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by Ivan Foley

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by Rian Crowell Babcock

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by Greg Hall

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Off the Couch

by Greg Hall
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Whitlock blasts Pioli and Haley

Posted 1-4-11

“(Todd) Haley — not his Kansas City Chiefs — is quite possibly the biggest fraud in football. I say that without malice or pleasure. Personally, I like Todd Haley. It’s true.”
Jason Whitlock,
GH: There are few things quite like the love Whitlock showers on his subjects. Who else can call an NFL head coach “quite possibly the biggest fraud in football” and yet state he personally likes the guy? You just know that personally, Haley appreciates the nod.

“Unfortunately, he’s a fatally flawed head football coach. He’s insecure, mean-spirited, emotional and irrational.”
Jason Whitlock,
GH: There are few things more enjoyable about a Whitlock column than his penchant for placing subliminal messages about himself into his copy. We all know he likes to overtly discuss himself in his writings but it’s the between-the-lines comments that makes reading Pork Chop fun. If this comment above doesn’t speak Whitlock to most everyone who has worked closely with the guy, you didn’t/don’t know the man.

“For two years, (Haley) has tried to master a Bill Parcells impersonation. … I say this without malice or pleasure: On an NFL sideline, Haley is an attention whore. An insecure one.”
Jason Whitlock,
GH: For the past 15 years or so, Whitlock has tried to master a Howard Stern impersonation – and he managed to rise about as far as he could in Kansas City’s media hierarchy. But once he burned his bridges with local radio and his newspaper column lost its punch, he melted down with The Explanation and bolted The Star to writing an online column for His new job looks a lot like just another online sports column about the same stuff everyone else in the country is writing about – which makes it very easy to skip. I say this without malice or pleasure. Attention whores like Whitlock get very insecure when people stop paying attention to them.

“Someone in KC tell Nick Wright I'd like to come on air and discuss my column today.”
Jason Whitlock, Monday on Twitter
GH: Translation: No one nationally seems to care about this column I wrote blasting the Chiefs’ front office. Get me on in KC where I can bask in my glory years. His interview with Wright was snooze worthy. Read on.

“There are people in Arizona who say Haley was gonna get fired after that (Super Bowl) season.”
Jason Whitlock, during his interview with Nick Wright, 610 AM
GH: Yeah, this isn’t an unsubstantiated stretch of a slam of a head coach who Whitlock personally likes. I’m also sure there are people in Missouri and Kansas who said Whitlock was going to get fired before he bolted online to FoxSports.

“Pioli has created an environment that is easy to coach in.”
Jason Whitlock, 610 AM
GH: Wright never challenged Whitlock on this Bizzaro-world comment despite the fact he uttered it at least three times. So how come Weis is leaving if the environment with the Chiefs is “easy to coach in?”

“Personally, I can’t stand Scott Pioli. It’s true. In any environment, Pioli is a low-character, self-absorbed egomaniac in love with the sound of his voice. I call him ‘Egoli.’ I love giving sports figures nicknames.”
Jason Whitlock,
GH: That description doesn’t sound anything like our low-character, self-absorbed egomaniac in love with the sound of his voice Big Sexy (his self-given nickname), does it?

“My one regret about my leaving KC during this football season was the knowledge Egoli would face little resistance in intimidating, bullying and co-opting the local media. It doesn’t take much more than a wink, a nod and a visit to the GM’s office for local media types to get very weak in the knees.”
Jason Whitlock,
GH: This one is pure, unvarnished Whitlock. He always tosses demeaning darts at those in the media left to clean up his mess – even his friends. He can’t help himself. In Jason’s skewed mind, no one is any good at anything he once did. They are all spineless weaklings who quake at the mere thought of his fading shadow.

“Todd is constantly trying to prove he wasn’t born sliding into the NFL’s home plate. He was, but no one really cares anymore except Todd Haley. He can’t let it go. Self-made football people who worked from the bottom up (Pioli, Weis) bring out Haley’s insecurity. … It’s my belief that Haley left Weis no choice but to leave. Haley is too insecure to work in a professional manner with confident, competent people for an extended time.”
Jason Whitlock,
GH: You want to get Whitlock riled up? Tell him his success is a product of his blackness. Much like he accuses Haley of hating being birthed into his NFL job, Whitlock fears being black was his ticket into journalism. Bill Maas laughed at Whitlock on the air years ago and told him he was a Star columnist more because he was black than he was talented. Maas called JoPo a far more talented writer whose position at The Star was hampered because he was a white male. All hell broke loose in the studio that day. Whitlock carries this insecurity with him into every room he treads. Jason’s success is proof he is far more than just an affirmative action hire. But his insecurity constantly harps at him that he will one day be exposed as nothing more than JoPo’s token baggage.

“I don’t care if the Chiefs win the Super Bowl this season. Todd Haley is not an NFL head coach.”
Jason Whitlock,
GH: Whitlock doesn’t realize that his editors at The Kansas City Star helped him become semi-famous. They would prevent him from writing nonsensical comments like his above personal attack of Haley. You have to wonder how Jason would feel if someone wrote that they didn’t care if Whitlock won a Pulitzer, he is not a columnist. Sounds pretty ridiculous. Not unlike a lot of J-Dub’s words. and Twitter / greghall24

Chiefs look bad, Randy Cross sounds worse

Posted 1-3-11

“Kansas City got humbled at home by the Oakland Raiders.”
Dan Patrick, after the Raiders ended KC’s 7-game unbeaten streak at Arrowhead with a 31-10 thumping, NBC

“If even though we not in the playoffs we pulled the chiefs pants down and spanked they ass today.”
Michael Bush, Raiders’ running back, Twitter

“Would the real AFC West champ please stand up….O yea we did!!!”
Quentin Groves, Oakland Linebacker, Twitter

“Shoutouts to the REAL die hard Chiefs fans who support us no matter what,not just when we win.Y'all know who u are and I luv y'all for that.”
Glenn Dorsey, Twitter
GH: I am sure you do, Glenn. But don’t bag on the fair-weather Chiefs fans. Those are typically the only ones who can afford those cushy suite seats.

“This is a young, immature (Chiefs) team that couldn’t handle success. They probably got caught up in reading all the newspaper clippings. You don’t want to have doubts going into the playoffs – especially when you have to play against the Baltimore Ravens.”
Rodney Harrison, NBC
GH: The Chiefs could hardly have looked worse against the Raiders in front of Marty Schottenheimer, the Chiefs’ alums and a crowd of almost 70K that turned out expecting to be thrilled not chilled. The word fugly was invented for games like this. Read on.

“If you’re the Kansas City Chiefs and you’re trailing by a touchdown here at home, you need to finish this quarter.”
Randy Cross, as the Chiefs trailed 17-10 with 11:30 left in the game, CBS
GH: Cross was in a word, awful. He credited (by name) the Chiefs offensive line for an Oakland touchdown run. He was so bad he was funny. His brain-dead comments sparked quite a Twitter barrage. Read on for one of my favorites.

" ‘The Germans bombed Pearl Harbor.’ - Randy Cross”
Mick Shaffer, Twitter

“This is a very, very firm field. It’s almost like an artificial turf.”
Randy Cross, TV analyst, describing Arrowhead’s turf as hard and frozen for the Raiders’ game, CBS
GH: Cross must not have walked onto the field because it was obviously anything but frozen. Many of the lawns in Kansas City are still green and more muddy than hard. Arrowhead’s turf has deserved plenty of criticism over the years but it looks to me like they finally have the field in decent condition for winter play.

“That was terrible.”
Randy Cross, as the Chiefs offensive line collapsed yet again to allow one of the seven sacks by Oakland, CBS
GH: For a second there I thought Cross was voicing a self evaluation of his work.

“The idea isn’t to win divisions. The idea is to win championships.”
Randy Cross, on the Chiefs having locked up the AFC West and a playoff berth, CBS
GH: Thanks for that wisdom, Randy. Now go and don’t bother to return.

“Here’s how I’m going to make it up to you now. I am officially on the Kansas City Chiefs and Matt Cassel bandwagon! I am picking you guys to win every game all the way through the Super Bowl! I don’t care who you’re playing. I don’t care where you’re playing. I’m picking the Chiefs and Matt Cassel the rest of the way!”
Cris Collinsworth, speaking live to Cassel last week after he has ripped his play as the Chiefs’ QB most of the season, Showtime’s Inside the NFL
GH: Cassel put up a 19 quarterback rating against Oakland after Collinsworth jumped aboard the Cassel/Chiefs bandwagon. And we thought Whitlock was a load.

“Whatever the reason why (Weis is leaving for Florida)  -- and I don’t know if we’ll ever know that --  there’s ways of doing things and being professional. Making your organization look professional. Not looking disorganized. Whatever the disagreements were, I lay this at Scott Pioli’s lap.”
Richard Baldinger, Metro Sports
GH: Baldinger did not mince words in blaming Pioli for this leak and how it was handled. Haley was caught in what appears to be a blatant lie when he stated on Friday that it was news to him that Weis was being considered for the Florida offensive coordinator job. The rumor grew legs on Twitter and some were in front and others behind. Read on.

“Weis news. A source tells The Program a reason Weis may go to Florida is the chance to work with his son who graduates from HS this year... We learned Weis' son was set to go to U-T to work under Muschamp in the football office while going to school and now will follow him to Fla.”
The Program & Soren Petro, Saturday afternoon, Twitter
GH: Petro’s tweet was the first I saw that mentioned Weis’ son and his desire to follow him to the college of his choice. Props to Petro and his guys for the solid info that was at least a day ahead of anyone else I read or heard.

“Charlie Weis leaving Chiefs to be Florida head coach.”
@KCStar, Twitter
GH: The Kansas City Star tweet, as Maxwell Smart might say, missed it by that much. Even the headline on the Star’s story had Weis becoming the head coach at Florida instead of the offensive coordinator. Obviously more fuel for those who The Star’s Mark Zieman sees as “attacks on the mainstream (or “lamestream”) media are common. Bloggers and pundits advocate boycotting or even shutting down media companies they don’t agree with.”

“The more I think about Weis-to-Florida, the less sense it makes. Haven't seen any evidence this year about a feud b/w Haley/Weis. … I'm not sure this isn't the work of a very good coaches' agent, and nothing more. Maybe I'm wrong, but the move to UF would be bizarre. … Hearing so many conflicting rumors on weis, it's crazy. Some involve fla, others with him staying in the nfl. Most involve him leaving kc.”
Kent Babb, Chiefs beat writer for KC Star on Friday, Twitter
GH: Babb was very slow to warm to this rumor of Weis to Florida. Babb’s reluctance and the leap in logic it takes to understand why Weis would go from a prominent NFL job to become a college assistant makes me believe Weis is going because of his son. Little else makes much sense. Not everyone agrees. Read on.

“(Weis) did not want to coach in Kansas City! That’s the bottom line! Let’s just cut to the chase! Why are we wasting time?”
Jack Harry, 810 AM
GH: Mad Jack, as he often does, cited no sources or gave no reasons as to why he believes Haley’s explanation about Weis and his son was inaccurate. I think it sounds like the perfect reason. Weis got a $12-million buyout from Notre Dame last year. He is not a healthy guy. Why not spend some years with your son and help him learn his chosen profession?

“If he wanted to spend more time with his son, he should have picked a different profession.”
Danny Clinkscale, 810 AM
GH: This comment struck me as a bit cruel. A father can’t go back and reclaim spent time with his kids. But he can always decide to change his life to make sure he spends what time he has in the future. Why begrudge a guy that option?

“This is a great situation for Charlie and I respect it 100% and we respect it 100%.”
Todd Haley, in his post game presser, addressing Weis’ decision to leave the Chiefs to be the OC for the Florida Gators, Metro Sports

“I think it’s a smart mover (for Weis) at his age if he doesn’t want a shot at a head coaching job.”
Danan Hughes, Metro Sports
GH: I’m not sure if Neil Smith was channeling Danan and his thoughts or what was going on with the former Chief. This is not a smart move for Weis at his age in any way, shape or form. The ONLY thing that makes sense is his desire to be a mentor for his son.

“I am surprised Haley never considered hiring a high school kid to keep Weis.”
Doug Stewart, commenting on Nick Wright’s postgame question to Haley on whether or not the Chiefs had considered hiring Weis son to keep Weis in KC, Twitter
GH: Haley’s response to Wright was telling as to how far Wright needs to go when it comes to becoming whatever it is he thinks he is. Haley laughed at the idea of the Chiefs hiring a high school senior for their coaching staff. While Petro had this story 24 hours earlier, Wright apparently was unaware of not only the son angle but also that Weis’ son is a senior at Pius X High School.

“Someone tell Doug Stuart, yanno the 3rd or 4th guy on that midafternoon sports show, that if he ever went to any events he could ask his (questions).”
Nick Wright, Twitter
GH: Maturity, lack of experience and just plain sports knowledge are problems for Wright – and it appears they will continue to be. Sometimes it’s best to just laugh at your mistakes instead of attacking those who poke fun at them. It also might help if Wright realized that following Chiefs players around town like a puppy is not the same as working a source. It’s more like being a tool.

“In sports talk, WHB slipped from 12th place in November to 14th in the current ratings and its downward ratings trend continued from a 4.7 in October to 4.3 in November to a 3.4 in December. The good news for WHB is that rival talker KCSP-610 AM continues to watch its ratings spiral downward and is now languishing in 20th place in the market. After two straight months with a 2.5 rating the Entercom station logged a dismal rating of 2.2 in November and a new yearly low of 2.0 in December.
John Landsberg,
GH: These numbers do not look good for Wright or his 610 Sports brothers. A 2.0 during the Chiefs run to the playoffs is more than just disturbing. It is very likely one of the reasons we have seen so much experimenting with different talk show lineups and substitute hosts over the past month on 610. The Royals’ season doesn’t start for three months. Can Wright hold on till the Boys in Blue again give his ratings a boost?

“A little more (quick) insight on Weis: Haley had begun to call more plays this year as season went on. Sometimes upward of 12-15 per gm.”
Kent Babb, Twitter
GH: Very interesting if true. 15 plays is a lot of plays to take out of the hands of the offensive coordinator. I can see where that might aid Weis in his decision to follow his son south.

“I think (Weis’ announcement) did affect them a little bit (against Oakland). A young team today, they just didn’t look like they were in sync on offense. That had to be going through some of those young guys’ minds.”
Tony Dungy, NBC
GH: Let’s hope another week can remove what ails the Chiefs. The Ravens are 12-4 and will be here Sunday at noon. Time to forget and move on.

“The Chiefs are in the playoffs. They could turn around and make this all go away by playing well next week.”
Danny Clinkscale, 810 AM
GH: It would not be the first time this season that the Chiefs managed a complete makeover in seven days.

 “Why don’t you leave this to the boys, sweetcakes.”
Ron Franklin, reportedly to sideline reporter Jeannine Edwards,
GH: Read Brooks’ account of this story at the above link. When Edwards objected to being called sweetcakes, Franklin tried to flatter her with “Okay then, asshole.” When Edwards complained to ESPN management, Franklin was removed from calling the Fiesta Bowl radio broadcast. Not real bright, Ron. and Twitter / greghall24

Salute costly to K-State

Posted 1-1-11

“All I saw (Adrian Hilburn) do was do sort of a little salute toward the dugout on the third-base side. I really didn’t see much more than that.”
Wyatt Thompson, play-by-play voice for K-State’s radio broadcast, on why K-State was being penalized 15-yards for excessive celebration following Hilburn’s touchdown to pull the Cats within two points of Syracuse, K-State Sports Network
GH: With that penalty flag – and two different referees tossed flags on Hilburn’s salute – we have a controversy that I believe will become bigger than anyone imagines. This will prove to be far more than just whether or not K-State got jobbed out of a realistic two-point conversation attempt. This one is going Tea-Party viral. Read on.

“My emotions took over me. That's what happened.”
Adrian Hilburn, Kansas State senior wide receiver, on why he saluted the K-State fans in the crowd, Kansas City Star
GH: The rule book can be interpreted to read that Hilburn’s salute drew attention to himself and therefore deserved the flag – but only if you’re an over-officious jerk – to quote Marv Levy. This was an asinine call made by two adults that ruined the end of a great football game.

“Exact same salute call was made against Texas Tech versus Oklahoma this year... Still doesn't make it right. K-State got screwed.”
Todd Leabo, Twitter

“It (the saluting) was much more flagrant in the Tennessee game.”
Lou Holtz, ESPN
GH: Obviously this saluting is subject to interpretation depending on who is refereeing the game. That is a very big problem if you’re the NCAA and trying to sell your game as legit.BTW, if you watched the Tennessee/NC State game, you know this sport is far from legit. Just an aside – Big 10 refs for both the Pinstripe Bowl and the Music City Bowl. Bo Pelini is gonna spontaneously combust on the sideline next season.

“(Hilburn) remembers an official telling him, ‘wrong choice, buddy,’ seeing a yellow flag and learning that K-State would be penalized 15 yards on its upcoming two-point conversion try.”
Kellis Robinett, writer Kansas City Star
GH: How ironic.

“Right or wrong, that's how most will remember the inaugural Pinstripe Bowl, won by Syracuse 36-34 on Thursday at Yankee Stadium. Not for the final score, but for the penalization of a patriotic gesture.”
Kellis Robinett, writer Kansas City Star
GH: Hilburn’s salute will prove to be the best thing he ever does on a football field. Read on.

“The worst part of this salute is (Hilburn) will have to live with that the rest of his life.”
Greg Schaum, Twitter
GH: Nope, that will be the best thing about the salute. Adrian Hilburn is about to become very, very famous. He will be hailed as a wronged patriot by every Democrat, Republican and Tea Party person who has a voice. Hilburn will never again have to buy a meal, a beer or a flag. Rush Limbaugh alone will make Hilburn a household name and famous beyond his wildest dreams.

“Worst fake I've ever seen.”
Kevin Kietzman, on KSU’s failed fake field goal, Twitter

“It was my fault. I went for the fake field goal and in hindsight it wasn’t a good call. That wasn’t our players fault. That was mine.”
Bill Snyder, in his postgame presser, K-State Sports Network
GH: While all the talk will be about the salute, Snyder deserves his share of the blame. His defense is in a word, atrocious – and has been since his return as K-State’s head coach. The fake kick either works or it doesn’t. What should concern Cat fans is that this team is not getting better but getting worse. Not unlike what’s happening to Bo Pelini’s Cornhuskers, just on a much more god-awful scale. The only thing that resembles Snyder’s teams of the past is his presence on the sideline.

“Everything we worked for this year has just been thrown in the trash because of an awful referee! … How can a referee throw a flag on a salute?”
Caller Steve, 610 AM

“Look, no one gives a crap about the Pinstripe Bowl. It’s not going to hurt you in recruiting. Overall, who cares? It’s the Pinstripe Bowl. Death to the BCS! It didn’t really cost K-State anything.”
Shan Shariff, responding to the above K-State caller who was upset over the salute penalty, 610 AM

“I think winning bowl games is critically important. So a missed opportunity (for K-State). You don’t get to play in that many bowl games.”
Stan Weber, K-State Sports Network
GH: Bowl games are meaningless to everyone but the winners and losers.

“I’m not sure that we made any substantial improvement.”
Bill Snyder, on his team’s play in the Pinstripe Bowl, K-State Sports Network
GH: I would concur.

“(Bill Snyder) did not address that in any shape or form.”
Wyatt Thompson, explaining to the postgame radio audience that Snyder did not address the salute penalty in his postgame presser, K-State Sports Network
GH: The reason Thompson had to explain why there was no audio of Snyder addressing the salute was because the K-State radio network was late getting to Snyder’s postgame comments (which took place at least 20 minutes after the game concluded) and missed the earliest questions. How does that happen? Inexcusable.

“It’s tough calling a game play-by-play from the end zone. Wyatt deserves a ton of credit.”
Stan Weber, K-State Sports Network
GH: While Thompson was relegated to call the game from an end zone seat at Yankee Stadium, Weber was forced to sit apart from his radio partner in right field. Along with the mountains of snow behind the benches and the slippery frozen field, do we need any more evidence that this is a terrible venue for a bowl game? Does the NCAA greed know no bounds? Again, I call for all college football fans to simply refuse to attend bowl games. We need to starve this giant into submission. and Twitter / greghall24

Gabbert throws crucial Pick 6 in Missouri's loss

Posted 12-29-10

“Worst pass in history of organized football. Thought Croyle threw a worse pass but I was wrong.”
Kevin Kietzman, on the Pick 6 Blaine Gabbert tossed to Iowa’s Micah Hyde late in the fourth quarter to give the Hawkeyes a 27-24 lead, Twitter
GH: We have all witnessed Old Man Momentum turn around a game. But I do not recall OMM ever jamming his tranny into reverse with more ferocity than during Mizzou’s seemingly game-clinching fourth-quarter drive. Tyus-Edney devastating is not too strong of a description for what we witnessed.

“Ill-advised is a tremendous understatement.”
Todd Leabo, Twitter

"I just got greedy."
Blaine Gabbert, via @Dave_Matter on Twitter
GH: Gabbert’s throw had nothing to do with greed. It had to do with smarts. Football smarts. The one piece of the Mizzou junior’s game that has bothered me. He sure looks to have everything else the NFL covets. For almost all of the other 85 MU offensive plays he was brilliant and the best player on the field. But sports rewards winners. Gabbert will simply be remembered as the goat.

“I just turned a defensive play into offensive play. They were making blocks all over the place. All I had to do was run.”
Micah Hyde, on his Pick 6, Omaha World Herald

“Turning point: Hmmmm ... how about Hyde's 72-yard pick-six with 5:32 left in the game and Iowa looking dead in the water? Bingo. Although Gabbert made his only awful decision in an otherwise brilliant night, Hyde deserves credit for jumping the route and making a brilliant return up the sideline for the touchdown.”
Adam Rittenberg, writer,
GH: Hyde’s return was the kind of stuff that Iowa fans will recall decades from now. Maybe longer. It was a brilliant cut-back run that laterally traversed the field and appeared doomed a number of times. One thing I noticed while watching the replay was that Gabbert made no effort to run Hyde down, despite having an excellent angle. Instead, the 6-foot-5, 230-pound QB took himself out of the play when he curiously dove at the knees of an Iowa lineman. It was the kind of dive you see an NFL QB take when they’re looking to avoid contact to prevent an injury. It was disturbing to watch.

“Gabbert scouting evaluation from tonight: Pro release and velocity. Weaknesses- decision-making and accuracy.”
San Shariff, at halftime of Insight Bowl
GH: Shariff with some eerie foreshadowing a good 90 minutes before Gabbert’s fateful Pick 6.

“Instant replay disobeys its own rules and Pinkel amazes even me with in-game stupidity. It’s like a late Christmas present.”
Nick Wright, Twitter

“Worst game Pinkel has ever coached. Awful. Suspended players right and left (for Iowa). Pro QB. Pros all over. Sad.”
Kevin Kietzman, Twitter

“Missouri has three time outs. I don’t get this (why Pinkel did not call time out).”
Matt Millen, as the on-screen graphic incorrectly showed MU with three time outs during Iowa’s final possession and under two minutes remaining, ESPN
GH: Pinkel was showered with Twitter hate because ESPN got the time-out graphic wrong. Only Wright continued to pile on after the mistake was made known.

“You still call timeout!”
Nick Wright, in response to someone informing him MU had only two time outs left and not three, Twitter
GH: Some people can admit when they’re wrong and then some people are Wright.

“My 2 favorite responses after a Mizzou loss...1) Trash talk from KU and KSU fans...Really? 2) Mizzou fans wanting Pinkel fired. I mean, seriously....Was it really Pinkel's fault Gabbert threw that pass? Mizzou had the game under control...The pick lost the game.”
Steven St. John, Twitter
GH: Yes, the timing of Gabbert’s Pick 6 cost MU the win but MU’s defense took the first half off. Pinkel again was unable to have his team ready to play in a bowl. Blaming Gabbert for the loss and not Pinkel is crazy. Gabbert was THE reason Mizzou came back from a 17-3 deficit and THE reason they led 24-20.

“Plenty of lousy bowl losses for Mizzou over the years. This may be the worst. Don't blame replay booth. Pick-6, all-timer of play for Hawks.”
Blair Kerkhoff, Twitter

“Overturning the Moe catch was a joke...totally inconclusive...But, the Gabbert interception was the reason why Mizzou lost.”
Steven St. John, on the replay official’s decision to overturn T.J. Moe’s desperate diving fourth-down catch along the MU sideline on the Tigers’ final possession, Twitter
GH: In my opinion 90% of the replay officials do not overturn Moe’s catch – from the replays we saw on ESPN. But maybe the booth got a better close-up view of the ball hitting the turf – which it appeared it did.

“Missouri would have been in field-goal range had the catch held up, but an excellent camera angle showed the ball hitting the ground and moving. I'm still surprised the officials ended up overturning the call on the field because of indisputable video evidence, but it looked like they made the right decision.”
Adam Rittenberg, writer,
GH: I wanted Moe’s catch to stand and keep Mizzou’s drive alive. I thought from the first replays we saw and how Moe was reacting during the booth’s review they would allow the catch. But the longer the review lasted the more concerned I became. Read on.

“It doesn’t look to me like there’s enough to overturn that. They’re going to have to let it stand. I don’t think he caught it but I don’t think there’s enough to overturn it.”
Sean McDonough, play-by-play voice for Insight Bowl, ESPN

“They got it right.”
Matt Millen, TV analyst, as he watched a stop-action replay of Moe’s “catch,” ESPN

“That ball’s skipping along the ground there. ... I think they made the right call. Give them credit in the booth for making a courageous call.”
Sean McDonough, play-by-play voice for Insight Bowl, ESPN
GH: I love that football has adopted replay. It too often doesn’t have the guts to right a wrong only because it would overturn what an official on the field ruled. It is in place to ensure the outcome is correct, not merely the result of human error. Sure it took ten minutes but they got the call right. It didn’t go the way I wanted but it went the right way. Moe did not catch that pass cleanly. To rule otherwise would have been wrong.

“It doesn’t matter. I don’t want to talk about it.”
Gary Pinkel, when asked to comment on Moe’s catch, Des Moines Register

“We're going to have one helluva team next year. ... People should watch out for us next year.”
Blaine Gabbert, via @Dave_Matter on Twitter
GH: So, does that mean Gabbert plans to be back at Mizzou for his senior year? Now that too would be a surprising turnaround. and Twitter / greghall24

Chiefs clinch division with Babb on furlough

Posted 12-27-10

“Kansas City deserves this. You deserve this. We deserve this. Sports has meant so much anguish over the years here, so much disappointment, so who cares if we still can’t be sure how this will end?”
Sam Mellinger, columnist, Kansas City Star
GH: There was a time when winning the AFC West was routine for our Kansas City Chiefs. That "time" was almost a generation ago. My 16-year-old son (and yours) has never known the Chiefs or Royals to be anything more than a disappointment. This triumph too may prove to be nothing more than a blip caused by fortuitous scheduling and a putrid division. But not today. Not this week. Not this year. Today we breathe the winter winds as champions. Champions of the NFL's American Football Conference West. Champions do not apologize. Champions simply reign.

“K.C. goes from chumps to champs.”
Headline, Omaha World Herald

“I thought that was maybe their best opening drive of the season – and I’m talking about the play calling.”
Jack Harry, on the Chiefs 7-play, 69-yard, TD drive to open the game, 810 AM
GH: This was the Chiefs’ best drive of the season. All the pressure sat atop Cassel and the Chiefs’ offense to get this team a win. The Titans chose to give the Chiefs the football after winning the coin toss. That proved to be a fatal error. You could not witness that opening drive and dream that maybe, just maybe, things will be different this time.

“(The Chiefs) came out and formationed them to pieces! They created windows and scenarios. I can’t say enough about where this team has come offensively from.”
Bill Maas, 810 AM

“Has Cassel Already Lost This City?”
Headline, atop an OTC column I penned in August,
GH: The question then was a valid one. Cassel did little in September to ally my fears. But what he’s done in December has made us all (or most all) believers. And proud.

“Matt Cassel is having a Pro-Bowl like year. … I certainly think he’s making an argument here for a Pro-Bowl berth. He has been spectacular.”
Rich Gannon, TV analyst and former All-Pro quarterback, CBS

“It has to go to Matt Cassel.”
Bill Maas, when asked to choose the Chiefs MVP for the season, 610 AM
GH: No one in the media with credentials was tougher on Matt Cassel from day one than Maas. To win over this grizzled NFL veteran’s respect is impressive. But is it accurate?

“It’s got to be Jamaal Charles.”
Jayice Pearson, when asked to name the Chiefs MVP, 610 AM
GH: Pearson and Maas made their pronouncements on different days. I would enjoy hearing the two ex-Chiefs debate this topic. After season after season when a Chiefs MVP appeared to be an oxymoron, we now have hope that this young team is telling The Clarks to clear room in that Hall of Honor for the next generation.

“I think the biggest reason for the turnaround here in Kansas City has been ball protection – and that starts with the quarterback”
Rich Gannon, CBS
GH: And ends with Shaun Smith.

“Let me tell you, Shaun Smith, big Shaun Smith number 90, played lights out today! They could not handle him!”
Richard Baldinger, on the Chiefs defensive lineman, Metro Sports

“I think Shaun Smith is the epitome of what Todd Haley wants in your average player. He’s a guy that Todd Haley says, ‘Look, you’re gonna have your superstars and you’re gonna have your other guys. And I want those other guys to give every last bit of everything they have every time they’re out on the field every single play.’ I think you see that with Shaun Smith. It’s not athletic. It’s not graceful. It’s just a big mass of nastiness.”
Bill Maas, 810 AM
GH: Smith was thought of as little more than a journeymen fill-in when the Chiefs acquired him from Cleveland. But this Round Mound of Sound (that Deep Freeze nickname has got to go) has gone from invisible to invincible as a Chief – and has quickly endeared himself to a fan base starving for a folk hero.

“It might have been a little bit aggressive there taking Matt Cassel out.”
Rich Gannon, after Brodie Croyle quickly tossed a tipped interception upon Cassel’s departure, CBS
GH: Cassel was seen vehemently arguing with Todd Haley after he was removed. Gannon seemed unaware that Haley benched Cassel for any other reason than to protect him with a 20-point lead. Cassel’s sideline ire toward his head coach did not give the indication he was being protected.

“Something was up. (Haley) didn’t like the way (Cassel) was checking out of plays or maybe Matt Cassel was showing some discomfort. Maybe Todd Haley was doing something completely outside the box and unorthodox, thinking maybe we’ve got this game.”
Danny Clinkscale, speculating on why Haley might have removed Cassel, 810 AM

“Mo Carthon had to restrain (Matt Cassel) (on the sideline from arguing with Haley). I’m sorry to see that. I really am. This was to be a celebration.”
Jack Harry, on Cassel’s disgust in being benched, 810 AM

“I loved seeing Matt go after Todd Haley on the sideline!”
Shan Shariff, 610 AM

“Gotta love a qb going after his coach. Haley's building even more chemistry and attitude.”
Kevin Kietzman, Twitter
GH: Mad Jack saw Cassel’s anger toward his coach as disappointing while Shariff and Kietzman saw it as endearing. Sports is like that. We all have our own idea of what’s good, what’s bad and what’s entertaining.

"Only one man is permitted to jump into the stands."
Referee, following Dwayne Bowe’s TD leap into the stands that was followed by Dexter and Cassel joining him in the end zone seats, CBS
GH: This rule needs to change – especially before the playoff game at Arrowhead this January. (Did I just write that?) Teams as downtrodden as the Chiefs deserve special dispensation from Pope Goodell to allow multiple men, woman, children and mascots to leap into the stands as often as possible after TDs, FGs, safeties and time outs.

“You can’t make any plays with your sideline cape on.”
Rich Gannon, citing Randy Moss on the Titans’ sideline much of the game, CBS
GH: Gannon must not be aware of the Jets’ unique brand of football.

“If anyone is mad at Jon McGraw, get a life. That is the way a vet takes control of a douche on the other team worth the 15 yds.”
Bob Fescoe, after the Chiefs safety put a cheap shot hit on a defenseless Titan who was on one kneel at the time, at Twitter
GH: The Titan player had been flagged the play before for pushing a Chiefs’ player as he came to another Titans’ defense. It all looked pretty harmless. But McGraw’s hit was cheap. Big time cheap. Fescoe’s tweet made me painfully aware he’s not from around here and was raised in a far different environment. I have no excuse for the Manhattan, Kansas native, McGraw.

"Sometimes that can happen on a cold day."
Rich Gannon, as Succup's long field goal attempt falls just short, CBS
GH: George Costanza calls that "shrinkage."

“Somebody has their U-Haul packed.”
Boomer Esiason, on the Titans lackluster performance with the Chiefs up 31-7 at the half, CBS

“Jeff Fisher shows some class here and surrenders.”
Mitch Holthus, as Tennessee took a knee to run out the clock, Chiefs Radio Network
GH: Class? Since when is it classy for a healthy squad to surrender a football game? I will never understand the losing team taking a knee simply to get to the locker room in haste. It takes more ass than class if that’s my team waving the white flag. Fisher needs to retire and take his Elvis shades with him.

“Now you want me to turn into a fan.”
Shan Shariff, responding to a caller who was upset because Shariff has been pessimistic most of the season about the Chiefs’ success, 610 AM
GH: It is not Shariff’s job nor any of the media’s to love the Chiefs unconditionally. We have every type of media person reporting and commenting on the Chiefs here in KC. Shariff is a newcomer who has no allegiances toward the local squads. It is not a requirement to do good radio. At times, being too much of a fan can be detrimental to quality reporting and commenting. Read on.

“If you wanna congratulate the Chiefs in person, go to the Juke House in the Jazz District for the official team party thrown by @AllStarCuts … If you're a Chiefs fan and you don't come to the juke house tonight at 18th and vine you're playing yourself.”
Nick Wright, Twitter
GH: No one in the local media is a bigger jock sniffer than Nick Wright. Following the team around during their off-hours is not professional. It’s just kind of weird.

“Go f*ck yourself, San Diego -- Ron Burgundy and Steven St.John.”
Steven St. John, Twitter
GH: I’m sure SSJ thought this was clever but I thought it was lame. Sometimes you have to grow beyond the fan you were at 19 and act like you’re a professional broadcaster. Or maybe all the time.

“So, you've got some $ in your pocket and you wanna go to a Chiefs game... Will you choose Raiders game or playoff game?”
Todd Leabo, Twitter
GH: I still think the Chiefs will have trouble selling out Arrowhead even for the first playoff game. But that says nothing about the excitement level of this city and everything about how screwed up the NFL is when it comes to pricing their product beyond their customers’ means.

“Hey Jakey, Leawood Zone for Arsenal v Chelski tomorrow? 1:55 on ESPN.”
Nate Bukaty, Twitter
GH: This is who 810 morning listeners will be stuck with all week while St. John and Jake Gutierrez take their annual year-end vacations. I think I’ll sleep in.

“What I'm trying to tell you, @mellinger, is that I didn't see that happening. Not six months ago, not six weeks ago. I'll admit it.
Kent Babb, Twitter
GH: Me neither. But I’m damn happy to be wrong on this one. and Twitter / Greghall24

NFL blackout threats are a farce

Posted 12-24-10

“The NFL releases a list of teams each week that are in jeopardy of a blackout because of tickets sold and unfortunately we’re on that list this week for the Tennessee game.”
Mark Donovan, Chiefs COO, 810 AM
GH: The NFL was supposed to announce Thursday at noon (or grant an extension) whether or not the Titans/Chiefs game would be blacked out on television in the Kansas City viewing area. It appears the Chiefs have been granted another 24 hours to sell enough tix to avoid Sunday’s game being blacked out. Read on.

“I just think it’s really important that the Chiefs’ fans come out. If we all get to the stadium together, those guys will stick their chests out a little further and play a little harder. If you’re a Chiefs’ fan at all, come on out! Jump on board! Something great could come out of this.”
Bill Maas, 610 AM
GH: I am uneasy with the members of the media who use their voice to influence fans to buying tickets. Maas is an ex-Chief but he doesn’t get a pass on this sin. Being a fan has nothing – NOTHING – to do with buying a ticket.

You gotta go to the people who don’t normally go (to Chiefs’ games) and tell them they gotta get out here.”
Kevin Kietzman, urging his listeners to fill Arrowhead on Sunday, 810 AM

“If this game was in Green Bay or if this game was in Pittsburgh there would be no question (that it would be a sellout). They’d go out there and rock the place!”
Mitch Holthus, 810 AM
GH: That list of cities is shrinking fast. GB and Pitt might be the only two where the NFL can still expect people to pay their prices and sit through all that make attending a game less attractive than watching one from home. This problem isn’t Kansas City’s problem. It’s the NFL’s problem.

“If I got to be the bad guy in this town, I’ll be the bad guy. A lot of the Chiefs fans who have gone to the games this year have not attempted very hard to make a difference in the game. I’ll call a spade a spade – some of you Chiefs fans haven’t been loud enough out there this year!”
Kevin Kietzman, 810 AM
GH: I have never understood screaming at a football game to distract the opponent. I love cheering a great play but trying to make the environment one where the opponent is at a disadvantage is like cheating to me. Why not give the visiting team a more slippery ball? Or direct a bevy of 400 hp fans at the visiting team’s bench to create a mini-tornado on their sideline? Allowing 70K fans to yell so loudly it makes it impossible for the visitors to hear signals is just as ridiculous.

“You gotta do it! This is what Chiefs fans have been waiting for!”
Steven St. John, urging fans to buy up the 2,000 tickets required to avoid a blackout, 810 AM

“I’m not going to rip fans for that. It’s the recession! People can’t afford to go to games as much!”
Bob Glauber, writer for NY Newsday, after he was asked a leading question by Soren Petro meant to embarrass Chiefs fans for not selling out Arrowhead, 810 AM
GH: Good for Glauber. It took a New York guy to make some sense for our local media jackals.

“We have tickets as affordable as $44.”
Mark Donovan, Chiefs COO, 810 AM
GH: And parking as cheap as $25. I guess we could all walk from downtown Raytown.

“I’m sick of people saying they don’t have the money. For these guys that say they don’t have $40, I’m sorry – they’re not football fans. People who don’t go are not real fans.”
Caller Bob, 610 AM
GH: Caller Bob was praised by Maas for his take. Caller Bob should be praised for his ability to work a phone considering the short stack he’s working with.

“It’s just too expensive. If they had $20 tickets I’d go to two games a month.”
Caller, 610 AM
GH: Supply and demand. I remember Mr. Capece talking about that in my high school business classes.

“Obviously, the Chiefs seats have been priced too high.”
Mark Carman, on the availability of Chiefs tickets from resellers for less than face value, 610 AM
GH: I don’t remember the last time I bought Chiefs tickets from the Chiefs. Probably in the early 90s when I was still a season-ticket holder. I don’t even bother with the resellers. I head to the stadium and pay cash to the lowest seller who is offering the best seats. There are just too many seats for the number of willing buyers.

“It’s not a kick to the teeth; it’s a kick to the (gonads) when I make those payments. … I spend a lot of my hard-earned money with the Chiefs.”
Soren Petro, on the six Chiefs’ season tickets his family has owned for many years, 810 AM
GH: I don’t ever remember the price of going to a ball game being anywhere near the financial sacrifice for my parents that it is for today’s families. Tickets are simply overpriced and have been for years. It’s not any different than the car biz or housing. You just can’t keep bleeding a corpse and think it’s going to turn into a vampire.

“This (blackout issue) is going to continue to be a problem in the future.”
Bill Maas, 610 AM
GH: I think fans paying to attend games is a fading fad. Sounds nuts? Check back in 20 or 30 years. I don’t think Kansas City will ever build another outdoor sports stadium. Games will eventually morph to sterile, safe, cheap environments that house no one but the participants, coaches and movie-like special-effects crews to create the game-day experience for fans watching at home.

“I think the blackout rule is moronic. Isn’t it the greatest advertisement in the world for your product to have people see (the games) on television?”
Mark Carman,610 AM
GH: Moronic might be too kind. I’ll go with caveman.

“Tell the guys we are doing everything we can to avoid the blackout.”
Pete Morris, Chiefs PR guy, according to Soren Petro, shortly after the noon deadline passed, 810 AM
GH: Uh, no. Not even close. Want to avoid future blackouts at Arrowhead and the many other NFL stadiums that have caught this affliction? Here’s how.

Build smaller stadiums. 65K tops. I think 50K people buying tickets to a Chiefs game being played the day after Christmas in 19-degree weather is incredible. But because Lamar put 85K seats in the place, we’re treated as failures. Ridiculous.

  1. Give the fans in the stands a better experience than the fans at home. Instead we get a far worse one. Show replays of all controversial plays. Better yet, hire a TV producer to pick and choose what gets replayed and tell him/her their only goal is to create rapt attention. Video highlights of all games all game long on beautiful huge HD screens all over the stadium. Arrowhead doesn’t have nearly enough good video screens. The topper would be NASCAR-like headsets to all fans to listen into both teams’ headsets. This would be crazy cool and despite how out-there you might think this idea is – it’s coming.
  2. Drop/Raise prices according to the opponent and the magnitude of the game.
  3. Quit raping your customers with exorbitant parking prices. It just pisses off your most loyal clients.
  4. Take the weather out of the equation. People no longer are willing to sit in ridiculous weather for a football game. Put a roof on it or at least one that has an on/off switch. and Twitter / greghall24

Frank Martin is more clown than coach

Posted 12-22-10

“These young men have worked hard to represent themselves and Kansas State in a positive manner. Having said that, they made a mistake in judgment and have to pay a price for that decision.”
Frank Martin, in official statement regarding the suspensions of Jacob Pullen and Curtis Kelly
GH: This bombshell hit the news only an hour before the game. No media outlets I know of had even a whiff that there were any issues with K-State’s best two players. This is a story that should have been broken earlier by good reporting but was not. It appears everyone in the media got caught overlooking what is going on in Manhattan, KS yet again.

“These two young men did not make a ‘mistake.’ They knew what the rules are and they did what they did. I think too often people try to use that word to get out of what they did. … Don’t try to pretend that it happened by accident.”
Mike DeCourcy, in an interview with Steven St. John on Wednesday morning, 810 AM
GH: DeCourcy is as opinionated as almost any college basketball analyst out there – Gottlieb included. He often takes the less popular road and never shirks from an argument. He ripped into St. John when he mentioned that Pullen and Kelly had made a “mistake.” It would have been fun to have had DeCourcy at Sprint Center last night for Martin’s postgame presser. Read on.

“I defy most people to say they wouldn’t take an extra shirt from a buddy working at a store. Any act that’s not a violent act, I really have a lot of tolerance for.”
Soren Petro, 810 AM
GH: Pullen and Kelly aren’t “most people.” They are recognized everywhere they go in Manhattan. They are cheered and idolized by a fervent fan base that loves them. They are the leaders on a top-10 team that was picked to win the Big 12. They have been lectured and prepped for four years on NCAA violations. They don’t get to make the same mistakes that Joe College in Chem 101 gets away with.

“Assistant sports information director Tom Gilbert began the postgame news conference by announcing K-State would not comment beyond the statement it released.”
Austin Meeks, columnist, Topeka Capital Journal
GH: So K-State’s All-American guard Jacob Pullen, the bearded face of the basketball team, along with preseason All-Big 12 pick Curtis Kelly, get suspended for stealing clothes from a department store and Martin refuses to discuss this with the media? Frank loves to preach to us about accountability and his honesty and blah, blah, blah. But when the pressure is on and he’s on stage under some media heat, he’s just another coach hiding behind a tough-guy glare.

“You fucking asshole!”
Frank Martin, to one of his players as he approached the bench during the UNLV game, ESPN2
GH: I watched Martin’s crazy-man act again for two hours on ESPN2 Tuesday night. It has lost its humor. He screamed expletives all game long in his players face and to those who were on the court. Almost 19,000 K-State fans made the effort to be at Sprint Center for this game. Some elementary age fans sat no more than a couple of feet from the K-State bench, well within ear shot of every f-bomb Frank dropped. I was embarrassed for him. Apparently he doesn’t get embarrassed. That’s not a good trait when you are a head coach and representing a proud fan base. 

“I got no idea. I don't know. I broke my nose three times. It's part of playing sports. He'll be all right.”
Frank Martin, when asked if Rodney McGruder lost a tooth during the game, during Martin’s post game press conference
GH: How can Martin not know one of his players lost a tooth? He plays up this Soprano image to make us all fear him. But it is starting to make him look like a troubled adult who has some serious issues with reality. We don’t care that you broke your nose as a kid, Frank. But you should damn well care that one of your kids just lost a tooth playing his ass off for you.

“You guys are trying to get under my skin today, aren't you? I've been pretty respectful of the media my whole career.”
Frank Martin
GH: Respect is a two-way word, Frank. Earn it and we’ll see about returning the favor. Blackballing questions about Pullen and Kelly was the coward’s way out – no matter how many pinstripes on your suit.

“Look, you’re missing two starters, including an All-American and your asking not to answer questions about how that impacts your basketball team? Frank always likes to talk about how he’s been around for awhile, even though he hasn’t been a head coach all that long, there’s no way you can’t talk about that! It’s the story! It’s the whole deal!”
Mike DeCourcy, 810 AM

“I don't want to hear anything else about leadership about anyone other than the guys on the basketball court. I do not want you to refer any questions again about anybody who was not dressed and in uniform here today.”
Frank Martin
GH: Since when does Martin get to dictate what questions he’s asked? You are a state employee, Frank. You make more money than almost every other state employee in Kansas. The governor doesn’t get to glare at the media and dictate what he or she is asked. Why do you think you get handled like a little girl?

“Until this team doesn't find that character and that leadership, we're going to continue to flounder around.”
Frank Martin
GH: Leadership starts with the guy in charge. That’s you, Frank. You looked like an out-of-control lunatic on the sideline and a bully in your presser. Time to grow up beyond your Huggy Bear roots. and Twitter / greghall24

Greinke's gone, here's what they're saying about it

Posted 12-21-10

“It’s sad to see the Royals forced to move their best player, sad that he wanted out of Kansas City so much, and sad that owner David Glass can’t or won’t spend the money required to keep their franchise pitcher. There is no spin from this, no way to get past the cold truth that the Royals blew a once-in-a-generation opportunity of having one of the best young pitchers in baseball who would be inclined to stay in Kansas City if convinced it would be worth his time.”
Sam Mellinger, after Zack Greinke was traded to the Milwaukee Brewers, Kansas City Star
GH: There is much emotion expelled after a fan base loses one of their franchise’s greatest all-time players. And make no mistake, Greinke was one of the best to ever wear Royals blue – no matter how some of the media haters want to paint the former Cy Young winner. Read on.

“Greinke had only one good season with the Royals! Let’s get real! 2009 ain’t never happening again for Zack Greinke! He will never pitch that well again!”
Kevin Kietzman, 810 AM
GH: Here is what’s real – the Royals franchise has been a loser for two decades. Why would an elite pitcher in his prime want to squander what’s left of his talents here in Mudville? Hey, I want the Royals to turn it around as much as the next fan but why rip Greinke for wanting out? Why diminish what he did as a Royals because you’re bitter he’s leaving? This kind of talk sounds juvenile to me but KK’s far from alone in this line of thinking. Read on.

“I must also admit that I was not a fan of Greinke...His act had worn thin...I think he would have tanked next year in a KC uniform.”
Steven St. John, Twitter
GH: How could you be a Royals’ fan but not a fan of Greinke? St. John’s strength as a very entertaining radio sports talk host lies in his passion for the local teams he has followed all his life. He is an unabashed diehard fan of Mizzou, the Chiefs and the Royals. It is also his greatest weakness as an opinionated sports analyst. He follows his heart almost every time when it comes to breaking down a game, a trade or even a phone call. It’s why I give far more credence to his takes on music and movie takes than his sports takes.

“There is no loyalty in professional sports, it’s a dog-eat-dog world. Not only did the Royals invest millions of dollars in Greinke, they were there for him when he was fighting for his life. The Royals deserved a cleaner exit from Zack Greinke.”
Jack Harry, Jack's Smack on TV 41
GH: Love when a media guy starts in on an athlete for not being “loyal” to a professional franchise. There is no loyalty in professional sports except from the fans – who are abused and used repeatedly by the owners and players.

“It would surprise me if he goes into remission for what (anxiety) problems that bothered him before.”
Kevin Kietzman, 810 AM
GH: So just because Greinke is taking his talents to Suds Beach, KK wants to put the whammy on him and root for a mental breakdown? Classy bunch of fans here in KC. Husker fans could learn a lot.

“I don’t believe just because he has a Cy Young year, he has the right to say that stuff about the organization.”
Billy Butler, MLB Network, on Greinke’s comments last season that the Royals’ prospects were unproven and too far away from making the big club for him to hold out hope in Kansas City, XM Radio
GH: Butler also acknowledged that what Greinke said about the Royals’ organization was accurate. What I did like about what Butler had to say was that he would like to be a Royals’ player who plays every day of his career in a Royals uniform. It will be interesting to see if Dayton Moore feels the same.

“He clearly didn’t want to be here and if he didn’t want to be here, I didn’t want him to be here.”
Kevin Kietzman, 810 AM
GH: That’s what she said.

“There are no heroes in this story, only villains, and any added optimism for the future will have to wait for the layered emotions of today to fade.”
Sam Mellinger, Kansas City Star
GH: A very pessimistic view from The Mellinger. While it is unfortunate to see yet another All-Star leave town, four prospects will head south with some promise.

“When you see this guy (Alcides Escobar) in spring training, your eyes are going to pop out of your head! He is right now the best fielding shortstop in the American League – and I don’t think I’m exaggerating. He has cannon for an arm. He is a highlight film defensively. He’s not going to be a great hitter but his defense will always make up for it.”
Bill, a Milwaukee reporter, interviewed by Soren Petro on the Royals new shortstop, 810 AM

“Escobar was considered the Brewers’ shortstop for years to come when installed as a rookie starter in 2010. Cain played very well as the starting centerfielder over the final six weeks of the season and was the favorite to win that job next season. Odorizzi is considered the top pitching prospect in the organization after a brilliant season at Class A Wisconsin. Jeffress, a first-round draft pick in 2006, was impressive out of the Brewers’ bullpen in September and has one of the best fastballs in the game.”
Tom Haudricourt, writer, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
GH: Might not mean squat that these four show potential but I like the trade. A pitcher, no matter how good, is the most fragile piece of any MLB team. I wish Greinke well and I will root for him every fifth day in Milwaukee. But he needed to go to be a winner. It’s David Glass’ job to make sure this club doesn’t face the same issues four years from now with their next superstar.

“While the price for Greinke was steep, it was necessary to pay.  The Brewers are once again contenders and Milwaukee is, for the first time in three years, genuinely pumped up about its team's chances.  That alone is worth its weight in gold.”
Dan O’Donnell, The O’Blog, WTMJ Milwaukee
GH: When these words can confidently be written by a Royals’ reporter, we’ll know we are not simply being fed another JoPo-esque sunny-side-both-sides pipe dream.

“I think for the most part I have done my part -- and I write how I feel not how they want me to write -- to promote this organization.”
Greg Schaum, who covers the Royals online at and can be followed at Greg_Schaum on Twitter
GH: If the Royals are upset with negative press, play better baseball. Draft better players. Win more frickin’ games. It ain’t the media or the messenger. It is the franchise that is creating the negative vibes about the Royals.

“They have no excuses now in 2013 and 2014 for this ballclub not to be a contending team.”
Brian McRae, after the Greinke trade, TV 41

“I think it’s a good trade. I’m optimistic about how this thing is shaking out.”
Soren Petro, 810 AM

“I think this trade helps the Royals. I like it as of now. I think people would be upset no matter what.”
Bob Fescoe, Twitter

“I hope it works out great for the Royals and just awfully for the Brewers! I really mean that! I hope it just blows up for them!”
Kevin Kietzman, 810 AM

“This one is a big-boys trade. This one has to work out or (Dayton Moore) is going to lose his job as the general manager.”
Soren Petro, 810 AM

“We’re not going to be able to keep them all. We’re going to try and keep some and hope we keep the right ones.”
Dayton Moore, 610 AM
GH: I would prefer Moore to say, “We’re going to keep all the good ones.” I think that’s what the big boys do. Time to grow up and become a big boy, Royals. How long do you expect us to smell this clubs’ dirty diapers and smile? and Twitter / greghall24


Cassel, without appendix, steers Chiefs to victory

Posted 12-20-10

“Matt Cassel has endeared himself to Kansas City sports lore. For me today, I think he has a place in Kansas City sports history. I don’t anticipate (Cassel) being here five years from now. I don’t anticipate him winning even one Super Bowl with (the Chiefs). But he’s got a place in Kansas City sports history.”
Bill Maas, after Cassel led the Chiefs to a road win over the Rams after overcoming an appendectomy only 11 days before, 610 AM
GH: I didn’t think there was any way Cassel could perform at a level of efficiency that would allow for a Chiefs’ win. I was as wrong as Gloria Funkhouser (pick your topic where Gloria is concerned). Cassel might just have made Kansas City his town with his dominant and gutty play in St. Louis.

“I think he means more to the success of the Chiefs than any quarterback since Joe Montana.”
Jason Lamb, sports anchor, Fox 4
GH: Okay, that’s not a Santa-like list in length but you get the idea.

“What he did today is he identified himself and what he is as a quarterback. He may not throw a fast bullet. He may not throw a tight spiral. He might not know where the ball is going coming out of his hand sometimes – and most time he doesn’t. But what he is, he’s a guy you can rely on. He’s a guy who’s not a puss. He’s a guy who will suck it up and give it everything you’ve got.”
Bill Maas, 610 AM
GH: Sounds like a guy any city would love to have as the quarterback of their NFL team. Hard to exaggerate how far Cassel has come in the eyes of Chiefs fans. As late as Sunday morning, The Star ran a feature story asking fans if they loved or hated Cassel.

“I’m not saying Cassel is a great player but the players around him played better because of his presence.”
Michael Coleman, sports anchor, TV 5
GH: Coleman, who might be the worst hire in Kansas City sports television since Karen Kornacki, rarely makes sense or says anything of value – but I have to agree with him here. Cassel makes this team remarkably better with his presence in the huddle.

“The Governor, Jay Nixon, said the cup is up for grabs.”
Ian Eagle, CBS
GH: You don’t need to tell Shaun Smith twice.

“They showed a lot of true grit. These guys want the playoffs.”
Richard Baldinger, Metro Sports
GH: Hard to believe this was the same team that laid down in San Diego last week. Does Cassel mean that much to the Chiefs? (BTW, True Grit opens in theaters on Wednesday – I cannot wait!)

“We’re not that good. We’re not. But we’re a tough team. … I can guarantee that this time next year we are not going to be in the same position we are. We’re not that good. We played the NFC West. If we had to compete in any other conference we’d be 2-fer. So go all in! Roll the dice! Go out there (to Arrowhead) and buy tickets for the next two weeks!”
Bill Maas, 610 AM
GH: Maas knows the Chiefs are a work in progress and their success is due to a soft schedule. But mediocre teams can get lucky in the playoffs. Chiefs’ fans have seen that from the view of the home favorite under Marty and Vermeil.

“If I never have to watch the NFC West again, I’m good.”
Brad Porter, Metro Sports
GH: The Chiefs schedule will most likely be far more difficult next season but at least we’ll see some competition that’s breathing. The Rams have a good chance of being division champs. Wow.

“Which is worse: the NFC west? Or getting kicked in the balls?”
Sam Mellinger, Twitter
GH: Was this a rhetorical question or was it directed at Shaun Smith?

“The way the crowd is split between St. Louis and Kansas City fans, it actually has the feel of a bowl game.”
Dan Fouts, CBS
GH: Except that there were about 30,000 more fans in St. Louis than for most of these worthless bowls. Tickets for Mizzou’s, K-State’s and Nebraska’s bowls are falling woefully short of the sponsors’ goals – which confirms Big 12 fans are far brighter than people in loud sports coats believe.

“Thomas Jones back swims into the sweet nectar of the end zone!”
Mitch Holthus, Chiefs Radio Network
GH: Holthus was feeling it in St. Louis. Read on for more Mitchisms.

“Kendrick Lewis hauls it in for the third out of the inning as we’re not too far from the new Busch Stadium.”
Mitch Holthus, on the fourth-quarter interception by the Chiefs’ defensive back, Chiefs Radio Network
GH: Mitch tosses out nonsensical statements like he was Michael Scott on the office…except he makes less sense and is even funnier. Read on.

“In the immortal words of that great poet of our time, Eminem; you can’t get to that place until you’ve been to this place.”
Mitch Holthus, as he reminded Chiefs’ fans that next Sunday’s game would again be the biggest game in the past seven years, Chiefs Radio Network

“They’ll be heavy favorites in both games at home.”
Danny Clinkscale, 810 AM
GH: Heavy? I don’t think Vegas is quite as impressed with the Chiefs as Mitch.

“(Wallace) Gilberry got a couple of garbage sacks. You can call them what you want.”
Jack Harry, after the Chiefs defender recorded three sacks of Sam Bradford, 810 AM
GH: What is a “garbage sack?” Harry has to understand football better than this, doesn’t he? Obviously not.

“Seriously.... Can any of the (Chiefs) receivers on this team catch the damn ball?”
Soren Petro, Twitter
GH: Haley came to KC as a receivers coach. It is where he made his NFL bones. Why then is his team so frustratingly poor at catching a forward pass?

“The only red flag I see for this team is the (kick) return team.”
Frank Boal, TV 41
GH: Huh? Boal must have selective memory if he can so quickly dismiss the Chiefs’ many lapses on the road this season to boil their only issue down to the kick returners.

“I’m happy. I’m happy for the city of Kansas.”
Maeshon Witherspoon, mother of Josh Selby, while being interviewed during her son’s debut at Allen Fieldhouse, ESPN
GH: City, state, township…whatever. If Selby can work his magic like he did in his debut against USC, Maeshon can confuse Kansas with Arkansas as far as Jayhawk fans are concerned. and Twitter / greghall24

Bubba declines; Mario Little suspended

Posted 12-17-10

“The people I talked to around the university were speechless. Almost in denial.”
Bob Fescoe, on the stunned staff at KU once it was made know that Bubba (Cunningham) had turned down the Kansas AD job, 610 AM
GH: This was a bombshell for the Kansas City market. Media everywhere had reported this as a “done deal.” Some in the media, like the Kansas City Star and AP, were more cautious. Radio and television talking heads though dived in as if Bubba was signed, sealed and delivered – despite repeated comments from Bubba stating he was still the AD at Tulsa and that nothing had changed. Read on.

“I’m going to stamp up for my fellow members of the media here. Just because it’s not true on Thursday, doesn’t mean it wasn’t true on Tuesday.”
Kevin Kietzman, 810 AM
GH: This quote should be etched into every journalism classroom from Honolulu to Miami as an example of what professional journalism is NOT. Truth is truth. It doesn’t have an expiration date like sour cream. Those who reported that Bubba was signed and would be KU’s next AD were incorrect because they jumped the gun. Jumping the gun is not good journalism. It’s fun. It creates buzz. It is also tempting as hell. But it ain’t truth no matter how you spin it once proven false.

“Bubba (Cunningham) was hired. He was scheduled to be introduced on Saturday. However, Bernadette (Gray-Little) got involved. Oh my did she get involved. The chancellor at KU really messed this one up wait til you hear what she did. When you agree to terms on a contract with someone, you better have those same terms on paper.”
Bob Fescoe, Twitter
GH: Fescoe is one of those in the media who spoke too soon and is now looking for others to blame. He attempted to build up a news story for his Friday show to paint BGL as the villain. I’m not a BGL fan but Fescoe knows even less about what happened in her meetings with Bubba than he did about his premature hiring.

"We don't have real deep pockets. This is not a great time for large expenditures outside the academic realm. What we did was within our means, and I don't think, quite honestly, the offer that we put together was the deciding thing. The deciding thing was the fact that (Bubba Cunningham) sees Tulsa as a great place to live and raise a family. He has a great situation here at the university.”
Steadman Upham, President of Tulsa University
GH: We may never know why Bubba made the choice to stay. But it appears from Upham’s comments that it wasn’t Tulsa oil money that kept him in place.

“He was making roughly around $500,000 a year here. In my conversations with (Bubba), he always seemed really intrigued with the University of Kansas.”
Eric Bailey, writer for the Tulsa World, who is widely credited with breaking the original story that Bubba was all but signed at Kansas, 610 AM
GH: $500,000? I think that’s what Lew Perkins spent on private jets to Ames and Stillwater last year.

“By declining the Kansas offer, Cunningham avoids the inheritance of problems plaguing the Jayhawk athletic department. And by staying at TU, Cunningham remains stuck with two headaches. Cunningham and his staff are challenged with the task of coaxing more than 15,000 fans to watch a TU program that is about to make its sixth bowl appearance in eight years. … Ultimately, to Upham's delight, tiny TU defeated mighty KU in the Bubba Cunningham derby.”
Bill Haisten, columnist, Tulsa World
GH: Yes, Kansas has some internal problems left over from the Lew Crew – and I am not an expert on Tulsa or its fine university. But I can’t think of any reason Bubba doesn’t make this jump. Kansas has Bill Self and one of the nation’s most storied basketball programs. The football facilities are brand new and state-of-the-art. The fan base is wealthy and passionate. The town of Lawrence is one of the best cities in the Midwest to raise a family. I think Bubba screwed up big time.

“Guys, this is embarrassing for Kansas. … What is unquestionably true is that the people in charge said we want him and he said, ‘No thanks.’ ”
Nick Wright, 610 AM
GH: I think it’s far more embarrassing for Bubba. Kansas will be fine. Who cares about this outside our area? Kansas University did not just become a second-rate school just because some Bubba turned down the AD job.

“The last time Kansas was in the market for a new athletic director, it didn’t get its first choice, either, and was rejected by an athletic director from the same city. After Al Bohl’s departure, then-chancellor Robert Hemenway first offered the job to Oral Roberts athletic director Mike Carter, who when pressured for an answer, declined because of family considerations.”
Tom Keegan, Lawrence Journal-World

“The last time this happened we lost Roy Williams. And how did that turn out for us?”
Caller Matt, 610 AM

“I just don’t think it’s a top 30 job. I don’t think people around the country are going to be as shocked as we are. Basketball isn’t that different from wrestling when it comes down to it. It’s all football oriented.”
Caller, 610 AM
GH: Football does rule college athletics but that doesn’t explain why Bubba would choose Tulsa over Kansas. Despite all of Tulsa’s football success, they are drawing only 15,000 to their home games. Whoever named Bubba knew what they were doing.

“Kansas University senior basketball player Mario Little was arrested early Thursday on charges of battery, criminal damage and criminal trespassing, according to Douglas County Jail records. Lawrence police said he was arrested after an altercation with several people and was accused of pushing his girlfriend into a sink about 3 a.m. Thursday at an apartment in the 1200 block of Ohio Street.”
George Diepenbrock, writer,

“That’s kinda the trifecta right there. What do they say, nothing good happens after midnight?”
Nate Bukaty, reporting that KU’s Mario Little was arrested early Thursday morning for criminal trespassing, criminal damage to property and battery, 810 AM
GH: Bubba’s story knocked Mario Little’s arrest into the backseat. But neither are as disturbing to me as the drive-by shooting at Marcus Denmon’s cousin’s funeral with some of the Mizzou team and staff in attendance. What a whacked world it is we live in.

“Moralists out there make me laugh. So you come into bedroom, your girl is with another guy, you don’t push her out of the way and beat his ass?”
Nick Wright, Twitter
GH: I just go find another girlfriend since this one obviously isn’t who I thought she was. Maybe I’m a different cat but all through my single years (I made it to almost 30) I never pined for a girl who favored another guy. There are just way too many girls out there to allow the wrong one to screw up your life. Little is an idiot to let this happen in a fishbowl like Lawrence. I feel no pity for him.

“Getting some tweets from people saying that the former KU (basketball) manager Little allegedly pushed is getting harassed. Come on. That's just sad.”
Brady McCollough, of The Kansas City Star, Twitter
GH: Sad but true. People will almost always favor the bad guy they know over the victim they do not.

“The last 12-14 months at Kansas have been about as bad as it gets in terms of multiple negative headlines.”
Jason King, of YahooSports, Twitter
GH: Amen. and Twitter / greghall24


Wally Judge not suspended

Posted 12-15-10

“Wally Judge is suspended now.”
Kevin Kietzman, on his Monday afternoon show, 810 AM
GH: When I heard Kietzman declare that the K-State sophomore had been suspended, I took notice. KK is very well-tuned into the happenings at his alma mater – or so I thought. Turns out KK sometimes says things that just aren’t true. Imagine that. Read on.

“Yesterday it was misreported that (Wally Judge) is suspended. That aggravates me! He’s not suspended. He’s not benched. We carefully worded that (press release).”
Frank Martin, while being interviewed by Steven St. John and Nate Bukaty, 810 AM
GH: Martin never revealed who reported that Judge was suspended so we cannot be certain his ire was directed solely at Kietzman. But as 810 likes to spout, they are the biggest sports talk radio voice going so I don’t think it’s a stretch to conclude Martin’s aggravation was KK related.

“He’s not benched! I try to do everything I can to be as honest and as clear when it deals with our basketball team. I don’t like it when people misspeak especially about one of our young men.”
Frank Martin, in an interview Tuesday afternoon with Nick Wright, 610 AM

“It sounds more like an emotional type thing (with Judge) – a Greinke-like thing. We don’t know.”
Kevin Kietzman, 810 AM
GH: If I’m KK, I might want to be very sure before I state on the radio that Wally Judge has mental issues similar to the highly publicized social anxiety disorder that removed Zack Greinke from MLB and almost ended his career. I can understand why Frank Martin was not real happy with this K-State alum.

“I’m going to try and be nice today and not get mad at a caller like I did yesterday who tried to tell me I said something I didn’t say. Which is my only pet peeve with this show – when somebody tells me I said something I didn’t say.”
Kevin Kietzman, 810 AM
GH: I didn’t hear the call Kietzman referred to or what it was that KK is adamant he didn’t say. But maybe Kietzman can now understand why Martin is so upset with him and his erroneous report of Judge’s suspension.

“It’s him. His grades are good. There’s some things he’s got to deal with. When Wally decides to become a professional, then his life will be out there to be told. As long as they’re in college, I am going to protect their privacy. I’m never going to speak about these young men’s personal steps as they go through college. He’s fine. He’s in good spirits. He’s one of our guys. Our players have put their arms around him. He’s gonna be okay.”
Frank Martin, after Nick Wright asked him if Judge’s personal problems were related to school or home, 610 AM
GH: Martin is a head basketball coach first and foremost. The last thing he wants being said about him and the most-highly recruited player on his roster is that he is a coach who cannot handle big-name talent. Is he being protective of Judge? Sure. But don’t think he’s not also being protective of his program and assaults from other recruiters wishing to chip away at his stash.

“When I talked to Frank (Martin) about Wally (Judge), he used the word ‘maturity’ numerous times. My guess would be there are some issues with maturity.”
Doug Gottlieb, on why Frank Martin has suspended Judge for personal reasons, 810 AM
GH: My guess would be there are some issues with Wally having enough game to put up with his immaturity. Most college athletes are immature. Most college males are immature. Hell, most males still breathing are immature. It just depends how many wins an immature college athlete can help a coach rack up as to whether they’re worse the hassle. Wally’s problem is he plays too much like the Beav, not that he acts like Eddie Haskell.

“We’ve got to be supportive of (Judge) now, not critical of him as a basketball player. We need to be supportive of him as a person. That’s what we will do.”
Frank Martin, 610 AM
GH: Sure sounds good coach, but I’m not as quick to buy what you’re selling as a lot of the local media who are happy to allow your charm to lead them by the nose. Kietzman had the suspended story wrong and was out-of-line with the Greinke comparison. But I’m not so sure that everyone else in the media who is lapping up everything F-Bomb Frank is laying down is on the right track as well.

“A lot of people want to change me to be somebody else. I don’t get that.”
Frank Martin, 610 AM
GH: Famous last words from a lot of people no one remembers. Being able to adapt is not a bad trait to develop even later in life. Just ask a few ex-coaches, newspaper writers and radio jocks. and Twitter / greghall24

Chiefs, with a lame effort, get their asses handed to them

Posted 12-13-10

“Bolts were good, but Chiefs should be ashamed”
Headline in Monday’s San Diego Union-Tribune

“The Chiefs should be ashamed of themselves. They didn’t try to fight. They were Spinks and the Chargers were Tyson. Sure, Cassel wasn’t there, and he’s having a fine year, but don’t spend your Sunday afternoon looking for a soft place to nap when daddy isn’t around to make sure you’re doing your chores.”
Nick Canepa, columnist, San Diego Union-Tribune
GH: The one recurring thought I had as I watched what Sam Mellinger referred to as a “curbstomping” was that the Chiefs pretty much never expected  to win this game so they never tried. Read on.

“We got our backsides beat pretty good. … This will be the most devastating loss.”
Todd Haley, in his postgame press conference, after the Chiefs gained 47 yards rushing and 19 passing, while giving up 445 total yards to the Chargers, 810 AM
GH: Let’s hope. I had a longtime Chiefs fan tell me this was the worst he’s seen the Chiefs look in the franchise’s time in Kansas City. Hard to argue that point when you see those numbers.

“Well, Todd, your guys did nothing to prevent it. Just looking at the numbers, it’s hard to remember a division-leading team being so helpless.”
Nick Canepa, columnist, San Diego Union-Tribune
GH: Well, the Chiefs aren’t the only division leaders who looked like elves on Sunday. Da Bears looked like goldfish in the snow against New England. The NFL makes about as much sense each week as a SNL skit. Was it just me or was Paul McCartney’s singing voice on SNL worse than Ringo’s on a good day?

“If I’m San Diego, you’ve got to respect this kid (Croyle) because he’s got some talent and he can make some plays.”
Mitch Holthus, prior to the game, 810 AM
GH: The Chargers gave Croyle about as much respect as an NFL quarterback as they would have given Len Dawson – and Lenny is 75.

“You can’t blame it on Brodie Croyle. That poor guy was running for his life out there!”
Len Dawson, TV 9

“This is not about who played quarterback today. Matt Cassel would have died out there today just as Brodie did.”
Bill Maas, 610 AM

“You can’t be 0-11 in third-down situations. That’s ridiculous! … How many yards did Kansas City have (Sunday)? 67? That’s ridiculous!”
Len Dawson, 810 AM

“It all comes down to the big guys up front in the offensive line and the defensive line.”
Len Dawson, 810 AM
GH: Which is why Scott Pioli reached badly in drafting Dexter McCluster in the second round instead of a stud linemen on either side of the ball. Dexter is a thin, sexy and fragile fling that turned Pioli’s head when he should have been hunting for a good sturdy cook and bottle washer.

“The number-one need for this football team is another pass rusher.”
Soren Petro, 810 AM
GH: Aldon Smith, a pass rushing sophomore extraordinaire at Mizzou, is testing his NFL stock according to Gabe DeArmond at I have a feeling he’s going to find his value is first-round worthy. His matchup chasing down Iowa’s Ricky Stanzi will be fun to watch in the Insight bowl.

“We weren’t ready. We weren’t from the start.”
Brian Waters, Chiefs All-Pro offensive guard, Kansas City Star
GH: How in the hell can a guy who has been with the Chiefs through all the crap seasons not have his fellow teammates ready to win a division title in 80-degree weather in San Diego? Factory workers at the Chevy plant in Fairfax have to show up for every shift ready to work or else they make crappy cars that don’t sell. Is it too much to ask of the Chiefs players to show up for three hours on game day?

“How does a coach get a player ready to play? What does that mean? It’s kind of left up to you (as a player) to go out there and get ready to play.”
Bob Fescoe, 610 AM
GH: Fescoe doesn’t think it’s the coaches’ jobs to get the team ready to play. I am going to guess The Clarks might disagree with that one…as did a few former Chiefs’ players. Read on.

“I don’t know how many different ways I can say lifeless, no energy. No extra effort. You cannot coach effort. You cannot coach intensity. They did not show up today.”
Danan Hughes, NFL analyst, assessing the Chiefs play in San Diego, Metro Sports

“There was too much on the line to come out and give a performance like that if you are who you say you are. I’m not quite sure they can go out and win these next three games.”
Jayice Pearson, 610 AM

“That looked like a team that swallowed a bunch of Nyquil. They looked lethargic. They looked out of it. They looked effortless. ”
Bill Maas, 610 AM

“It’s a pathetic team on the road. There’s got to be an answer to that. I don’t see that many football teams in the National Football League that when they go on the road they’re this bad!”
Richard Baldinger, Metro Sports

“If you can’t play strongly on the road in December, what do you really deserve?”
Danan Hughes, Metro Sports

“They’re going to have to open it up for Brodie Croyle. Sooner or later you’ve got to throw caution to the wind and let Brodie Croyle air it out.”
Steve Tasker, TV analyst, with the Chiefs down 21-0 in the 3rd Quarter, CBS
GH: I am pretty sure the phrase “throw caution to the wind” has been stricken from the vocabulary of every Chiefs’ employee by mandate from Scott Burgermeister Pioli.

“They played the game (conservatively) and they didn’t want to lose it with Brodie and that’s being smart.”
Herm Edwards, 810 AM
GH: Herm is a wealth of information if you enjoy coachspeak and his undying effort to prop up all coaching decisions – no matter how lame. Please, some team needs to hire this guy so we can stop being subjected to his say-nothing weekly interviews on 810.

“I think it was a great game for Matt Cassel to miss because I think we would have had a situation where Matt Cassel wouldn’t have been very good. Now you can just kind of wash the plate. It is just a loss. It doesn’t matter (any more than any other loss). It’s bad but I will say they still are in first place.”
Danny Clinkscale, 810 AM
GH: Clink was one of the few optimistic voices after the game. Steven St. John was another one. Read on.

“If Cassel comes back, I still think Chiefs win the division...Love listening to people overreact...Any doubts now that Cassel is team MVP?”
Steven St. John, Twitter
GH: If Cassel is the Chiefs’ MVP, that might be proof enough we don’t have a playoff team at One Arrowhead Drive.

“All that winning these eight games this year has gotten us a tougher schedule next year.”
Caller, 810 AM
GH: This is an example of a fan overreacting. Winning eight regular seasons games is fun. If the Chiefs don’t make the playoffs or get smoked in the first round, sure we’ll be upset but far from King Carl devastated.

“We’re 0-1. We’ve got to find a way to stick together. … We have to see it for what it is.”
Todd Haley, in postgame press conference, referring to the Chiefs record in the final quarter of the season, 810 AM
GH: I still don’t understand how breaking the season into quarters helps a team’s focus. Is sure didn’t help in San Diego.

“All I can say is, ‘Ouch!’ I never thought I would see happen to the Kansas City Chiefs what I saw happen today.”
Len Dawson, TV 9

“And Jacksonville has won!”
Kevin Harlan, working as the play-by-play voice for the Oakland/Jacksonville game, CBS
GH: Kudos to CBS for hanging with the Raiders/Jags game to the end despite the fact it went until only minutes before the Chiefs/Chargers kickoff in San Diego. Too often we get switched out of a game we’ve invested three hours in only to watch 10-15 minutes of commercials and pregame fluff. CBS handled this one perfectly and I am one NFL fan who noticed. and Twitter / greghall24


The breaking of the Cassel surgery story

Posted 12-11-10

“Congratulations on breaking this story.”
Jack Harry, to Kevin Kietzman as they came to the close of discussing Matt Cassel’s emergency surgery, just before 4:00 PM on Wednesday, 810 AM
GH: Kietzman neither verbally accepted Mad Jack’s congrats nor did he correct him. Harry’s words simply floated in the air like a soap bubble. A bubble that KK could have either popped or allowed to fly. He chose the latter. Read on.

“Chiefs QB Matt Cassel underwent an appendectomy this morning, according to a league source. Big question mark for Sunday now. More Cassel details: It was laparoscopic surgery on his appendix, which often is less invasive. But still, having had it, tough bounce back. Chiefs said they expect Matt Cassel "to return to work this week." Big difference between returning to work and playing in a game.”
Adam Schefter, ESPN NFL reporter, Twitter
GH: Schefter is widely credited with breaking this story Wednesday afternoon, during Kietzman’s show. I can’t confirm he deserves the credit but I am almost positive it wasn’t KK who somehow ran this story down while he was on the air and “broke” it. He reported what he heard or read from Schefter or a source quoting the ESPN reporter, but that’s about as much credit as I’m willing to give KK.

“You know what I see? I see a guy (in Todd Haley) who went 4-12 last year and they all but hit the panic button (hiring Romeo Crennel and Charlie Weis). Haley, you’re a genius! Sorry, but I’m having a bad week. I know we’ve got this business deal with (the Chiefs) and I don’t want to be the guy who wrecks it. I don’t want to get sideways with them like I was with Carl Peterson. But I think people deserve more than, ‘We’re not gonna discuss it other than what the NFL requires.’ ”
Kevin Kietzman, livid that Haley refused to offer details or an explanation as to why Matt Cassel did not practice on Wednesday, 810 AM
GH: KK went a bit Pioli over Haley’s tight-lipped presser on Cassel. Read on.

“I don’t want to make this into a bigger issue than it is. I fully expect Matt Cassel to play on Sunday.”
Kevin Kietzman, 810 AM
GH: This was an hour before KK “broke” the story about Cassel having an emergency appendectomy. I’m still trying to understand how KK was able to break the story and not know about the surgery.

“We just want to know a little bit about our football team. It’s not a game to us. It’s a family! This is our life! It is bigger here than in New York. Maybe we’re deranged here but this is what we are. When the starting quarterback is not practicing can you…give us a little something?”
Kevin Kietzman, 810 AM
GH: For a minute there I thought I was listening to Greg Sharpe on the Cornhusker Radio Network.

“I was in my apartment when Adam Schefter broke this story for ESPN.”
Shan Shariff, 610 AM
GH: Shariff went into a detailed description on his show of how he had heard earlier Wednesday that Cassel  had been in surgery for an appendectomy and how he had attempted to get confirmation. He phoned Bill Maas, he called area hospitals and exhausted multiple sources in an effort to break this story. Schefter beat him to it before he could confirm it and he acted like a professional in crediting Schefter with the scoop. KK could learn a lot from the new kid.

“We should have gotten his name. It is clear that that guy was obviously a doctor.”
Kevin Kietzman, after a caller who identified himself as a doctor discussed the possible recovering time for Cassel at approximately four weeks,  810 AM
GH: Obviously, KK had no idea if this caller was a doctor or Chiefs John in disguise. While I too believe the caller was a physician, there isn’t a newspaper or many legit blogs (is that an oxymoron?) that would allow that “evidence” to stand as competent reporting. Every time KK wants to rip the newspapers for their faults, it would be wise to remember radio’s as well. Obviously.

“We are hearing that the other station has confirmed that Matt Cassel will be out four weeks. So we know that’s not true. It’s either going to be two weeks or three weeks or five weeks. We know it won’t be four weeks.”
Nick Wright, 610 AM
GH: I don’t have access to Wright’s Arbitron numbers but his demeaning style toward KK and 810 makes it sound like he’s dominating his competition via a Tyson-like knockout. Maybe it’s just Nick’s high-pitched sarcastic tone but his cuts sound more sophomoric than witty to my ears.

“My buddy Petro is evidently reporting that (KU’s Elijah Johnson) is going to transfer at the end of the semester – except he’s not. … When you haven’t broken a story in three years, I would recommend that you try not to get your first one wrong. Elijah Johnson is not transferring. You might have been told he was in-between bites of some delicious Arby’s and questions about shortstops.”
Nick Wright, in a salvo fired at his competition at 810, 610 AM
GH: I heard the caller tell KK he thought Cassel would be out four weeks. No one at 810 “confirmed” anything. It was simply an opinion given by a caller who identified himself as a doctor. I did not hear Petro claim that he was breaking a story about EJ transferring. Let’s hope Wright did because he was way off on the Cassel cure. 

“It’s gonna hurt when he poops.”
Phil St. John, the youngest son of Steven St. John, who had similar surgery for a laparoscopic appendectomy three weeks ago, when asked for his assessment of Cassel’s injury, Twitter

“One thing I love about that kid (Cassel) is that he does not pout and he does not whimper.”
Mitch Holthus, 810 AM
GH: At least he’ll be high on Santa’s list.

“I’ve been a Cassel hater. The only thing I’m going to be thinking about when I watch this game in San Diego is, ‘Brodie, please don’t put egg on my face.’ I’m a Cassel hater afraid of Croyle failure.”
Shan Shariff, 610 AM
GH: Cassel has come about as far as any Chiefs’ quarterback ever has over the past four months. I posted a headline in August asking if Cassel had already lost this city’s support. I’m still not sold he’s Brady-lite but he’s been more than a manager of the offense. It will be interesting to see if Brodie can hand the ball to Jamaal Charles enough on Sunday to make it a game.

“I’ll be rooting as hard for Brodie Croyle as hard as I have rooted for a Chiefs’ quarterback ever!”
Steven St. John, 810 AM

“Everybody’s going to have to help if Brodie is going to be the quarterback. If you catch my drift.”
Mitch Holthus, 810 AM

“I’ll be rooting like hell for Brodie Croyle in this game.”
Nate Bukaty, 810 AM

“To me this doesn’t affect the Chiefs playoff chances significantly. I think the Chiefs will be just fine. Tell me one play this year that Matt Cassel has made this year that you don’t think Brodie Croyle couldn’t?”
Nick Wright, 610 AM
GH: I understand Wright not wanting to credit Cassel but eventually it just makes the critic appear superfluous. Croyle has yet to win a game as an NFL starter. Let’s start there.

“Usually I try to stay off the AM (radio) band but as I was driving home after the (Denver) game trying to get the Oakland/Chargers game, the first thing I heard was some guy saying that Haley can stick it where the sun doesn’t shine for not kicking the field goal.”
Todd Haley, 810 AM
GH: Interesting that our millionaire head coach is surfing the AM band for the Chargers game when you would think he could afford XM. Just go ahead and admit it, Todd, you’re one of us.

“I love these guys! It’s the best bunch of players I’ve been around in my 17 years in the league.”
Mitch Holthus, on his relationship with the Chiefs’ players, 810 AM
GH: Here’s a question to the OTC masses – what Chiefs’ team was the most fun to root for and follow? I wasn’t close to the Lenny Dawson teams but some of those stories Pete Enich tells are pretty tasty. I’d have to cast my vote for DT’s and Neil’s teams in the early 90s. I’m sure Craig Glazer has a story or two about these guys. I know his tale about Steve DeBerg lying naked on a table in Westport is one of my favorites.

“I’m confused.”
Todd Haley, after listening to a five-paragraph three-subject-change question from Holthus, 810 AM
GH: So it’s true, Haley is just like one of us!

“I was a powerful back! I was like Jerome Bettis.”
Shaun Smith, on his days as a running back at Wichita Heights High School, 810 AM
GH: Shaun “The Ball-arina” Smith said he also played safety in high school and was a dunking machine on the basketball team. We always knew you were a baller, Shaun.

“When you have a dog or a horse that runs amok and nips back at you, you’ve just got to condition them.”
Bill Maas, when asked how to reprimand Barry Richardson for shoving the special team’s coach on the sideline, 610 AM
GH: Maas is great on radio. He might not do well inside a car or an airport or even a family, but I love his segments on 610 Sports.

“I would hate a (NBA) team get relocated and move out to Las Vegas or Seattle. If it’s available, let’s go! Full go!”
Bob Fescoe, on news that the NBA is looking to relocate the New Orleans’ Hornets franchise,  610 AM
GH: If you’re wondering why my OTC hasn’t been brimming with as much NBA relocation talk as the local talk shows, it’s because I don’t need an NBA team in KC to help create interest in my radio sports talk station. What 610 and 810 are doing with this non-topic is about as selfish an act as anything David Glass or Carl Peterson have pulled on the local fans. and Twitter / greghall24

Bringing a date to the press box? Not cool

Posted 12-8-10

The press box at a sporting event is a rare space. Unlike the other areas of a stadium populated by men and women dressed in civilian garb, the press box is a remote office for professionals hard at work. Okay, it might not appear to be all that businesslike or that every credentialed member of the media in attendance is there to sculpt a future Pulitzer but that is actually the intent. People are there to work, not play. Or date.

Sunday at Arrowhead for the Broncos/Chiefs game, that message got a bit sideways when a Denver-based radio guy brought what some considered to be a date to Arrowhead’s press box. Bringing a football-sized brisket sandwich from Arthur Bryant’s or even a vintage laptop from before Y2K into the press box is mocked by fellow journalists but understood. But smuggling in a credentialed female under the guise that she is a working member of the media is treated like a burrito fart in post-game interview scrum.

Following Twitter prior to Sunday’s game, I came across a tweet from Kent Babb, The Kansas City Star’s beat writer for the Chiefs. “Not that the young lady isn't getting things done in this working press box. She's looking at a box score and doing her makeup. That's cool,” read Babb’s tweet. Knowing Babb’s sense of humor and cutting wit, I surmised he was not being complimentary to the female intruder.

After some research, I found that Brandon Krisztal, a former 610 Sports employee who now works for KKFN-FM The Fan in Denver, tricked the Chiefs PR officials into believing Lauren Pickett, a former intern at 610 Sports, was attending the game to work sound interviews for the Denver radio station. According to members of the local media who observed Pickett on Sunday, she was nowhere to be seen during any interview sessions pre- or postgame. But she was seen getting busy with her makeup mirror.
As stated earlier, the working press draws the line when it comes to a fellow member abusing the tight allocation of seats at an event to bring in somebody’s squeeze. “Em-freaking-embarrassing for that dude's station,” read another tweet from Babb.

Babb’s tweets from the Arrowhead press box drew the attention of not only Krisztal and Pickett, but also another very interested party, Damon Amendolara. DA is the former 610 Sports morning host who was fired by Entercom in December 2007 in favor of Roger Twibell. DA was one of the more likeable and entertaining 610 sports talk jocks. His removal for the older and sleep-inducing ex-golf broadcaster was one of the many failed attempts by 610 Sports to improve their stagnant ratings against rival 810 WHB. DA is now hosting a show in the Boston area and appears to be doing well – accept for some baggage he left behind here in Kansas City. That baggage being his alleged girlfriend, Lauren Pickett.

It appears Krisztal did his buddy DA a favor and brought Pickett into the Chiefs’ press box under phony pretenses. Word out of Denver is Krisztal is not the most likeable guy in the media and a number of his fellow Denver dregs were quick to point out to the Kansas City clan that Pickett was bogus baggage taking up a seat that should have gone to a legit media wretch. Pickett all but outed herself when she bragged about being in the press box and even posted a photo of her Chiefs-issued credentials on her Facebook page.

DA may not have picked a bright one but at least she’s active on social networks – which makes researching this story convenient. Pickett added a tweet of her own, responding to Babb’s less than flattering comments about her presence in the press box. "Shocking that newspapers are dying. Their writers worry more about who's at the game rather than who's doing what on the field. Take note Kent Babb-pay more..."

Biting and stinging prose from Barbie, uh, I mean Ms. Pickett. You can just smell the burnt eyeliner. Word is that DA did some research of his own and procured Babb’s cell number from another member of the Kansas City media. A phone conversation between the two took place that was described to me as “heated.” DA was upset that Babb ripped his gal via Twitter and Babb defending the press box as a place for work, not dates.

The Chiefs aren’t easy to fool when it comes to handing out credentials. I don’t see them as the guilty party here but more the victim. Their work place has been violated by a scam. It might sound innocent to the non-media member but it is far from a guiltless ruse. It’s theft. The average fan (and that is maybe the nicest moniker I can attribute to Pickett) paid $100 or more to just park their car and get inside Arrowhead for the Broncos’ game. I’m guessing Pickett owes at least a C-note to “The Clarks.”

Every time a member of the media violates that professional agreement between a sports franchise and the media by using their job to get a fan an autograph, sneak a buddy into a locker room, or turn the press box into a night club, it diminishes the professionalism of a reporter, writer, broadcaster or photo journalist. And many of those guys and gals don’t need any help in that department.

Let’s face it, being a member of today’s media is not at its apex. The Internet has turned anyone with a library card into a reporter, columnist or storyteller. That’s not all bad. The increased coverage has forced many in the mainstream media to up their flaccid games or retire. But when the rules of journalism are skirted to titillate at the expense of facts, it simply muddies the information pool and adds doubt to the stories that are legit. Same for sneaking somebody’s girlfriend into a press box – it makes everybody in the media look bad no matter how much makeup you apply.

PS: I attempted to contact both Babb and DA via email. Babb declined to be interviewed for this story and I have yet to receive a response from DA. If I hear from either and they wish to air additional information for this report, I’ll be happy to publish any news they provide that proves enlightening. and Twitter / greghall24


Analyzing the local teams' bowl matchups

Posted 12-7-10

“If the only reason MU's bowl announcement has been delayed 90 minutes is to enhance ESPN drama, then MU should tell ESPN where to go.”
Mike DeArmond, Twitter
GH: The only reason there are most of these nondescript who-cares bowls is because ESPN/ABC is willing to pay billions to televise college football. If ESPN wants 90 minutes, they can have their 90. It ain’t 1974 anymore, Mike. Cool your jets and enjoy the trip to Tempe and the paycheck.

“These are exhibition games! They don’t count! The game doesn’t matter.”
Kevin Kietzman, to a Mizzou caller complaining about the bowl matchups, 810 AM
GH: True, kind of, but we sure do spend a lot of time discussing these meaningless exhibition games. Read on.

“One theory is that the Big 12 helped persuade other bowls to look more favorably on teams that are remaining in its conference, one reason the Insight might have chosen Missouri instead of Nebraska, which is leaving the Big 12 after this year for the Big Ten.”
Bob Condotta, writer, Seattle Times
GH:  Dan Beebe’s job is to do whatever is best for the Big 12. While Nebraska remains an active Big 12 member through June, the reality is that the Huskers deserve no love from Beebe or the conference when it comes to the bowls selection process.

“Now, did the Big 12 have something to do with this? Well, sure. Absolutely. What, you think that Commissioner Dan Beebe wants a three-hour infomercial on ESPN Dec. 28 on all things Big Ten? This is what life's going to be like in the Big Ten next year, Kirk. Yeah, isn't it great, Brent? This is where Nebraska belongs. Of course the Big 12 office politicked to keep the Huskers out. And, of course, the Insight Bowl listened.”
Tom Shatel, Omaha World Herald

“This was a decision based more on merit. We looked at the rankings. Too many times bowls are criticized for making decisions based on hotel rooms and things like that. We looked at the (BCS) rankings. The gap between 12 (MU) and 18 (NU) is pretty significant."
Andrew Bagnato, a long-time national college football writer who now works for the Fiesta/Insight Bowls, Omaha World Herald
GH: As a Nebraska fan, I don’t see where the Huskers have much room to bitch about their Holiday Bowl invite…except for the ridiculously awful rematch with the hapless 6-6 Washington team that NU beat by 35 at Washington in September. But blame that pairing on all the bowl contracts between conferences, not the Insight choosing Mizzou.

“But, of course, all of this could have been avoided. Had Nebraska beaten Oklahoma.”
Tom Shatel, Omaha World Herald
GH: Amen. Hold onto that 17-0 lead over the Sooners and the Huskers are headed to the Fiesta for an equally ugly matchup between UConn. Not sure that one would excite me much either.

“Told by Iowa school official that Hawkeyes have sold 3,500 tix to Insight Bowl as of (Tuesday) morning. Mizzou at 4,000 yesterday… First 72 hours of sales considered crucial.”
Dave Matter, Twitter
GH: Reports out of Nebraska had the Husker fans purchasing 5,500 tickets to the Holiday Bowl as of Monday afternoon. Yes, Nebraska fans are fanatical when it comes to following their football team.

“Nebraska fans don’t think their poop stinks. Well your poop does stink! It stinks worse than any poop I’ve smelled!”
Bob Fescoe, who was upset that his father was harangued by a Nebraska fan during a recent flight, 610 AM
GH: My favorite Nebraska slam this week was from Kevin Kietzman. While discussing the Big 12 championship game and Oklahoma’s win over Nebraska, KK refused to say the word “Nebraska.” He referred to them as “that other team.” It will be fun to see how long KK can keep this self-imposed ban up.

“It’s one of those games that really sounds better than it is.”
Kevin Kietzman, on K-State’s bowl at Yankee Stadium against Syracuse, 810 AM
GH: And it sounds pretty bad. This has to be the worst bowl season for matchups since Wheaties was first poured into a bowl. Mizzou gets a good matchup against Iowa but there aren’t three other bowls that I am clamoring to watch. Maybe these Doberman games will finally end the hype that the bowls must be preserved. But it’s more likely UConn will upset Oklahoma or Utah gives Boise State a game.

“I assume this is the first time this has happened.”
Barry Switzer, with his tongue very firmly planted in his cheek, on the Cam Newton controversy of his father shopping him to the highest bidder, Sporting News Radio
GH: Switzer was funny in this interview but made a comment that surprised me. He said he has no love for the Big 12 and feels nothing toward it. “I never coached in the Big 12 and it means nothing to me,” he said.

"From talking to key folks around the (Big10) I got the sense that the presidents and chancellors are thrilled with the addition of Nebraska in June and didn't see a need to actively push forward for other members. ...  The Big Ten made a big splash with Nebraska. No need to spend time in the kiddie pool." 
Adam Rittenberg, ESPN
GH: I’m not so sure conference realignment is over. I had hoped the Big 10 would add Missouri and Kansas but KU’s alignment with K-State may keep that from ever occurring.

“Is this the last we hear about Big Ten expansion? No way. TCU just joined the Big East, and other moves could be coming. But unless a major player decides to change its position -- looking at you, Notre Dame, or maybe you, Texas -- the Big Ten will stay put at 12 members.”
Adam Rittenberg, ESPN
GH: I expect Mizzou and Notre Dame to be the next two members added to the Big 10. And I expect them to be there by 2015 if not a lot sooner. Mizzou can help their cause by nailing down a few more 10-win seasons in the new Big 12. One reason Notre Dame may opt for the Big East instead is that their football program continues to slide. A schedule packed with Big 10 opponents might complete the Irish’s transformation from last century’s Four Horsemen to this century’s Four Donkeys.

“I dare say this is going to be the make-or-break move for Dayton Moore here in Kansas City.”
Soren Petro, on the pending decision of the Royals’ GM to trade Zack Greinke, 810 AM
GH: This line made me chuckle. Can a Royals GM even make a make-or-break move? Where would he be breaking or making from – the cellar? I just don’t see Greinke’s presence here in KC or the prospects his trade brings to be all that make-or-break to one of baseball’s annual disappointments. and Twitter / greghall24


Barry Richardson shoves a coach

Posted 12-6-10

“A series of unfortunate events. The thing to do there would be to kick the field goal. Just an awful sequence for the Chiefs.”
Rich Gannon, after Matt Cassel was sacked following Haley’s decision to go for it on fourth and goal instead of attempting a short field goal against Denver, NBC
GH: The Chiefs won and that is all that matters in the NFL. Just ask San Diego. But Haley continues to gamble with the Chiefs’ fortunes at times that look to be not only poor decisions but plain old dumb. Read on.

“That’s just stupid. That is stupid football.”
Shan Shariff, on Haley’s decision to ignore the field goal on fourth down, 610 AM
GH: If the BKnowshon Moreno busts one of his long second-half runs to the end zone and the Chiefs lose 13-10, Haley gets lit up brighter than the mayor’s Christmas tree this week on local radio.

“You can’t do that, man. When you’re there (near the end zone) and you can go up by two scores, (kicking the field goal) is the smart intelligent thing to do. Sooner or later that’s gonna hurt this team. That’s gonna kill this team rather in a game. You’ve got to be a lot smarter than that. That wasn’t a smart call. There’s no way around that.”
Jayice Pearson, on Haley’s decision to ignore the field goal on fourth down, 610 AM
GH: Haley has to be smarter than he looks, sounds and coaches, doesn’t he? Or is this as good as it gets with him? He seems to be bent on reinventing the game to his image and I don’t think that has worked real well for anybody not named Lombardi, Walsh or Belichick. So maybe Haley joins that elite group some day as a football genius? Or is he the next Gunther?

“Boy, he’s not happy being taken out of the ball game but you just can’t have those kind of mistakes.”
Rich Gannon, after Barry Richardson was taken out due to his false start near the goal line, NBC
GH: Richardson pushed, screamed and then shoved special teams’ coach Steve Hoffman in chest. CBS replayed the video almost as often as we saw Santa tug on that Capital One’s little Viking kid’s beard Sunday. My first reaction was shock that an offensive lineman had that kind of fire. Read on.

“You know how they say a dog is like his owner? Well, a player takes on the personality of his head coach. And that’s a fact. (Richardson) definitely blew a gasket there, no doubt about it. But two weeks ago we saw Todd blow a gasket with Maurice Carthon. These things happen. There’s a lot of testosterone there. … I don’t think anything will happen to him.”
Bill Maas, 610 AM
GH: Opinions on this subject varied wildly. Most callers wanted Richardson fined, suspended or penalized by the team. Most players shrugged and even giggled. Read on.

“As a player you like that (Richardson exploded), to be honest with you. And even hitting the coach; that’s pretty funny coming from a player’s standpoint.”
Jayice Pearson, 610 AM
GH: The NFL is not the real world, as much as fans want to make it real. One irate caller compared Richardson’s act to striking an officer in wartime. That’s nuttier than Haley’s fourth down gambles. Read on.

“I can handle that. Can you handle that?”
Terry Bradshaw, after watching Richardson shove the Chiefs’ assistant coach, Fox
GH: The Fox NFL highlight show aired two clips of the Chiefs’ game. One was Pope’s TD catch the other was Richardson exploding on the sideline and shoving Hoffman.

“You cannot go push a coach! You cannot tolerate that kind of thing…and Haley said it was fine! I think it sets a terrible precedent.”
Jack Harry, 810 AM
GH: Haley dismissed Richardson’s behavior during his postgame presser but later recanted his thoughts to say; “I was unaware of the complete situation yesterday.” Whether he was or not, he now understands the intense scrutiny this Chiefs “highlight” has received from the national media. I expect Richardson will do 10 bear crawls and Haley will call it good.

“You can’t be a disciplined football team if you’re on the sideline shoving coaches.”
Soren Petro, who said he is in favor of suspending Richardson, 810 AM
GH: Sure you can. You just can’t have players shoving important coaches. The special teams coach on almost every team is about as important as the mascot. Haley will trade a bruised ego from Hoffman for a fired-up Richardson every Sunday.

“To me, I look at it as the guy blew up and you move on.”
Bob Fescoe, on Richardson’s sideline rant, 610 AM
GH: Yep. And I think the Chiefs have already done just that.

“Somewhere in the top four. Somewhere in the top four or five.”
Jason LaCanfora, NFL insider, when asked by Bob Fescoe to rate the Chiefs in the AFC, 610 AM
GH: Are the Chiefs one of the top five teams in the AFC? Why not?

“Even if the bottom falls out (for the Chiefs), this season has been a success.”
Nick Wright, 610 AM
GH: I struggle with this one. When you begin to raise the expectations bar, the fall can be devastating. A collapse at this juncture and missing the playoffs would shatter a fragile Chiefs’ fan base.

“(Verran) Tucker has really had an outstanding second half of the season.”
Rich Gannon, on the Chiefs’ wide receiver, CBS
GH: Goofy-speak from talking heads is one of my pet peeves in sports broadcasting. Tucker has six catches for the season and one very nice touchdown grab. Despite my limited vocabulary, Tuckers play in no way deserves to be categorized as “outstanding.” Offhand exaggerations such as this from Gannon diminish his comments about the truly worthy performers.

“Again I repeat; Denver has had no running plays over 20 yards all season and (Knowshon) Moreno’s had two this quarter.”
Mitch Holthus, on the porous run defense of the Chiefs, Chiefs Radio Network
GH: The Chiefs’ run defense looks lost far too often for my taste but they end up giving up six points. Hard to bitch about the scoreboard results.

“Champ Bailey all day has dominated Dwayne Bowe.”
Rich Gannon, after NBC ran a highlight package showing clips of Bowe being blanketed by the Denver All-Pro, CBS

“Champ Bailey ate (Bowe) for lunch.”
Danny Clinkscale, 810 AM
GH: This was not good and might say more about the other Chiefs’ wideouts than Bowe. But Bailey is a helluva cover corner and he gave Bowe plenty of humble pie to digest.

“(Denver) is just bad by record.”
Bill Maas, to those calling Denver a bad team and questioning why the Chiefs struggled, 610 AM
GH: I understand what Maas is saying. The NFL can make good teams look bad just because they don’t win. It also works the other way when a team like the Chiefs wins a lot of games but isn’t necessarily good. Let’s hope that is not the case.

“Apparently that was a piece of art. I’ve really got to brush art on my art skills.”
Ian Eagle, after seeing a video of the shuttlecocks in front of the Nelson-Atkins Art Gallery, CBS
GH: I have grown accustomed to the shuttlecocks and now even seek them out as I drive by. The alien curlers atop Bartle Hall as well now beckon to me. Funny how art works that way. So why does the allure of a spouse often work in the opposite direction? I should have married the Mona Lisa. and Twitter / greghall24

Nebraska radio analyst gives passionate interview on Border Patrol

Posted 12-3-10

“Nebraska fans have accused the conference of picking on them because they're jumping to the Big 10. They're a bunch of paranoid------you fill in the blank. I have to believe these savages are in the minority when it comes to Nebraska fans. I'm sure, there are good and decent and civil Cornhusker fans out there, somewhere. But there are still enough of these hooligans, dressed in red, and on the loose.”
Jack Harry,
GH: I know a handful of “good and decent” Nebraska “savages” myself. Nothing like a savage or two and a pile of corn to get a helluva meal going.

“Nebraska self-importance comes in constant references to past success, in seeing Big Ten acceptance as license to slam a group that’s been good enough for them for decades, and, most of all, in the inability to recognize that the whole thing is wrecking a reputation of class and dignity that took so long to build and promote.”
Sam Mellinger, columnist, Kansas City Star
GH: Those uppity Huskers! Thumping their corn-fed chests over past successes. Just disgusting. Who in the hell do they think they are? They need to be taught to brag about their future successes like Mizzou fans!

“First, the administration blamed Texas and conference leadership. Then some fans blamed Mizzou and, in the last month or so, have come close to losing their collective sanity.”
Sam Mellinger, Kansas City Star
GH: Just curious how one loses their “collective” sanity? Is this a Borg thing?

“They see the league’s suspension of a backup linebacker as proof of conspiracy, harass referees, flood the conference office with threats of violence, then whine when nobody shows up to present the North Division trophy.”
Sam Mellinger, Kansas City Star
GH: What part of the term “fan” does Sam not get? What fan base doesn’t have some overzealous face painters infecting the gene pool?  Call me calm but none of these indictments are really anything we haven’t seen from every school with a football stadium.

This is college football’s classiest fan base? In other words, they’re not who they claimed to be. They’re a whole lot like everyone else.”
Sam Mellinger, columnist, Kansas City Star
GH: Okay. Maybe so. I happen to think a road trip to Lincoln for the opposition is a world apart from just about any other BCS school but we can differ on this point if need be. So if we’re like everybody else, why are we getting shit on like young Jamal under the outhouse in Slumdog Millionaire? The answer is simple -- because we’re leaving and you’re staying.

“The rest of us aren’t mad they’re leaving. We’re annoyed they’re acting like jerks on the way out.”
Sam Mellinger, columnist, Kansas City Star
GH: Try the Big 10 shoes on that Husker fans are now wearing and you’ll see they fit your feet in exactly the same arrogant ways. Yes, many Husker fans are dancing way too smugly in their new shoes. But would that dance be any different in Columbia, Lawrence or Manhattan? I think not.

“However, whatever, just beat them. Send Nebraska to the Big Ten, or whatever name E. Gordon Gee decides to slap upon that league, with a big fat reminder that their Big 12 legacy was never all that impressive and they will barely be missed at all. Remind Nebraska why it was never the bellwether team of this conference and why it will not be in the Big Ten. Show the Huskers what Wisconsin and Ohio State and possibly Michigan (if Jim Harbaugh replaces that slimy little RichRod) will do to them.”
Jennifer Floyd Engel, columnist, Dallas Star-Telegram
GH: Nebraska won a national championship as a member of the Big 12…and two more the two years before the conference formed – which played a huge role in why the conference was formed. They played in another national title game as a member of the conference and lost. They had a QB win a Heisman. A nosetackle won every national defensive award he could win...and was a Heisman finalist – as a nosetackle! I’d say the Huskers’ Big 12 legacy was every bit of “all that.” I understand the venom being spewed by those left behind – especially a Missouri gal like Jenny who had designs on her diploma getting a free upgrade if Mizzou was Big 10 bound. I just don’t get those who want to pretend what happened didn’t happen. As for what will happen to the Big Red hoard in the Big 10? Let’s just say I’m confident there will be a Big 10 for the Huskers in which to to succeed or fail. Not so sure about the old neighborhood.  

“They’re not even in my conference. My college world is different.”
Soren Petro, saying he has no feelings about the Oklahoma/Nebraska game, 810 AM
GH: There is only one mistake a KC area sports talk show host can make during this week of unbridled passion, hatred and scorn for the corn. That would be to shrug and claim no feelings for what boils the blood of all around us. Petro has many faults as a radio personality; his worst failing is Kietzman’s best attribute – knowing what topics will drive his audience and how to steer the car. Petro often ends up in a ditch covered with minor league WHIP stats.

“For the Big 12 Conference to take that moment of celebration away from our players in the locker room… They ought to be ashamed of themselves that they couldn’t get somebody to come up here with a trophy. Dan Beebe didn’t do his job because he didn’t allow the players from Nebraska to have that moment together. … We’re having people in suits making decisions like children. This game is supposed to be about the players. It’s supposed to be a pure game. I think there are grown men who have influenced the league this year and it’s unfortunate.”
Matt Davison, Nebraska radio analyst, in a passionate interview on The Border patrol Friday morning, 810 AM
GH: Davison was pissed and he didn’t bother covering up his ire. He came very close to basically calling out the Big 12 for conspiring against Nebraska’s football team and working together to prevent a Husker title. Kudos to Nate Bukaty, Steven St. John and Jake Gutierrez for having Davison on their show. One thing that has been lacking on KC radio the past four months is any semblance of balance on the Nebraska bashing. Davison didn’t pretend to play nice in this interview. It was real and it was good – no matter what side of the football you line up on.

“I think it was classless of the Big 12 to deny the Nebraska players that moment. I don’t think it was right. I just thought I’d say that to you on the air right now.”
Nate Bukaty, during his interview with Davison, 810 AM
GH: Bukaty and St. John didn’t hit Davison as hard as they could have or I would have liked. Both have bashed Nebraska, the Flying Pelinis, Osborne, the color red and corn all season. I would have enjoyed them being as free with their opposing thoughts as Davison was with his.

“I’m sorry, we will not be podcasting it. If you missed it, sorry.”
Jake Gutierrez, a Kansas fan who I’m guessing did not agree with what the Nebraska radio analyst had to say, 810 AM
GH: Jake was one of the few Border Patrol members to not get soft on his anti-Nebraska stance. He didn’t like what Davison had to say and he sure as hell didn’t want to provide a venue for him to repeat it. But Jake knows good radio and the former goal keeper relented and refused to let this one-timer slip past him. You can listen to Davison’s Border Patrol interview on here.

“Kevin Kietzman has just torn his shirt off ala Hulk Hogan in his office.”
Steven St. John, after the interview with Matt Davison, 810 AM
GH: Any chance we can get Davison on the air live with KK Friday afternoon? Now THAT would be good radio. and Twitter / greghall24


Pinkel calls out Mizzou fans about bowl attendance

Posted 12-2-10

“Year after year, the bowl selection process slights the Missouri football program. Year after year, lesser teams – like Kansas and Iowa State from the Big 12 Conference – earn invitations to better bowl games. Year after year, Mizzou fans complain about this travesty. And year after year Mizzou fans fail to support the Tigers to the maximum, thus perpetuating the problem. They have only themselves to blame for this annual aggravation. Missouri football has a lot of loyal supporters, but it needs more.”
Jeff Gordon, writer, St. Louis Post-Dispatch
GH: The college bowls are an absolute mess and have been for two decades or more. They are a joke that tugs at the heartstrings of loyal fans each holiday season, pretending to be a test of these fans’ and alums’ dedication to their school. In my mind it is complete bullshit. Read on.

“We just need our Missouri fans there (at the bowl game). It’s real critical that we show well as we build our program. We’ve got the fan base to do it. They’ve just got to get onboard. Mike Anderson uses that, ‘You go to root on the Tigers.’ That’s what they do at Nebraska, at Oklahoma, Texas and Texas A&M. They don’t care where they’re going. They don’t care who they’re playing.”
Gary Pinkel, urging Tiger fans to buy tickets to Mizzou’s yet-to-be-announced bowl game, 610 AM
GH: Pinkel was a guest on Bob Fescoe’s morning show Wednesday and he spent the better portion of his time urging MU fans to buy tickets to the Tigers’ upcoming bowl game. He used the word “critical” and talked as if his 10-year-old program at MU was in the building stages. I disagree with almost everything Pinkel had to say to his fans. Read on.

“(Mizzou) fans regularly complain about Missouri’s inability to play at the Texas-Oklahoma-Nebraska level. … Our answer to that question is another question: When will Missouri fans support their program at the Texas-Oklahoma-Nebraska level?”
Jeff Gordon, writer, St. Louis Post-Dispatch
GH: To compare Mizzou with the football followings at Texas, Oklahoma and Nebraska is ridiculously unfair. Those schools combine to own over 20 national titles. Mizzou has none. Mizzou doesn’t own a Big 12 title and hasn’t won a conference crown outright since 1960! Mizzou put 60,000-plus gold-clad crazies inside Faurot for every game this season. A season that some called the easiest non-con schedule in the country. I would say that kind of following deserves more than a verbal poke from their head coach.

“Why did the Cornhuskers fly past the Tigers in the Big 12 North and get the Big Ten invite many Mizzou fans coveted? Fan/booster/sponsor support played a huge role in that. The Cornhuskers are an economic juggernaut. Forbes notes that Nebraska season ticket holders forked over $15 million last season just to keep their seats.”
Jeff Gordon, writer, St. Louis Post-Dispatch
GH: Who is to say Nebraska fans are the ones doing it right? Yes, I too am afflicted with the terminal Red Fever as a native Nebraskan, but I understand this is a disease that not all fan bases should be expected to endure. I spent almost two decades traveling the country each fall to watch games that were blowouts by halftime. I loved every dollar of it. But I can understand why that is not the priority of most Mizzou fans. Being a fan does not mean you lose all powers of logical reasoning…especially to support a bowl system that serves no purpose other than to fill bowl people’s coffers and reward the athletes and coaches with a nice holiday trip.

“There you go Missouri fans. Gary Pinkel basically calling you out saying the reason we’re getting shafted in these bowls is because of you. Missouri’s got a rep that they don’t travel well. They wait to see what game they’re going to. … He’s basically sending a message to his fans; if you want better bowl games you have to go. You can’t sit on the sidelines and watch on TV and bitch and moan about the bowl games you were screwed out of.”
Bob Fescoe, 610 AM
GH: Fescoe is an admitted Jayhawk homer and Mizzou hater. But even he should understand that his scorn for homebound MU fans is misplaced. Instead of ridiculing fans for not spending thousands of dollars they might not have, I applaud loyal fans who refuse to buy into the BS that is the BCS. Fescoe should as well.

“You talk about building something, (Pinkel’s) been at this program for 10 years! He’s got a losing record against top-20 schools. For all these games he’s won they’ve been against a bunch of nobodies. So Gary Pinkel needs to hold up his end of the deal!”
Caller Will, a well-known Tiger fan, 610 AM
GH: Tiger fans who heard Pinkel’s pleas on Fescoe’s show were not pleased. Read on.

“Get Gary Pinkel back on the phone! And you tell him that if he (thinks) Missouri fans are the ones that are keeping him from being like Texas A&M, Oklahoma, Texas and Nebraska – tell him it’s his football team! Win games at Texas Tech and places like that, places he’s supposed to win so that he can go play for a Big 12 championship or get better bowls or BCS bowls that Missouri fans will actually want to spend money on.”
Caller Cody, 610 AM

“I would love to spend a week perusing around in San Diego but I’m sorry that I have finances and a family to care of. And then all of a sudden…I’m being blamed because we don’t get good bowls? That’s bullcrap! You tell Pinkel that he needs to start winning some more games and that he needs to get some more (players) out there that can win him some games! And then we’ll come out and show him that we absolutely support him.”
Caller Cody, 610 AM
GH: This is crazy. Mizzou goes 10-2 and Pinkel has his fan base pissed at him because he’s unhappy with “only” 6,000 MU fans traveling to the all-but-worthless bowls Missouri has been invited to the past few years.

“It’s unbelievable how many excuses Missouri fans are making now and trying to blame the team.”
Bob Fescoe, after numerous callers attacked Pinkel’s attempt to urge fans to buy bowl tickets, 610 AM

“Fescoe and (Josh) Klingler turned it into Pinkel calling out the Mizzou fans more than the coach (did).”
Shan Shariff, who hosted his show following Fescoe’s, 610 AM
GH: Shariff was correct on this point. While Pinkel definitely urged MU fans to get behind his bowl-bound Tigers, he in no way came off to me as shaming his fan base. Fescoe and Klingler did that after the MU coach had hung up.

“I think MU's Mike Alden ought to hire Lew Perkins to negotiate MU's bowl position. And I'm only about half-way kidding.”
Mike DeArmond, Twitter

“Don’t attend any other bowl other than the national championship. You are enabling the NCAA. You (Pinkel and Missouri) had your chance to win over all your recruits but you got beat by the Red Raiders and you got smoked by Nebraska. The biggest win you’ve had in the past 10 years couldn’t even get you to the Big 12 Championship game.”
Shan Shariff, 610 AM

“This is about you as a Tiger fan being blamed for not attending a meaningless event. You shouldn’t care at all about some stupid, pointless road trip so Missouri can be crowned the 23rd best program in the country. I just want to hear from the Missouri fans who don’t care about the meaningless bowls. Because that means you’re smart. You get it”
Shan Shariff, 610 AM
GH: I have never attended a bowl game…not even the season-ending bowls where Nebraska played for the national title. I have always considered them a bit of a fan fleecing at a time when money was tough enough. From the looks of the crowds for most of these post-season bowls the past decade, many people feel exactly the same. The bowls are sick and one way to help them get well is to stop feeding them. and Twitter / greghall24


Why Nebraska vs. Oklahoma still matters

Posted 12-1-10

November is the cruelest month in Nebraska. Sun-splashed days can hint at the Indian summer that was October. But more often the winter winds of what is to come unearths lost stocking caps and your older brother's hand-me-down parka.

I yanked down hard on my frayed red polyester cap as my father ignited the family Plymouth. As a mailman, getting up at 4:00 AM to be at work by 5:00 was my dad's daily routine for the past 25 years. For me it had been a torturous way to pay my high school tuition since September.

Dad dropped me off in front of St. Mary Magdalene's church at the corner of 19th & Dodge just as Omaha's cruel downtown wind made me clutch for my coat's collar.  Vestments needed to be laid out for the morning mass and breakfast readied for the three parish priests. My younger brother, Tim, and I rotated each morning for $50 a week. The priests were always much happier to see Tim at the stove than me. Tim could cook eggs any way you wanted while my expertise lay in devouring the morning edition of the Omaha World Herald's sports page.

This was the week every human in the state of Nebraska (and many outside) with a football-shaped heart had anticipated since September. The early non-conference games pointed to Oklahoma and Nebraska being not just a cut above the other teams the 1971 season had to offer but maybe two of the best college football teams of all time. Next Saturday in Norman, Oklahoma, the undefeated and untested Huskers and Sooners would meet to decide everything. The Big 8 title, the national championship and bragging rights for the remainder of the century rode on the backs of helmeted heroes named Tagge, Mildren, Glover and the Selmon brothers.

Father William Kelligar, the well-read, well-traveled and quick-witted pastor at St. Mary Mags, had perfected the art of the 17-minute mass. He was a legend amongst downtown Catholics who needed to get their daily mass fix but could care less about understanding any of it. The mass was now in English instead of Latin but with the speed Father K exhibited in racing from the offertory prayers to the final blessing, it may as well have been in Swahili. No altar boy was needed for Father K as his presence would simply pose as a speed bump.

I used the precious minutes during K’s mass to read every word written in the morning paper about the upcoming Big 8 finale. The church deacon, a pleasant elderly chap named Mark, had an office below the rectory where we could sit and listen to the blur of a mass over a set of wired speakers. It is in Mark’s dimly lit office that I remember building an anticipation for a football game that I have yet to ever again experience.

Oklahoma was the team my father hated more than any other. I wasn't old enough to really remember the unbeatable Bud Wilkinson-coached Oklahoma teams that ravaged the Big 6 and Big 8 during the 1950s. Old Bud was nothing more than a quiet-voiced TV analyst to me. But to my dad he was "that son-of-a-bitch" every time he showed up on our b/w Zenith for the Saturday college game of the week.

While dad’s blood boiled at the sight of Oklahoma crimson, my brothers and I respected what Chuck Fairbanks had built in Norman with his innovative and indefensible triple-option attack. I spent hours in the backyard perfecting perfect wrist-flip option pitches with either hand through the broken window in our garage door. Sure, we wanted to beat Oklahoma and were confident that Bob Devaney’s team could snare their second consecutive national title – but we all knew this game was going to be unlike any other. In short, there was a real chance Nebraska could lose.

If that sounds arrogant or odd to you, I understand your rolled eyes. But this was a different time for college football and the Big 8. Nebraska and Oklahoma were so superior to every other team in the nation that season it is difficult to even explain their dominance. Nebraska outscored their opponents 39-8. Oklahoma set the record for rushing touchdowns in a season at 62…or over 5 per game. The two teams combined to contribute 17 of the 22 first-team All-Conference players. Nebraska’s defense was number-one in the country with four All-Americans on its roster. Oklahoma’s option churned out 472 rushing yards per game. Those stats don’t do justice to the two teams’ dominance since most starters played less than a half for these two juggernauts in most games.

Remember this was an era before schools propped up their stats and won-loss records with near-dead non-con opponents. Oklahoma faced SMU, Pitt, USC and Texas to start their 1971 season. Nebraska went up against Oregon, Minnesota, A&M and Utah State.

Greg Pruitt, the first Oklahoma running back I dreamt of one day becoming, rushed for an average of 9.5 yards per carry. A junior by the name of Johnny Rodgers led the Huskers’ offense from the sexy-sounding flanker position. I would have also dreamt of one day becoming Johnny the Jet but even a schoolboy’s dreams have to be rooted in some semblance of reality.

Those daily pages of the Omaha World Herald’s morning sports page brought Oklahoma’s team to life for me. ESPN, Al Gore’s Internet, cable television and sports talk radio did not exist in 1971. We received three somewhat fuzzy network TV channels at home and one educational channel that no one ever tuned in. One and sometimes two college football games were broadcast on Saturday afternoon. There was no such thing as nighttime TV games or GameDay. Lee Corso existed but he was a buffoon head coach at Louisville instead of a TV buffoon.  The local newspaper’s sports section was how everyone got their college football fix. Wally Provost was the World Herald’s sports columnist and my first exposure to combining wit and wonder in 18 column inches.

I do not remember seeing Oklahoma play on television that season prior to the Nebraska game. A few film clips of the Sooners executing the option played on the local TV sportscast as the game neared. It was the newspaper that brought the Sooners to life for me. Jack Mildren, the magician who played quarterback for the Sooners, became not just larger than life to me but an impossible, unbeatable foe. The words that I sponged from the morning papers had me believing Mildren was quicker than Father K with a host and his handoffs harder to read than the Iliad. Pruitt’s full-speed change of directions was the likes I had not known in a package so square and squat. The Selmon brothers read as if to be from Krypton.

The manic build up for the game went on all week. My nine brothers and I stuffed a pair of practice football pants and a white jersey with mom’s laundry and topped it with a stolen football helmet to hang Jack Mildren in effigy from the towering silver maple in our front yard. Mildren wore the same number as I, #11, so there was no need for doctoring the jersey with athletic tape.

The game itself was better than the hype. Much better. Two superb teams traded blows for three hours with Nebraska winning more because time ran out on the Sooners rather than the Huskers being the dominant team. 35-31 will always be a special set of numbers for me and any Nebraska fan who tuned in for Chris Schenkel’s and Bud Wilkinson’s call that unseasonably warm November afternoon. Following the Huskers’ win, my brothers and I gleefully danced in celebration in the streetlights’ glow below Mildren’s slumping dummy.

When the Oklahoma football program took a dive in the 90s I hurt for them. I wanted Oklahoma and Nebraska to always be great. When the Big 12 split the Big 8 in two and the Nebraska program dipped under Bill Callahan, I thought the glory days of my youth were gone, never to be revisited. Oklahoma revived itself to great heights under Bob Stoops but Nebraska struggled with being a northern school in the southern-dominated Big 12.

Then the summer of 2010 came along and the college football world I once knew imploded. East was west, west became east, 10 equaled 12, 12 equaled 10 and well…you were there. Along the way, Oklahoma and Nebraska managed to once again rise to the top of the conference to settle an old score once and very possibly for all time. The stakes aren’t nearly what they were in 1971. Neither team is undefeated. Neither has a shot at much more than a conference crown. But what a conference crown it is. This is the last Big 12 Conference crown that matters…at least to Nebraska. This is the title that has walk-away swagger attached to it. This one closes the book on my childhood. 

Somebody get me a rope and some laundry. and Twitter / greghall24

TCU to the Big East

Posted 12-1-10

“Texas didn’t want TCU in the Big 12 so Dan Beebe didn’t invite them. It’s that simple, right?”
Nick Wright, 610 AM

“Big 12 has been pretty steadfast in its no-interest stance re: TCU. Not sure why so many fans feel like it missed out on something here.”
Curtis Kitchen, Twitter

“TCU was never an option for the Big 12.”
Bob Fescoe, after TCU accepted an invitation to join the Big East, 810 AM
GH: Fescoe and Josh Klingler echoed the familiar refrain that the Big 12 doesn’t need more schools in the Dallas/Texas market. I would argue that quality football programs no matter what their zip code add power, prestige and money to your conference. I think TCU would have been an exciting addition to the Big 12 on the heels of losing two of its original members. As it is, the Big 12 again resembles a Yugo on the NCAA Autobahn.

“The Big 12 has no interest because it already owns the D-FW area TV market. The gulf between the haves and have-nots continue to widen. The Frogs had to jump.”
Kevin Sherrington, columnist, Dallas Morning News
GH: Unfortunately for our local schools, the “have-nots” Sherrington is referring to are Kansas, Kansas State, Iowa State and yes, even Missouri. The Tigers get drug down to the other north schools’ depth simply because they reside outside the state of Texas and therefore wield zero power within the Big 12.

“To be honest with you, Kansas could have been making the same announcement today as TCU did. And Kansas State could have been right there with us. The Big East would have came and got us and K-State and Missouri.”
Bill Self, on how close the Kansas schools came to joining the Big East if the Texas schools would have followed through with their threat to join the Pac 10, Hawk Talk
GH: Not sure Mizzou is all that happy with the KU basketball coach deciding on where the Tigers would have ended up if Armageddon would have taken place last summer. I’m not so sure MU would have gone to the Big East. I think we would have seen them heading to the SEC with maybe A&M.

“ESPN has told conferences with ESPN TV deals there won't be more money if they expand. Big East/ESPN TV deal up in 2012, when TCU arrives.”
Chip Brown, of, Twitter
GH: Does the Big 12 need to add two teams to allow for a future football playoff game or can they make it as a 10-team league while the other BCS conferences continue to grow? It all depends on what Texas wants. My fear is that Texas will always do what’s best for Texas at the expense of their Big 12 brothers.

“It appears the University of Texas has found another cash cow. The proposed Longhorn television network could be worth more than $10 million a year and perhaps as much as $15 million a year under a long-term contract that UT officials are negotiating, sources with knowledge of the discussions say. … If the proposed Longhorn network brought in an additional $15 million annually, that would lift the university's total annual broadcast revenue into the $35 million range.”
Ralph K.M. Haurwitz and John Maher, American-Statesman
GH: This is the television contract money that Nebraska tried to get Texas to agree to share with the other Big 12 schools during last summer’s meetings in Kansas City. Texas said no and that led to Nebraska’s departure to the Big 10 – and a whole lot of nastiness this past football season.

“That’s as good as any group of quarterbacks returning as any conference in the country next season. … I think the Big 12 will have at least three teams in the preseason top ten.”
Ed Cunningham, listing the number of quality quarterbacks scheduled to return to the Big 12 next season, ABC
GH: Except for Mizzou’s Blaine Gabbert, every one of the QBs ABC listed will be suiting up for B12 South schools. Kansas, K-State and Iowa State will once again be in quarterback hell next season unless a miracle happens in recruiting. That is a recipe for another year of no bowls or forgettable bowl invites for three of the four orphans. The fourth orphan, Mizzou, looks primed to dominate its northern brothers for the next decade like Nebraska did in the 80s.

"I’m not going to rehash much from Saturday’s one-sided Border War, which really is probably an injustice to the word ‘war.’ It was more like Border Pillaging or Border Spanking. From their fans to their players, the Jayhawks seemed only mildly interested in the 119th edition of whatever you want to call it. Missouri, meanwhile, played with a purpose, like a pack of wild animals who knew they had to back up their bark with some bite. (Well, make that T.J. Moe’s bark."
Dave Matter, Columbia Tribune
GH: If you’re a Kansas fan (even if you’re only a basketball fan of your school) that copy has to sting. Het used to it. The pillaging and spankings in the new B12 will be just as Quantrill-like.

“We have 50,000 more alumni in the Pac 10 footprint than we do in the Big 12.”
Mike Bohn, Colorado’s AD, on the Buffs move to the Pac 10, ABC
GH: Almost no buzz over Colorado’s departure but we have death threats in Nebraska. If there is a worse fan base than Colorado’s in any BCS conference, I have yet to experience it. But yet it is those damn Huskers who everyone is upset with. It just goes to show you can only really hate the ones you love.

“Head to head results are important, but at some level, a poll voter has to step back and ask him/herself...whom do I think is better?”
Seth Davis, ESPN college basketball analyst, attempting to support his decision to rank Michigan State above UConn despite UConn’s recent 70-67 win over the Spartans on a neutral court, Twitter
GH: This tweet still makes my head hurt. So the result of a head-to-head game is not as powerful as the opinion of a sportswriter? Can Seth make it rain too?

“Who was in (Frank Martin’s) doghouse when they played Duke?”
Todd Leabo, with more than a bit of sarcasm in his voice on the thought Martin is rotating starting KSU players in and out of the doghouse, 810 AM

“This is about Duke. Duke is great! I clapped for them at the end of that (KSU) game.”
Kevin Kietzman, 810 AM
GH: Careful, KK. You’re starting to sound a lot like a Nebraska fan with that post-beating hand clapping for the conquering opponent.

“A lot of talk has come out of the K-State mouths that they’re better than Kansas in basketball this year. Well if they are, their All-American better come out. He let his team down (against Duke) with poor body language and a lack of effort.”
Bob Fescoe, 610 AM
GH: I haven’t talked to a lot of KSU basketball fans this season but it appears to me it is the national media who has been promoting the Cats as better than the Hawks much of the early season. It is far too early to know which is best. Maybe Mizzou.
“KU (basketball) has played nobody! They’re having no fun this year.”

Kevin Kietzman, on Kansas’ soft non-con schedule, 810 AM
GH: KK made this comment before Kansas took on Arizona, a worthy opponent but far from a top 10 team. While I would agree KU’s non-con schedule has been Snyder-esque, it should heat up some the next month with UCLA, Memphis, USC, Cal and Michigan. While those team names may look better on a marquee than the court, I’m guessing they’ll offer the Hawks a test or two.

“Kansas isn’t going anywhere. They’re going to win another 30 games again this year.”
Jay Bilas, ESPN
GH: K-State fans would be fine with that as long as they get to hang two losses on their in-state rivals. Mark down January 29th in Lawrence and Valentine’s Day in Manhattan for the two most-anticipated B12 hoops game this season. I can already imagine some of the headlines for that second match-up. and Twitter / greghall24

Chiefs get road win over division leader

Posted 11-28-10

“(Dwayne) Bowe is the new leadership’s masterpiece, the face of a transition from punks to playoffs, the shining example of the organization’s emphasis on character, and the knucklehead receiver playing like an honest-to-goodness MVP candidate is a dream come true. So long as it doesn’t turn into a nightmare.”
Sam Mellinger, columnist, Kansas City Star
GH: Bowe was another washout underachieving top-draft-pick LSU bust King Carl and Herm Edwards. He made little progress on that resume with his “importing” quotes this summer. But the past three weeks Bowe’s production has gone fantasy football fanatical. The question Sam Mel is asking is the same one we all want answered. Where does the Bowe Show go now that it’s a hit? Read on.

“Those are blank pages I can’t answer.”
Mitch Holthus, when asked how he thinks Bowe will handle his recent success, 810 AM
GH: History tells us Bowe will do something stupid off the field, drop a key pass or two or just plain disappear from the Chiefs’ offense. It would be one helluva ending to the season if those blank pages Holthus’ refers to were filled with more of what we saw in Seattle. Bowe was the Wizard in Emerald City and his play made the Seahawk DBs look like Munchkins.

“Dwayne’s World”
Headline in Monday’s Kansas City Star
GH: Grade: A++++ (in honor of Ralphie’s theme paper in A Christmas Story).
“My job is to keep my head down, run, block and catch.”

Dwayne Bowe, in a postgame interview, Kansas City Star
GH: I don’t mind Bowe being a showman on or off the field. I like that he flashed three fingers to the camera after his third TD catch. Personality is a good thing in a star player. Could we be watching the most successful resurrection project in Kansas City since Mayor Carol Marinovich broke ground at The Legends and turned KCK into KC$$$?

“They’ve got the weapons.”
Dan Patrick, assessing the Chiefs’ offensive scoring explosion the past few weeks, CBS
GH: Patrick is a respected national media voice who knows the NFL. Having DanPan christen the Chiefs as a team with “weapons” is heady stuff. Read on.

“It is obvious the Chiefs are growing up faster than the Seahawks. At 7-4 they lead the AFC West.”
Steve Kelley, writer, Seattle Times
GH: Even more confirmation from afar that the Chiefs are becoming more than the Chargers’ handmaid. This season might be too soon to expect a postseason run. But the signs are there that Scott Todd’s magic is starting to work – at least enough to make December an interesting month for Chiefs’ fans once again.

“I’m proud of Jamaal Charles. I’m glad that guy’s on our side.”
Todd Haley, Fox 4
GH: Bowe’s stats and TDs are what everyone will focus on but JC is my pick for this team’s MVP. Bowe’s catches almost looked routine he was so wide open at times. The reason is Charles’ talents as a running back makes the defense backs play very honest. Charles’ lithe style is breathtaking. He moves like spaghetti through the defensive line and is just as difficult to tackle.

“I’m happy. I smile every time they play well.”
Herm Edwards, on the satisfaction he gets from Dwayne Bowe’s and Jamaal Charles’ increased productivity, 810 AM
GH: Charles rode the Chiefs’ bench behind Larry Johnson under Herm and Bowe was almost invisible much of the time. Maybe we should thank him for keeping the two fresh and hungry for this season’s run.

“(Jamaal Charles) is way tougher than people give him credit for. He’ll stick his nose right in the potato dish.”
Mitch Holthus, 810 AM
GH: I’m unsure what a potato dish is or why sticking your nose in it would exhibit toughness. Now, if Mitch substituted those potatoes in that dish with a big batch of wasabi roots, I’d get the visual.

“We’re not going to call (the Chiefs) road warriors yet but…”
Al Wallace, after the Chiefs’ second win on the road, Fox 4
GH: The Seattle win was big for a number of reasons but uppermost was that it was a road win over a division leader. A crapola division leader, but a division leader nonetheless. Winning on the road is what playoff teams must do.

“The Chiefs’ offensive line (showed) absolute physical domination.”
Richard Baldinger, Metro Sports
GH: Baldy gets overly emotional when he talks about his O-line brethren and he might have stretched the truth here some. One thing that was not debatable is the improved pass protection the offensive line is now giving Matt Cassel. This is the single biggest reason Cassel and Bowe have been able to go from ‘Who dat?’ to ‘Dat who!’

“I gotta throw some bone out to those guys.”
Mitch Holthus, mentioning the fine play of the Chiefs’ offensive line in Seattle, 810 AM
GH: Not sure the offensive line is wanting any of Mitch’s bone but it will make for an entertaining drop on WHB’s The Border Patrol.

“Against Seattle on Sunday, Matt Cassel transformed from a liability into a weapon.”
Shan Shariff, 610 AM
GH: Cassel put on a dream performance in front of Pete Carroll, his former college coach – the guy who never thought he was a starter. That was pretty cool.

“He only had 15 minutes to take (the Wonderlic) while everybody else had 30 minutes.”
Bill Macatee, NFL play-by-play voice for Chiefs/Seahawks game, CBS
GH: The Wonderlic is an intelligence test that has a 12-minute time limit. If the NFL is giving players 30 minutes (which I doubt they are), those low scores we hear about every year should be even lower.

“This (Chiefs) football team’s having fun. They’ve really got a good group of players. They really love competing.”
Rich Gannon, CBS
GH: It was sure a lot more fun group than the guys who flew to Denver a couple of weeks ago.

“I don’t want to fuck somebody over.”
Todd Haley, while talking on the sideline to Romeo Crennel just after the two-minute warning, CBS
GH: I didn’t get what Haley was talking about but I took his comment to mean he didn’t want to show up Seattle with a late score. Read on.

“The crowd doesn’t like it but they don’t need any more injuries.”
Bill Macatee, as Seattle surrendered the final 1:10 of the game by taking a knee on successive plays, CBS
GH: Watching Seattle give up in this way was disheartening to me as an NFL fan. It may have been Carroll’s way of acknowledging Haley’s retreat. I just wish teams would play hard to the end and not worry about whose feelings might get hurt. How about somebody being concerned about the season ticket holder who didn’t pay thousands to watch his team take a knee while losing?

“The truth (about the Seattle Seahawks) came from Kansas City, as harsh as a Canadian cold front, as real as the final score. This 42-24 Sunday punch from the Chiefs was the unvarnished truth. The Hawks didn't need to wait for Monday's replay reckoning to understand just how bad this game was. They got a 60-minute dose of the truth from Kansas City. … The truth? The Seahawks are flirts. A team that is toying with its fans' emotions.”
Steve Kelley, writer, Seattle Times
GH: When I read these comments from Kelley I immediately thought how they echoed my own thoughts of the Chiefs. Thoughts I am not yet prepared to completely banish. That 0-35 Denver score is still too fresh in my noggin.

“It still makes me sick and a little bit nauseous what we’re seeing from the Chiefs’ special teams.”
Danan Hughes, Metro Sports
GH: The Chiefs won by three touchdowns despite awful special teams. Bad kick returns, a blocked field goal and a blocked punt for a Kick Six. Yikes the NFC West is bad!

“That TD:INT ratio 24-slash-6 is Brady-esque.”
Mitch Holthus, on Matt Cassel’s numbers, 810 AM
GH: I am sure most listeners had no trouble decoding Holthus’ stat rap but I’m guessing a few fringe fans were wobbling.

“I'm complimenting Matt Cassel, having a nice online convo with Kevin Kietzman's son, I feel like I'm about to start liking @kentbabb's hair.”
Nick Wright, tweeting during the Chiefs/Seahawks game, Twitter
GH: Disturbing is the best word I can use to describe this tweet from Wright. Why he would want to publicize to his 4,000 followers and the Twitter world that he is engaging Kevin Kietzman’s son in an online conversation is more than a bit creepy. Needy also comes to mind. As well as unprofessional, sophomoric and something one dad would/should never do to another dad.

Death threats for Big 12 commissioner?

Posted 11-28-10

“Neb AD (Tom) Osborne said no division trophy presentation cause Big 12 “did not think it would be safe to send somebody up."
Blair Kerkhoff, Twitter
GH: Rumors that Big 12 officials were issued death threats from Nebraska fans appear to have been scary enough to keep Dan Beebe and his bunch from attending the final regular season game in Lincoln on Friday – the last one of its kind in the history of the short-lived original Big 12 conference. Read on.

“The amount of (fans dressed as) refs I saw in the stadium (and flags in the student section) was excellent. Saw some dude at the tunnel walk as a ref with a sign that said ‘Beebe's army.’ Bahah.”
GH: The most creative fans in Lincoln Friday may have been the group of students who donned shirts of the other Big 12 teams and went to extremes to make themselves look like the walking dead. The photo above is from the Denver Post.

“Osborne: Beebe told him Big 12 wasn't at game to hand out North trophy because ‘they didn't feel safe’ after week of mail from NU fans.”
Tom Shatel, Twitter
GH: Did Beebe and his Dallas deputies really fear a shootout in front of the Cornhusker Hotel or was the fact that Colorado and Nebraska represent everything Beebe and the Big 12 want to forget? I’m guessing the latter. Or maybe Beebe is now listening to Kevin Kietzman’s show and he too thinks Lincoln is the new Camden, NJ. Some foes have Nebraska’s departure in its proper perspective. Read on.

"There were many that were very, very vile, vulgar, disgusting messages, and a lot to administrative assistants and people who don't deserve any of this. I mean, I'm a big boy, I can take it.”
Dan Beebe, on the messages and threats received from what is believed to be Nebraska fans, Lincoln Journal Star
GH: Take it from where? His couch in Dallas?

“Beebe said a person in the NFL security field, whom he's previously consulted on other matters, advised the Big 12 to steer clear of Lincoln.”
Brian Rosenthal, writer, Lincoln Journal Star
GH: Brian, are you sure he didn’t say the “steers here” in Lincoln?

“Of the voice mails to Beebe, one said, ‘If I see you on the street, I'm going to hit you in the head with a bottle and stab you,’ he said. ‘Somebody posted something on my daughter's Facebook that was derogatory. Somebody else called and acted like they were impersonating an officer, and said that they have my daughter, and she was unresponsive and they had to take her to the hospital.’”
Lincoln Journal Star
GH: Yeah, some fans are idiots. Thanks to Beebe and the Big 12 officials for giving these clowns such a public forum.

“They (Big 12 officials) got whatever they got, and they decided not to come. That's OK. I don't have anything to say about that. I've said all I'm going to say. I've had all kinds of e-mails over the years. It's not a problem."
Tom Osborne, Lincoln Journal Star
GH: Just a guess here but I don’t think Dr. Tom is very happy over the Big 12’s snub. He may keep Bo around another decade just to piss everybody else off.  

"I want to say -- and I want this clear -- my experience with Nebraska and their fan base and their administrations has been tremendous. I'm sorry that we're losing such an outstanding institution. I've had a great experience with Chancellor (Harvey) Perlman, and I appreciate what he's done on this whole issue, and what Tom Osborne and Bo Pelini have done about how they want the program to be conducted.”
Dan Beebe, Lincoln Journal Star
GH: Yeah, that speech sounds about as truthful as that guaranteed $20 million/school and huge TV contract we heard last June. Beebe blew it. The Big 12 looks like they could give a damn about Nebraska by not showing up for the conference finale. I am pretty sure they don’t but they should have been big boys and been in Lincoln on Friday. It is just what big boys do.

“I will miss watching quilts being made on Main Street, eating a cheese Runza, enjoying Thanksgiving dinner at the Cornhusker Inn, lying in bed at a motel on the highway and feeling the wind whistle through my room, calling the motel operator and telling her, ‘I've gotta leak in my sink.’ And she saying, ‘Go right ahead. Everybody else in Nebraska does.’ ”
Woody Paige, columnist, as the Colorado/Nebraska football series came to a close on Friday, Denver Post
GH: For about as many years as I can remember, Paige celebrated the annual NU/CU game with a pregame column that scorched the Children of the Corn with humor, sarcasm and just plain fun. I loved every one of them.

“I will miss the tunnel walk, the coveralled blowup doll team mascot…the sea of red, the screaming cheerleaders (not those on the sideline, but the Nebraska media in the press box).”
Woody Paige, columnist, Denver Post
GH: I was once reprimanded for cheering inside the NU press box – while watching a kick return during a Red/White spring game. Sorry ‘bout that, Woody.

“I will miss the Bugeaters and the Cornhuskers and the best fans in the land. They all drink the NU Kool- Aid. Kool-Aid was created in Hastings, Neb., of course. I will miss poking (harmless) fun at Nebraskans, and they, who have no sense of humor, will miss me. I will miss the annual rivalry between CU and NU. Rivalry? Yes, say I. Never, say Nebraskans.”
Woody Paige, columnist, Denver Post
GH: Nebraska heads to Dallas next Saturday to try and win a Big 12 title – the first for a North squad since Darren Sproles and the Cats upset Big Game Bob’s unbeatable Sooners in 2003. How many fellow Big 12 North fans will be rooting for the Huskers to grab this final jewel on their way out of town? Looks like the Blackshirts may get another shutout in that one as well

Just making the playoffs good enough for Chiefs fans?

Posted 11-24-10

“The Chiefs are going to get in (the playoffs). There’s no doubt about it! I think they win the division. I don’t think San Diego can catch them.”
Herm Edwards, 810 AM
GH: Herm is pouring what all Chiefs fans are drinking – a syrupy mix and NFL playoff elixir. It’s Turkey Day and the Chiefs are atop the AFC West but much works still needs to be done. Read on.

“I like Seattle (over the Chiefs). It’s hard to take the Chiefs on the road right now.”
Jeff Chadhia, ESPN NFL reporter, 810 AM
GH: Each week it seems the Chiefs find themselves in must-win mode. While this week’s game cannot be considered in that category, a road win in the Emerald City would go a long way in securing playoff play for "The Clarks" squad.

“The West (Divisions) are just brutal. Could you imagine a 7-9 team (making the playoffs)?”
Mike Golic, while analyzing the NFC and AFC West divisions, ESPN Radio

“Who cares if they just make the playoffs? I think Chiefs fans want to see a team that can do some damage in the playoffs. And to me that would be a team that can show they can win on the road in the regular season.”
Danan Hughes, 610 AM
GH: Hughes is pushing a point here that far too many of us have lost focus on. Kansas City is so bereft of success from the Chiefs and Royals we are now smitten with the mere fragrance of a possible playoff birth. I like Hughes’ refreshing candor is challenging his former franchise to do more than just be in the playoff hunt in December.

“I like the Kansas City Chiefs at home against Pittsburgh (if they were to meet in the playoffs). I can’t find any statistical evidence to back that up and so I would equate from that that I am a homer.”
Tim Grunhard, 810 AM
GH: Maybe my favorite quote of the week.

“It’s amazing how people and fans’ moods and opinions change from week to week. I don’t think there is any other sport like it.”
Bob Fescoe, on how differently Chiefs fans feel after a win over Arizona than the past two weeks following losses, 610 AM
GH: The pall that hung over Kansas City the past two weeks was blown south with the Chiefs’ resounding pounding of the hapless Cardinals. NFL fans have more sudden and violent mood swings than a 14-year-old daughter…or so I have been told

“I was the guy that would have cut (Bowe) this summer. For me, I’m gonna wait for the rest of this year and maybe next year (to resign Bowe). This is a guy I wait on.”
Soren Petro, after Bowe’s recent improved play, 810 AM

“I beg of all the Chiefs fans to remember each and every media member that wanted Bowe CUT after the Indy game.”
Nick Wright, Twitter
GH: Lot of Bowe talk of late after he went off against Denver (after the Chiefs were down 0-35) and then again against Arizona (or whatever that was that showed up at Arrowhead last Sunday). Bowe is still the guy who dropped two very easy catches that turned wins into losses this season. He is still the guy who one NFL player referred to as “the single biggest dumb ass” in the league. I hope Bowe is someone the Chiefs can count on in crunch time. I am not ready to make that leap.

“I can’t guarantee it but I can tell you we’re gonna win it all.”
Dwayne Bowe, in an interview following the Chiefs’ win over Arizona, 610 AM
GH: Bob Fescoe and 610 Sports quickly promoted this Bowe comment from Bowe as news. Read on.

“Yes I was there! I asked the question, jackass!”
Bob Fescoe, to a caller who asked Fescoe if he was there for Bowe’s statement, 610 AM
GH: Lot of anger from the Bulldog just because a caller disagreed with him on how sincere Bowe was concerning his “win it all” comment. I don’t think Fescoe enjoyed having to share his show with Shan Shariff. It sounded to me the feeling was mutual between the two hosts.

“I’m not sure why (Bowe) was allowed near a microphone.”
Soren Petro, on his “win it all” statement, 810 AM
GH: Petro at times acts more like a member of the Chiefs' front office than a talk show host. What sports talk show host doesn’t want Dwayne Bowe in front of a mic?

“Seriously, the media should just stay away (from interviewing Bowe).”
Tim Grunhard, 810 AM
GH: Grunhard retired years ago and now is a member of the unwashed-and-frequently-stained media. He needs to start acting like it as well.

“I am 4-17-1 this season. I defy anyone to try and do that!”
Mike Greenburg, on his “lock” picks for the NFL this season, ESPN Radio
GH: Mike Golic is 12-10 in his locks. I think I’ll stick to fantasy football. Far fewer trips to the ATM on Boookie Tuesday.

“I think it’s been so long since this town has seen good quarterbacking, they don’t know. They’re not qualified. I’m not debating it any more. Either you get the game or you don’t.”
Soren Petro, on why Chiefs’ fans continue to be unimpressed with Matt Cassel and his statistics, 810 AM
GH: Petro is a huge proponent of Cassel. His chosen nemesis, Nick Wright, is not. Read on.

“Now I'm (on Twitter) engaging someone who wants to convince me Matt Cassel is 8th best QB in league. Goodnight twitter. Hello Vick and Madden splitscreen.”
Nick Wright, Twitter
GH: I listen to a lot of local sports talk radio. If Wright is for something, often Petro is against it. I have no doubt these two monitor the content of each other’s show with more rapt attention than even me.

“I’m the guy who five years ago was watching Matt Cassel during the preseason and said we should go get this guy. I am thrilled that Matt Cassel is here.”
Kevin Kietzman, 810 AM
GH: Kietz once again is out ahead of the masses and making sure we know about it.

“That ‘unbelievable individual effort’ Dan Patrick was taking about by (Danny) Woodhead, involved at least 4 downfield blocks by teammates. … i'm not dogging woodhead... i'm dogging the way the small white players are described by announcers. there's a big difference. … For the record, I don't dislike anyone because of their race. I dislike when people are treated or discussed differently because of race. … Guys, it's ok that we're amazed by white guys playing skill positions in NFL. It's also OK that I point it out and make u feel uncomfortable.”
Nick Wright, who is not a fan of the notoriety that has quickly come to the Patriots running back, Twitter
GH: Wright is a predictable guy. If it’s white and popular, it must be racist and wrong. He reminds me of a favorite southern author of mine who once said there was a time in his life that he was so remorseful over the way blacks were treated in American history that if presented with a boot filled with the piss of a black man he would have drank it. The author got over it. It appears to me Wright is still guzzling. Read on.

“The Danny Woodhead phenomenon is 100% race related. … Danny Woodhead gets the run because he has a good name, he was on Hard Knocks and he’s white. And it doesn’t even have to be an argument. The national love that Danny Woodhead gets is so disproportionate to his production it blows my mind.”
Nick Wright, on the surging popularity of the Patriots’ diminutive white running back, 610 AM
GH: Wright loves to tack on to his many takes that there is no need for an argument. Not the best line when your goal is to host an entertaining talk radio show. I happen to disagree with Wright about as much as anyone can disagree with another human on this take. Woodhead’s props are earned because he’s talented. Talent can come in all colors, Nick. Even in the NFL. View some of Woodhead’s work with the Pats here.
“If Jake Pullen is a preseason All-American, I like him a lot, but it’s probably a little bit of a down year in college basketball. I’m just being honest. Preseason All-Americans at K-State and a couple of white guys and freshmen. I’m just being honest.”
Nick Wright, 810 AM
GH: In Wright’s world, if you’re white, how can you be an All-American college basketball player? And to think two whiteys made the AA preseason squad this year!!! Somebody get Nick a boot cocktail.

“We urge all the Kansas fans to get out there (to Arrowhead). We don’t want to be outnumbered by the Missouri fans. This could be our finest hour.”
David Lawrence, radio analyst for KU football, on the Border War game Saturday between 9-2 Mizzou and 3-8 Kansas, 610 AM
GH: Lot of “finest hours” getting tossed around the past few years in promoting the KU football program. Would Mizzou even consider allowing this one to come true?

“I don’t like them. I can’t give them credit for anything. They don’t have an advantage anywhere. And I hate them. I’ve been a Mizzou fan my whole life. From day one. Every time I see a (KU) shirt I just want to burn it.”
T.J. Moe, Mizzou wide receiver, on his feelings about Kansas, Kansas City Star
GH: No truth to the rumors that Moe is a distant relative to William Quantrill.

 “Can you imagine what Arrowhead will be like (Saturday) if Nebraska lost to Colorado?”
Steven St. John, 810 AM
GH: Around 60,000 are expected to be inside Arrowhead Saturday for the 11:30 kickoff. 50,000 of those will be shouting MIZ – ZOU very loudly. If the Huskers do the unthinkable, jack that number to one where the walk-up ticket takers won’t be able to handle the late-morning rush.
“I know I lead a sheltered life but apparently this (True Grit) movie is a remake of some John Wayne movie.”
Nate Bukaty, after seeing a trailer for Jeff Bridges upcoming True Grit flick, 810 AM
GH: Nate never ceases to amaze me with the depth of his sheltered cellar. I know the kid grew up in KCK but didn’t his house have electricity? A newspaper? A freaking window? Here’s a link to Joel Coen’s TG remake trailer that looks fan-freaking-tastic. I’ll be in the theater to see this one on opening weekend. and Twitter / greghall24


Day one of the CBE Classic

Posted 11-23-10

I spent Monday night inside a friend’s suite at Sprint Center taking in the CBE Classic first-round games. I have been lucky enough to attend every one of these CBE tourneys since Sprint opened. This year’s CBE might be the most loaded yet. Here are some of my takeaways from day one.

Bond Bridge: Being a KC Northlander (since moving from the Kansas side of town 20 years ago) we took the new Bond Bridge south into Downtown on Monday night to attend the CBE Classic. Wow! KC’s new welcome mat from the north is gorgeous at night. You first spot the lit top of the Bond Br


impressive and beautiful addition to our city’s landscape made me feel damn proud to be a part of this city that continues to improve its culture, ambiance and head-turning attractions.

Tickets: None to be had. Lots of the black mafia dudes stalking all comers asking, “Got any tickets for sale?” I saw very few buyers or sellers on the streets of The Power & Light District. I stopped at one of the many open and staffed ticket windows and asked if there were any tickets for sale. “None,” came the reply. I am guessing that tonight’s ticket for the Duke/KSU finale will bring quite a ransom.

Fans at Sprint: Kansas City is one helluva college basketball town. Maybe The Star is right, we are the college basketball center of the universe. Almost 19,000 fans showed up on a Monday night the week of Thanksgiving to watch two non-con games that have little or no bearing on who wins the NCAA tourney this spring. What’s that BCS football argument about their regular season being so much more important and attractive than hoops because there’s no playoff? Complete bullshit.

K-State fans: These passionate purple people packed Sprint Center like it was twofers night in Aggieville. Every cheap seat was filled and almost all were sporting Wildcat colors. This was not your Big 12 transient sightseeing crowd. You know the one where half the crowd doesn’t give a flip out who’s playing and is busy walking, talking and texting. These fans were there to watch hoops and especially Frank Martin’s boys. I headed out to the restroom mid-game and the wide concourses at Sprint Center were as vacant as KC’s downtown streets in the 90’s.

NASCAR on Sprint floor: There appeared to be more ads on the floor at Sprint Center than at The K – and that is a lot of ads. Did they really need those two Reese’s graphics jammed into the free-throw circle? The NCAA will do almost anything to make a buck on the backs of student athletes who are forbidden to profit from their unique skills. Josh Selby gets fined for driving around in his coach’s car but the NCAA can charge $200/ticket to watch him play? In the next decade we will see the NCAA get blown up and all this hypocrisy become history. I hope they call me to help rewrite the rule book.

Uniforms of note: Duke’s Columbia blue unies were the sharpest of the night. Marquette’s brilliant gold were a close second. K-State’s formal black are always cool. Only Gonzaga’s tri-colored togs disappointed.

Who’s good and not: Marquette surprised me with their talent. They played Duke very tough, especially inside. If Marquette is the seventh best team in the Big East this season, that is gonna be one tough conference yet again. Duke is Duke…as they say. Lot of talent but I saw some defensive holes down under the bucket. Marquette got some easy looks inside. That should be good news for what ails KSU’s Curtis Kelley. This Gonzaga is only Gonzaga in name. Don’t look for these Zags to be zigging come March.

Will Spradling: If Sprint Center had a trending post, the K-State freshman from Shawnee Mission South would have topped the poll. And why not? He’s local, he’s white and he’s good. Why mention he’s white? The dude sticks out in that K-State lineup like he was a hardboiled egg in a bag of charcoal. I was impressed with the level of confidence the SMS kid displayed in a very different venue than facing Shawnee Mission North. Can the kid strap it on against Duke with the same bravado? We will be watching.

Frank: Worth the price of admission is Frank’s Faces. He went after young Spradling a time or two like he was trying to reenact the Bo Pelini/Taylor Martinez dance at A&M. One thing about sitting in the arena for a K-State game is that you miss all those replays of Frank’s Faces on the tube. Coach K was there but he does far more sitting and watching than coaching…kind of the same as KSU’s DaLonte Hill.

No Twitter: My iPhone was blanked from Internet access inside Sprint Monday night. Being from Nebraska, I immediately assumed it was a conspiracy toward against AT&T customers. and Twitter / greghall24

Flying Pelinis disgrace Nebraska

Posted 11-22-10

“Should be a pleasant week for Nebraska football. No pressure or anything. No hot debates about (allegedly) slanted officiating. Pass the cranberries, and cover up the little ones' ears.”
Steve Sipple, columnist, Lincoln Journal Star
GH: If you’re a member of the media who has even a passing interest in covering or commentating on Nebraska football, the holidays got kicked off a bit early for you after Bo Pelini’s nationally televised out-of-control, embarrassing, f-bomb dripping, Martinez ripping, projectile spitting, referee hitting performance on the Nebraska sideline at Texas A&M on Saturday night.

“Let's talk Big 12 conspiracy. I've heard from everyone but Mel Gibson and Oliver Stone on Sunday. I'm still not buying it. But I'm willing to listen. Here's my problem: I despise using the referees as an excuse. Sure, I admit, the zebras can drive you nuts. Late in Saturday's game, when a Big 12 ref threw a flag on Texas A&M and picked it up, I said out loud, ‘Can Nebraska just go to the Big Ten right now?’ … Here's what I think the real conspiracy is: It's the Big 12 officials vs. Bo Pelini.”
Tom Shatel, columnist, Omaha World Herald
GH: I agree. Referees do not conspire together to job one team over another…not at the BCS level. Many Nebraska fans will disagree with me on this point and there are plenty of stats (and a few videos) to back up those Husker fans’ arguments. The far bigger problem for Nebraska when it comes to referees is how Bo Pelini garners zero respect from the zebras – and in my opinion doesn’t deserve any.

“It’s not very often that I think a coach dictates the outcome of a game by his actions but I think that happened in Pelini’s case. I really think that team became discombobulated on the sideline because of Bo’s anger. I’ll guarantee you that that created a ripple on that football team that affected if they were gonna win that game.”
Gary Barnett, 810 AM

“Judging from my e-mail bin, Nebraska fans are debating: A) If Big 12 game officials deliberately are trying to put the screws to the Huskers on their way out the Big 12's door; or B) If officials merely are tired of Pelini's sideline ranting and raving, and are cutting him and his team no slack.”
Steve Sipple, columnist, Lincoln Journal Star
GH: Good to hear that not all Nebraska fans think this is just the Big 12 sticking it to the Huskers. Many think they are sticking it to the Huskers because of the Bo Show.

“Texas A&M's victory Saturday night over Nebraska seems to be the gift that keeps on giving when it comes to good copy and interesting video.”
Chuck Carlton, reporter, Dallas Morning News
GH: Click here to view two videos from the NU/A&M game that Carlton makes reference to in his article. In one, it is fairly obvious that Nebraska’s tight end Ben Cotton is seen having his testicles repeatedly grabbed by an A&M player. Cotton reacts by kicking toward the offending player. Cotton was flagged twice after this play for a total of 30 yards. He was also verbally assaulted by Bo Pelini as he came to the sideline. Cotton is the son of Barney Cotton, Nebraska’s offensive line coach. Cotton should have reacted with more poise but how can Pelini expect his players to show any poise in the heat of a game when his own in-game actions resemble Jack Nicholson in The Shining?

“We don’t know if that’s true or not but we’ve heard it from a lot of people.”
Nate Bukaty, stating that the reason Pelini was so upset with Martinez was that the quarterback texted his father at halftime that he was going to be alright, 810 AM
GH: The rumor, and that is all it is at this point, is that Martinez told the trainers to wait to treat his injury until he was done texting his dad. This supposedly is why Pelini went All-Star Wrestling mad on his redshirt-freshman quarterback. If Martinez was my son and I witnessed how Pelini treated him and how Martinez stood strong and took it, I would be proud of my son and embarrassed that Pelini doesn’t possess near the composure as my 20-year-old son. I also would not be sending any more sons to play for the Flying Pelinis.

“Martinez, you could just see it in his eyes that he didn’t really give a care (after he was verbally reprimanded by Pelini).”
Gary Barnett, 810 AM
GH: I don’t agree with Barnett on this count. I didn’t see anything from Martinez in the second half that indicated he didn’t give a care about winning at A&M. He just physically wasn’t able to do what he needed to do because of his ankle injury. Rather, I thought the kid showed some real heart.

“He’s still on the team.”
Bo Pelini, when asked to respond to rumors that Taylor Martinez had quit the Nebraska team, Omaha World Herald
GH: The Twitter world was abuzz Sunday night with rumors that Martinez had quit the team. It appears Martinez remains a member of the Huskers squad but I’m not so sure those rumors were false. Nebraska sources say Martinez did walk out of a Sunday meeting and quit the team. Apparently, he is now back.

“I’ll tell you one thing, it wasn’t the referees who lost that game for Nebraska!”
Aaron Swarts, 810 AM
GH: There is little love for Nebraska on 810, 610, or even in The Star. Nebraska is leaving the conference and most of the local media is damn happy about it. Pelini’s performance on Saturday was like an early Christmas present – even for the Jewish members of the local media.

“If I was a Nebraska fan, I’d be angry too.”
Todd Leabo, 810 AM
GH: There isn’t an ardent fan who would not be upset if it was their team who was flagged 16 times to A&M’s two and had crucial call after crucial call go against their team allowing A&M to gain a 9-6 win. It’s just what fans do when they perceive injustice. Same as fans who revel is Nebraska’s meltdown. It’s part of being a fan.

“Granted, you could make a case that Nebraska lost its second game of the season because of bad officiating. But great teams rise above bad officiating. Great men rise above it instead of letting it consume them. Bottom line, Saturday night was bad publicity for a proud athletic program, a proud university.”
Steve Sipple, columnist, Lincoln Journal Star
GH: What he said.

“(Harvey) Perlman (NU’s Chancellor) said he felt uneasy about the numerous camera shots of Pelini’s outbursts. The chancellor said that he spoke Sunday morning with Athletic Director Tom Osborne about Pelini’s conduct and that Perlman, Osborne or both would talk to Pelini about his decorum.”
Mitch Sherman, writer, Omaha World Herald
GH: I am a guy sitting in Kansas City and I was uneasy with Pelini’s rants. I can only imagine what the Nebraska Chancellor was feeling.

“Bo has a lot of passion for his football team and there is a strong upside to that. But again, overall, the conduct was unfortunate last night.”
Harvey Perlman, Omaha World Herald
GH: Lot of speculation as to what Perlman will do today. Suspend Bo? Spit on him? Make him coach the basketball team and trade faces with KSU’s Frank Martin?

“Bo couldn't have been more distracted taping his weekly coaches show Saturday nite (aired Sunday). Hard to watch, yet I couldn't look away.”
Rich Kaipust, Omaha World Herald writer, Twitter

“I guarantee you that (Colorado game) is going to be a tough game for Nebraska to win, even though it’s in Nebraska. I would pick Colorado to win this game with all that stuff going on.”
Gary Barnett, 810 AM
GH: The Buffs and Huskers meet in Lincoln for the final time on Friday. There will be very few fans outside the Nebraska family rooting for the Huskers. Pelini has made Nebraska that much of an enemy that even nomad Colorado is a favored son.

“If the Huskers do get in the last word (on who is the final Big 12 champion), I'm guessing it'll be of the four-letter variety, at least from the Pelini camp.”
Steve Sipple, columnist, Lincoln Journal Star

“Nebraska is the best-coached team in the league.”
Mike DeArmond, two weeks ago on
GH: If you want to know why Nebraska puts up with the Bo Show and the Flying Pelinis, here is your answer. Winning makes us blind to what all others see.


About a college football playoff

Posted 11-19-10

 “For those who want a college football playoff, you have that right now in the Big 12 the next few weeks!”
Gary Barnett, 810 AM
GH: Barnett is spinning fairy tales but unfortunately neither Steven St. John or Nate Bukaty challenged his inane comment. Like most college football coaches, Barnett doesn’t want anything to do with a postseason tournament that would eliminate the need for the worthless bowls. The truth is, none of the Big 12 teams have a chance at winning the national title this season – and they haven’t since October. But a playoff would mean mediocre coaches couldn’t claim success with a six- or seven-win season and gaining the popular but worthless “bowl eligibility” label. Here is what the opening round of a 16-team single-elimination playoff might look like using the current BCS standings.

Oregon vs. Virginia Tech
TCU vs. Oklahoma
LSU vs. Michigan St.
Wisconsin vs. Oklahoma St.
Stanford vs. Alabama
Nebraska vs. Ohio St.
Boise St. vs. Arkansas
Auburn vs. Missouri
Tell me again why we need the bowls?

“Bill Snyder’s not going to throw the game plan out the window. He’s going to stay with the running game.”
Dave Lapham, with KSU down 31-14 with 2:11 remaining in the game, FoxSports MW
GH: Unless Snyder’s game plan for the Mizzou game included a large dose of desperation plays – including one of the ugliest fumblerookskie plays I’ve witnessed – BS tossed his game plan to the wind far too early in the Mizzou loss. I would even go as far to say that I have more faith in Snyder’s team than he does.

“Here comes Moe…and you’ve got Larry, Curly and Shemp throwing blocks for him.”
Dave Lapham, TV analyst for KSU/Mizzou game describing the replay of a TJ Moe run, FoxSports MW

“They (Nebraska) are hell bent on making everyone in this conference hate them!”
Nate Bukaty, on Nebraska’s final tour of the Big 12, 810 AM
GH: Bukaty worked the sideline for the KU radio broadcast in Lincoln. He was incensed that Nebraska was throwing the football with under a minute to play with a 20-3 lead. He spent a good portion of the first hour of his Monday morning show ripping Pelini for this act. Read on.

“I thought the Nebraska fans showed a lot of class for booing their own coach for trying to run up the score (on Kansas). I have no issue with Nebraska fans because on the whole I think they’ve been a classy bunch.”
Nate Bukaty, 810 AM
GH: I watched the game on Time Warner’s PPV and I too thought the last-minute passes were classless. Pelini is a very different kind of head coach. He doesn’t have the poise to control his volatile emotions and he really doesn’t care what his fans or opponents think of him. When asked what it meant to him that the Kansas / Nebraska series was ending after 120 years, he shrugged and said, “I don’t care.” It is not difficult to see why the rest of the Big 12 is not going to be rooting for NU when they move to the Big 10.

“If (Taylor Martinez) doesn’t improve to 100% health-wise, Texas A&M can certainly win that game.”
Todd Leabo, 810 AM

“It seems to me looking at Nebraska they’re a little bit confused about who they are and they lack a little confidence.”
Gary Barnett, 810 AM

“I think there is a very real chance that Nebraska loses this week to Texas A&M.”
Kevin Kietzman, 810 AM
GH: Kietzman picks Nebraska to lose almost every week, but this week he has some company. There is a lot of talk about Nebraska getting beat this week in College Station. I counted Mizzou’s win there as their most impressive win in years – including the Oklahoma win. The Aggies have completely changed everyone’s opinion of their worth. This one will be fun to watch.

“I don’t care if I lose Nebraska listeners! You can find another radio station! Good luck with that!”
Kevin Kietzman, 810 AM
GH: KK knows that while there are many Nebraska fans who listen to his program, he understands there are thousands more fans who despise Nebraska. He plays to the majority of his audience almost every time. It is called being a good businessman. An annoying businessman at times, but successful nonetheless. 

“I don't think there is a great team in the Big 12 this season.”
Mike DeArmond,
GH: I agree with Daddy D on this one. If Nebraska is the league’s best, that is proof enough we are watching good but not great football this season here in B12 country. I do think there is far more parity in the B12 this season than maybe any other. But while that makes for some exciting Saturdays, it doesn’t excite the BCS folks.
“What are you talking about???”

Nate Bukaty, after Steven St. John gave one of the more detailed retellings I’ve ever heard of the plot for the movie, All The Right Moves, 810 AM
GH: SSJ’s commentary included the obscure team names, exact dialogue and the names of even ancillary characters – Salvucci, Rifleman, and of course Tom Cruise’s Stefen Djordjevic. It did not surprise me in the least that the pop-culture sheltered Bukaty had no clue about this 1983 classic high school football movie. Read on.

“Was Dauber in it?”
Nate Bukaty, when told that Craig T. Nelson played the part of Cruise’s coach in the movie, 810 AM

“I wouldn’t go so far as to say (Carl Peterson’s) going to be involved with the Dolphins next year but there’s some talk. Some chatter. If a change is made at the top with Parcells already having one foot out the door. Peterson might be the guy because he and Stephen Ross (the Dolphins majority owner) have this relationship.”
Adam Kuperstein, Miami sports anchor, talking to Soren Petro, 810 AM
GH: Petro gleaned this nugget in his interview with Kuperstein, from one of his Two-Minute Drill segments. This informative segment where Petro interviews members of the media around the country is one of the best on local radio. Petro is far from smooth or even entertaining when it comes to a sports talk show host. But what he does deliver is solid information better than any other host in the city. He sometimes packages his info in a far too fact-filled blur for my taste, but his very loyal audience doesn’t seem to mind.

“So far everything’s pretty good (here in Minnesota). Of course it’s not winter yet. I’m about to freeze my nuts off.”
Scott Fujita, former Chiefs’ linebacker and current Browns’ player, in an interview with Scott Fujita, Jim Rome Show
GH: Rome, who drops callers for even the slightest sexual reference or comments about their twigs and berries, never blinked at Fujita’s frozen nuts drop. Instead, Rome appeared to pretend to not hear the comment and just buzzed right on with the interview. 

“I haven’t rooted for anybody or any team since I got into the business. That’s the code.”
Jim Rome, Jim Rome Show
GH: I used to hear this “code” from old-time journalists. It never made sense to me then and it doesn’t today. There are far more members of the media now who are unafraid to state which teams they root for and against. I think it makes them more credible and real. Do you want your info coming from someone who doesn’t understand the passion of following a sports team? I think you can be a fan and be objective.

“Journalism has changed even since we’ve been in college because of message boards, Twitter and all that nonsense.”
Bob Fescoe, 810 AM
GH: Twitter is the most misunderstood medium of our time. It is also the most powerful vehicle for gathering information in an unbelievably short span of time. I depend on it for news gathering and entertaining dialogue. It is far from nonsense but it is difficult to describes its worth without experiencing its power.

“Nobody. I don’t ever go on that thing. I don’t need to know what anybody is doing.”
Matt Cassel, when asked by Soren Petro who he follows on Twitter, 810 AM
GH: Cassel’s response if similar to most who don’t understand how Twitter can be used. Try it. You’ll like it.“You guys won't give my school (Northwest Missouri State) the time of day! 45 Conference wins in a row 45!  And by next weekend it should be 46 with yet another spot for the 6th year in a row in the Divisions II playoffs and Conference Championship. We own 3 National Championships, more than MU, KU and K-State combined. NW has been to the elite 8 twice in the last 15 years or so in basketball.  Yet for some reason that is not good enough for these better than thou writers that think the only good sports is DI. Northwest Missouri State has had to carry the football banner for this state for the last 15 years or so and journalists still won't give us the time of day because we are not DI. Open your blind eyes and look.  Plus we are a lot of fun!”
OTC Read email
GH: High school fans, D2 football fans, women’s sports fans all have the same bitch – the mainstream media won’t pay any attention to us! It is not because the media doesn’t respect, enjoy and follow your sports and your teams. It is because the vast, vast, vast majority of sports fans do not. The media exists to sell advertising. Period. All that other gobbledygook about ethics, journalistic standards, two sources, blah,blah,blah is as worthless as rice cakes without an advertiser to pay for the message. Enjoy the pub your Bearcat football teams get from the local newspaper, school blogs, etc. It is as good as you’re going to get no matter how many times you travel to Rains-Every-Year, Alabama to battle another team no one knows or cares about.

“We found that this quarterback (Matt Cassel) is a pretty damn good quarterback when given the chance to show it.”
Tim Grunhard, on Cassel’s big day in Denver, 810 AM
GH: Cassel gets a lot of people fired up because he signed a ridiculously huge contract and he just doesn’t look the part of a franchise quarterback. His numbers though, are very good. I think he’ll be a guy who plays his best football in his mid-30s…and most likely somewhere other than Kansas City.

“I think people are too quick to say those yards (Cassel racked up late against Denver) didn’t matter.”
Kurtis Seaboldt, 810 AM
GH: Too many people are pointing to those Denver yards as justification for Cassel’s salary and role as the Chiefs’ franchise quarterback. If the play of the Chiefs defense continues to decline, Cassel’s play will not matter. But he should be good enough to get the Chiefs to 9 wins this season. Anything less after a 5-2 start will be considered failure.

“Is Matt Cassel the problem on this team? I would say no. He is having the kind of Trent-Green jump in his second year that we talked about.”
Soren Petro, after reading Cassel’s season stats, 810 AM

“Why does everybody on your station defend Cassel? I don’t know, because we get it.”
Soren Petro, responding to a listener questioning the strong backing WBH’s hosts give Cassel, 810 AM

“I’m a little worried about Brian Waters. I’m not sure if he’s hurt but the last three or four games he’s struggled mightily against a bunch of different guys. He’s got to get that straightened out.”
Tim Grunhard, 810 AM
GH: Waters has been getting beat the past month, sometimes in ugly fashion. If he’s hurt, as well as Moeaki, Dexter and a list of other starters, the Chiefs could drop this home game to a hungry Arizona club.

“There’s no reason whatsoever for the Chiefs to lose this football game (to Arizona).”
Nick Wright, 610 AM

“I think you’re going to get the best punch the Chiefs have to throw this week (against Arizona).”
Soren Petro, 810 AM
“If the Chiefs lose this game Sunday (against Arizona), I am going to consider them dead (for the playoffs). If the Chiefs can’t beat this team this Sunday. They’re done. They’re cooked. The math would still tell us they’re in it – not for me.”
Kevin Kietzman, 810 AM
GH: In the NFL you are almost never out of it…especially in the mediocre AFC West. I think the Chiefs should be able to keep their playoff hopes alive through the holidays even if the Cardinals happen to trip the hobbled Chiefs up on Sunday.

“I still think (the Chiefs) are gonna finish 9-7 or maybe 10-6. But they’ve got to turn things around here real quick.”
Tim Grunhard, 810 AM

“You know and you’re not saying, right? I got no problem with that.”
Kevin Kietzman, after Mitch Holthus refused to divulge the cause of Todd Haley’s leg injury, 810 AM
GH: Holthus’ response to KK when asked about Haley’s injury was, “He hasn’t told you? Then you’re going to have to get the answer from him.” Holthus did not sound playful. He was serious. Kietzman laughed and told him he completely understood his silence. So am I the only guy who thinks this is ridiculously weird? Are the Chiefs really that controlling that even talk about the coach’s injuries are forbidden? Since no reason was given I’ll make one up… Haley pulled his right groin, quad and Achilles when he kicked at Charlie Weis while they wrestled on the locker room floor in front of the team and media earlier this week. His kick toward Weis’ balls was deftly deflected by Weis’ silver cane. Weis, unknown to Haley, perfected his cane defensive moves as a young child while attending a Jedi camp led by the ageless Yoda.

“We’re done with this for now. I don’t know what’s transpiring right now at the Kansas City Power & Light District.”
Kevin Kietzman, breaking away from 810’s live coverage of the Wizards’ muddled and confusing announcement of their name change to Sporting Kansas City, 810 AM

“We will bring a Super Bowl to Kansas City! Mark my words!”
Bob Fescoe, 610 AM
GH: I’m not sure who the “we” is that Fescoe references but it appears The Bulldog may have other concerns that have to do with his job. 610 Sports has paired Fescoe and Shan Shariff for the past two days and quietly slipped a “guest host” in place of Shariff for the mid-morning show. It appears to be an audition for this guest host who has recently spent time on the radio in Omaha and Des Moines. Just my guess but with Fescoe’s contract up in January, I would think 610 is considering axing The Bulldog and sliding Shariff into the morning drive slot. and Twitter / greghall24


Is K-State basketball worthy of its lofty ranking?

Posted 11-18-10

“He’s probably the best shooter in the college game today.”
Chris Dortch, editor of, on KSU’s Jacob Pullen, in an interview with Soren Petro, 810 AM
GH: Pullen let the nation in on just how good and clutch he is when he went viral in the NCAA tourney against Xavier last season to put his Cats in the Elite Eight. The sunrise to this college basketball season is just peaking over the shoe tops of the football season. We’re not quite ready for full-on hoops but with 5:00 PM darkness comes Big Monday. And next week the CBE brings Duke to Sprint Center. Football might have to jump in the backseat for a few nights.

“K-State is going to really miss Clemente. Already does.”
Mike DeArmond, early in the Virginia Tech/KSU game, Twitter
GH: I too am in this camp. Clemente was so integral to the success of K-State that it is difficult to imagine them being better without their speedy guard. But then I listened to the way the Wildcats ripped a top-25 Virginia Tech in the second half. Now I’m not so sure.

“If K-State wins the CBE next week there is a very real possibility they will be the number-one team (in the country). People are saying that K-State can’t be that good. I think there is a lot of that here locally.”
Kevin Kietzman, 810 AM
GH: If K-State wins two games at Sprint Center next week and one of them contains Coach K’s scalp (check that sucker for shoe polish while you’re at it), nobody is going to be walking around Kansas City saying K-State is overrated -- not even Jayhawk and Tiger fans.

“It’s hard for me to grasp (K-State’s #3 preseason ranking). We haven’t seen this out of this program. I can’t buy into the hype. I would bet my house right now if KU and K-State played that KU would win.”
Kevin Kietzman, 810 AM
GH: KK’s got a pretty nice house. I’m guessing he had his fingers crossed on this one.

“I think Bramlage is now the toughest place to play in college basketball.”
Mike DeCourcy, when asked what he thought of KSU’s dominating win over Va Tech, 810 AM
GH: I don’t think Bramlage is the reason for Frank Martin’s success. It’s loud and looks great on TV but the Cats dropped a few games at home last season. I think the reason KSU is good is because Frank can coach and I think he’s got some studs.

“I know a lot of you think Bill Self is the best coach in the conference. I don’t know that to be true.
Nick Wright, who was in the midst of a Frank Martin man-crush rant, 610 AM
GH: Yeah, it’s true. I like Frank but he ain’t no Bill Self.

“There are a lot of Frank Martin coaching decisions that people don’t know about that have helped Kansas State. How about staying away from Tony Mitchell? He knows Tony Mitchell! He could have gotten Tony Mitchell! He would have gotten Tony Mitchell! He stayed away. Too many red flags.”
Nick Wright, suggesting Martin passed on the high-profile recruit who is currently enrolled but not yet eligible at Mizzou, 610 AM
GH: There goes Nick Wright Left and All Around, once again making statements he (nor anyone else) can back up with any credibility or facts. How can he state the Mizzou recruit would have gone to K-State if Martin beckoned? Did Wright forget Martin came to Manhattan in the pocket of the patron saint of hoops red flags, Bob Huggins?  Too suggest Martin wouldn’t dabble in recruiting sketchy talent is almost as absurd as KSU assistant coach DaLonte Hill’s $500K salary.

“Frank Martin walks a very fine line on the sideline. He needs to be very careful.”
Shan Shariff, on the volatile coaching style of KSU’s head guy, 610 AM
GH: Frank looks out-of-control on the court but he’s more bark than bite. His players know this far better than the audience. He’s a great sideshow to any game KSU plays but he is very aware of what he is doing. Watch Frank with the refs next game. He almost NEVER has a harsh word with them. That dude is as cool as a night in January in Ames and far more in control than he appears.

“I think Missouri has a chance to be really special.”
Mike DeCourcy, college basketball writer for The Sporting News, when asked to pick his surprise basketball team in the Big 12 this season, Rock Chalk Sports Talk
GH: It is early but Mizzou looks unbeatable at home. If they can convince the Tiger fans that it’s okay to come inside Mizzou Arena during the winter, the Zou might be a deadly place for Cats, Hawks, Buffaloes and Bears.

“I don’t think Brady (Morningstar) is ever going to be a ‘green-light’ kinda guy.”
Bill Self, on whether the KU senior guard has the green light to shoot, Hawk Talk
GH: Brady’s outside jumper is still suffering from whatever ailed it last season. His outside shot looks like more of a wish than the theme for all those homeless commercials that pop up this time of year.

“Tyrel (Reed), if he’s in the game, he should shoot it every time he’s open. I think he should become more aggressive.”
Bill Self, on the senior guard from Burlington, KS, Hawk Talk
GH: I lived my entire basketball life to hear a coach say these words to me that Self said about Reed. I dreamt of hearing, “Hall, dammit! If you get the shot, I want your ass taking it!” Instead it was more like, “Hall! If that sorry sumbitch scores on your sorry ass one more time I am yanking you and burying you so far down the bench you’ll have to learn Chinese!”

“I’ll tell you right now, Kansas is deeper in the frontcourt than Duke is. I think that’s one of the reasons some people fell asleep on Kansas. I think people have forgotten who Jeff Withey is!”
Chris Dortch, on the 7-foot KU sophomore center who transferred in from Arizona, 810 AM
GH: Forgottten? Who the hell knew, knows or cares? If Withey turns into a major player for KU this season, they can go ahead and ship that big glass trophy to Lawrence tomorrow.

“Wichita State. I think they’ve got a great combination of size and experience…and they’ve been through the wars.”
Chris Dortch, when asked by Petro to name this year’s Butler, 810 AM
GH: The Mo Valley is a fun little conference to follow. Being a Creighton fan, I have spent many years enjoying the likes of Bob Gibson to Larry Bird to Ali Farokhmanesh. How great would it be if UMKC could one day muster enough talent and respect to join this hoops heavy league?

“Yeah, the one time we beat K-State he’s not here.”
Gary Pinkel, after his interview with Danny Clinkscale who was subbing for an absent Kevin Kietzman, 810 AM and Twitter / greghall24

Boxing is barely breathing when it comes to popularity

Posted 11-17-10

“Let’s be honest, nobody talks about boxing but me and they want me down there (to watch the pay-per-view fights).”
Steven St. John, on why he attended the Manny Pacquiao and Antonio Margarito fight at a local venue, 810 AM
GH: I am not sure who SSJ is referring to when he says “they” but my guess is the area boxing fans. Read on.

“For those of you that say boxing is dead… YOU ARE F*CKING WRONG!!!! Look at that crowd!”
Steven St. John, on the crowd in Dallas for the Manny Pacquiao and Antonio Margarito fight, Twitter
GH: Boxing might not dead but it’s barely breathing when it comes to popularity. Sure, a marquee fight like this will bring out a crowd and create some buzz but there is almost no media coverage of anything but the very elite fights. The once popular heavyweight division is all but expired. There are fans for every sport but minor sports like boxing don’t deserve air time on local sports radio shows.

“This is why boxing has fallen down the ladder so much. All this damn drama on fight night, are u kidding me?!? Plz, somebody kick someone.”
Jay Glazer, commenting about all the pre-fight ceremonies prior to the fight, Twitter
GH: And Glazer is a huge boxing fan. Even he knows national interest in boxing is circling the drain.

“Absolutely not! Absolutely not! Every time I talked to (Weis) he’s happy. I think all three of the three-headed monster out there of Haley, Charlie Weis and Romeo Crennel are all on the same page.”
Tim Grunhard, when asked if there is a problem between Haley and Weis, 810 AM

“We’ve got all these conspiracy theories out there now. Everybody’s trying to make a name for themselves one way or another that they’re breaking the news story, which is a bunch of malarkey. There’s a supposed power struggle (between Charlie Weis and Todd Haley).”
Tim Grunhard, on Nick Wright and Bill Maas reporting that the public bickering between Haley and Weis is causing a problem with the players, 810 AM
GH: I found it interesting the Grunhard would take a poke at his old Crunch Time cohort, Maas. His target may have been the young upstart Wright but Maas is the one with the credibility who is pushing this theory.

“I know it to be a fact. … All the players who have talked to me about it see it on the practice field.”
Nick Wright, 610 AM
GH: Wright tosses the phrase “I know it to be a fact” with far too much abandon for my taste. He played an audio clip from Vrabel that was supposed to support his bickering theory but all it did was make Wright look like he was reaching. Even Wright admitted Vrabel may or may not have been addressing the supposed issue. There are plenty of solid storylines to pursue about the Chiefs. Wright should concentrate on those and back off looking for the Zapruder film clips.

“What is the hand waving in the face?”
Soren Petro, on many of the Broncos’ skill-position players waving a single hand in their own face to celebrate a big play, Twitter
GH: I took it to mean the Bronco players were delivering a “facial” to the opposition…or maybe a “smell me” message to the Chiefs. Lil’ Wayne has a similar signature move so maybe they are all trying to break into the entertainment biz. Whatever the gesture means, it’s not even close to Benny Thompson’s famous and most creative dog-on-a-hydrant move performed as a Chief on MNF. I still laugh when I think of that pose.

“It’s not mandatory that you shake the other coach’s hand.”
Herm Edwards, 810 AM
GH: I have heard this mention in defense of Haley since he yanked his hand away from McDaniel and pointed a menacing finger at the Broncos’ coach. If you don’t want to shake an opponent’s hand, don’t go looking for him. Haley erred and apologized because I believe he knows he erred. Next time he’ll just head to the locker room.

“This moment will define (Haley). No matter what happens you’ve got to shake the other guy’s hand.”
Jeff Chadhia, NFL reporter for ESPN, 810 AM
GH: I’m not so sure this “moment” will define Haley. It could slip into Chiefs/Broncos lore much like the Elway comebacks and the Montana win but I don’t see this turning into a Woody Hayes moment for Haley. and Twitter / greghall24

Can Haley coach as well as he points fingers?

Posted 11-16-10

“It’s like a river. It just keeps running. All (Todd Haley and Charlie Weis) did all week was bicker over the (Denver) game plan and what they should do and how they should attack them.”
Bill Maas, 610 AM
GH: Maas has been pushing this point that Haley and his new offensive coordinator are at constant odds over the offensive game plan and play calling. Is there truth to it? Is it overblown? Is it causing a rift between the staff that is filtering down to the players? Good questions. Read on.

“The most important moment of the (Denver) game for fans was finally seeing Haley bitch out Weis (on the headset). This is a major issue in the locker room.”
Nick Wright, Twitter

“If those two guys are continuingly bickering, what do you think the players are doing? The players are scratching their heads saying, ‘You got to be kidding me. You want me to do what?’ It challenges (Haley’s) credibility.”
Bill Maas, 610 AM

“This isn’t speculation. This isn’t a guess. This isn’t an attempt to stir things up. Haley and Weis can’t stop bickering with each other in front of the players. When Todd Haley is sarcastically bobbing his head from side to side and cursing a blue streak to Charlie Weis (during the Denver game). And don’t tell me how do you know it’s Charlie Weis! I know it’s Charlie Weis because I’m not a dope.”
Nick Wright, 610 AM
GH: Wright has attempted to set himself up as the Bizzaro Kevin Kietzman – a polar opposite to WHB’s substance-poor but speculation-rich afternoon talk show host. But Wright’s show steps precariously close when he boldly announces his report is not speculation and not a guess – and then offers nothing more concrete than he knows because he’s not a dope. Is that also a guess, Nick?

“The last thing the Chiefs wanted was for Brodie (Croyle) to go out there and look great and then they’d have a quarterback controversy.”
Nick Wright, on why Haley left Cassel in despite the large deficit in Denver, 610 AM
GH: Huh? Maybe he was just trying to win the game. What were the odds of BC going off and creating a quarterback controversy? Wright is now tossing out more conspiracy theories than Oliver Stone.

“Do we know if there really is some bickering or is this some rumor? How do you know what Todd Haley is telling him on the headset?”
Caller to Bob Fescoe’s show, 610 AM
GH: Sports talk listeners have become far more knowledgeable over the years to sniff out what smell s like a stab at creating a story where one may or may not exist. They are wary of the ratings game that drives sports talk radio. Do Haley and Weis disagree? Sure, who doesn’t Haley disagree with? Is it really detrimental to the health, wealth and success of the Chiefs? That for me is where Wright’s and Maas’ breaking story falls apart.

“I do believe that this team has opened the door for skepticism and they’ve opened the door for doubt. How do they close that door? They’ve got to go back to basics. Success may have gotten to all of them a little bit.”
Bill Maas, 610 AM

“The performance I saw (Sunday), the Chiefs will lose to every team they play the rest of the way. That was just as ugly and hideous as it gets in Denver.”
Kevin Kietzman, 810 AM

“This is like the lynchpin game of (the Chiefs) season.”
Kevin Harlan, the play-by-play voice for the Chiefs/Broncos game, as Denver jumped to a huge first-half lead, CBS
GH: It seems like every game is a lynchpin game for most of the teams in the NFL. It is just how the league works and why we all eagerly await each Sunday’s games. Let’s hope the Chiefs continue to play lynchpin games into December and beyond.

“Was it just me? I thought (Kevin Harlan) sounded Chiefs’ homerish in the second half.”
Josh Klingler, on Kansas City’s own Kevin Harlan’s work Sunday as the play-by-play voice on the CBS broadcast, 610 AM

“Kyle Orton that time had time for chips and salsa and to order out for a pizza. He’s never really been under duress.”
Mitch Holthus, Chiefs Radio Network
GH: An NFL quarterback who has time to throw is almost impossible to defend. Blame the Chiefs young DBs all you want but the crux of their problems is in the Chiefs inability to mount a pass rush.

“Their pass defense was awful! It is the biggest weakness on this football team. Pass defense is the problem for this team. The two things this team needs more than anything else is another cover corner and another pass rusher. They’ve got to put more pressure on the quarterback.”
Soren Petro, 810 AM

“Todd Haley got outcoached. I think (the lopsided Denver loss) is a precursor for more troubles. I’ve said this all along about the Chiefs – they aren’t a good team yet but they are playing well.”
Jeff Chadhia, NFL reporter for ESPN, 810 AM

“They’re still going to win 9 or 10 games.”
Shan Shariff, 810 AM

“It’s just their opinion. We’ve got a lot of football left.”
Matt Cassel, when asked by Petro to respond to others who believe the Chiefs are last year’s Broncos, 810 AM

“I think San Diego not only gets to 10 wins but I think they might get to 11. How about that boys? … I’m telling you, watch the San Diego Chargers.”
Boomer Esiason, prior to the Chiefs/Broncos game, picking the Chargers to win the AFC West despite their slow start, CBS
GH: The Chiefs are losing what national backing they had after their last two in-division losses. At 5-4 everything is still attainable for the Chiefs. Their schedule is still attractive. They still play in one of the NFL’s weakest divisions. Haley gets to earn his money the next seven weeks and prove to us he can coach as well as he can point fingers. and Twitter / greghall24

Haley apologizes over (lack of) handshake

Posted 11-16-10

“I do want to apologize for me not shaking Josh’s hand after the game. I do believe in doing what’s right. And that was not right. I let the emotions of the situations get to me too much and I apologize to the fans and to Denver and to Josh. So, any questions?”
Todd Haley, in his opening remarks during his regularly scheduled Monday press conference
GH: Whether or not Haley was asked, told or forced to make a public apology, I like that he chose to do it in his opening remarks instead of waiting for the media to broach the subject.

“I don’t know Josh. I never worked with him or anything like that. I just know of him.”
Todd Haley, in his opening
GH: “Knowing of” Josh McDaniels is somewhat the issue. It is believed that Haley’s post-game comments to McDaniels was something along the order of; “There’s a lot of fucking shit being talked about you!” Read on.

“I’m more disappointed in Todd Haley’s trash-talking skills. Talk about passive aggressive!”
Shan Shariff, on Haley’s reported comments to McDaniels, 610 AM
GH: The murky audio from the non-handshake is difficult to translate but it the beeps are necessary to cover the expletives. McDaniels might look like your little brother and not be well liked by other NFL staffs but all he did was his job on Sunday. Maybe Haley should have just told McDaniels that he looks forward to seeing him and the Broncos in Kansas City. I know I sure do.

“I can’t stand fake people. I can’t stand fake actions. There’s nothing more fake in sports than the choreographed post-game handshake (between coaches). The Todd Haley snub of Josh McDaniels didn’t even come close to irritating me or getting under my skin. In fact, if you’re a Chiefs fan you should love it.”
Shan Shariff, 610 AM
GH: Shaking hands after an opponent defeats you is not “fake.” It is a public expression that announces both opponents acknowledge that sports is not war but rather a contest. Haley was right to apologize.

“I think (Haley) should apologize even if I don’t agree with it. I know that sounds very hypocritical of what I just said. But sometimes you just have to lie.”
Shan Shariff, 610 AM
GH: Shariff’s show is strange, rarely predictable and often doesn’t make a lot of sense. I have no idea why I enjoy it as much as I do.

“You just hate that to happen between two head coaches at the end of the game. People are paying attention more to that than really the game. And the game is probably the most important part.”
Herm Edwards, 810 AM
GH: Herm has kept his season-long streak alive of not saying anything of substance during his appearances on 810. Herm is so locked in on auditioning for another head coaching job that he refuses to make a point that has any weight. I would like to see WHB cut the coach in midseason and go with somebody who is not looking for workbut rather looking to produce good informative and entertaining NFL analysis.

“The thing you have to be happy about with the Chiefs is the way they threw the ball (in Denver) and the way Matt Cassel played.”
Herm Edwards, who failed to mention most of Cassel’s pretty stats came after the Chiefs were down 35-0, 810 AM
GH: More evidence that Herman is far from a Munster on local radio.

“As the leader of a football team you have to do better. You don’t even mutter anything under your breath. You just shake Josh McDaniels’ hand.”
Soren Petro, 810 AM
GH: Haley needs to understand his actions are always on public display. There are no “private moments” on an NFL game-day field. His apology may signal he is beginning to realize that aspect of being the head coach. and Twitter / greghall24

Denver beats Chiefs, Haley disses Broncos' coach

Posted 11-16-10

“After the Broncos’ 49-29 win Sunday against the Chiefs, Denver coach Josh McDaniels got a quick scolding, not a sportsmanship handshake, from Chiefs coach Todd Haley.”
Mike Klis, writer, Denver Post
GH: After absorbing a 49-29 bitch-slap beating in Denver, Todd Haley just showed the NFL that the Chiefs have a spoiled golf brat as their head coach instead of the maturing professional we thought he was rounding into. His decision to point at and scold (threaten?) Denver’s Josh McDaniels instead of the traditional post-game hand shake was as bush and offensive as John Holmes circa 1972. Read on.

“We had to bleep out a couple of words there.”
Al Wallace, after playing video and audio of a foul-mouthed Haley refusing to shake Josh McDaniels extended hand and then pointing at him and quickly turning his back on the Broncos’ head coach, Fox 4

“I'm told Haley was not happy with Broncos max protecting, throwing deep & blitzing regularly with a 32-point 4th-Q lead.  That's one reason he refused to shake (Josh) McDaniel’s hand afterward. In fact, he appeared to give him a few words before walking away.”
Jim Trotter, Sports Illustrated writer, Twitter
GH: There is a foolproof way to prevent an opponent from embarrassing your team with late-game aggressiveness – don’t allow them to get out to a 35-0 lead. If you don’t like getting your ass kicked sideways, Todd, play better and coach better. Haley’s post-game reaction to McDaniels’ extended hand is indefensible.

“Broncos leaving starters in, passing late in the game likely rubbed KC the wrong way.”
Kent Babb, Twitter
GH:  Haley now looks like what many of his critics have said he is – a spoiled elitist country-clubber who grew up in a privileged home and was allowed access to an NFL coaching career via his father’s position with the Steelers’ championship teams. He has earned nothing that Kurt Warner’s and Larry Fitzgerald’s play hasn’t granted him yet acts like he is worthy of dolling out lectures to fellow NFL coaches. I can’t adequately describe how far my opinion of Haley has dropped after his show of not just poor sportsmanship but an immaturity that embarrassed our football team and our city.

“McDaniels, the Broncos’ head coach, seemed confused. It didn’t seem like he was running up the score. When his team goes up 35-0 with more than 5 minutes remaining in the first half, and wins by a final score of 49-29, the numbers suggest if anything, the Broncos let up.”
Mike Klis, writer, Denver Post
GH: Only Haley knows why he not only snubbed McDaniels handshake but thought it necessary to wave his finger at the Broncos’ coach, sneer and say something that did not look like the typical, “Nice game.” But as usual, Haley isn’t talking. Read on.

“That’s a private time between head coaches that’s become not-so private.”
Todd Haley, when asked to comment on his non handshake, Metro Sports

“Just part of the game.”
Todd Haley, when asked to comment on not shaking the hand of Denver’s McDaniels as he left the locker room,  Denver Post
GH:  Sam Mellinger of The Star reported that Haley gave a “non answer” in his post-game press conference when asked about his interaction with McDaniels. Haley needs his ass kicked. Scott Pioli should fine him and make him deliver a private apology to first McDaniels and the Broncos and then a public apology to the Chiefs organization and the Chiefs’ fans

“At least own up to it afterward. Otherwise don’t do it.”
Danan Hughes, on Haley refusing to address why he refused to shake McDaniels’ hand, Metro Sports

“You can't expect Josh McDaniels to bench his starters when you don't bench yours.”
Bill Maas, 610 AM
GH: Why would any coach above the high school level expect an opponent to not play their best? For an NFL coach like Haley to expect mercy against a struggling division rival is incomprehensible. Maybe if Haley’s mommy would have let him play football instead of golf he would have learned these lessons in high school instead of having McDaniels school him in the NFL.

“Shouldn't 100% of Todd Haley's angst be directed at his own team's performance instead of at those bad, mean Denver people?”
Curtis Kitchen, Twitter
GH: Yeah. Get better Toddy or get prepared to never shake another coach’s hand.

“Now you just created more controversy for your team. I don’t know why he did that.”
Richard Baldinger, Metro Sports
GH: If Haley can’t control his emotions any better than that, he is undeserving of the title head coach. I hope Pioli suspends him.

“In their previous game at Invesco Field at Mile High, the Broncos fell behind 38-0 early in the second quarter to the Oakland Raiders. In their very next home game, Sunday against the AFC West-leading Kansas City Chiefs, the Broncos went up 35-0 with 5:48 remaining in the second quarter.”
Mike Klis, writer, Denver Post
GH: This is the team that Haley is pissed at for not taking mercy on his division-leading squad? Grow up, Todd. When you get whipped like the Chiefs did in Denver, you hang your head and congratulate the opposing coach. At least I hope Haley didn’t shake Romeo Crennel’s hand after the game.

“Clean pants the whole game for me. I didn't get hit, I didn't get tackled. The running backs had holes. It was great.”
Kyle Orton, Broncos’ QB, discussing the lack of defensive pressure from the Chiefs, AP

“Now, Kansas City has to beat Arizona next week to avoid a three-game losing streak that’ll threaten to derail all the good that came out of the team’s impressive start.”
Kent Babb,

“This (Chiefs’) team has lost its identity for two weeks in a row.”
Richard Baldinger, Metro Sports
GH: The Chiefs defense was Gunther bad. The offense’s problems were masked by some worthless late-game scores. There is nothing special about the Chiefs’ special teams. At Halloween we were dreaming about a playoff bye. By Thanksgiving could our post-seasons dreams be as dead as the turkey? and Twitter / greghall24

For earlier Greg Hall columns, click here