The Weekly Tendown April 22-28 2012(It's still Saturday to me)

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Dear Internet:

I didn't have AJ Jenkins in my Top 100.  If he has a better NFL career than Coby Fleener I invite Trent Baalke to criticize me in the most embarrassing of fashion.  But to my eye, this pick was error.

I was cool with the Oregon back in the second.  I was cool with trading out of the third.

That's where the draft ended for me; I had a pretty intense out of town job interview that resulted in my going full draft blackout until Saturday, when I watched the first three rounds.  Right after I finish this, I watch 4-7.  I didn't even get to put up my NBA Playoffs prediction post before the games started, but my boldest pick was a devastating knee injury to Derrick Rose.  Someone will let me know how that turns out.

124 is here. This is Tendown 125

1. Take Tuesday Off
Tuesday is May 1; the Occupy movement is having a general strike.  You can go here to see links to various activities planned across the country.  We don't have strikes anymore. This is from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

One of the reasons the corporate class keeps draining money from education and social services and fights so desperately to keep health care from being treated as a public good is that it maintains our dependency on our jobs - and one of the consequences of a host of decisions enlarging corporate control over our lives (like permitting random drug and lie detector tests, for example) is we believe in the all powerful nature of our bosses.  We do what we're told.  We are employed at-will, without pensions, for increased hours at flatlined wages, and are fed a constant diet that any action that might minimize the impact of that all pervasive, all powerful corporate control over our lives is fundamentally anti-American.  You cannot live in the United States in the 21st century without being slapped in the face by the truth - every single message by the right wing serves the end of the plutocracy.  Conservatism is an ideology whose function is to make your life worse.  That seems excessive, it is not.  The older I get, the more of the world I'm exposed to, the uglier - the more duplicitous, the more authoritarian, the more vicious, the more nakedly designed to pick your pocket I recognize conservatives to be.  I do not view the right with good humor.  They lie to you from cradle to grave.

2. Religious Offender Registry
I don't have any interest in how many sex offenders live in my neighborhood.

But - the next place to which I move, I'd really like some listing of how many of my neighbors are likely to come to my door to attempt to engage with me in some discussion about Jesus.  I also have a neighbor with a flagpole, up which he hoists both a New York Giants and a Philadelphia Eagles flag, usually depending upon which of them won that week.  This is offensive to me and I don't want to live near people like that.

3. 20 Years Ago Next Month...Er, Two Months Ago.
For the past couple of months, periodically its popped into my head that I was coming up on having graduated from college 20 years ago.  I haven't had a lot of time to bathe in how old that makes me, but whenever I've considered it I've very quickly shuddered at how May, 2012 was just around the corner.

Except, here's the thing.  I graduated a term early, in February of 1992.  Meaning more than 20 years ago.  It came and went and I missed it.  I will not, however, miss turning 500 months old, which is now only a few weeks away.

4. 10 Television Shows Canceled After One Episode
I watched Quarterlife.

5. The Economic Recovery
Did you know the economy had recovered?
It's true.  And 93% of the gains have been captured by the top 1%

6. Voter Suppression
The right has spent the past couple of years passing laws to limit voting.

-8 states passed voter ID laws in 2011.  One in 4 African-Americans do not have government issued photo ID.

-5 states passed laws to reduce early or absentee voting, African-Americans disproportionately take advantage of early and absentee voting.

-6 states passed laws to restrict voter registration drives; African-Americans are twice as likely to register to vote through registration drives as white voters.

-Of the five states with the highest rate of voter turnout in 2008 - all of them introduced legislation to make it harder to vote.

That's the right wing.

7. Wage Theft.
60% of low wage employees are ripped off every week - by their employers.

8. The Piece You Have to Read This Week.
From the Atlantic - about the military industrial complex.

9. What Do You Suppose is the "One Mission in Life" for Liberals?
Apparently, to abort children.  I'd better get to work.

10. Don Draper=Howard Johnson's

You know, not a destination, but a tacky stop you make on the way to a destination.

We walked into 1966 wondering how long Don would keep Megan around, after this week, it's clear it's the other way around.

And watch Girls - its second episode was outrageously good.

That's all for this time.  I'll be back next time.  If there is a next time....

Your pal,


This Is Not a Mock Draft(Although it does include Mayock's/McShay's/Kiper's/Cosell's Mocks)

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

This isn’t a mock draft; I’m not listening to any more of the last week scuttlebutt than I have to.  I’m playing GM for each team in the first round.  Actually, I’m playing GM for as many selections as I have time for, as my schedule is tight.(I'm now watching Mayock's mock, I'll input his thoughts)(I've now read McShay's and Kiper's Wednesday night mocks, I'll include them.  And now I've read Greg Cosell's mock - like me, he isn't predicting, he's playing GM, he's the only person to change the order of the top two.)

1.       Indianapolis – Andrew Luck
-in the pre-season, I said (as a Niners fan) I’d rather lose every game this season so I could get Luck than lose in the NFC Title game.  I still feel that way.  I’ve been watching him kill my Trojans for years.  He’s the guy.(Cosell says RG3 first and Luck second.)

2.       Washington – Robert Griffin III
-I’ve got him third overall on my board, but he’s the pick here.

3.       Minnesota – Matt Kalil
-The Vikes have desperate needs at the two spots that are next on next on everyone’s board (after Richardson) tackle and corner.  I’d want to move down if I could get someone hot for Richardson, but in this spot, I’d feel good with either guy, but better with Kalil.(Mayock says Kalil, it's seemed that the Vikes were off that pick, but here it is)(McShay's Wednesday night mock, the last one I'll get to see, says Claiborne)(Mel=Claiborne)(Cosell says Gilmore, he and Mayock both have him super high on their boards)

4.       Cleveland – Trent Richardson
-I can’t get the card to the table fast enough.  He’s the number two player on my board.(He says Blackmon and says its a mistake)(McShay says Richardson.)(Mel=Richardson)(Cosell=Richardson.)

5.       Tampa – Morris Claiborne
-If Richardson falls he’s the pick.  If its Kalil who falls I look to move down a tick and get Kuechly.(Yup, if Richardson's still on the board, there he is)(McShay says Kuechly.)(Mel=Kalil)(Cosell=Jenkins, I have him, even with the off the field stuff, in my first round also - the Niners don't have a need at corner, but if Fleener's gone, I will be agitating for Jenkins)

6.       St Louis – Justin Blackmon
–If Kalil is still on the board, he’s the pick, otherwise its Blackmon(Claiborne's left for Mayock so he goes here)(McShay says Kalil.)(Mel=Blackmon)(Cosell=Cox, I'm unsure that's biggest need for Rams)

7.       Jacksonville – Melvin Ingram
-This has to be a pass rusher or a wide receiver; if Blackmon’s on the board he’s the pick, there’s some good pass rush value to be had in this draft.  Mayock’s pushed Chandler Jones all the way up his board into the top pass rush spot.  It’s too high for Floyd, I’ll take Ingram.(Mayock picks Ingram.)(McShay says Blackmon)(Mel has Eagles trading up to get Cox.)(Cosell=Claiborne)

8.       Miami – David DeCastro
-It’s both too early for Tannehill and I don’t hate the Dolphins quarterback situation.  If Blackmon’s on the board I take him.  I look to trade down if he’s not, because then I’m looking at Floyd or the best remaining offensive lineman.  Assuming Kalil is gone, I have DeCastro much higher on my board than others do, and he’s my pick. (Mayock says they take Tannehill, which is probably right, but like Mayock Tannehill's much lower on my board.)(McShay says Tannehill.) (Mel=Tannehill, again, I don't believe they will take DeCastro.  I would take DeCastro.)(Cosell=Tannehill)

9.       Carolina – Fletcher Cox
-Carolina needs a defensive tackle and they’re all available.  I’ve got Brockers a tick higher on my board but Cox is more ready.(Mayock says Cox.)(McShay=Gilmore)(Mel=Kuechly)(Cosell=Floyd)

10.   Buffalo – Riley Reiff
-I’ve got Floyd and Reiff comparably rated and those are the Bills needs; I think receiver’s deeper than OL and feel better about who I’ll get in the second if I go for the tackle now.(Mayock says Kuechly, which is good value)(McShay=Floyd.)(Mel=Floyd)(Cosell=Blackmon)

11.   Kansas City – Michael Brockers
-It’s tempting to take Kuechly, as he’s higher on my board, but who I need is a run stuffer on the line, and that’s Brockers.  If Kuechly becomes Urlacher that’s a bad beat.(I am wrong here, if Kuechly's available they take him.  Mayock says Barron, which doesn't seem like need, but its about time for Barron to go.)(McShay=Poe, which they might do - I have Brockers rated higher but the idea is the same)(Mel=DeCastro)(Cosell=Kuechly, I think that's how it plays out and its what they should do)

12.   Seattle – Luke Kuechly
-There’s going to be a pass rusher with their next pick – in the unlikely event that Kuechly is still on the board (he might go to Tampa) he doesn’t get past the Seahawks.(Mayock says Coples, who I've had Seattle taking all along, I don't know if he gives them the pass rush boost they want, assuming Kuechly's gone, I would advocate a trade down.)(McShay=Jones, note that Ingram's still on McShay's board.)(Mel=Jones)(Cosell=Ingram)

13.   Arizona – Michael Floyd
-It’s a little high to go get Glenn, so instead they get the wide receiver. (Reiff's still on Mayock's board, which is who I'd take also given that scenario)(McShay=Reiff). (Mel=Ingram)(Cosell=Kalil)

14.   Dallas – Mark Barron
-Late word is Dallas will have to move up to get him, but this is a really good fit. (Mayock says Brockers, who is the second DLineman on my board)(McShay=Barron)(Mel=Barron)(Cosell=Barron)

15.   Philadelphia – Shea McClellin
-Another fit pick, he’s got the inside/outside versatility the Eagles need.  I’d like to move down a little bit to take him if possible.(Mayock says Gilmore now that Samuel got traded, I think Philly has a hard time not taking a linebacker.)McShay=Cox)(Mel=Gilmore, Jaguars take him after the move down - you hear that Jax likes Gilmore, which, if true, makes a move down needed.)(Cosell=Jones)

16.   NY Jets – Courtney Upshaw
-Upshaw’s become a little undervalued, he’s going to be here and that’s who the Jets need.(Mayock says Floyd, and while the Jets do need a wide receiver there are a bunch of them - I think they take Upshaw)(McShay=Ingram)(Mel=Coples)(Cosell=Upshaw)

17.   Cincinnati – Cordy Glenn
-The Bengals should be looking CB/G with their two first round picks, DeCastro might still be on the board and the Bengals should leap all over him.  Gilmore and Kirkpatrick (and Jenkins) are all on the board, so I get the guard now, then take the corner with my next pick.(Mayock says Kirkpatrick, with DeCastro still on the board, and he probably will be, they have to get him)(McShay=Brockers)(Mel=Glenn)(Cosell=DeCastro)

18.   San Diego – Quentin Coples
-I’ve got a bad need for offensive linemen, if the Bengals don’t take Glenn I have to get him, but with Coples still on the board I can’t turn down that potential.(Mayock says Mercilus)(McShay=DeCastro)(Mel=Reiff, is it possible Reiff is still here for the Chargers?)(Cosell=Glenn)

19.   Chicago – Nick Perry
-Chicago’s in the same spot, they need an offensive lineman, they need a pass rusher – where the value is right now is in the latter. (Mayock says Chandler Jones, I like Perry more, but its the same idea - this is a spot where Seattle might be able to go to and still get their pass rusher)(McShay=Coples)(Mel=Mercilus)(Cosell=Wright)

20.   Tennessee – Stephon Gilmore
-The Bengals “wait on our corner” strategy is going to pay off, but they won’t get to choose from all the non Claiborne corners, most current projections have Gilmore long gone, he doesn’t get past the Titans.(Mayock says Hill, but they would take Kirkpatrick if the Bengals didn't - Mayock's doing the same thing the other way I did in my mock, saying that the Bengals will take the corner, and bet DeCastro's still there at 21)(McShay=Kirkpatrick)(Mel=Kirkpatrick)(Cosell=Mercilus)

21. Cincinnati – Dre Kirkpatrick
-if you’re a Bengal fan, particularly if DeCastro is still on the board at 17, you’re going to win round one.(Hah!  Got it right.  DeCastro.)(McShay=Hill)(Mel=Hill)(Cosell=Kirkpatrick)

22.Cleveland – Ryan Tannehill
-I’m tempted to take Fleener, but this is the meeting of need with value and you take the quarterback.(Mayock says Doug Martin, I just don't see how they pass up Richardson)(McShay=Glenn)(Mel=Weeden, which, given Tannehill's almost certainly not being here makes sense)(Cosell=Randle)

23. Detroit – Janoris Jenkins
-I need an offensive lineman, but I want to swing the bat at Jenkins’s talent given the dropoff at corner.(Mayock gives them Upshaw)(McShay=JMartin)(Mel=DMartin)(Cosell=MAdams, the drug positive takes Adams out of the first round)

24. Pittsburgh – Dontari Poe
-Like Tannehill, this is the meeting of potential and need. (Glenn's still on Mayock's board and that would be a good pick.)(McShay=Hightower)(Mel=Poe)(Cosell=Zeitler)

25. Denver – Jerel Worthy
-Top defensive tackle left on the board(Poe's still on Mayock's board, he goes here.)(McShay=Worthy)(Mel=Brockers, I have Brockers rated higher than most, but this is super value)(Cosell=Fleener, I thought about that, but they just signed two tight ends)

26-Houston-Kendall Wright
-Top WR left on the board(Mayock says Fleener, and were I their GM, I'd do that too, I really want him in San Francisco, and maybe closed my eyes a little)(McShay=Wright)(Mel=Fleener)(Cosell=Reiff)

27. New England – Chandler Jones
-Likely to be gone, as he’s considered a late riser, but he’s top pass rusher left on the board.(Mayock says Perry, we're thinking similarly.)(McShay=McClellin)(Mel=Upshaw)(Cosell=McClellin)

28. Green Bay-Doug Martin
-If Jones or Perry are on the board, that would make sense, I’ve got Miller higher on my board, but Martin’s a really attractive fit.(Martin's gone for Mayock - but McClellin's not, and he would go here is still on the board.)(McShay=Mercilus)(Mel=McClellin)(Cosell=Branch)

29. Baltimore – Dont’a Hightower
-Super fit, a good break for the Ravens(Mayock says Hightower.)(McShay=Upshaw)(Mel=Hightower)(Cosell=Hightower, it's a clean sweep)

30. San Francisco – Coby Fleener
-As a Niner fan, this isn’t our area of need, we need a guard and guards are available – but the value here is just too great to pass up and I’m going to be looking to move up into the middle of round two.(Fleener's gone in Mayock's mock and I think more than likely actually gone - which means guard, but he has us taking Wright.  I'd be unhappy with that result.)(McShay=Zeitler)(Mel=Zeitler)(Cosell=Konz, if Fleener and Zeitler are both gone, that seems like the most likely result)

31. New England – Stephen Hill
-With Jones in hand, I feel good about taking the developmental guy with the second pick.(Mayock says Harrison Smith, and if Hill's gone, as he is in Mayock's mock, that's what I'd do too.)(McShay=Smith)(Mel=Smith)(Cosell=Brockers - if the Patriots get Jones and Brockers, they win the first round.)

32. NY Giants – Peter Konz
Best lineman left on the board(Mayock says Jonathan Martin, who would be my second choice.)(McShay=Fleener).(Mel=Massie)(Cosell=Doug Martin)

That's all I got.  Enjoy the draft.  

Top 10 NFL Careers of Heisman Winners

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

NFL Network just did a list of the top 10 careers of former Heisman winners.  I have it, but haven't watched yet.  In anticipation, here's my ranking

1.       Barry Sanders 
2.       Roger Staubach 
3.       OJ Simpson 
4.       Tony Dorsett 
5.       Marcus Allen 
6.       Charles Woodson 
7.       Jim Plunkett 
8.       Alan Ameche 
9.       Paul Hornung 
10.   Tim Brown 

That was my list - here's the NFL Network's list.

10. Cam Newton (That's stupid.)
9. Marcus Allen
8. Earl Campbell (behind both Walkers, Herschel and Doak, of guys not making my list).
7. Tim Tebow (I assume Jason White is number 6. Plunkett's not going to make their list.)
6. Tony Dorsett
5. Charles Woodson
4. Paul Hornung
3. OJ Simpson
2. Roger Staubach
1. Barry Sanders


Athlete of the Month, April 2012

Monday, April 23, 2012

March is here.

Brittney Griner.

Runners-up: Bubba Watson, Matt Kemp, Philip Humber

That's four months down.

January-Courtney Upshaw
February-Eli Manning
March-Kevin Love
April-Brittney Griner

4 months down.  8 to go.  Who will be 2012 Athlete of the Year?

The Weekly Tendown, April 15-21 2012

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Dear Internet:

The U.S. Is a Low Tax Country

There's room to raise some revenue.

Tendown 123 is here. This is 124.

1. We're going to do a little Giants Talk today.
Will Clark, Baseball, San Francisco Giants
We've been on the SI cover 11 times.  Which, since we had the two best players in the history of the National League and hold both the single season and career home run records doesn't seem like a lot. Here are all of them.

2. Cain!

I like our club; 1-4 looks like it can hit; when we release Huff and put Belt in the lineup every day hitting 5th, that will further extend the lineup.  If we get a platoon partner for Nate, that further extends the lineup.  And our pitching staff looks competitive with any in the league.  This week, Matt Cain threw two 9 inning starts and allowed 4 baserunners total.  No pitcher had done that since Woody Fryman in '66.

3. On the Other Hand.
Last year, our ace allowed 8 first inning runs all season.  This year - 9.

Here's Rob Neyer, sounding the alarm about Lincecum.

4. Thanks, Brian.
Like Beck and Nen before him, it sort of looks like Brian Wilson closed games until his arm fell off.

Here's a tribute.

5. 756.
In case you haven't seen it in awhile.

6. And now, some politics.
The most conservative Supreme Court in history?  It's our current Court.  And more here.

7. 70% of Americans are Communists.
The plan to tax millionaires favored by me and 70% of the rest of the country didn't survive a Republican filibuster this week.  Robert Reich's support for the plan got him called a communist by O'Reilly.

8. From Inside the NRA Convention:

The full piece is here.

And there was a professional Second Amendment extremist named Stephen Burke. An Endowment Life Member of the NRA and an attorney from Springfield, Massachusetts, Burke specializes in getting guns into the hands of ex-cons whose licenses have been revoked or downgraded for criminal activity.
Burke is a loud and boastful retired lance corporal who displays a photo of himself with NRA Executive Vice President & CEO Wayne LaPierre on his professional website. The only thing he abhors more than gun control is silence. When a conversation about former New York Governor George Pataki's pro-gun record entered a lull, he asked the group what sounded like an American history riddle or piece of trivia: "What do Abraham Lincoln, John F. Kennedy, and Barack Obama have in common?"
The collective intelligence of the minibus was stumped. After a few beats, he delivered the answer: "Nothing. Yet."

9. I Watch Graps.
I'm all the way up to Wrestlemania weekend in getting through the graps backlog.  I'll watch both ROH and DGUSA shows next. Here are the 4 star matches I saw this week:

BJ March: Miyamoto v Kodoka 4 ¼
BJ March: Sekimoto v Y Sasaki 4 ¼
NOAH March: Kotaro/Aoki v Marvin/Crazy 4 ¾
AJ: March Sekimoto/Okabayashi v. Suwama/Soya 4 ¼
AJ: March Omega v Kondo 4 ¼
TNA: April: Kurt Angle v. Jeff Hardy 4

That NOAH match goes into the Match of the Year race; in fact, it's the best match I've seen this year.  Yes, that's Super Crazy in 2012.  And he killed it.  

10. 10 More Years Added to His Sentence.
I don't think Mel Gibson's getting out of celebrity jail any time soon.

And One more...

11. Does Fast Times at Ridgemont High Judge Reinhold Play for the Bulls?

That's all for this time.  I'll be back next time.  If there is a next time...

Your Pal,


The Draft Board - TOP 100 Players, 2012 NFL Draft

Friday, April 20, 2012

I've been crunching away on draft prep for a couple of weeks.  Here's my board. I'll insert breaks to suggest tiers.

1. Andrew Luck QB

2. Trent Richardson RB
3. Robert Griffin III QB
4. Matt Kalil T
5. Morris Claiborne CB
6. David DeCastro G

7 Justin Blackmon WR
8. Luke Kuechly ILB
9. Melvin Ingram DE
10. Michael Brockers DT
11. Quinton Coples DE

12. Coby Fleener TE
13. Dre Kirkpatrick CB
14. Fletcher Cox DT
15. Mark Barron S
16. Riley Reiff T
17. Michael Floyd WR
18. Cordy Glenn G
19. Ryan Tannehill QB
20. Courtney Upshaw DE
21. Dont'a Hightower ILB
22. Dontari Poe DT
23. Stephon Gilmore CB
24. Kendall Wright WR

25. Nick Perry DE
26. Jonathan Martin T
27. Peter Konz C
28. Whitney Mercilus DE
29. Shea McClellin OLB
30. Andre Branch DE
31. Jerel Worthy DT
32. Janoris Jenkins CB
33. Mike Adams T
34. Demario Davis OLB
35. Stephen Hill WR

36. Harrison Smith S
37. Amini Silatolu G
38. Chandler Jones DE
39. Kendall Reyes DT
40. Rueben Randle WR
41. Kevin Zeitler G
42. Dwayne Allen TE
43. Devon Still DT
44. Lamar Miller RB
45. Brandon Thompson DT
46. Brandon Weeden QB
47. Jeff Allen T
48. Ronnell Lewis OLB

49. Zach Brown OLB
50. Mychal Kendricks OLB
51. Vinny Curry DE
52. Alameda Ta'Amu DT
53. Doug Martin RB
54. David Wilson RB
55. Alshon Jeffery WR
56. Jared Crick DT
57. Bobby Massie T
58. Josh Robinson CB
59. Brock Osweiler QB
60. Orson Charles TE
61. Brandon Brooks G
62. Trumaine Johnson CB
63. Brian Quick WR

64. Brandon Boykin CB
65. LaMichael James RB
66. Mitchell Schwartz T
67. Kirk Cousins QB
68. Chris Polk RB
69. Nick Foles QB
70. Kelechi Osemele T
71. Zebrie Sanders T
72. Alonzo Dennard CB(until last night when he got arrested for a fight with a cop)
73. Isaiah Pead RB
74. Joe Adams WR
75. Jayron Hosley CB
76. Billy Winn DT
77. Tyrone Crawford DE
78. Josh Norman CB

79. George Iloka S
80. Sean Spence OLB
81. Antonio Allen S
82. Bruce Irvin OLB
83. Ben Jones C
84. Nigel Bradham OLB
85. Brandon Taylor S
86. Demario Davis OLB
87. Chase Minnifield CB
88. Jamell Fleming CB
89. Ryan Broyles WR
90. Juron Criner WR
91. Lucas Nix G
92. Casey Hayward CB
93. Olivier Vernon DE
94. Bernard Pierce RB
95. Nick Toon WR
96. Marvin McNutt WR
97. Cam Johnson DE
98. Mike Martin DT
99. Jarius Wright WR
100. Terrell Manning OLB  

Top 100 NFL Players - 2012

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Last year's list was here.

NFL Network is about to begin its countdown of the hundred best players in the league for the upcoming season; I added my own list a year ago, but didn't rank them, instead just listing the top 100.

Largely, I'm doing the same here, cross-position ranking in super hard, so the only delineation I'm making is between upper 50 and lower 50.  Between now and September, it's likely I make some changes, and once the NFL Network list is announced, I'll add it below.(The NFL Network Countdown is underway, if you want those numbers they're at the bottom of the post)

The only weird, largely unwarranted thing I do here is have a member of each team in the top hundred.

So - here, unranked, is my bottom 50.

Aaron Hernandez
Vince Wilfork 
Logan Mankins 
Lamar Woodley
Tamba Hali
Roddy White 
Jake Long
Mario Williams 
Fred Jackson 
Maurkice Pouncey 
Lawrence Timmons 
Mike Wallace 
Joe Flacco 
Marshall Yanda 
Ray Lewis
AJ Green 
Leon Hall 
D’Qwell Jackson
Joe Thomas 
Nick Mangold 
Chris Johnson 
Dwight Freeney 
Elvis Dumervil 
Peyton Manning 
Antonio Gates 
Ryan Mathews 
Eric Weddle
Richard Seymour 
Victor Cruz 
LeSean McCoy 
Nnamdi Asomugha
London Fletcher
Tony Romo 
Charles Woodson
Lance Briggs 
Brandon Marshall 
Jermichael Finley 
Jordy Nelson 
Brian Urlacher 
Adrian Peterson
Marques Colston 
Julius Peppers 
Michael Turner
Julio Jones
Vernon Davis
Joe Staley
James Harrison
Carlos Rogers 
James Laurinaitis
Hakeem Nicks

And here - my 50 Best Players in the NFL, 2012:
Tom Brady 
Rob Gronkowski
Wes Welker 
Darrelle Revis 
Troy Polamalu 
Ben Roethlisberger 
Haloti Ngata 
Ed Reed 
Ray Rice 
Terrell Suggs  
Geno Atkins 
Brian Cushing 
Arian Foster 
Johnathan Joseph
Andre Johnson 
Maurice Jones Drew
Von Miller
Philip Rivers
Jamaal Charles
Derrick O Johnson 
Eli Manning 
Jason Pierre Paul
Jason Babin 
Michael Vick 
DeMarcus Ware 
Greg Jennings 
Clay Matthews
Aaron Rodgers 
Scott Wells      
Calvin Johnson 
Matthew Stafford
Jared Allen 
Drew Brees 
Jermon Bushrod
Jahri Evans 
Jimmy Graham 
Carl Nicks 
Matt Ryan   
Justin Tuck
Ryan Kalil 
Cam Newton 
Vincent Jackson
Navorro Bowman
Justin Smith
Patrick Willis
Larry Fitzgerald 
Patrick Peterson
Earl Thomas 
Steven Jackson   
Steve Smith

NFL Network List:
#100 Chris Johnson(in my bottom 50, I'd have him a little higher)
#99 Ryan Kalil (in my top 50, so I'd have him solidly higher)
#98 Willis McGahee (my list is intentionally light on backs, McGahee had a helluva year and would be close to my top 100, say top 125)
#97 Donald Penn (I like Penn, he was on my list until the final edit, I have my guy Staley on the list instead, but I'd get a switch)
#96 D'Quell Jackson (in my bottom 50)
#95 Tim Tebow (here comes the run of backup quarterbacks with career completion percentages under 50%)
#94 Marshawn Lynch (like McGahee, a really good 2011 would, for me, place Lynch in the top 125 for 2012, but not the top 100)
#93 Courtland Finnegan(like Penn, one of my very, very last cuts, if you think that Woodson's age or Hall's injury should kick him from the list, a Finnegan replacement wouldn't bother me)
#92 John Kuhn (uh, no, it would be like picking a kicker)
#91 Tony Romo (sure, in my bottom 50, I'd have him higher than this)
#90 Hakeem Nicks (and this is right about where I'd have him, maybe in the bottom ten slots)
#89 Dwight Freeney(no higher than this; Freeney made my list because I wanted a player from every team, but right now he'd be right at the bottom of the top 100 if that)
#88 Michael Turner(he's just barely in my top 100, he really made it at the end when I decided I didn't have enough backs)
#87 London Fletcher (absolutely, if anything, he's a little low)
#86 Darren Sproles (on my list and right about here makes sense)
#85 Navorro Bowman (in my top 50, so I'd have him solidly higher; he might have been the best linebacker in football last year)
#84 Chris Long( I went back and forth between he and Road Warrior Animal's kid, finally choosing the linebacker, but I could see it going the other way)
#83 Fred Jackson (I'd have him right about here)
#82 Joe Thomas (I'd have him a tick lower, but like Jackson, he's in my bottom 50)
#81 Vince Wilfork (in my bottom fifty, I'd have him maybe a tick higher)
#80 Jordy Nelson (in my bottom fifty, this is good)
#79 Nnamdi Asomugha (in my bottom 50, this is good)
#78 Derrick Johnson (in my top 50, so I'd have him higher; maybe in the 30s)
#77 AJ Green (in my bottom 50, this is a little high)
#76 Carl Nicks (in my top 50, I'd have him right around DJohnson)
#75 Jason Witten (I had my guy VD in this spot, it is 2012 after all, but I wouldn't stand on the table in protest, although this is too high)
#74 Joe Flacco (in my bottom 50, this is a little high, I might flip he and Romo)
#73 Johnathan Joseph (in my top 50)
#72 Lance Briggs (in my bottom 50, this makes sense)
#71 DeSean Jackson (nope; I have Victor Cruz in my bottom 50 instead)
#70 Michael Vick(in my top 50)
#69 Carlos Rogers (in my bottom 50, I'd have him lower than this until demonstrating he's not a one year wonder)
#68 Elvis Dumervill (in my bottom 50, this is about right)
#67 Joe Staley (this is the 49er section apparently; I have him in the bottom fifty, but he'd be lower on my list)
#66 Earl Thomas(in my top 50, I'd bump him up about 20 slots)
#65 Roddy White (wasn't on my list but should have been, just an oversight and now I'm editing him in)
#64 Logan Mankins(in my bottom 50, this makes sense)
#63 Lamar Woodley (did not make my list - unlike White it wasnt an oversight, but it was an error in judgment, he should be in ahead of David Harris and I'll make that change)
#62 Justin Tuck (in my top 50, he'd be 20 spots higher on my list)
#61 Phillip Rivers (in my top 50, he'd be 25 spots higher on my list)
#60 Darren McFadden (not on my list; health is a skill)
#59 Jake Long (in my bottom 50, he'd be lower on my list than this)
#58 Jonathan Vilma (not on my list, their poll clearly done before the suspension)
#57 Trent Cole (not on my list, he'd be right on the outside for me)
#56 Greg Jennings (in my top 50, he'd be just on the other side of the 50 line)
#55 Patrick Peterson (in my top 50, he'd be in my top 20, if its a year from now and he does 2011 again, he's in my top ten)
#54 Brian Cushing (in my top 50, he'd be just on the other side of the line)
#53 Tony Gonzalez (the greatest TE ever and he's a reasonable choice, but he's not on my list because he's a million years old)
#52 Von Miller (in my top 50, he'd be about ten spots higher)
#51 Brian Urlacher (in my bottom 50, he'd be about 30 spots lower at this point in his career for me)
#50 Peyton Manning (in my bottom 50, just super hard to evaluate, for obvious reasons; I might put him at #51)
#49 Maurkice Pouncey (in my bottom 50, he's be 40 spots lower on my list)
#48 Devin Hester (not on my list, not that close)
#47 Mike Wallace (in my bottom 50, he'd be 30 spots lower)
#46 Champ Bailey (not on my list, he turns 34 this year, like Tony Gonzalez I don't think he's a top 100 player anymore in 2012)
#45 Vonta Leach (no, no specialists, no - it's the top 100 football players in the league)
#44 Jason Babin (in my top 50, here makes sense, but I might like him a tick higher)
#43 Vernon Davis (in my bottom 50, he'd be 40 spots lower)
#42 Jason Peters (my list was post injury, so he's not there)
#41 Matthew Stafford (in my top 50, he wouldn't be higher than this)
#40 Cam Newton (in my top 50, I'd have him right at 50)
#39 Victor Cruz (in my bottom 50, the players are a little bit captive to one year wonders; I thought I was overly weighing them)
#38 Ndamukong Suh (didn't make my list on the final edit, he's a little more noise than production)
#37 Stephen Jackson (in my top 50, he'd be lower than this)
#36 Charles Woodson(in my bottom 50, he's 36 this year, but he has been great as a Packer, the best half dozen years of his career have been his first three and his last three)
#35 Steve Smith(in my top 50, he'd be lower than this)
#34 Tamba Hali(in my bottom 50)
#33 Matt Forte(not on my list - you know who else's list Forte wouldn't be on?  The Bears)
#32 Jahri Evans (in my top 50 and here sounds good)
#31 Eli Manning(in my top 50, I'd have him a tick lower)
#30 Ben Roethlisberger (in my top 50, I'd have him a tick lower)
#29 James Harrison (in my bottom 50, he's 34, I don't know that he's this player anymore)
#28 Frank Gore (not in my top 100; I'm a Niner fan, Gore's a timeshare going forward)
#27 Clay Matthews (in my top 50, I'd have him a tiny bit higher)
#26 Julius Peppers (in my bottom 50, right next to Harrison)
#25 Arian Foster (in my top 50, he'd be lower on my list)
#24 Jason Pierre Paul (in my top 50, this seems about right)
#23 Wes Welker (in my top 50, he'd be higher on my list, he's a top 15 player)
#22 Ray Rice (in my top 50, he'd be a little lower)
#21 Rob Gronkowski (in my top 50, he'd be lower)
#20 Ray Lewis(at 37 years old, Lewis is in my bottom 50 for 2012)
#19 Troy Polamalu(in my top 50, given injuries, this is high)
#18 LeSean McCoy (in my bottom 50, I have the backs significantly lower than do the players)
#17 Justin Smith (he should be in the top 10)
#16 Ed Reed(in my top 50, but 34 year old Ed Reed shouldn't be this high)
#15 Andre Johnson(yeah, this is good)
#14 Jimmy Graham (in my top 50, this is too high)
#13 Jared Allen (yeah, in my top 10, he'd be next to Smith)
#12 MJD (this is about right; I'll say he's 10th)
#11 Terrell Suggs (on my list at about this spot too - but not anymore)
#10 Patrick Willis (I'll say he should be 4th; lets say Smith is 8, Allen is 6, Willis is 4)
#9 Haloti Ngata(I'll say he should be 7th)
#8 Adrian Peterson (the players heard he blew out his knee, right?  In my bottom 50)
#7 Larry Fitzgerald (in my top 50, but I think he'd be next to Andre Johnson somewhere in the second ten, right with Welker)
#6 DeMarcus Ware (in my top 50, but he's not a top ten player)
#5 Darrelle Revis(I'll say 3rd)
#4 Tom Brady (I'll say second)
#3 Calvin Johnson(I'll say 6th)
#2 Drew Brees (I'll say 9th)
#1 Aaron Rodgers (I concur.)

The Weekly Tendown April 8-14 2012(Question Time.)

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Dear Internet:

That number you see on the right is 52%. It should not be a surprise the same people also believe handing as much national wealth to the richest Americans as possible and giving corporations the maximum amount of control over our lives is the essence of freedom.  

122 is here. This is Tendown 123.

1. Did the Founding Fathers Support the Individual Mandate?

2. Does Your Employer Have to Notify You of Your Right to Form a Union?

3. How Many Democrats in Congress Belong to the Communist Party?

4. The Real Victims of the Trayvon Martin Case?

5. In Which state can a public school teacher Teach Creationism But not Discuss Hand Holding?

6. Which Mayor Ran into a Burning Building?

7. Would You Like to See a Police Stop of some Star Trek fans in Illinois?

8. You Know What Was a Good Show?

9. Have I Seen Any 4 Star Wrestling Matches Recently?

I'm into the March shows now.  Anything 4 1/2 and up goes to the Match of the Year post.  

I also went 4 stars on Punk/Jericho from WM28, but not HHH/Taker; there was a line of discussion after Mania about HHH/Taker and Okada/Naito being the Match of the Year debate depending upon one's sensibility.  Neither one will make my list, which means, probably (Naito/Okada might sneak into the last spot) neither one makes my Top 50 Matches of 2012.   

Feb NOAH Kotaro/Aoki v Kondo/Yamato 4
Feb NOAH Nakajima v Ishimori 4 ¼
Feb NJ Richards/ Romero v Devitt/Taguchi 4 ¼
Feb AJ Omega v. Kaz 4
Zero One March Nakajima/Kensuke v. Otani /Hashimoto 4 ½
NOAH March: Nakajima v Hirayanagi 4
ROH March: Richards/O’Reilly v. Edwards/Cole 4 ¾
NJ March Okada v Naito 4 ¼ 

I've also seen movies that you could see, consider them in the following order:

Win Win
Young Adult
Horrible Bosses
The Greatest Movie Ever Sold
Killing Bono

10. Did I Get that Tenure Track University Professorship?


Found out yesterday.  I'm in play with two full time positions - I'm in final round for a community college job; I'm scheduled to go up in a week and a half.  And I completed a 4 round (4 rounds!) interview process for an online position; I should find out within two weeks.  I don't want to say I'll never get that close again to a state university tenured position, but it would be error to bet that it will happen.  Tough beat in a string of tough beats.  If I can think of a more positive way to end this week's piece I will...

Would a woman with a giant Gary Payton tattoo do it?

That's all for this time.  I'll see you next time.  If there is a next time....

Your pal,


Best Players Taken at Each Draft Position - NFL

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

The NFL Draft is in a couple of weeks - there are 32 picks in the first round.

Here are the best draft picks ever from spots 1-32 in the NFL Draft.  As you watch the picks go by, here's the established ceiling for each slot.

Best Player Ever at Each Draft Spot:
1.       Peyton Manning
2.       Lawrence Taylor
3.       Barry Sanders
4.       Walter Payton
5.       Deion Sanders
6.       Walter Jones
7.       Champ Bailey
8.       Ronnie Lott
9.       Brian Urlacher
10.   Rod Woodson
11.   Michael Irvin
12.   Warren Sapp
13.   Tony Gonzalez
14.   Randy Gradishar
15.   John L Williams
16.   Jerry Rice
17.   Emmitt Smith
18.   Art Monk
19.   Marvin Harrison
20.   Jack Youngblood
21.   Randy Moss
22.   Harris Barton
23.   Ozzie Newsome
24.   Ed Reed
25.   Ted Washington
26.   Ray Lewis
27.   Dan Marino
28.   Derrick Brooks
29.   Steve Wisniewski
30.   Reggie Wayne
31.   Nnamdi Asomugha
32.   Drew Brees

Don't make me do more than this.

Okay, I'll go to 100.  I love me some draft.

33. Brett Favre
34. Jack Ham
35. Keith Fahnhorst
36. Tiki Barber
37. Randall Cunningham
38. Mike Singletary
39. Keena Turner
40. Thurman Thomas
41. Andre Tippett
42. Randy Cross
43. Dan Dierdorf
44. Dermontti Dawson
45. Ricky Watters
46. Jack Lambert
47. Jerry Sherk
48. Howie Long
49. Roger Craig
50. Michael Dean Perry
51. Rickey Jackson
52. Mark Duper
53. Mel Blount
54. Anquan Boldin
55. Randy Logan
56. Todd Christensen
57. Joe Ferguson
58. Ricky Proehl
59. AeneasWilliams
60. Pat Swilling
61. Brian Dawkins
62. Tony Hill
63. Moe Lewis
64. Dan Fouts
65. Frank Gore
66. Ronde Barber
67. Ken Anderson
68. Lance Briggs
69. Russ Grimm
70. Lawrence McCutcheon
71. Duce Staley
72. Jeremiah Trotter
73. Jason Taylor
74. Curtis Martin
75. Marc Van Eeghan
76. Ahman Green
77. Bubba McDowell
78. Nat Moore
79. Lyle Alzado
80. Bill Romanowski
81. Chris Cooley
82. Joe Montana
83. Jay Schroeder
84. Charles Mann
85. Tony Tolbert
86. Jackie Slater
87. Tim Goad
88. Tom Jackson
89. Terrell Owens
90. Pat Donovan
91. Brian Westbrook
92. Hines Ward
93. Ken Ellis
94. Chris Hope
95. Rick Upchurch
96. Charles Haley
97. Clarence Davis
98. Rich Gannon
99. Joe Theismann
100. Mark Bavaro

The Weekly Tendown April 1-7 2012 (Easterdown!)

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Dear Internet:

Easter Sunday means our annual tradition - a tradition unlike any other - it's Easterdown!

121 is here. This is 122.

1. Religion's Demand for Obedience

The most important epistemological shift in western history (and in our individual lives) is one from knowledge based on authority to an understanding of the world based on reason.  In almost every course I teach I reference the Enlightenment, humanity grabbing for itself the ability to find truth.

Who we (the collective we, all of us, you me and all of our dead brothers in the struggle) took that power from was religion, and the fight continues in 2012.

Religion is very much a holdover from the dark ages of the past, and the world's holy books still enshrine the ancient demands for us to bow down and obey the (conveniently unseen and absent) gods, and more importantly, the human beings who claim the right to act as their representatives. It's no surprise, then, that the most fervent advocates of religion in the modern world are also the most deeply inculcated with this mindset of command and obedience. 

2. Hedges on Christian Fascism

Chris Hedges, with a Masters in Divinity from Harvard, writes this.

All debates with the Christian Right are useless. We cannot reach this movement. It does not want a dialogue. It cares nothing for rational thought and discussion. It is not mollified because John Kerry prays or Jimmy Carter teaches Sunday School. These naive attempts to reach out to a movement bent on our destruction, to prove to them that we too have “values,” would be humorous if the stakes were not so deadly. They hate us. They hate the liberal, enlightened world formed by the Constitution. Our opinions do not count.

This movement will not stop until we are ruled by Biblical Law, an authoritarian church intrudes in every aspect of our life, women stay at home and rear children, gays agree to be cured, abortion is considered murder, the press and the schools promote “positive” Christian values, the federal government is gutted, war becomes our primary form of communication with the rest of the world and recalcitrant non-believers see their flesh eviscerated at the sound of the Messiah's voice.

The spark that could set it ablaze may be lying in the hands of an Islamic terrorist cell, in the hands of the ideological twins of the Christian Right. Another catastrophic terrorist attack could be our Reichstag fire, the excuse used to begin the accelerated dismantling of our open society. The ideology of the Christian Right is not one of love and compassion, the central theme of Christ's message, but of violence and hatred. It has a strong appeal to many in our society, but it is also aided by our complacency. Let us not stand at the open city gates waiting passively and meekly for the barbarians. They are coming. They are slouching rudely towards Bethlehem . Let us, if nothing else, begin to call them by their name.

3. A Panel Discussion

The United States as Christian Nation.

4. Biblical Support for Slavery

It's reasonable to offer, as many Christians do, that the Bible is an ancient book not to be taken literally.

But those who call homosexuality an abomination based on literal interpretation of scripture have a requirement to explain why they don't similarly argue (at least not anymore) that slavery is also sanctioned by God.

5. Noah

6. The Book You Should Buy
The Good News Club: The Christian Right's Stealth Assault on America's Children.

Only 3 1/2 years ago, I would have found such a state of affairs hard to imagine. My awakening came when an after-school group called the Good News Club set up shop offering “Bible study” in my daughter’s public elementary school in Santa Barbara, California. It rapidly became clear that the group’s aim was to convert young children and use them to spread its fundamentalist version of Christianity. The club wanted to be in the school to foster the impression among children that its religion was endorsed by the school.

The club was part of a larger organization known as the Child Evangelism Fellowship. Founded more than 70 years ago, the CEF had only a small presence in public schools until 2001, when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the exclusion of such clubs from after-school programs represented a violation of their free-speech rights. This legal armor has given them an advantage over regular clubs that offer sports or crafts, because school administrators are now legally compelled to grant access. In 2010, there were 3,439 Good News Club groups, almost all in public K-6 schools around the country.

Among the clubs’ teachings: There is only one “right” way to live, and that is to believe in Jesus; anyone who fails to conform will go to hell. The activists I met who work with the CEF have an especially restrictive view of who qualifies as a Christian. Among the “unchurched,” they include most Catholics, U.S. Episcopalians, United Methodists, liberal Congregationalists and Presbyterians, as well as Mormons—anyone who doesn’t meet their understanding of “Bible-believing” Christianity.

7. David Barton Lies
David Barton, professional Christian liar, has a new book about Jefferson.  Here's a two hour debunking.

8. Where's Fox News On This?
As you know, there's a terrible war on Christians in the United States.  Only a matter of time before saying Merry Christmas is made illegal, probably as a provision in Obamacare.  Christian expression is always getting punished.

Like in Ohio, where a student was prohibited from wearing a t-shirt to high school.

Waynesville High School administrators refused to let Maverick Couch wear this shirt.

9. If You've Gotten This Far
The greatest piece in Deadspin history.

10. Who Has a New Album?

Rony F'n Seikaly

11. RIP

The Great Chinaglia.

That's all for this time.  I'll be back next time.  If there is a next time...

Your pal,


Athlete of the Month: March, 2012

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

You can find February here.

Kevin Love.  Runners-up: Anthony Davis,  Brittney Griner, Thomas Robinson

3 months down, 9 to go in the race for 2012 Athlete of the Year.  

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