Posted: Friday February 3, 2006 11:39AM; Updated: Saturday February 4, 2006 12:01AM
According to a source familiar with the Rams' coaching search, Cal's Jeff Tedford was offered the job that eventually went to Linehan. Tedford, whom the source said was contacted late in the NFL regular season (before Mike Martz was officially fired), told the Rams he had zero interest in leaving Berkeley. That proves two things: As he said publicly before signing a lucrative contract extension after the 2004 season, Tedford is committed to his current job. He also knows the Bears should be loaded in 2006.
Cal Softball Item of the Week
As a graduate of the world's most prestigious public university, not to mention the chief executive of the nation's eighth-most populous state, Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm obviously is a supremely intelligent woman. Thus it was no surprise that, when asked on Monday outside a ballroom at the Marriott Detroit Renaissance Center which was her favorite college softball team, Granholm unflinchingly picked the defending national champion Michigan Wolverines (whose loyalists will cast many votes in the 2006 election, when the popular governor will seek a second term) over her alma mater. "Sorry about that softball thing," Granholm said, referring to last year's Women's College World Series, "but you know, I'm a Michigan gal now. After [the Wolverines] won, we had them at the statehouse and declared it 'Michigan Softball Day.' I hope we get a chance to do it again."
I offered to make a friendly wager with Granholm that would require her to wear a Cal hat in public should the Golden Bears prevail come June. "We'll have to see about that," she said, smiling. "I made a bet with Arnold [Schwarzenegger] when the Lakers played the Pistons in the NBA Finals a couple of years ago, and we have a photo in the statehouse of him wearing a Pistons shirt, eating a pasty and drinking Vernors ginger ale."
When I told Granholm that Schwarzenegger has suffered far more embarrassing moments recently -- such as his disastrous special-election defeats a few months back -- she showed her political acumen by maintaining a classic poker face.
My only complaint about Granholm: Like Schwarzenegger, the Canadian-born governor isn't eligible to run for president.
Well, All Right
I just got back from the Rolling Stones' press conference at the Marriott, and I'm pleased to report that in the battle between the world's greatest rock and roll band and the biggest event in professional sports, the final score was Rock and Roll 1, Pro Sports nil. If there was any doubt about the outcome, Mick Jagger extinguished it when asked if, in light of the Janet Jackson incident two years ago, the band's plans for Sunday's halftime show were being scrutinized by the NFL. Responded Jagger, whose briefing was shown live on the NFL Network, "The network television, they're always worried about how many times you're going to say 'f---' on the air. They're worried because they heard this morning Aretha (Franklin)'s gonna strip during the national anthem."
That was but one of numerous classic moments. When a short, bald, bespectacled Detroit radio deejay in a pink polo shirt stood up and said, "I have reason to believe that you're my father," Jagger, without missing a beat, replied, "There is a great similarity."
Keith Richards was asked about the old joke which claims he and the cockroaches will be the only ones to survive a nuclear holocaust. "What steps will you take to ensure that you outlive the cockroaches?" the questioner inquired. "I'm gonna eat 'em," replied Richards.
On the last question of the press conference, a reporter wondered whether, given the scope of the Super Bowl and its enormous audience, the band might be nervous for its gig. "I'm tremblin' in my boots, baby," Richards said. "Oh, no," Jagger added with mock gravity. "What songs will we play?"
While we're on the subject of rock and roll, here's an analogy that describes Detroit's success (so far) as a Super Bowl host city: Just as no one famously wanted to perform after Jimi Hendrix at Monterey Pop, the best thing that could have happened to Motown was following the monstrosity that was Jacksonville.
My beautiful and awesome mom, Susan Silver, who incidentally turned 63 on Thursday, spent the first 11 years of her life in Detroit, so I'm predisposed to be upbeat about the city. Thus I am willing to overlook the fake, movie-set-style bars that have been propped up on Woodward Street downtown (after the weekend, presumably, they'll resume their important roles as abandoned buildings), the overzealous security and accompanying street closures and the spread out housing of the participating teams and entertainment events.
Those things are not the city's fault, for the most part. And what's more important is this: The Super Bowl XL host committee is by far the most organized, proactive and well-intentioned in the event's history. The people of the city -- and especially those who work for the host committee -- are genuinely excited to be welcoming visitors to their city, and they're doing an impressive job of enhancing our Super Bowl experience.
There has been just one potential p.r. snafu, as far as I know. When mayor Kwame Kilpatrick presented Bettis with the key to the city earlier this week, it was announced that only two others had received the key previously. Any guesses as to who Bettis's two predecessors in that regard were?
Hint: Both were famously bearded icons.
One was Santa Claus.
The other? Saddam Hussein.
Texas A&M is suing the Seahawks to enforce its "12th Man" trademark, and now the matter is in federal court. To which I say: Are you KIDDING? The Seahawks aren't allowed to use that common and innocuous term to describe their loyal following? It would be like the Steelers suing someone for saying "One For the Thumb." Don't we have better things to litigate? Maurice Clarett's eligibility, for instance?
Speaking of idiotic rule enforcement, don't you love how all these non-official NFL sponsors aren't allowed to say "Super Bowl" in their ads? Instead, they bastardize the term "Big Game." This just in: Cal and Stanford have filed a joint lawsuit against these heinous thieves.
Get on Up
When Eagles linebacker Dhani Jones hangs up his cleats, he might want to consider stepping directly onstage. You haven't lived until you've seen Jones stand in with awesome Detroit rockers The Reefermen at Fifth Avenue in Royal Oak (as I did on Tuesday night), bringing down the house with a gripping rendition of James Brown's "Sex Machine."
Trippin' on E(Mail)
Love your stuff, but no mention of the midnight radio session at the lesbian bar in Seattle? That had to have been one of the more surreal moments of that glorious weekend here in Seattle.
-- Tyler, Seattle
Far be it from me to refrain from relating an encounter with 1,000 women at a club featuring its monthly "Girl On Girl" night, which was an odd but stimulating choice for KJR-AM to stage its 12-hour NFC Championship pregame show, on which I was the first guest. Hey, it's a tough job, but somebody's got to do it.
Mike, I just wanted to let you know that you are dead-on correct about the racial aspect of coach hiring. I, too, am tired of all the excuses and rationales. I had to write after reading the e-mails you've received on the subject -- and I'm sure that you didn't print the worst of them. As an Asian person, I can tell you that race relations in this country, which go beyond black and white, are far from ideal, and it's not the people like you who make it so. It's the people like your naysayers who encourage the attitude. Racism is never logical, and the fact that anyone can even think there are no quality minority candidates is racist in itself. Remember, people once thought that black men were not capable of being quarterbacks. It's the same mindset when it comes to coaching, and let's not even get into upper management. Sorry for being so long, but your mailbag really struck a -- mostly negative-- chord with me, and I wanted to tell you not to let your detractors (have no idea why they read you in the first place) get you down.
-- Minna Hong, St. Paul
Thanks, Minna. You seem far too logical to be one of my e-mailers, but we're graced by your presence.
Hi, Mike. According to the media, only blacks were treated horribly in American History. Try telling that to a former Japanese Internment camp victim. Minority interviewing/hiring standards, in the face of undeniable racism, is a positive thing. Using it to reach some phantom quota of minority coaches is doing those coaches, and the races they represent, a disservice and cheapens the meaning of their success when they get the job. Let's make it easy. All whites should be banned from all pro sports, as players, owners, coaches, referees, etc... to pay for the sins of their forefathers. They're all just racist trash anyway, right? That's the message the media sends every single day, and that just perpetuates the problem. White people are evil and should have less rights and opportunity, when all things are equal, than their differently colored counterparts. Fighting racism with racism. I don't think that's what Dr. King was preaching about... Leave this topic alone, Mike. You are a good writer, but to get caught up in this tangled web of finger-pointing and emotion is probably not a good idea. Steelers by 7.
-- Dan Nott, Long Beach, Calif.
Because of you, I will not only continue to point fingers at those who aren't giving minority coaching candidates a fair shake, but I'm also picking the Seahawks.