>The Friday Five is, hopefully, going to be a weekly edition, we I take a brief look at the top 5 sports stories of the week. I’m attempting to be more disciplined about my blogging, and hopefully, this will help be write more often…. or I’ll stop inside of two months. One or the other….

Anyway! This week’s Friday Five:
#5 – Favre/Cowboys press conference bantering.
Brett Favre continues to endear himself to the nation by saying stupid things. In a press conference earlier this week, he said that it would be a “shock” if they are not spending next week preparing for the NFC Championship Game. But would it really? The Cowboys are playing very well right now, and the same cannot be said for the Vikings down the stretch. Cowboys safety Gerald Sensabaugh said in reply, “We have to beat ourselves. The way we’re playing right now, I don’t think we can be beat.”
On the one hand, it’s nice to see players having so much confidence in their team’s ability to win the game. One the other hand, this is the reason why there is a phrase “bulletin board material.” Playing for the NFC championship is going to be motivation enough to have every body jacked up to play a great game. Is there really any need to be cocky and arrogant about it? Not really. This will probably be a good game, but that’s it. It’s the Divisional Round guys. Keep it to yourselves.
#4 – Blake Griffin, NBA #1 overall pick, injuries knee and will not play this season for the Clippers.
The Clippers continued their fall from mediocrity just a few years after making the playoffs. They ended up with the #1 overall pick and selected Blake Griffin, the Oklahoma big man. However, Griffin injured his knee after landing awkwardly from a dunk in the final preseason game. He had be rehabbing the injury, but the increased workload ended up requiring surgery that will end his season. The good news is that he still retains his rookie status… I’m not sure why that’s good news, but there had to be something to put there.
Griffin becomes the second #1 pick in the last few years to injure himself and miss his rookie season. Indianapolis product Greg Oden left after one year at Ohio State when he was drafted by the Portland Trail Blazers, and ended up missing his rookie season due to injury. This brings up the question of whether or not teams should be looking at drafting big with their high draft picks. Big guys have a lot of weight on their frame, and a larger chance of being injured. Is it worth the risk? It’s hard to put a blanket statement out there, but in the last couple of years, it hasn’t looked like too good of an idea.
#3 – Pete Carroll returns to the NFL to coach the Seahawks.
Apparently this wasn’t too much of a surprise, which surprises me. I didn’t think that Carroll wanted to work in the NFL again, and after building a legacy at USC, I thought for certain that he would retire from there. And I was wrong. Apparently the Seahawks opportunity was the one that he was waiting for. Not only is he going to be the coach, but he is going to be the executive vice president of the team as well. They are giving him free reign to do what he sees fit to build a dynasty in the Pacific Northwest.
One thing is for sure. Pete is going to the best division to make the biggest impact possible. Let’s face it, Arizona has been pretty good for the last couple of years, but neither the Rams nor the 49ers have put up too much of a fight in the division for quite some time. It’s basically been Arizona or Seattle for the last several years. To win in the playoffs, you have to get to the playoffs, and with the news that this might be Kurt Warner’s last go-around, Seattle is in a great position to build a dynasty.
#2 – Lane Kiffin bolts the University of Tennessee for the University of Southern California.
I already wrote about the reaction in Tennessee to this news. Basically, Lane Kiffin decided to take his dream job, replacing Pete Carroll at USC. This kind of stuff happens all the time. Coaches leave for bigger programs. Let’s face it, USC is a much bigger program than Tennessee. The people in Tennessee need to handle themselves better about it, because they are just going to turn around and hire another team’s coach, effectively doing exactly what they are complaining about.
All that being said, why Kiffin? What in the world has he done to prove himself on the big stage? His record as coach of the Raiders wasn’t very good. It’s hard to gauge his impact on Tennessee because he really wasn’t there long enough. What happens when Kiffin falls flat on his face at USC because he doesn’t have the experience to handle a big-time program? I’ll tell you: he’ll get fired and wind up as a coach or coordinator in the NFL again. It’s only a matter of time.
#1 – Mark McGwire admits steroid use.
And, finally, I don’t think this being at #1 on my list is any surprise. Mark McGwire released a statement this week admitting to steroid use during his career, even including the ’98 season when he hit a record (at that time) 70 home runs. Big Mac was interviewed by Bob Costas on Monday night so that he could tell his side of the story. Basically, he was injured so much, he thought that they would help him get back on the field. He truly believes in his ability to hit the ball and to hit it a long way.
It was sad, but not terribly shocking when I heard this news. I have always been a fan of McGwire, even before he was on the Cardinals. What gets me now is all the people who think they were justified in withholding HOF votes because they suspected him of using PED’s, and now they are saying that they definitely won’t vote for him because he confirmed their suspicions. It raises all sorts of questions about what is the HOF – should it represent the best of the era, regardless of what that era looked like, or should it represent the best all time? It’s exceedingly difficult to justify the latter because we simply don’t know. Players who were the best in the Dead Ball Era may not have made it onto the field in different era. Players get better through the years, and we have to take the best from their time in the game.
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