Sunday, February 04, 2007

MVP of Puppy Bowl III = The Puggle?

Look ... it's this simple:
Whichever puppy dropped the fleece squirrel into the water bowl at the two-hour mark of PB 3, well ... that puppy should've been flagged, ejected, suspended and fined.

The Bowl Cam gave the viewer conclusive evidence that the puppy toy "went for a swim."
It was an obvious penalty -- and there should be outrage over such a flagrant foul.
There's no room in the game for that.
The game's growth depends on it.

Secretly, though ... a lot of us laughed mighty hard when the toy squirrel got dunked -- and that's just because when puppies engage in puppy-related hijinks, it's a lot more fun than probable-hGH-consumer Albert Haynesworth stomping on the unhelmeted head of probable-hGH-consumer Andre Gurode in the Cowboys-Titans game.

Nevertheless, that was a foolish coaching move to put all three Samoyeds on the field at the same time.
Seriously, did they look like the Selmon Brothers to you? Two of the fluffy Sammies were completely doggin' it near the goalpost, justy lyin' by the aformentioned water bowl.
It was obvious that one or two or all three would blow an assignment at some point during the game-action.

And, that's what happened.
It's a completely unreliable breed.
Fluffy ... but unreliable.

"Jackson" was the name of the active Golden puppy who took advantage. If Mel Kiper Jr.'s Hairdo was watching, he'd've said, "You look at a puppy like Jackson ... plenty of upside and had the ability to separate ... good closing speed ... makes plays in space ... a real X-factor ... runs downhill, mostly north n' south, not too much east n' west ... will stretch a defense ... "

While we don't know whether Mel Kiper Jr.'s hi-def hairdo watches Animal Planet in hi-def, we do know that Harry Kalas is a good sport to provide narration of the bowl which was played in Silver Spring, MD.
Not that Harry takes a train called the Silver Streak to Silver Spring -- after all, Harry's face was never shown, so it's not as though this was a "broadcast booth" scenario.
What we suspect is that a script is sent to to the Philadelphia Phillies' Hall of Fame announcer settles in and rehearses material over three Scotches and a pack of Winstons.
That's our Harry ... talkin' 'bout hairy mischief-makers.
Like he did when he a big dog named Jeff Brantley pitched in Philly.

As per pleasant surprises in PB 3, the front-runner had to be "the puggle" ... the half-pug, half-beagle w/ the curly-Q tail named "Sonny."
"You look at a puggle like Sonny ... plenty of upside ... makes plays in space ... able to separate ... good closing speed ... might be too small to play outside, so may have to stay inside ... with a Kong ... near the sofa ..."

Not all of us considered a hybrid of pug/beagle, just as we find it difficult to envision a Labrador Pinscher -- not that it hasn't been done.

Either way, this might've been the best Puppy Bowl of the three to date ... and this one's almost near an end. We found it necessary to break away momentarily once the Mrs. mentioned something about Steelers center Jeff Hartings supposedly hanging up his cleats.
We had to explore this developing situation on the intraweb freeway.

Hartings' possible retirement is cause for mild concern, considering how the Steelers have had only four centers in the past (approx.) 42 seasons -- Ray Mansfield (starter, '64-'76), Mike Webster ('77-'89), Dermontti Dawson ('90-'00) and Hartings ('01-'06).
Two of 'em are no longer on this animal planet with us ... and 63-Double-D can't seem to get his All-Pro-ness inducted into the Hall of Fame.

Oh, well ... it only took Gene Hickerson 33 years AFTER HE RETIRED to earn his spot in Canton (which happened yesterday), so, we'll see ya there for the induction speech in 2050 or 2053, 'Montti.
It's puzzling how so many of us are choked up about two black head coaches reaching the Super Bowl, but Jesse Jackson can't get pro-active about getting another black center into the Hall.
As it stands, Dwight Stephenson is the only black C of the 10 inducted at that position (one of yesterday's electees, Bruce Matthews, was only a part-timer at C).

Speaking of Matthews, let's see if the math is correct here: On USC's 1979 co-national championship team (a title shared w/ 'Bama), Anthony Munoz and Brad Budde were seniors and Bruce Matthews and Don Mosebar were freshmen, correct?
Four first-round draft choices (two of 'em Hall of Famers) in one college program -- and Art Schlichter almost beat 'em in that epic Rose Bowl.

While we can't pinpoint from which dept.-of-corrections rec room Art will be watching today's Super Bowl, he probably souldn't expect too much in the way of pizazz, eventhough entitites such as Peyton and the Bears have widespread national appeal.
Also, Peyton has broken (probably) all of the few (if any) Colt passing records which Art held.
Hey ... Art, like Peyton, was a league MVP.
Okay ... so Art was an Arena League MVP for the Detroit Drive.

Anyway, what we can't figure out is why Visa (or was it MasterCard?) didn't air that commercial from a few years ago wherein Peyton and Urlacher are depicted vacationing at that same spa Remember how we smiled when we saw the two, seated, Indian-style in a meditation class, and Urlacher had one eye closed and one eye on Peyton in the row ahead of him.
Classic stuff.

It's interesting how we Steeler fans think of Urlacher and the myriad of "what-might've-beens." Indeed, it was Urlacher who was the New Mexico Lobo LB who was, in the eyes of many, deemed "too small to play LB in the NFL."
So, even though he was available when the Steelers had the 8th overall pick of the 2000 Draft, the choice was, ummmm ... 6-foot-6 receiver Plaxico Burress.
That's because, ummmm ... you can't teach size.
And you can't teach speed.
Which is why too small, too slow Marvin Harrison is going into the Hall of Fame one day.

Urlacher, as we all know, was drafted by the Bears with the next pick after Burress was gobbled up by Pittsburgh.

Hindsight aside, that '00 Draft might've been an "all's well that ends well" scenario, given that the Steelers squashed the rumors that they would take Chad Pennington in the first round (which the Jets selected with one of their four first-round picks).
Instead, the Steelers signed free agent Kent Graham and drafted Burress and then somebody named Marvel Smith (heard of him?) out of Arizona State in the second round before prudently choosing Tennessee QB Tee Martin in the fifth round and not wasting that pick on a Michigan QB named Tom Brady.

If the Steelers had drafted Pennington in '00, then maybe they would've thought twice about drafting Ben Roethlisberger with the 13th pick in '04 to groom as a replacement for a semi-adequate-but-aging Tommy Maddox and a question mark named Charlie Batch.
Of course, the drafts of '00, '01 and '02 yielded three mighty fair linebackers -- Clark Haggans, Kendrell Bell and Larry Foote, so, all in all, why complain?

But, now, if the stories are true about Hartings, then that 2001 5th-round choice out of Purdue -- Chukky Okobi (the guy who used to snap the ball to Drew Brees) -- might be the man.
Unless Marvin Philip is the man.
All we really know about Marvin Philip is that he's from Redwood City, CA and that, in his early days at Cal, he started, went on his Mormon mission, returned, backed up somebody named Nolan Bluntzer and then regained his starting job whereupon he became one of the Pac-10's top-flight centers in '04 and '05.
Not bad for a guy who backed up somebody named "Nolan Bluntzer."

Incidentally, Marvin Philip was voted Cal's most valuable offensive player for '05 and received the Joe Roth Award for courage, attitude and sportsmanship.
For those of us who were ardent fans of Joe Roth (the Cal QB who died of cancer shortly after his senior season), this puts Chukky Okobi in a serious deficit position in the "Chukky Okobi vs. Marvin Philip Battle Royale" for the Steelers' starting C position (to be played out in Latrobe in July).
Sorry, Chukwunweze ... but we're talkin' 'bout Joe Roth, okay?
We could talk for hours about Joe Roth.

How convenient that we could offer a Steelers spin to a Super Sunday.
Nevertheless, when it comes to ex-Steelers, some of us simply are not buying into the "Tony Dungy Lovefest '06/'07."
Nice guy (we suppose), but some of us are more annoyed than enamored by his low-key approach and mild demeanor and/or the manner in which the media portrays it as "he's winning the RIGHT WAY."
We don't believe that there's "a formula" for success in this arena, other than doing what's necessary to get players to play at their potential -- as opposed to players who drop the toy squirrel into the water dish at the worst time possible.
There exists no proof that "the Dungy Way" is any better than the Chuck Noll Method, skin color and home life notwithstanding.

Speaking of Noll, did Dungy spend this past week publicly thanking Chuck Noll or Mr. Rooney for giving him his first NFL coaching job? Noll made Dungy an asst. in '81, had him elevated to secondary coach ('82-'83) and promoted him to D-coordinator ('84'-88).
Maybe he did say something ... or maybe no one reported it.

Sometimes, they talk about how Dungy allegedly invented the "Tampa Two" defense -- but was it actually stolen by Dungy from D-coordinator Bud Carson when he played for him in '77 or from D-coordinator Woody Widenhofer when he played under him in '78 and coached under him in '82-'83?
Was it not Tony Dungy's defense (during his final year in Pittsburgh) which was mostly responsible for the 2-10 record (before winning three of the final four) and had allowed 23 points or more in nine of those defeats?
One season later (in '89 ... when Dungy had moved on to Shittyheimer's defense -- with Cowher -- in KC), new D-coordinator Rod Rust got smoked by Cleveland, 51-0, and Cincinnati, 41-10 to open the season, but then rallied to reach the playoffs, going 9-5 and allowing more than 20 points only once in those 9 wins.
Was it a case of a defense performing for Rod Rust after quitting on Dungy the season before -- just as Tampa Bay did under Gruden, but not for Dungy?

Just askin'.
'Cuz no one else will.

Well, we'll see how Dungynapolis performs today -- especially during the postgame show. Right now, both the Colts n' Bears are polishing up their "No respect ..." postgame speeches.
COLTS: "Nobody believed in us, but we believed in ourselves. When we were down, 21-3, to New England, you wuz all writin' us off ..."
BEARS: "All y'all said we couldn't win with Rex at quarterback. Ev'rybuddee said we weren't this, we weren't that, the '85 Bears were way better. Well, we went out today and shocked the world ..."

Some of us wish that we could've been the credentialed media person who was bold enough to address Rex Grossman with, "So, Barbaro won the Kentucky Derby while wearing number 8 ... but then tragedy struck while he was wearing No. 6 at the Preakness. You know that Pimlico is in Baltimore and the Colts once played in Baltimore."

Sexy Rexy: "Is that supposed to be a question?"
Credentialed Media Person: "
Gosh, no ... just wunderin' what ya thought about Barbaro."

Our four-legged friends ... they're here to provide joy and then ... they're gone.
Well, the furry prince who runs this household wonders what time the artist formerly known as the Artist Formerly Known As Prince is playin' at the halftime show formerly known as The Super Bowl Halftime Show -- because that's when he'll want to go outside and squirt.
Unlike Chukky Okobi who lines up in a 3-point stance, this superdawg is almost always employing the 4-point stance. If we followed the lead of Chukky Okobi's parents, this canine's full first name would be "Dufwunweze."

Lookee there ... Dufwunweze has his gameface on -- which means he won't be turning the toy squirrel over in the red zone.
What this youngster brings to the offense is an ability to (as they say) "run downhill."

The front yard slopes downhill.
He can't help but run ... downhill.

Now, it's time to see what that QB with a dog's name (Rex) can do ...

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