published Tuesday, November 1st, 2011

5 at 10: NFL Best/Worst, Les Miles and Quotes from Will Ferrell

Actor Will Ferrell, who is receiving the nation's top humor prize, gives a comedic thumbs down to the audience at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts Sunday, Oct. 23, 2011, in Washington. (AP Photo/Kevin Wolf)
Actor Will Ferrell, who is receiving the nation's top humor prize, gives a comedic thumbs down to the audience at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts Sunday, Oct. 23, 2011, in Washington. (AP Photo/Kevin Wolf)

Will Ferrell was honored with the Mark Twain Prize, an award given to funny people by funny people, only everyone wears a tuxedo and tries to be polite as they are heckling you. In short, it's a big deal. So, we're going to have a themed show today because Ferrell is funny — "Anchorman" and "Old School" and an excellent cameo in "Wedding Crashers" and a dominant run on SNL and, well, you get the idea — and Mark Twain is cool.

From the "Al Davis Studios," here we go...

"Winners get to do what they want"

Ricky Bobby's one-liner is the fundamental truth in sports — winning cures all evils. Problems in the locker room, problems with perception, problems with the roster, it doesn't matter when you win, because winners get to do what they want. So here's the NFL power poll, and right now, the Packers could go all Brick Tamland and kill a guy and everything would be hunky dory.

  • photo
    Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers talks with side judge Don Carlsen before an NFL football game against the Minnesota Vikings Sunday, Oct. 23, 2011, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

Top 5

1) Green Bay

2) Pittsburgh

3) San Fran

4) New England

5) New Orleans

  • photo
    Indianapolis Colts kicker Adam Vinatieri sits on the bench in the third quarter of an NFL football game against the Tennessee Titans on Sunday, Oct. 30, 2011, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Frederick Breedon)

Bottom 5

28) Jacksonville

29) St. Louis

30) Arizona

31) Dolphins

32) Colts

"Strategery" — Ferrell on SNL as George W. Bush when asked to sum up his campaign in one word

  • photo
    LSU coach Les Miles talks to his player before they took the field for an NCAA college football game against Northwestern State in Baton Rouge, La., Saturday, Sept. 10, 2011. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

This may be the best way yet to approach the crazy-like-a-fox logic of LSU coach Les Miles as we approach The Showdown on Saturday between Miles' Tigers and the Alabama Crimson Tide.

While the two teams are built on power football and overpowering defenses, the two head coaches — the boyishly charming wordsmith/word butcher and the outwardly cold, worried-about-the-process Nick Saban — could not appear to be more opposite.

Want another stat that makes this LSU-Alabama showdown even more confusing: The team that has led at halftime has lost six of the last eight matchups. Chew on that like Les Miles chews on grass.

See if you can pick out which coach said the following things:

— We get up early as coaches and go in early and work until late. At some point in time, it is time to play. Playing denotes something that you need to do, and at some point, it needs to be fun.

— It's fun to play in games like this... but it's important to stay focused on the things you need to do to play well.

— They can run it down hill and they have 7 or 8 different guys that play well up front on defense.

— The want to have our school as an alumnus be successful and do right things. That's my greatest concern.

— We are going to recognize that we may need to score some points in this game, but that's what we try to do in every game, and we are going to work in the same way that we have, aggressively as needed certainly.

— The formula for success is every guy can make a difference for the entire team in whatever his role is. And to do it right, to get it right, is a critical factor in being successful.

— I certainly understand the interest surrounding what seems to be news.

— In some way the guy that finishes in a position left of the championship in the SEC, if he can demonstrate statistically by what kind of team he has, I am for the SEC.

  • photo
    Tennessee head coach Derek Dooley looks during the first quarter of an NCAA college football game against the Alabama, Saturday, Oct, 22 2011 in Tuscaloosa Ala.
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

"HEY MOM! CAN WE GET SOME MEATLOAF? What is she doing back there? I never know what she’s doing. — Chazz in "Wedding Crashers"

It's hard to know what the Vols can do to get out of their current slide, but playing MTSU is a good start.

The Vols have been brutal offensively in their four-game losing streak,averaging 7 points per game. Injuries to UT's top receiver and starting quarterback is part of it. Playing four of the nation's top seven defenses in a 22-day stretch is not a recipe for offensive greatness either. (Granted Jomo is going to mention that UT coach Derek Dooley is in over his head, and in truth, as of this moment, Jomo has more evidence on his side than those who think Dooley is the man to return UT to prominence.)

So what are Dooley and OC Jim Chaney and the crew doing back there to get the offense back on track? Hard to know. We do know that the Vols will again hand the ball to freshman Justin Worley. We know this because our UT ace Patrick Brown told us here (Vols freshman Justin Worley to start again against MTSU).

Worley's presence on the field for the first offensive series Saturday night is relatively a foot note. It's certainly as much about what Matt Simms has been unable to do as what Worley was able to accomplish last week against South Carolina. Plus, after pulling his redshirt, there's no sense not putting the youngster on the field. (If you are going to stink, you may as well stink with youth.)

In truth, Worley or Simms or anyone this side of the 5-at-10 could take snaps and the Vols should roll against the overmatched Blue Raiders. Should.

But the offense needs to be addressed because there are three more conference games left, and the Vols need to win three of their last four to be bowl eligible. And with a team this young, being bowl eligible — and getting those extra practice days — is of great importance.

But it will not happen if the Vols average a touchdown a game.

  • photo
    St. Louis Cardinals manager Tony La Russa speaks during a victory celebration in honor of the Cardinals' 11th World Series in franchise history, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson, File)

"I’m sorry, I was trying to impress you. I don’t know what it means. I’ll be honest, I don’t think anyone knows what it means anymore. Scholars maintain that the translation was lost hundreds of years ago.” — Ron Burgandy

In an effort to describe a crazy baseball day, we were either going to go with the above quote or this exchange between Burgandy and Brian Fontana:

Brian Fantana: Sex Panther by Odeon. This stuff is illegal in 9 countries. It's made with bits of real panther, so you know it's good.

Ron Burgundy: It's quite pungent. [cringes] It's a formidable scent; it stings the nostrils in a good way.

Brian Fantana: [daubing the cologne on his neck] Yup.

Ron Burgundy: Brian, I'm gonna be honest with you, that smells like pure gasoline.

Brian Fantana: They've done studies, you know. They say 60% of the time, it works every time.

Ron Burgundy: That doesn't make any sense.

Heck, let's use both.

The first one about Ron trying to impress Veronica Corningstone and the origins of "San Diego" being lost in translation made the 5-at-10 think what would baseball scholars say 50 years from now about Derek Lowe's tenure in Atlanta? Lowe was paid roughly $55 million (including the reported $10 million the Braves will pay him in 2012 to NOT be a part of their team) and that sum translates to roughly $95,000 an inning and about $1.3 million per win in his time in the ATL. Will that be considered a bargain 50 years from now the way salaries are escalating. (Heck CC Sabathia signed an extension with the Yankees that gives him a $25 million option at the back end of his career. At that price tag, if CC wins 19 games in his final year — which would be a pretty good season — that would figure out to $1.3 million per win.)

We also wonder what someone like Bob Gibson or Jim Palmer or any other pitcher who dominated 40-plus year ago would say about Derek Lowe's salary and production. That said, here's saying the Braves made the right move dealing Lowe and cash to the Cleveland Indians for a minor-league left-hander that had a 3-plus ERA in Class A ball last year. The move makes sense (even if it doesn't make cents — see what we did there?) if for no other reason than it gets Lowe out of the rotation and opens up a full-time spot for one of the Braves' young guns. And if you think Lowe in the bullpen for long relief would have been a good idea, well, what does that do for morale that your highest paid pitcher is sitting in the outfield stands cutting jokes and taking the ball when either team is up or down 4-plus runs?

But that was far from the only baseball news Monday. It was a formidable scent of baseball news.

— Tony LaRussa stepped down. He made the announcement Monday. Quick question, how big of a difference in his legacy did two inspired performances in Games 6 and 7 make? Think about it, if the Rangers hold on in Game 6, LaRussa's legacy is forever scarred by the "Phone-Gate" call to the bullpen that was miscommunicated and how it cost the Cards a World Series. Now, it's a funny footnote. We said it earlier — "Winners get to do what they want."

— The Braves also picked up the option on Eric Hinske, who was a serviceable reserve for Atlanta and is the answer to this trivia question: Which major league player looks most like the lead guy on the "King of Queens" sitcom?

Today's question

"Humor is mankind's greatest blessing." — Mark Twain

Before we get to today's question, the answer to the which coach said what above goes Miles, Saban, Saban, Miles, Miles, Saban, Miles, Miles.

There are a lot of things we could cover in the final item, but in honor of Will Ferrell and Twain himself, we'll close with this:

Who's on the SNL Mount Rushmore? You only get four. Who are they? Does Ferrell make it?

We'll share ours around 2 p.m.

Discuss and enjoy and keep laughing — it keeps you young.

about Jay Greeson...

Jay was named the Sports Editor of the Times Free Press in 2003 and started with the newspaper in May 2002 as the Deputy Sports Editor. He was born and raised in Smyrna, Ga., and graduated from Auburn University before starting his newspaper career in 1997 with the Newnan (Ga.) Times Herald. Stops in Clayton and Henry counties in Georgia and two years as the Sports Editor of the Marietta (Ga.) Daily Journal preceded Jay’s ...

Comments do not represent the opinions of the Chattanooga Times Free Press, nor does it review every comment. Profanities, slurs and libelous remarks are prohibited. For more information you can view our Terms & Conditions and/or Ethics policy.
chas9 said...

Last week was brutal for Johnny Volsfan. TN was 11th of 12 in this, 11th of 12 in that.

But in a little-remarked story, they broke through to true best-worstness in academics. According to data released last week, UT is 12th in SEC football academics and 12th in SEC overall sports academics. Or, to spin it, "We're #1" in stinkn' academics.

Did Patrick cover the story? Or was the attitude "Nothing to see here. Just move along"?

I certainly understand the interest in what seems to be news.

And this isn't another blame-Lane moment. UT's been at or next to the bottom for 5-10 years.

Great baffling coach quotes. I'll have my crack research department get to work on that and the SNL picks.

November 1, 2011 at 10:46 a.m.
jomo11 said...

well Jay, thanks for the kudos....have heard stories that there is dissention among Dooley and his staff.....And i am sure you guys will keep saying " if he only had Bray and Hunter", but what would have happened if South Carolina had Garcia and Lattimore ?. . . .And again, Vols would have been better if Kiffin was still there, should be NO argument. even though some say UTK would be on probation, well the NCAA has put their punishment on the VOLS already for Kiffin's misdeeds, so what difference would it make ? and by the way NO sanctions were put on Kiffin because of his misdeeds, however minor while at the "problems with the NCAA if Kiffin was still there", just doesn't fly...

November 1, 2011 at 11:17 a.m.
jomo11 said...

How many empty seats will be at Neyland this Saturday going head-to-head with the Ala-LSU game ? 10,000 ? 20,000 ?,30,000 ?......Im sure UTK will do like last week when they reported a crowd of 96,000 with EASILY 20,000 seats empty

November 1, 2011 at 11:20 a.m.
jgreeson said...

9er —

We have not seen the academic report, but we're going to see what we can find. Thanks for the tip.

It was a brutal week. A brutal month even. Heck UT scored 28 points in 4 SEC games. Read that again.

Thanks for the kind words — the 5-at-10 was fun to do this morning.

Jomo —

The 5-at-10 is neither pro-Dooley or anti-Dooley. But we have said for the last two weeks that the pro-Jomo line of thinking has more facts on their side right now. And the divide is growing.

Have heard some things about some of the Vols coaches not exactly seeing eye-to-eye.

As for the Bray-and-Hunter stuff, there needs to be no more excuses. Injuries happen to every team — it's part of the game and part of being in the SEC.

As for Kiffin, the Vols on the field would be better there's no doubt. (That said, if Kiffin was still UT's coach when the Vols went to face the music in Indy, the penalties would have been more severe, in our opinion.)

And we love the "How many empty seats" question. While it will be impossible to get an honest answer about how many UT fans are disguised as bleachers, here's saying it's at least 25,000 Saturday night. At least.

Jomo, the 5-at-10 has to respect your passion and the fact that you have been out front of this the whole way.

— 5-at-10

November 1, 2011 at 11:33 a.m.
fechancellor said...


"But in a little-remarked story, they broke through to true best-worstness in academics. According to data released last week, UT is 12th in SEC football academics and 12th in SEC overall sports academics. Or, to spin it, "We're #1" in stinkn' academics."

As remarked yesterday from under the barrage of WP Mr. Greeson laid down on the Vols, Coach Dooley must play freshmen and sophomores, while continuing to attack the "culture" he inherited from Fulmer and Kiffin. Two very tough assignments that ain't changing over night or this year.

Thanks for posting the article. I would have never laid eyes upon it otherwise.

November 1, 2011 at 11:54 a.m.
compspeed said...

Bottom line, Kiffin still bites, and today his wallet is a little lighter. Only problem with will Ferrell is that he is USC alum!

SNL Mt. Rushmore?......This one is tough but I'll go with these:

John Belushi Eddie Murphy Chis Farley Will Ferrell

November 1, 2011 at 11:54 a.m.
BIspy4 said...

The SNL Mt. Rushmore, as seen by BIspy4....

Mike Myers

Phil Hartman

Bill Murray

Eddie Murphy

Anybody seen my trident?

November 1, 2011 at 12:11 p.m.
jgreeson said...


Dooley's task is great, there's no doubting that, but it's more than fair to question his progress to this point, in the 5-at-10's view.

There will be a chance to heal some this week (but Goodness forbid if the Vols struggle and find themselves in a dogfight with the Blue Raiders) but there's something telling us the month of November is going to have some cold spots, too.


Thanks for swinging by and for participating. Everyone is welcome.

The SNL Rushmore may be the toughest Rushmore of them all. Ferrell is on the short list. So is Murphy. We think Mike Myers is there. Then there are so many others.

You mentioned Belushi, and then there's his sidekick Dan Aykroyd. Billy Crystal and Martin Short were amazing in the early 80s, and then there was the first down turn in SNL and guys like Carvey and Hartman and Dennis Miller and were the Magic and Bird bridge to Myers and Sandler and Schnieder and Farley and Spade, which in our opinion was when SNL hit its zenith.

How do you pick four?

November 1, 2011 at 12:13 p.m.
chas9 said...

Jay & Chancellor--You can read about the graduation rates, along with pretty graphs, and find links to other data at

Comps--We agree that the SNL Rushmore has to begin with Murphy and John Belushi. You all know this. There is no discussion. It's like Bama and LSU atop the polls. Then I'd go with the arguable Bill Murray and Chris Rock. Ackroyd, Crystal, Radner, and Chase would come before Ferrell, if there's enough granite on the mountain.

I assume even our younger readers have seen enough of the old clips to agree the golden era has passed.

Maybe we should have two divisions: pre-1985 and post-1985.

November 1, 2011 at 12:21 p.m.
fechancellor said...


I'm not eyes wide shut nor otherwise blinded by $500.00 Orange pants...I mean slacks. When people make the money these coaches take home they absolutely deserve the scrutiny commiserate with the position.

All that Coach Dooley merits from me at the moment is some mitigated benefit of the doubt.

November 1, 2011 at 12:45 p.m.
jgreeson said...

9er —

Two divisions is a possibility. A good one in fact.

That said, Mike Myers is our first pick on the SNL Rushmore over all others. Dude's resume was so strong and his list of original characters is second-to-none.


Point well made, and you're SO right about the coin these guys are banking.

The benefit of the doubt is a wise angle — and even if you believe he's the worst coach since Curly Hallman, you can't run him this year. You can't.

— 5-at-10

November 1, 2011 at 12:59 p.m.
chas9 said...

Jay--You're nothing if not shagadelic. And you deserve serious props for your entertainment knowledge. Yes, MM has sold a lot of tickets. But you CANNOT put Myers above Belushi and Murphy. So says Blspy. So says fechancellor. So say we all.

November 1, 2011 at 1:19 p.m.
patrickd said...

The Week of Dominance™

It's Day 2 in the ceremonial Five Days of Backhanded Passive/Aggressive Compliments™.

DAY 2: "Scared Straight" was a 1978 documentary directed by Arnold Shapiro meant to scare kids into making better choices by showing the devastating effects from things such as alcoholism. Night games at LSU are an effective alternative for parents without a VCR.

November 1, 2011 at 1:50 p.m.
fechancellor said...


Don't get me into this...well, you did. Steve Martin spent many a Saturday Hosting the show. His appearances need no further definition or discussion. I award this lengendary funny man cast status and spot one on Rushmore. Second, you bunch of haters, is Gilda Radner.

November 1, 2011 at 2:04 p.m.
jgreeson said...

9er —

As Ron Burgandy said, "Agree to disagree" but we will "Agree to agree" on Eddie Murphy, who is No. 2 on our list.

Myers had the most original characters and for a skit show that's huge.

Murphy was the singularly most talented cast member ever. Dude could sing. His impressions were top notch (Stevie Wonder, James Brown, etc.) and he was over-the-top funny.

PDavi —

Day 2 of the backhanded compliments was even better. To be fair and balanced, we'll answer for the LSU side. "Wow, teaching those 8-year-old Bama fans to cuss is really instilling a passion in them."

FEchancellor —

Right when you thought you were out, we pull you back in.

But Steve Martin, despite hosting the show more than anyone other than Alec Baldwin was never a cast member. If we had a Rushmore of hosts it would be Martin, Baldwin, Justin Timberlake and (fill in the blank). But Martin is ineligible. Radner is a great nomination and is probably the best female cast member ever (Tina Fey was overrated) but she's not in the top 4. If that makes the 5-at-10 a hater, well, don't hate the hater, hate the game.

No. 3 on our list is Phil Hartman. Dude was Out-STAND-ing in every aspect. He was the best supporting actor in a skit ever. (A talent that can't be over stated.) And his impressions were excellent, which leads us to...

No. 4 Dana Carvey, who had the Church Lady and the best single impression in SNL history. Carvey's George H.W. Bush was so good, he got to play the White House.

There are so many that are so close that trying to mention them all would be pointless.

Release the hounds.

— 5-at-10

November 1, 2011 at 2:41 p.m.
compspeed said...

Phil Hartman and Bill Murray - both awesome - Bill's character of Nick the lounge singer, Nick Winters, Nick Summer, Nick Thinblood, whatever, has to be one of the best ever...Star Wars, nothing but Star Wars.....

November 1, 2011 at 2:55 p.m.
fechancellor said...

Lisa Simpson: "Dad, I'm picking the Raiders over KC, because the Raiders always cheat."

Homer: "Go ahead and phone Moe."

November 1, 2011 at 3:52 p.m.
chas9 said...

Chancellor, Stevo would have to be there if the TSSAA hadn't disqualified him, and Gilda's a strong pick.

Jay, you're right about most stuff, but why do you hate on Belushi? Did he steal your girlfriend?

Jake: Your women. I want to buy your women.

And a question for the mailbag: You can't sell a field of dreams, can you?

November 1, 2011 at 5:02 p.m.
jgreeson said...

Compspeed —

Loved Hartman in Newsradio and the Simpsons, too. Murray is probably the most accomplished actor as an SNL grad — although Robert Downey Jr. is on that list too.

FEchancellor —

You are going to get a special place at the head table if you start a Simpsons quote-a-thon. The 5-at-10 loves, Loves, LOVES that show.

9er —

We see what you did with that TSSAA line, and we like it. Gilda is a strong choice.

We have nothing but love for Sen. Blutarsky. Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor?

"Orange Whip, Orange Whip, Three orange whips"

You are in the mailbag.

— 5-at-10

November 1, 2011 at 5:42 p.m.
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