Quote of the Week I
"Hide Your Beagle. Vick's An Eagle.''
Quote of the Week II
"For the life of me, I can't understand why I was involved in such a pointless activity. Why did I risk so much at the pinnacle of my career?"
Now, the NFL is going to give Vick this second chance. And I'm going to wipe the slate clean, with one asterisk: Vick didn't quit as the king of the dogfighting ring. He was arrested and had his life stripped of all material things and spent 20 months in confinement. So we really don't know if he would have ever seen the light without being forced to. As Vick has said, his actions will be what matters from now on, not his words.
Quote of the Week III
Quote of the Week IV
"Eugene, I heard they washed your pants with money.''
Stat of the Week I
When I visited the Colts last week, I noticed big people on the defensive line. Last year, part of the Colts' downfall -- they could neither run nor stop the run -- was a small defensive front, and new coach Jim Caldwell and defensive coordinator Larry Coyer have moved from the idea of cover-two and cat-quick on defense to a little more aggressiveness, less cover-two and more size up front. Six of the eight defensive tackles on the camp roster are 290 pounds or heavier.
How does the Colts' season-ending 2008 defensive line match up against the 2009 edition? For the case of this chart, I'm going to assume the Colts will keep 10 defensive linemen; Ed Johnson will be suspended for a 2008 marijuana-related arrest for the first game, so they may go with either nine or 10 when he returns in Week 2.
Detroit Lions Stats of the Week
In Detroit, 53 percent of the people who really count did not go 0-16.
As of Friday morning, 42 of the 81 players in Lions' training camp were new to the team in 2009. Eleven of the 19 coaches were not with the team in 2008. So 53 of the 100 players and coaches just give you a blank stare when you say, "Does this team have a hangover from going 0-16?'' Because they weren't around for it.
Lions record in their last five preseason games: 5-0.
Lions record in their last 17 regular-season games: 0-17.
Factoid of the Week That May Interest Only Me
Tom Brady and Peyton Manning played golf together at Cypress Point in Monterey, Calif., recently. On the first hole, both slightly sliced their shots on the border of the first fairway and the club's driving range. Uh-oh. Needle-in-haystack, lost-ball time.
But it didn't take long to find them. Brady was playing a Titleist 12, Manning a Titleist 18. Get it -- 12, 18? Talk about your unique-to-one-person golf balls.
Aggravating/Enjoyable Travel Note of the Week
To boycott Westin Hotels or to not boycott Westin Hotels. That is the question.
I booked this training-camp trip in June, cars and flights and hotels. Most places I stayed were the Fairfield Inn types, clean hotels with free Internet, the things you need for the seven hours a night in the hotel. But for San Diego, I booked the Westin downtown because it's a good hotel in a nice area, and it's close to the airport.
On the way there Saturday night around 11:15, after the Seahawks-Chargers game, I called to make sure I had the right place, because there's another Westin in the city. "We've got you sir,'' said the man on the other end of the phone. Ten minutes later, I arrived. The front desk told me they were overbooked, and they were very sorry, but they had no beds. But if I had a reservation for the last two months, I asked, wouldn't you have held a room for me.
"That's how it should be, but we just ran out of rooms,'' I was told.
I get it. The hotel business is now like some in the airline business. Westin intentionally overbooks rooms hoping X number of us will be stuck somewhere and not make it to the hotel. The hotels now can abuse us the way some airlines do, when they sell 70 seats for a 64-seat plane and then say, "Don't blame us.''
I seethed while listening to 47 apologies from two front-deskers. "I don't want an apology,'' I said. "I want a room.''
No problem, sir. They would book me at the Indigo Hotel, and they would comp my room (who cares when you're traveling on business and have six hours in the hotel before your next trip to the airport), and here are the directions.
Serenity now. Serenity now. Serenity now.
So I set off to find the Indigo, at Tenth and Market. I go to Tenth and Market. No Indigo. I put the flashers on and walk over to a bar with lots of TVs and say to a guy at the door, "You know where the Indigo Hotel is?'' He doesn't know. He goes inside and asks two others. They don't know. I go back to the car and call 411.
"San Diego, California,'' I say to the automated woman. "The Indigo Hotel. Market Street.'' A voice came on, a real woman, who said, "Checking San Diego and all outlying areas. No listing for an Indigo Hotel. Can I check anything else for you?''
I pull up the number for the Westin and oh-so-politely (not!) tell the same dude at the front desk that NOT ONLY DID YOU SCREW ME OUT OF A ROOM TONIGHT, YOU GAVE ME DIRECTIONS TO A HOTEL THAT DOESN'T APPARENTLY EXIST.
"I'm so sorry, sir,'' he said.
"You have to stop apologizing to me,'' I said.
He got me different directions to the Indigo, which is new. It's a nice hotel, just up the street from Petco. And by Sunday morning, the steam had stopped coming out of my ears.
But now I am left with the decision whether to boycott Westin, which is my favorite hotel chain. Maybe I should let you, the readers, vote. What do you think?
Enjoyable/Aggravating Chicago Travel Note of the Week I
One hour and 26 minutes. That's how long it took me to drive the 19 miles from the fringe of downtown Chicago to the Hertz car-rental return area at O'Hare Airport Thursday evening around 7.
At one point, I was stopped in the far left lane of the four-lane westbound Kennedy Expressway for about two minutes. Dead stop. And there was no accident, at least none that I could see as I crawled along, and no sirens or lights flashing.
That drive -- the downtown area to O'Hare -- is officially the worst drive in the United States. None can top it. The Cross Bronx Expressway on an August Friday night at 6 contends, but it's just not the same. L.A. freeways are awful, consistently, but you move on them. Crawl sometimes, but you're moving faster than you do most of the time on the Kennedy. I've made it in 25 minutes a couple of times, but mostly in 50 minutes or longer, at all hours of the day and night. It is sheer misery. How do the people in Chicago stand it?
Enjoyable/Aggravating Chicago Travel Note of the Week II
And so I get to my room at the Hilton at O'Hare Airport Thursday evening, just in time to rush through a Michael Vick reaction story and hurry it on to SI.com, and I log onto the wireless in my room.
I complained so loudly about the Providence Westin charging me $10 to use an elliptical machine a few years ago that it got onto my Wikipedia bio. But this is worse. Online for two hours, max, for $17.50. Shame on you, Barron Hilton, or whoever it is charging people $239 for a room and robbing them further to get online.
Tweets of the Week
"As a lifelong Philly fan all I can say is BOOOOOOO!!!!! We don't need a felon like him on the team.''
Then I Tweeted how surprised I was that this was the overwhelming sentiment of the fans, and that the majority who Tweeted me called him all sorts of names in the dog-mutilator vein, and did the fans really favor Vick never having a chance to ply his trade again after spending 20 months in jail for a heinous offense? Then it got a little more sane. Such as these.
"You're right. Vick did his time. If that's meaningless, why do we let people out of prison at all?''
"Shame on people for not giving 2nd chance. That's the prob in American prisons. True restitution is not rewarded so they go back.''
NFL Truth & Rumors