Quote of the Week I
"I think that in order to change this, we better get real about why it's going on and stop putting Band-Aids on it and let's cut to the core and see what the real issue is. To put lip service to it and continually push it over in the corner, the monster keeps growing. So, deal with it. [The monster is] selfishness. 'It's all about me.' But I'm excited because I don't feel like that about this football team anymore."
-- Oakland coach Tom Cable, on the change he's felt come over the Raiders since he took over as interim head coach last fall, then was named the full-time coach for 2009.
Quote of the Week II
"Do I think the officiating was bad? No. But we had some train wrecks, and train wrecks hurt you.''
-- NFL vice president of officiating Mike Pereira, who says the officials were correct on 98.1 percent of their calls in 2008, down from 98.3 percent in 2007.
Quote of the Week III
-- Denver coach Josh McDaniels, asked if he felt there might come an opportune time for the Broncos to consider trading Jay Cutler.
Stat of the Week
Rich Get Richer Dept.:
There are 100 picks in the first three rounds of the 2009 draft -- 96 regular choices and four compensatory picks for teams suffering significant losses in the 2008 free-agency market. As if they need the extra help, the two teams that met in Super Bowl XLII, the Giants and the Patriots, have the most choices in the first three rounds. Between them, New York and New England have 11 of the first 100 picks. Seeing that the two franchises have a total of three playoff appearances over the past two years and have averaged 12 wins per season, it's almost overkill to see them with such great draft positions.
Here are the draft choices in the top 100 of all teams that won 10 or more games last year -- in essence, a rundown of which teams are going to be in position to continue to create distance between their teams and the lagging field when the draft kicks off April 25:
Team (Top 100 picks) Overall choices.
1. New England (6) 23, 34, 47, 58, 89, 97.
3. Miami (4) 25, 44, 56, 87.
4. Minnesota (3) 22, 54, 86.
5. Atlanta (3) 24, 55, 90.
6. Baltimore (3) 26, 57, 88
7. Indianapolis (3) 27, 61, 92
8. Tennessee (3) 30, 62, 94
9. Pittsburgh (3) 32, 64, 96
10. Carolina (2) 59, 93
Factoid of the Week That May Interest Only Me
When Al Davis returned home from the NFL meetings last Wednesday, he flew Southwest Airlines from Orange County to Oakland, conversing warmly with passengers and flight attendants. A buddy of mine on the flight said he had lots to say about women's basketball -- and if you know Al, you know he knows the starting five for Geno Auriemma's Connecticut team as well as he knows the starting five on the offensive line for USC.
Enjoyable/Aggravating Travel Note of the Week
Seven of them:
1. The Marriott in Dana Point, Calif., responding to my kvetching about no coffee anywhere in the hotel on weekends 'til 7 a.m., made a great call, starting this weekend. They've begun making coffee available in the lobby at 5 a.m. Good to see you improving, Marriott.
2. The stuffy St. Regis, however, is still making its beach restaurant a hotel-guests only deal. Someday I'm going to be good enough, and rich enough, to eat there.
3. Why I'll Probably Never Live In L.A. Dept.: Driving on the 5 in Orange County on Wednesday afternoon around 2, I was in a 35-minute combination dead-stop and crawl. Volume. No accident, just volume ... Friday morning, on the 10 near downtown around 11:15, another very thick 20 minutes of traffic ... On the way back to our hotel Friday night around 10:25, another 15-minute snarl on the 101. I love L.A. Every visit I have there is too short. Great city, so much to do, superb sports/entertainment complex with the Staples Center nucleus downtown (terrific, comfortable arena, by the way). But living there -- I don't know. Transportation, I fear, would be a major issue.
4. The weather might make up for it.
5. Drove past the Viper Room, where River Phoenix died of a drug overdose, in West Hollywood. It's a hole in the wall! Looks like some dive head shop from college days.
6. Daughter Laura -- flourishing and happy in L.A. -- is what I would call, charitably, a competitive driver. I did notice our friends the Normans, out to see the World Figure Championships on Friday night at Staples Center, kiss the road and thank the Lord for safe passage when Laura dropped them off after the skating Friday. I believe Mike Norman, a Vietnam vet, puts that commute in his five most harrowing drives of all time.
7. US Airways home from LAX Sunday ... $15 to move from a center seat to an aisle with a few more inches of leg room ... $40 to check three bags ... $7 for a salad. Welcome to 2009 air travel, America.
NFL Truth & Rumors