published Wednesday, May 29th, 2013

5-at-10: Referees, SEC meetings, most lucrative song ever and Twitter mania

Gang, remember Friday's mailbag and how about this sunshine, huh? Was that a whistle? Did Joey 'Bats' Crawford just call an illegal screen on LeBron for trying to get some grapefruit for breakfast?

From the "Talks too much" studios, let's spread the joy.

You called what?

The Miami Heat lost Game 4, the Pacers winning 99-92 to even the series. The overall outcome in the end had less to do with officiating compared to the hundreds of plays and dozens of great moves and costly mistakes made by both teams.

We continue to believe, however, that the officiating has gotten worse in recent years, in the NBA and the MLB especially. We understand that in some ways that claim is made more clear because the modern technology that offers multiple views for couch coaches everywhere of every play shows us the missed calls better now than ever before. We can also see a point that the NBA officials are no longer kowtowing to the league's elite superstars — the old-school Jordan rules where if someone sneezed around MJ it was a flagrant 2 and two shots plus the ball — and that's a good thing.

But it's a good thing only to a point because when officials are the topic of conversation it's rarely a positive.

In fact, we say the officiating is as bad as ever in the NBA and the MLB because the officials and the umps far too often appear to believe the show is about them. No one pays high-dollar ticket prices or schedules TV time to watch an officials clinic or umpire school. And even if that's not the case, quit acting like it is.

From the missed 24-second violation to the phantom illegal screen to the first called walk in recent NBA history, the storyline from Game 4 between the Heat and the Pacers was as much about the officials as much as it was Roy Hibbert's continued ascension into a bona fide star center or the Pacers lockdown defensive presence late. And that's way wrong, especially when it's correct.

The one thing that makes great officials? Consistency. If you're going to call the outside strike, fine, do it both ways and make everyone adjust. If you are not going to call traveling, OK, but a late-game walk then sticks out — and worse, seems forced or purposeful — when there are 15 missed walking calls earlier.

Be consistent.

(Side note: Imagine the meltdown if Michael Jordan had been whistled for a sixth and final foul on an illegal screen in the final minutes of a playoff game back in the day like LeBron James was Tuesday night. Nevermind the fact James got T-ed up earlier in the game. So it goes.)


SEC meetings

At the SEC meetings, the powers that be — i.e. Nick Saban — support the nine-game SEC schedule. Most of the league seems against playing nine SEC games, however, but most of the league is not Nick Saban, who is arguably the most powerful coach in all of sports.

We can see both sides since nine conference games will make for tougher sledding for bowl and BCS opportunities. It also could really hurt the growing — and good — new/old tradition of these early season, neutral-field games between big-boy programs because nine conference games will mean five road conference games every other year, and if you already have five for sure road games every other year, you are going to need almost all of the nonconference games to be home games.

Saban also said he supports the nine-game conference schedule because of the fans and giving them better games to come see. He's right about that, too.

What say you? Nine-game SEC schedule or keep it how it is?

Either way, the fallout will send ripples throughout college football. Because if the SEC starts making tougher scheduling demands and starts frowning on scheduling FCS schools, well, that could be a huge hit to mid-majors' bottom lines nationwide.

Also in SEC ace David Paschall's SEC meeting story was the tidbit that the league may find a permanent location for the SEC basketball tournament.


Most lucrative song ever (pass the salt)

Bloomberg Businessweek reported that Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville is the most lucrative song ever. Popular belief has Happy Birthday as the most lucrative song, but Margatiaville has multiple facets of value.

And in fact, Margaritaville may be on par with movie scripts such as Star Wars or even works of fiction like Winnie the Pooh or Charlie Brown as being among the most profitable piece of writing ever. Wow. Read that again.

To put into context, there is the Margaritaville song, and then there is the Margaritaville empire, which sells everything from branded liquor to blenders to T-shirts to deck furniture. It also has 27 Margaritaville resorts around the world, including the $35 million, 40,000-square foot palace with restaurants, bars and a beach-themed casino on the newly re-opened Jersey Shore.

Wow, Jimmy Buffett, the former Auburn dropout is going to end up more like Warren Buffett. Except he'll be wasted away.

In fact, we'll put out there that, not unlike Happy Birthday, almost everyone over the age of 21 knows at least the chorus to Buffett's party anthem, regardless of the type of music you prefer. So it goes.

Side note: Everyone has their liquor Kryptonite, right? Be it gin or wine or what have you, we all have that 'ONE' that made us sicker than we imagined possible. Tequila is our one. Ugggghhhhh.


This and that

— Hockey alert: Hey, we don't do much on hockey. We don't do much on French films, either. The reasoning is the same — we don't know much about Them. We do know that Game 7 hockey playoff drama translates well and makes for fun viewing, as was the Kings' Game 7 win over San Jose on Tuesday. Good times. Wheeeee... Oui.

— Political tangent alert: Congress has decided the Washington Redskins need a new name. OK, great, and they probably do. You know what we need? We need Congress to pay attention to the mounting problems in this great country and forget about steroids or NFL nicknames or college football playoffs. Be better than that and get to work gentlemen and ladies. Back to our regularly scheduled programming.

— We're likely going to give "The Lone Ranger" a shot this summer. We like Johnny Depp's work and hey we're a sucker for pop-action westerns. That said, is the guy playing the Lone Ranger really named Armie Hammer? If this is stage name, well, OK. Was Bake N. Soda already on the roles of Screen Actors Guild? And if this is parental-given, well, maybe Mr. and Mrs. Hammer — Tack and Sledge, to their friends — have their reasons.


Today's question

As always feel free to fire away.

If you need a talking point, here are a few:

— A beaver killed a fisherman. This side of being trapped in a fire or a slow drowning, death by beaver is on the short list of bad ways to go, right? (And keep it clean gang.)

And here are some of the items we kicked around on The Twitter (@jgreesontfp) last night during the Eastern Conference finals:

— Who ranks higher on Kiper's draft board of TV high school football stars Al Bundy or Hank Hill?

— LeBron James is better leading the fastbreak than Magic Johnson. Yep, we said it and we believe it. (And before you answer, Magic was dishing to an all-star cast; LeBron is putting Mario Superintendent Chalmers and Chris Andersen in position to finish.)

— Rushmore of NBA stars who skipped college: LeBron, Kobe, Garnett and Moses Malone. Anyone got any others?

— If you had a pet turtle, which is a better name: Chris Bosh or Tippy Turtle?

Discuss. (And yes, we got into some heavy Twitter-ing last night; the Mrs. 5-at-10 was catching up on the "Downtown Abby" or whatever it is.)

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.
ordinaryguy said...

Since I was politically incorrect yesterday with the Griner comment, judgement tells me to refrain from comments regarding the dead fisherman, although Al Capone's death was similar in nature..

The SEC will follow the Big 10, and put games versus FCS schools in the rear view mirror...What does intrigue me is the move to 9 conference games...there is much scuttlebutt that the permanent cross divisional rivalry games could also be eliminated, that move is being led by the mad hatter himself...

Al Bundy is a three star recruit from Polk High School...Hank was only a walk-on at Azuza Pacific...dang Dale Gribble

May 29, 2013 at 10:10 a.m.
Astropig said...

I'd love to see more quality football,not less,so...Dump the SEC-FCS mismatches and go to a 9 game sked. It's is theft to charge season ticket holders to see games like UGA-New Mexico State a couple of years ago and Alabama-Georgia State and such. Even the coaches know that they don't get much out of these cupcake games.They pad the W-L record but that's about it. With the disparity between the elite programs and even the junior FBS programs (SunBelt,MAC),the product is changing and not for the better. While they are at it, abolish the third and fourth tier "bowl" games that litter the holiday season. These exhibitions have become an embarassment.

May 29, 2013 at 10:34 a.m.
chas9 said...

Yes, Napolean Nick is powerful, but on this question, does he have a lot more clout than the other SEC coaches? Surely his opinion doesn't outweigh the roughly ten coaches (do we know the count?) who favor staying with eight games. I say eight is enough.

Can you pronounce Budenholzer? Can you spell it? Have you ink stained wretches figured out a short form of the name to squeeze into headlines?

Just because it's from the same part of the world doesn't mean there's a connection, but on the same day we learn of the furry beaver attack, a court has denied leniency in the case of the Pussy Riot attacks.

May 29, 2013 at 10:43 a.m.
fechancellor said...

10 Ring,

My hunch is most foreign players in the NBA never attended college. As for your continued assault on the good name of Michael Jordan, screening was the job of the other four guys. Now, you're sullying Magic. Who else will you single mindedly brush aside to justify your claim the Lebron is the best ever? Dr. J. Jerry West, Larry Bird?

To me the difference between Lebron and MJ is championships--plus any night Jordan was capable of dropping 50 on you. The measure between Jordan and Lebron is championships same as Tiger to the Golden Bear.

No doubt, Lebron is great player, maybe the best, but rings are the things that separate the great from immortal.

May 29, 2013 at 10:54 a.m.
Stewwie said...

One of the main criticisms about the NBA refs over the years has been their apparent "superstar calls" and also a general unwillingness to blow the whistle at all down the stretch. Those days are now over though and was proven again last night. The officials didn't make the game about them. Other than the missed shot clock play, what calls were "bad" in the 4th quarter? All of LeBron's fouls were legit even though he obviously disagrees.

The most surprising foul call on LeBron was the last one where he set a moving screen. He got busted when he stuck his leg out at the last second and intentionally stepped on Stephenson's foot to trip him up. Not a big foul, but still a foul nonetheless. This move, along with Stephenson overplaying the pick, led to Wade driving the other way. We complain when officials refuse to make calls down the stretch, so when they do, they should be praised, not chastised.

[What say you? Nine-game SEC schedule or keep it how it is?]

Keep the 8 game schedule but require 2 games against other BCS-conference foes. The non-conference matchups are fun to watch and I'd hate for one of those games to become elimnated due to the extra conference game.

The SEC needs to be talking about realigning the divisions to put the sacred rivalry teams in one and put the other teams in the other. Then you can safely eliminate the permanent inter-division matchups. And to determine the division winner, only the division record should be considered. (They need to make that change now.)

May 29, 2013 at 10:58 a.m.
chas9 said...

A-pig has a good point about wanting more quality football, but my fear is that if we go to nine, teams will be under pressure to drop the strongest team on their non-conference schedule. Kentucky might drop Louisville, Florida drop The Seminoles, SC drop Clemson, etc.

May 29, 2013 at 11:02 a.m.
Todd962 said...

For being invincible, the Heat sure look like the Pacers could beat them. If they dont have the brain fart in Game One and forget to mark that number 6 guy that plays for the Heat occasionally, they would be up 3-1 for the series. Now dont get me wrong, following last night, I still think the Heat win in 7. Did you see Lebron after he fouled out pacing during time outs swinging his arms like a goober and have conniptionary outbursts like I do after I have about four too many cups of coffee. That was the beast within trying to explode and something tells me he will get out sometime around Thursday at 8:31 PM. Alert the National Guard.

Jay you were going off in the twitter-verse last night. Free flow of the conscious mind. I am a newbie to all things twitter so I havent figured out the codes of responding to people and RT's and such. It should be pointed out that if I had a pet Velociraptor, I would name him Chris Bosh. If I had a pet turtle, his name would be Joey Crawford.

May 29, 2013 at 11:13 a.m.
deboman said...

I think Chas is right that most teams will be more apt to drop the stronger of the out of conference opponents. Maybe they just need to try and revamp the schedule to have their cupcake games in September instead of the incredible momentum crasher in late October/early November before the rivalry game. Kind of makes those games stick out more when played while other teams are deep in their conference schedules. I can understand not wanting to schedule the FCS, but after the scare that La-(Already Forgot Which One) added last fall, I can see why they would be hesitant to schedule an unknown mid-tier team. Like the idea of the extra OOC game against another perennial contender, those are always good viewing and could give a better temperature check to how the conferences really stack up through the year.

As far as crazy names, had a few room mates back in college that would make that list: Bob Sledd and Jay Walker. Not sure the intention was there but humorous nonetheless. Neither was as bad as the boy in high school who went by Sonny. Given name Colins Kidd after his dad, Colin. That was purposefully mean.

May 29, 2013 at 11:22 a.m.
jgreeson said...

Todd —

If you had a pet Velociraptor, you would...

a) be a hit at every party. Puppies make pick up chicks; Velociraptors rule cook-outs and tailgates. Period and this can't be discussed.

b) call it Mr. Chris Bosh; the velociraptor commands respect;

c) need a world-class pooper-scooper; we had a doberman pinscher that discharged waste like a pre-catalytic-converter monster truck. Here's saying the velociraptor would make our doberman pinscher look like Paris Hilton's purse pooch.

More to come

May 29, 2013 at 11:23 a.m.
Todd962 said...

And are we not going to address Keyshawn Johnson's heroic act of vigilantism in his efforts to rid his neighborhood of the reckless racer, Justin Bieber?

May 29, 2013 at 11:24 a.m.
Todd962 said...

Yeah, I guess I hadnt completely weighed the pros and cons of having a prehistoric creature as a pet. I just figured they could help around the kitchen like in Jurassic Park. Lord knows anything would be better than the time I invited the Swedish Chef from the Muppets over to cook. Hurdy gurdy bork bork bork.

May 29, 2013 at 11:33 a.m.
jgreeson said...

OG —

Thanks for following the rules and intent of the family-oriented, interweb-based sports column. (Easy, 9er, tread carefully sir.)

And we believe Dale Gribble deserves way more blame than he receives.

Globe-warming? Gribble. High gas prices? Gribble, too.

Astropig —

Good to see you back around. Been too long.

Great call on better quality football, but the issues — as others have alluded — are complex.

As for the smaller bowls, their days are numbered with the playoffs on the horizon.

More to come

May 29, 2013 at 11:55 a.m.
bigbearzzz said...

Instead of "ways to go" (yeah...i giggled at the above beaver statement) how about "Who would you not want to kill you?" I mean on the top of my list would prolly be Hannibal Lecter. I mean who wants to be served up on the side with some fava beans and a nice chianti? I missed the call(s) last night as I was unable to watch the game due to my wife needing to catch up on the Bachelorette...sigh. But anytime there is an official discussion i feel the need to way in. As i learned last week at the Spring Fling, even the best refs mess up from time to time. But the most important rule in refing any sport is Don't make the Game about YOU! If i can leave a softball field and nobody remember me or recognize me, then i have done my job. Maybe the Pro Refs should get back to the small but helpful rule.

May 29, 2013 at 1:16 p.m.
JonathanMCook said...


Late to the game due to the fact I had actual work to do for once and an hour long inner-company meeting regarding feedback on some issues.

I'll stick with the one topic which is the SEC thing. I'd rather stick to eight games simply because I have a hard time swallowing the concept of one single coach pretending to be Yule Brenner on Easter Sunday (So let it be written, so let it be done).

I understand Astropigs concept for more quality football but at the same time, for most of those FCS schools, 50% or more of their annual budget depends on those borderline BDSM-fests in a not so gratifying way.

If it makes for better football, have it to where only FCS schools that made the post season get to play SEC/Big 10 Schools for their money game (I would definitely watch North Dakota State take on Alabama without reserve - just me though).

I do agree there should be more room for non-conference mid-levels (Sun Belt, C-USA, etc.) to be able to play the big dogs as well (LA-Monroe: gamechanger*)

Also, there should be options for at least the occasional inter-conference games (I'm not dropping the Tennessee/A&M concept. I want this to happen now)

*Monroe suffers from "UTC issues". Strong program but overshadowed by local SEC School (in their case, LSU).

May 29, 2013 at 1:24 p.m.
BIspy4 said...

Kiper's gotta go with Al Bundy. He scored four touchdowns in one game for Polk High, for crying out loud.

So let's say you're at the Pearly Gates. St. Peter's waiting on you. Asks for your name, birthday, Social Security number and manner of passing.

And you say, "Um ... killedbyabeaver" in a low tone.

St. Peter: "What was that?"

You: "killedbyabeaver"

St. Pete: "I didn't catch that. What was that again?"


At which point, everybody in line starts pointing and laughing. And you wish you could crawl into a hole and die. Oh, wait a minute. Too late for that.

Other top NBAers who skipped high school: Tracy McGrady, Jermaine O'Neal, Dwight Howard and Brandon Jennings.

And with that, I leave 5 with this thought:

Tequila and cole slaw. Not good. At all. Either separate or together (and why anyone would put those two together is beyond me. It's like putting Jennifer Aniston together with anyone not named the Spy? Am I typing out loud again? Dang it.)

May 29, 2013 at 3:29 p.m.
LaughingBoy said...

That was clearly a foul on Lebron James. It was no phantom call. He stepped on the foot and gave the hip. Player X would have been called any day of the week had it been given to Lebron. Just because it's on him doesn't mean it's a bad call, just because it's in the last minute doesn't mean it's a bad call. Just because it's the sixth foul doesn't mean it's a bad call. He could have already been fouled out but at least 3 things I saw on him went uncalled-charge, over the back, reach in and grabbed a player's arm.

There's no comparison to that and the 24-second violation...points were taken off the board and points were added right after, and those came after another bad call that put the Heat at the line.

Battier is a punk. Wade clearly traveled. The ball was clearly off Allen under the basket. It would have been a crying shame had the Pacers lost that game. If the pushoff under the basket in game 1 is called the Pacers are up 3-1 and David Stern is shaking in his boots. He likely still is.

May 29, 2013 at 4:01 p.m.
jgreeson said...

Spot on Spy. Spot flippin' on. In fact, here is our seventh circle of Hades if we go all Dante's Inferno on you:

Only job: Moving furniture

Only food: Cole Slaw, served every day by bare foot clowns

Only drink: Tequila

Only morning drink: iced frappuccino latte's with half and puke

Only TV station: Oprah's Network

Only show on the only network: Rosie O'Whatshername

Did we leave any out?

Nooga —

Another dunk response. Well-played sir, well-played indeed.

In fact, what's the Belarus translation for, "Here hold my beer and watch this..." We believe it like was uttered before dude reached for the critter.

And mad props to everyone today for staying above board with the beaver story.

Todd —

We'll cover Keyshawn and the Beebs tomorrow.


Don't go making that work thing a habit. It's bad for your health.

Oso —

Exactly right. Exactly.

Debo —

Bob Sledd is a tough one. So is Colins Kidd. Did he use the ' for hits and giggles?

FE to the C —

Not going to brush aside anyone, and we believe LeBron to be the best physical hoops player ever. He is not the most accomplished. Not by a long shot.

And you're point about being defined by titles is huge. But is that the be-all, end-all?

If so, Robert Horry had more titles than MJ. Yes, it's a stretch, we know, but are you saying Eli Manning is a better QB than Dan Marino? Or better than Peyton? Is Big Ben better than Peyton? He's got more titles.

9er —

Jeremy Foley said today that if they go nine-game SEC slate, U of F would keep FSU.

Stewwie —

As Ron Burgandy would say, "When in Rome..."

Consistency is the key, and last night was extremely inconsistent.

— 5-at-10

May 29, 2013 at 4:07 p.m.
jgreeson said...

Laughter —

No doubt the 24 second violation was the most egregious, but that's because they went to the video and still missed it. And as we stated from the beginning, the calls did not decide the game; the Pacers deserved to win.

As for the walk, well, OK, he and about every other guy on the floor violate the traveling rule as it is written. Call it all around or don't call it.

Same thing on the illegal screen — by the definition of the rule, Bill Walton was the last NBA player to set a legal screen and he did it in 1986.

As for out-of-bounds calls or the rest, hey, for the most part refs and umps are amazingly successful for the most part.

Just be consistent. Call traveling or don't. Call illegal screens or don't — regardless of who does them.

That said, the "superstar" calls have their place in sports because in a lot of ways the stars earned that respect. Look at Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine — they got more corners than a dodecahedron.

But we liked those guys, right? — 5-at-10

May 29, 2013 at 4:37 p.m.
Stewwie said...

[Consistency is the key, and last night was extremely inconsistent.]

The Pacers have as much of a gripe as the Heat do in this series when it comes to getting or not getting calls. How many times is Battier going to flop before the refs call his bluff? And when is the hard-working Hansbrough going to get the benefit of the doubt?

As for LeBron's 6th foul, it was clearly a foul (nice link, LaughingBoy). And to be fair, I agree with LaughingBoy that if LeBron was the one going over the pick and he got hip-checked and had his foot stepped on, I guarantee that a foul would have been called on the screener.

Travelling is called in the NBA more now than anytime since the 80s.

All levels of basketball need to teach the right way to set a screen. This rule is violated a lot in all levels of basketball. Only the worst of the violations are usually called though. Maybe a rule change is needed to officially allow slight movement by the screener. Or else this infraction needs to be called more often.

And I don't think the refs were allowed to review the 24-second shot call since I believe it took place outside of 2 minutes. If they had been able to review that, that would have been an easy call to overturn.

May 29, 2013 at 4:37 p.m.
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