'll stand by our September prediction and take the Pack over the Steelers as Packer fans, "find a new object of affection as Aaron Rodgers brings the Lombardi trophy back to Lombardi Avenue."

Then fans can begin debating whether, when all is said and done, Rodgers will have a better career than Favre did (is?).

And if Ted Thompson is a better architect than Ron Wolf (or Andrew Luck?).

The Obama factor is in play in this game as well. As he was hoisting the Lombardi Trophy, after their victory in SB XLIII, Pitt owner Dan Rooney (yes, the same guy who the lame job interview rule is named after) said, "I would just like to thank President Obama and all the Steelers nation for supporting us through the years."

Prior to the game Obama publicly announced that he would be rooting for the Steelers (over the Cardinals) because the Bears weren't in the game (deja vu) and Rooney had been a big supporter of his campaign. During his pregame interview Barry said, "He didn't just endorse me, that guy was out going to steel plants campaigning for me."

Yet another reason to root against the Steelers.

In other bets, the game should stay under the 44.5 total, and in the world of proposition gambling we'll also make the following fictitious wagers: the coin toss will be heads and we think the Steelers will receive the opening kickoff. Look for dark horse Charles Woodson to be named MVP. Five total bets (including the game itself) and we'll have the results in our postgame column.

Finally, for all of you fans of the Packers and Steelers, if the NFL used the collegiate model, we would be hyping a New England versus Atlanta Super Bowl, and would have had over a month with nary a meaningful game. We prefer the crescendo that occurs during a playoff and the nearly unquestioned legitimacy of the eventual champ.

PEEVE OF THE WEEK

The State of the Union and the unconstitutional aggregation of power.

For political hipsters, SOTU delivered by POTUS as it pertains to federalism.

Readers of this space will be pleased to know that we are renaming the speech, "The State of the Eunuch," in honor of the castration of states' power done by the federal government, and eloquently outlined by our supreme leader in his annual gift to the masses.

The founders' vision was that of a system in which the federal government had limited and defined (enumerated) powers while all residual powers went to the states.

This concept, federalism, is clearly outlined by Article I Section 8 of the Constitution, which specifically lists the powers of Congress, and Amendment 10 which states that, "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."

Where is the authority for Congress to be involved in championing (spending) Obama's call to arms in the realm of public education?

It is no different than mandating a national drinking age, or uniform speed limits, or a national minimum wage. The authority does not exist, although it has been usurped, and we have allowed, even encouraged, it to happen.

Those powers should fall to the states, however, the 536 people in D.C. have been conducting an overt power grab for over a century, though the pace has quickened, and the audacity has been magnified, in recent years.

Why is the drinking age in every state 21? Because, in 1984 (ironically Orwellian or Van Halen-ian for those more into pop culture), the leaders in D.C. blackmailed any state, that would dare defy the edict from on high, with the threat to withhold federal highway funds.

If someone had challenged the practice in the Supreme Court we doubt it would have passed muster. If this was the practice of an ordinary citizen they could be facing jail time. Instead, it is now accepted policy and Big Bother, err Brother, is as capacious as ever.

From 1974 through 1987 the maximum speed limit in the nation was 55 mph (prompting an appalled Hagar to lyric his disdain) in what amounted to more federal intrusion into areas that our federal leaders don't have any authority. In 1995 the law was justifiably repealed, but we should have never allowed it to be enacted (under the guise of "fuel savings" in the catch-all category of "crisis not wasted").

The all-seeing authority thought it would be prudent to have the same speed limit on the Jersey Turnpike as Interstate 90/94 through the remote nether reaches of Montana. We have to stop being surprised when government fails because it is more common than the alternative. We should be working to limit their failures by limiting their power.

Having the same federally mandated minimum wage in San Francisco as Houghton, Michigan, is nonsense (actually the whole concept of a minimum wage is nonsense) yet we barely blink as we assume some provision in the Constitution authorizes the central planners to determine what a private company pays its employees. There is no such provision.

The 536 people doing business in Washington do not possess some sort of Nostradamus-like vision into the future. They are normal humans who are treated as omniscient deities due to the fact that they have high jacked the power to bestow gifts on producers of ethanol and others deemed worthy.

What clause allows one business to be subsidized at the expense of another simply because our divine legislators are true believers?

We have been moving away from federalism and toward centralism, the concentration of power with a central authority, for decades. Every new law passed by Congress should have to cite (chapter and verse or, should we say article and section) the actual source of their authority to enact such policy.

Revisionist note: How many laws currently on the books would pass that test? That is why the power grabbers will likely avoid passing such a common sense provision. The new provision would be viewed as a can opener and previous legislative acts would be the cylindrical metallic container of slender, legless, soft-bodied, bilaterally symmetrical invertebrates. The Supreme Court would have to work overtime with all of the checking and balancing that would be required as one hundred years of unconstitutional policy was unwound.

By allowing the faux leaders to centralize and socialize they are no longer doing what they are mandated to do. Priorities have been skewed. A direct result of allowing them to unabashedly do everything they desire is that they now do nothing well. Congress has become a joke of all trades, though we're not laughing.

The Super Bowl is nigh so it is hard to be peeved,

especially for a fan with green and gold sleeves.

So we'll leave you now with some lame levity,

as you thank us for our poetic brevity.

Perhaps you're in favor of the Medicaid burden,

and unfunded state mandates replete with coercion.

Or maybe you're a fan of government restraint,

and use the smoldering document to help illuminate.

We ask you quite simply and right to the point,

what should be the goal of people we appoint?

If you want to coalesce more power in D.C.,

then you should be kicking your heels with glee.

If you believe in Federalism and limited scope,

the fools on the hill are viewed as dopes.

If more people dependent on Sam is your end,

then it is possible the speech gave you the bends.

The era of personal responsibility clearly is waning,

so if that is your outcome you're not celebrating.

All cradle to grave needs now are provided,

enacted by leaders who should be chided.

Every problem in the nation now under government purview,

too bad that wasn't what they were supposed to do.

The problems needing solutions don't number in the few,

that the solutions are problems is an issue too.

We agree with some of what leaders our say,

but when it comes to their actions we go the other way.

More problems created than actually solved,

and with it a debt impossible to absolve.

When the can-kicking is over how nice it will it be,

to leave all the debt for our progeny.

INDISCRIMINATE MUSINGS

Ramblin' Man is a 1951 Hank Williams song that was covered by the Melvins and Hank Williams III.

The Allman Brothers also released a song titled Ramblin' Man in 1973.

In a sure sign that the end is near, a recently conducted Harris poll (December 2010) found that 42 percent of American adults believe the famous quote, "From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs," came from the Bill of Rights or other founding document.

Karl Marx would be proud, we should be ashamed.

Marx's, err Obama's, err both men's, redistributive message has found a home in nearly half of American homes although we suspect that at least two percent of the country is likely conducting a reevaluation.

During his State of the Union one of the president's stated goals was for 98 percent of the nation to have high-speed internet. The applause line "screw the other 2 (percent)", that was included in an advance copy of the speech obtained by the crack staff, was edited out of the final version due to the obvious antagonistic quality.

In a move toward simplification, with the primary goal to make the complexity of the rules commensurate with the brain power of their fan base, NASCAR altered the way they award points (1 point increments), and chose to actually reward winning, by giving the final two chase spots to the drivers who win the most races, but don't finish in the top ten (or top "tin" if you are Larry McReynolds). What they didn't address was the nonsensical practice of giving points to the stragglers and back markers who become slow-moving, duct tape slathered obstacles later in the race in a futile effort to score "valuable" points. As long as the bottom ten or 20 (out of 43 drivers) are receiving rewards for their efforts the sport will continue to have the youth soccer element in place. In its essence sport is a meritocracy and there should be no merit for finishing 87 laps behind the leader. Not everyone is a winner.

Monet Parham and the Center for Science in the Public Interest, have brought a lawsuit versus the Happy Meal. According to the suit, "Because of McDonald's marketing, (Parham's daughter) Maya has frequently pestered Parham into purchasing Happy Meals, thereby spending money on a product she would not otherwise have purchased." We have now entered an era where the abdication of parental responsibility is not the fault of the parent, but of the evil corporation, and they must pay.

It should be noted that Monet Parham is also known as Monet Parham-Lee when she is doing her day job, which is being a manager, for the state of California, for a federally funded program that campaigns for kids to eat spinach and other things she and her ilk deem suitable. Not only should her lawsuit should be tossed, and McDonald's bring a resource-draining countersuit, we would advise daughter Maya to sue her mother for being such a spineless wuss and poor role model/parent. We'll be happy to represent her pro bono (and we don't mean Sonny) if she calls.

Ghidrah, The Three-Headed Monster, is the fifth film in Toho's 1960's Godzilla series. Other famous monsters to appear in the classic film include Mothra and Rodan.

As we pay heartfelt tribute to Keith Olbermann we give kudos to Obama for pledging, during his SOTU speech, to veto any bill that has been littered with earmarks.

While we doubt he will be a man of his word (he is a politician) the rational concept is spot on.

Earmarks are a way for our elected persons to dig us deeper in debt so they can give gobs of your money to those who curried favor while foregoing the actual mandated duties of their job. For example, our esteemed leader may give our money to his/her favorite contributor, err researcher, so they can study the mating habits of the birds nesting in the tree in front of our house while at the same time ignoring the potholes in the road directly beneath said nest, and the broken sewer line beneath said pothole. Corruption abounds and priorities can't be found.

Further cementing the validity of the promised veto was Harry Reid who told NBC News, "I think it's absolutely wrong and the public should understand that the president has enough power; he should back off and let us do what we do."

Since he regularly shows contempt for the Constitution we doubt that Harry has encountered the concept of checks and balances and therefore we consider him to be "the worst person in the world" (we really will miss the acerbic Keith).

Reid also, and no doubt inadvertently, reinforced the main thesis of this week's Peeve when he said, "I have a Constitutional obligation to do congressionally directed spending. I know much more about what should be done in Elko, Las Vegas, Nevada, than some bureaucrat does back here."

Bravissimo Harry, apparently your version of the smoldering document does not mention checks and balances, however, it does obligate the Congress to spend via earmark. Please contact us with the specific earmark section so we can enlighten.

More evidence highlighting the fact that the ignoReidmus hasn't quite figured out how this whole government thing works came in remarks delivered before the SOTU. "I think this is an issue that any president would like to have, that takes power away from the legislative branch of government. I think it's the wrong thing to do. I don't think it's helpful. It's a lot of pretty talk, but it only gives the president more power. He's got enough already."

We will give Harry credit, local people know much more about local government than "some bureaucrat back here (D.C.)" and that is precisely the reason for federalism. As an added bonus it keeps the corruption spread evenly throughout the country rather than centralizing it in Washington. The problem with Harry is that he wants to decide what projects in his fiefdom garner his attention (our money) so, while his quote is a fine argument in favor of states' rights, his sole focus was on Reid's right to spend your money on the people he considers right and that is wrong.

There is too much power in the executive and legislative branches and it is time for the judicial branch to check Congress and the president by referring the famous work that begins with the line, "We the people. . ."

While (as stated way above) we may never know all of the facts, or perhaps because we may never know, we are inclined to give Cutler the benefit of the doubt. When the Jay trade was initially announced we were leading the cheers because, despite his sub .500 record (at the time), the opportunity to get a potential franchise quarterback is rare and should be boldly seized.

Due to the fact that the Broncos, and the debuilder, made so many trades with the picks breaking down the specifics of the trade is inexact at best.

The original trade was Cutler and a fifth-round pick for Kyle Orton, first-round picks in 2009 and 2010, and a third-round pick in 2009.

The Bears end of the trade is quite simple. They got Cutler and turned the fifth-round pick into leading receiver Johnny Knox.

The Broncos end is a bit more convoluted. They chose linebacker Robert Ayers with the 2009 first-round pick, packaged the third-rounder with other picks (in a trade with Pitt) and netted tight end Richard Quinn and guard Seth Olsen when all was said and done.

The No. 11 pick in the 2010 draft was traded on multiple occasions but in the end Denver chose receivers Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker as well as the savior Tim Tebow. It should be noted that due to multiple trades not all of these players can be considered a direct part of the Cutler deal, however, at least in part they were the result of the trading power given by the 2010 first-round pick.

The jury will need a couple more years, and some more Tebow sermons, to deliberate the verdict on this class.

A couple of other scathing points need to be made. The 2009 Broncos could have drafted Clay Matthews instead of Ayers and the third-round pick that originally belonged to Chicago went to Pitt and they chose receiver Mike Wallace.

In sum, when viewed through the prismatic view of the Bears, Packers, and Steelers, three of the final four teams this season, it appears that the Cutler trade worked out well. As for Denver, not so much. And that folks, is debuilding in a nutshell.

There were many detractors noting how Obama had changed the terminology from spending to "investment" and how he was obfuscating. Of course he was, but it got us thinking, and we found that we could make a case that nearly every time a government official used a verb it could be linked to, or considered, spending. So our conclusion is that every verb is actually code for spending and that team Obama simply didn't obfuscate as well as they should have. Perhaps he should get rid of the current Secretary of Obfuscation and Marketing who suggested using "saved" jobs and "investment" because the obviousness of the attempts defeats the overall strategy of concealment.

The FBI announced 125 organized crime arrests which means, by our count, they only have 31,331 mobsters still on the loose. We feel safer already.

Matthew Stafford underwent shoulder surgery (again) and will be shelved for four months. Lion fans need a healthy Stafford to compete with Cutler and Rodgers and quite possibly leap the quarterbackless Vikings in the standings.

Of course, Dr. James Andrews performed the surgery, which begs the question, how did James Andrews become the monopolistic surgeon in the world of sport?

A friend of this space noted that Wisconsin hockey coach Mike Eaves had a rather unique solution to the issue of having the NHL players leave in the middle of the season to play in the Olympics. Why not play Olympic hockey in during the summer games? Just a thought.

It has been reported that NFL assistant coaches will meet at the Scouting Combine to gauge interest in forming a union. Our suggestion, don't do it!

We don't want anyone to take this the wrong way, we're not trying to be crass, but why did our Congress pass the 9/11 first responder health bill? In our small locale it is the practice of the township to provide insurance to those who volunteer for such duty so we would assume that the full-time guys, who often play cards, eat chili, pet the Dalmatian, and sometimes slide down a cool brass pole, would have the ultimate Cadillac health plan replete with a tidy life insurance policy and substantial disability coverage.

We put this out for our readers because our crack staff has not been able to find an answer.

During our search we found a quote from Anthony Weiner (D-NY) who said, "They are entitled. They are entitled to our care, they are entitled to our respect, they are entitled to the health care that they need."

We agree with the statement but why don't they have the best insurance known to man? If they don't, then there needs to be a policy change and perhaps an investigation and if they do then why was the bill necessary?

If any of our brilliant readers has an answer the email address is, as always, listed at the end of the column.

In former Lion news, Charles Rogers continued his attempt to single-handedly derail any chance of the real estate market in Michigan has of making a comeback. As reported last week Rogers, he of the $14.4 million signing bonus, is facing foreclosure on a condo in Birmingham. This comes after he defaulted on the mortgage on his home in Novi.

Tom, the Canadian bartender, was chastising local Pack fans for the all-too-common use of "we" when discussing the team going to the Super Bowl. It can be a tad annoying when fans use the term "we" when discussing a team, but at the same time it does indicate a deep level of personal investment in their team, and that is a large part of what makes sports successful.

And in the case of the Packers, many fans are actually owners/stockholders (full disclosure: WE are a NFL owner!) so using the inclusive term may be even more apropos to them.

Taking annoying past the "tad" stage was column favorite Barack Obama who, during a visit to Wisconsin this week, said "I'm glad to see that one of the greatest rivalries in sports is still there, and WE (emphasis added) will get you next year."

We will now pause to allow you to wretch.

Oh yeah, if the Lions were going to the Super Bowl (insert joke here) we believe that Tom would be throwing "we's" around with the best of 'em.

Since our leaders decided to stick it to the evil banking fat cats by passing financial "reform" which, amongst other things, limited fees on such things as late fees and over-limit fees the banks are now inventing new fees, such as card replacement fees, and the average rate for new customers has gone from 10.7 percent (April 2009) to 13.6 percent (September 2010). Another job well done and problem solved.

We were chatting with Todd, the cousin, the other day and the topic of the Raiders came up and quickly devolved into a discussion about how Al Davis, a man we've defended in this space, has morphed into a cross between the Crypt-Keeper and Montgomery Burns (search image of press conference announcing Hue Jackson as coach).

When does the well-intended, though misguided (using the Constitution as guide), concept of a social safety net (Medicare for elderly, Medicaid for poor, etc.) simply become socialism? Where does the authority for any of these programs come from? Be specific please.

If you have any answers, questions, or snide comments, please send to mjalkanen@live.com.

Got to go, it's time to feed the cats.

 
 

 

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