published Tuesday, February 11th, 2014

5-at-10: Vols' big test, The King speaks, Red-faced about Redskins and the best dunkers ever

Gang, stay warm and safe.

From the "Talks too much" studios, rain, rain go away and take that danged snow with you.


Monster game for the Fightin' Vols tonight. Huge on every level.

Tennessee hosts Florida, one of the five best teams in the country according to everyone and one of the three best according to most of the regulars around these parts.

Florida has skills, and the Gators dropped a nuclear beatdown on these Vols last month.

How will these Vols answer and respond?

Working for the Vols is a homecourt that can be quite advantageous at times. Also, the Vols need this game way, Way, WAY more than the Gators, and desperation can be a real asset.

Working against these Vols is UT's black hole at point guard, an all-consuming issue that is always there and is magnified in moments of true need. Also, the Gators may be better 1-through-8 than everyone else in the country, including Syracuse, which is our pick to win the whole kit and kaboodle.

So what happens? We have hopes that The Conz and his Orange Co. will deliver an inspired effort. They need to, because tonight and Saturday at Missouri will go a long way to determining the NCAA tournament worth of these Vols.



King hold court

Richard Petty has one of the coolest nickname's in sports. Yep, he's The King.

And when The King speaks on NASCAR matters, people listen.

But will they hear Petty, who blasted Danica Patrick with a cutting and pinpoint assessment of her racing skills. The King said plainly Patrick would win only if "everyone else stayed home," and that "If she'd have been a male, nobody would ever know if she'd showed up at the racetrack."

Wowser. So, Richie, tell us how you really feel.

The King did go on to say Patrick has drawn a lot of attention to the sport, which is a good thing. Yes and no. Attention = good, but if Tony Stewart decided to drive a cop car at Daytona that would be attention-worthy but hardly give him a chance to win.

So, how long does Danica have? Does she need a win this year?

That said, the timing of the King's rant is puzzling. In a NASCAR realm that is facing a major season of change and that is in need of solid sponsors, can the sport's royalty throw stones at one of the 10 drivers out there that has sponsors lining up to support them?

So, yes, Mr. The King, she has struggled on the track but she is making hay off it. And in this crunch time for NASCAR and its competitors, not all wins are measured by a checkered flag.


Goodell's next crossroad

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has become the sports executive with the world's biggest rabbit's foot.

He scheduled an outdoor February Super Bowl and got temperatures 12 degrees above normal in the middle of arguably the harshest winter in our lifetime.

He thought he had slid through a $750 million concussion settlement before the Federal court put a brake on that. He has used a series of hand distractions and promises of more games and potentially more playoff berths to avert the attention to the too-low salary cap that carries with it a potentially shaky labor future and the shoved-under-the-rug stories about drug use in the NFL.

And still the League is an ATM, making more than $12 billion last year and shooting to make $25 billion before 2030. The NFL is a juggernaut that controls its message better than every other sport and arguably as well as any other enterprise anywhere.

And Goodell in a lot of a ways deserves credit for that. He has been charged with growing the business of the league, and for the league, business is good. Very good.

He could offer a $1 billion buy-in to join the league with an expansion team and dozens of people and cities would move Heaven and Earth to get in the NFL. Heck, he could have a 40-team league by Thursday afternoon with each of those teams knowing that they would stink for the foreseeable future and happily losing 11 games a season and lining their pockets with tens-to-hundreds of millions of dollars every season.

So in some ways we should not have been surprised that the next issue facing Goodell and the league was pushed way down the news cycle with the Michael Sam announcement on Sunday.

The Washington Post reported that two members of Congress — Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wa.) and Rep. Tom Cole (R-Ok.) — are examining ways to force Goodell and the league to change the name of the Washington Redskins.

Cantwell even said she would "definitely" look at revoking the NFL's tax-exempt status, the golden scepter of the league that Goodell knows must be protected at all costs.

The Post obtained a letter that Cantwell and Cole drafted with Monday's date on it about their focus on changing the Redskins name. This seems like the beginning of the end of the Redskins as Washington's mascot, but even as tyrannical as Goodell can be, we are left puzzle by a few things in Washington beyond the nickname of their woeful NFL team.

First, to all our elected officials, and we'll type slowly so that you can follow along: Get out of sports. We understand that it's an easy, support-winning position to say steroids are bad or the BCS is wrong or the Redskins are stereotypical and degrading, but for crying out loud there are real problems in this country and that two of 560-or-so Congress members are spending their work time on 'Redskins' should be viewed as insulting to all of the country.

Second, why does it take something this small in the landscape of national issues to generate bi-partisan efforts? Seriously? OK, what's next, a bi-partisan letter that rainbows are nice and this winter weather stinks?

Whatever. In truth the dynamic duo of Cantwell and Cole eventually will give the Emperor Goodell his next P.R. victory by allowing him to reset the Washington club on his time and with his way.

Maybe he'll call them the Washington Rabbit's Feet.


This and that

— Have you seen the video of LeBron's dunk specataclar? Sweet Odin's Raven, dude is a monster. And yes, we believe he'd be a top-five pick in May's NFL draft if he entered right now. Check the link here. And as Dwyane Wade tweeted, LeBron in the dunk contest would be the most watched event besides the Grammys of the year. (Side note: Pssssst, D-Wade, you know like 110 million watched the Super Bowl, right?)

— Georgia's Bryan McClendon was the 247Sports recruiter of the year. Now Tennessee's Tommy Thigpen has been named's recruiter of the year. Hey, UTC assistant Will Healy, you can be 5-at-10 FCS recruiter of the year, and that way all of our main college football beats can enjoy the moment. It's like Upward Recruiting, only different in that the 5-at-10 does not have the budget for a trophy or anything. Sorry, @Coach_Heals.

— The weather has won again. There are monster forecasts of heavy snow. Gross. In fact, TFP Georgia preps ace Lindsey Young tells us here that some North Georgia teams were eliminated from the postseason tournament because of the weather. Dang you Cold Miser and the white horse you rode in on.

— On the Rushmore of great ideas with the TV remote control and air conditioning and Splenda is Yuengling Ice Cream. Beer ice cream? Yes please. And if the Bud Light Blizzard comes calling we may move into the Dairy Queen on Hixson Pike.


Today's question(s)

Go to work gang and remember the mailbag.

If you need a talking point, well, who is the best dunker you ever saw? We'll have two categories: Game dunks and Contest dunks. Go.

Also, will Danica win this year? Discuss, and remember to act royally rather than Kingly in manners of politeness.

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.
jomo11 said...

I know this was yesterday's topic, but . . . Why is it ok to be critical of Tim Tebow throwing his religion in your face, have Letterman make fun of Tebow or have a sportswriter say funny comments like " God must have left at halftime", etc. with really no repurcussions whatsoever. And what if a sportswriter made any kind of comment about Michael Sam that was meant to be funny, or that writer just disagreed. That sportswriter's career would be over, forever. And also Tebow or any athlete declaring that he is saving sex for marriage didnt get a "courageous" tweet from the President. . . . .i dont expect you to comment on this Jay, because it could hurt you or your career . . .and that, in and of itself is wrong. . . . .but as they said on Seinfeld "not that there is anything wrong with it" . . .thats my thoughts on the Michael Sam issue

February 11, 2014 at 10:28 a.m.
JonathanMCook said...

While I have no personal bias against Dianca, I just wish she would focus just a little more on her racing as suppose to doing T-n-A spots for

Concur with the congressional baloney regarding the NFL. But unfortunately, there are two bigger problems: One, congressman or senator "X" is not going to tackle "real" issues so long as there is outside influence (PAC groups) as well as direct industrial and private lobbyiests. Two, we are a nation of FUDGING Idiots! We won't vote using simple logic, we vote based on our own "shallow" ideals then what is best for the country. I don't care if my representitive has gone to the same Baptist Church for 30 years or practices Shintoism, or is bi-sexual or happily married, loves cosplaying or NASCAR, etc. etc. Just do two things: Don't shove you personal beliefs in my face, and two, use both common sense and deductive reasoning when lobbying for a bill.

However, the millisecond a congressmen or senator tries to do something radical for the good of the country, some foam-in-the-mouth Tea Partier with some fringe PAC group backing him up is going to go into extreme Red Scare mode with scary stuff like "OBAMACARE" and "DETROIT" and "ELECT A DEMOCRAT AND KRATOS WILL KILL YOUR BABIES!" (Okay, that last part was a bit much you get the idea).

And the sad truth is WE ALL FALL FOR IT EVERY SINGLE TIME! How do you think Ted Cruz got in the Senate. Trust me, I watched the local spots here. There was nothing in there regarding common sense and deduction. u_u

Sorry everyone for the "Clay's Coloring Book" rant. But the Mocs are playing cupcakes and Ranger season is not for two months. Thanks for reading.

February 11, 2014 at 10:45 a.m.
chas9 said...

On Rocky Top, do they get their corn from a jar?

The Rocky Top hoopsters' chance to dance is helped by their win over Virginia, which has risen to a projected four seed. The Vols' loss this evening to projected one seed Florida won't keep them out. But UT has to win at Mizzou Saturday.

Vegas has The Gators only a one and a half point fave in Thompson-Bolling. Do they know something I don't know? Mortgage the farm and bet it all.

The two polls have UF #3 or #4 and UK #13 or #14. Nobody else from the SEC even gets a single vote. And they have it right. If The Vols, The Rebels, The Bayou Bengals, or The Columbia Tigers sneak into The Big Dance, they'll just be cannon fodder.

Jay--Check your high school biology textbook. Women are XX, men are XY.

Of late, the XXVols (20-4) have been tough, while the XXCats (17-6) have slid. Still, their battle Saturday will be big.

Agree that whenever possible (and it almost always is) gummint should stay out of sports. Yes, Redskins is probably on the way out. Not a big deal to me, but it IS more offensive than Braves or Moccasins (which never should've been changed). It's NOT a bird.

And the NBA commish wants to make pro roundball as big as pro pointy ball. Not gonna happen in this universe.

Will you wash down your beer ice cream with Moon Pie whiskey? Let the Vols eat ice cream.

February 11, 2014 at 10:47 a.m.
fechancellor said...

10 Ring, I'm ambivalent on Washington's fortunes, so why not keep the name Redskins, as in Redskin peanuts. Put a war bonnet on a giant size peanut, and who's gonna know the difference. How about buying the rights to the Washington Generals? If the need is to go 180^, name the Skins the LBGT with rainbow uniforms. How about NOW, as in win now, the future is now?

I'll tell you where Goddell has my respect, he's married to Jane Skinner of FOX News fame. Having said that, there needs to be a two team stadium in LA with the Raiders landing the AFC spot.

"The King" Richard Petty (pronounced breathlessly as one word) was a childhood hero to me, so some pain associated with this rejoinder; can anyone name the last time a Richard Petty Enterprises car was running at the top?

February 11, 2014 at 11:18 a.m.
ordinaryguy said...

The entire Petty family is becoming a huge embarassment to NASCAR...Hey Kyle!!! You are over 50 and still wear a pony tail, last I looked you were not the bass player for Bryan Adams, CUT IT OFF...You and daddy are looking like fools...Tony Stewart knows where the $$$ are, and they are with Danica...remember she won the pole at Daytona last year...did reasonably decent in the big track races...She will win THIS YEAR, BOOK IT, TAKE IT TO THE BANK...big props to Nick Tiano at Baylor, offered by the "U"...wonder if Butch is paying attention....

February 11, 2014 at 11:25 a.m.
chas9 said...

JMC--That's the smartest post I've seen in this space for a while. I take back all those nasty things I've said about you.

jomo--Tebow's a big boy, and I think he can roll with the punches. But there's no doubt he's taken some cheap shots.

Seems to me we'd be better off if religious folks and non-religious folks had more respect for and understanding of each other.

In partial answer to your question about the difference in acceptance, there's this. Until very recently, and in some quarters even today, LGBT people have been so reviled and even beaten up, and generally treated so badly that a good many have taken their own lives. Historically, people have been persecuted unto death for their religion, but you'd be hard pressed to find examples in this country any time in our memory. There are religious leaders who claim their group is persecuted, but other than the problematic Branch Davidians, I don't know of any lives lost.

Is there a double standard? Arguably, yes, but our mainstream society has decided that at present, the sexuality subject is too raw a wound to laugh about. Much as the racist jokes I heard as a kid are now roundly condemned. I don't think anybody has robbed Big Tim of his dignity. Can't say the same about some gay folk.

Personally, I'd allow comedy a lot of latitude, as long as it's genuinely funny, not just demeaning cheap shots. Maybe JMC could expound here on what's appropriate for what audience.

By the way, I liked Tebow's Superbowl ad, laughing at himself. That's a good way to disarm your critics.

I suspect that in a longer conversation, you and I would mostly agree.

February 11, 2014 at 12:10 p.m.
BIspy4 said...

Again, when the biggest stories of the day have nothing to do with what happens between the lines, it's just not a good sports day.

Eagerly anticipating the start of men's Olympic hockey. These are almost all Dream Teams on ice, so a Dream Team vs. Angola matchup just ain't in the cards.

And if Saban is the best recruiter (bet he's glad Kalvarez Bessant decommitted, huh?), then why does anyone else get such notoriety from Rivals or 247Sports? They get a trophy? A gift certificate to Doc's? Certainly something better than steak knives. Candlesticks always make a good gift.

February 11, 2014 at 2:04 p.m.
Stewwie said...

[Why is it ok to be critical of Tim Tebow...]

OG, because he's white and Christian...representing two types of majorities in our country and both apparent enemies of the liberal media. Michael Sam, on the other hand, is black and gay...two types of minorities rolled into one. He can be considered as a double-protected class with the media. Double standard, yes. But the media doesn't care.

Jay, I saw the LeBron video last night. Good stuff. Don't know why he still won't enter the dunk contest. I can understand him not doing it before he won titles, but now with 2 rings, what's the excuse? Afraid of losing? Why? No one will remember how many dunk contests he won or lost when his career is over.

For the Rushmore, you noted it's who we saw. Guys like Dr. J. and David Thompson are before my time, so again, this list is for guys I have actually seen (and remember):

Game Dunker Rushmore: MJ, Vinsanity, Kobe, LeBron

Contest Dunkers: MJ, Vinsanity, Nate Robinson, Blake Griffin

The dunk contest has at least 3 all-stars in the field this year, so that should help. Looking forward to all-star Saturday night.

February 11, 2014 at 2:05 p.m.
BIspy4 said...

Great dunkers ... Dr. J, David Thompson, Darnell Hillman, Dominique Wilkins.

February 11, 2014 at 3:57 p.m.
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