1. I think Chad Pennington will be a natural doing games for FOX this fall. His announcement to the Charleston (W.Va.) Daily Mail surprised me, but it makes sense that he'll take the season off because of shoulder and knee rehab and not wanting to rush back. The big question is: Will Pennington be able to talk critically -- if he needs to -- of a team that he may hope to play for in 2012?
2. I think for the players who voted Philip Rivers the 26th-best player in the NFL and Ben Roethlisberger the 41st, I give you these little facts:
Won-lost record: Roethlisberger 69-26, Rivers 55-25.
Playoff record: Roethlisberger 10-3, Rivers 3-4.
Super Bowl wins: Roethlisberger 2, Rivers 0.
Touchdowns: Roethlisberger 144, Rivers 136.
I mean, just saying.
3. I think the best football nugget relating to the late, great Clarence Clemons came from Rich Cimini Sunday: Clemons and Emerson Boozer were college football teammates. Clemons blocked for him.
4. I think I continue to be mind-boggled at the fact that there will be such a lack of interest (unless a lot of people I speak with about it are lying) in the unemployed, inexpensive and supremely motivated Plaxico Burress when free agency opens. Just stupid. In the right offense he'll be the big target many teams lack, and, if healthy, he'll catch 60-plus balls and be a good deep threat. At worst? He's not going to cost much. What's the downside? Rams, Browns? Tell me. I'm dying to know.
5. I think I understand the contract dispute between the Giants and Osi Umenyiora is at the base of all of his dissatisfaction over the last two seasons, and the thing might be standing in the way of getting what a good player may rightly deserve. But I don't understand why it has a place in the Brady vs. NFL antitrust lawsuit.
Don't players and teams have a difference of opinion on the value of players all the time? Aren't there disagreements about what is said in the privacy of a room all the time? Umenyiora said he was deceived by Giants GM Jerry Reese. Maybe he was, maybe he wasn't. But what place does it have in a global suit between players and owners about some of the loftiest issues in sports? I don't see it.
6. I think I'd happily recommend for your summer football pleasure (assuming the dark cloud of the labor thing isn't still hanging over our heads) the NFL 101 All-Access show at the Los Angeles Coliseum on Monday, July 18, hosted by my friend Andrea Kremer.
I'll be there (on a panel discussing the events of the day and projecting the events of the season) with former Super Bowl quarterback Kurt Warner, Bengals coach Marvin Lewis, former Titans coach Jeff Fisher, Raiders executive Amy Trask, Arizona president Michael Bidwill, 49ers CEO Jed York, NFL rules czar and FOX analyst Mike Pereira and Packers equipment manager Red Batty, who always puts on a good show setting up a locker room like a real NFL one. (Others guests are to be announced prior to the event.)
It's a fun evening; I guarantee you'll learn some things about football you didn't know when you arrived. For ticket and other event info, contact Aubrey Walton at email@example.com. Hope to see you there.
7. I think, lest you think Rex Ryan is an altogether one-sided sports person, I'll take you into a little view of Ryan's sports brain. I ran into him the other day outside of Boston, and the talk turned to how hot the Red Sox were, and Ryan, who is not a Red Sox fan, said to me, "Yeah, but they gotta get Crawford going.'' I suppose someone who tangentially followed baseball would know Carl Crawford is off to a so-so start in his Boston career, but I was impressed that Ryan knew what a relatively weak link he'd been.
8. I think, just to clarify for those who missed it, there was a story out the other day that claimed Baltimore coach John Harbaugh was not in favor of taking rap-sheeted cornerback Jimmy Smith from Colorado with the Ravens' first pick in the April draft. Not so. Actually, Harbaugh and new defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano were very much in favor of the pick, Harbaugh getting convinced in part by a two-hour private meeting he had with Smith before the draft.
9. One year ago today, my brother Bob died. Thinking of you today, bro. Father's Day will never be the same.
10. I think these are my non-football thoughts of the week:
a. Yes, I did mistake Mark Wahlberg for brother Donnie at the Stanley Cup game in Boston last Monday night. Does it help to say I loved The Fighter? Or does that simply make me look like more of a doofus?
b. Thought so.
c. Mark Cuban seems a lot more human than he did three months ago. He did a heck of job disappearing in the playoffs, and then, in tough economic times, paying for the parade and celebration for the Mavericks title himself. That's what a good citizen does. How many owners tell a city, "Never mind, I'll pay for the parade?''
d. I told Bob Wallace, the longtime Rams vice president and attorney, that I'd help out in publicizing a worthy autism cause in St. Louis. Wallace did three webcasts on business and legal aspects of the National Football League. Featured on the webcasts will be 30-year NFL executive Wallace, Jets general manager Mike Tannenbaum, high-profile agent Tom Condon, attorney David Cornwell and coaches agent Bob Lattinville.
Readers of MMQB can view each webcast they desire for $89 (savings of $10 off the normal price) and a portion of the proceeds from that amount will be donated to benefit Giant Steps, a program dedicated to helping children with autism integrate into mainstream society. To learn more and to register, go here. This is the kind of programming young law students and those wanting to get a foot in the door of an NFL front office would be wise to watch.
e. Good-bye and good luck at NFL.com, Dom Bonvissuto. You have been one hell of an editor, and you will do great at whatever you do, wherever you do it. Watch out for LA. It's a great big freeway.
f. Re the Stanley Cup: Just like in the NBA, the better team won.
g. Brad Marchand, you can play for my team anytime. You too, Dennis Seidenberg.
h. Ross Tucker asked me on our SiriusXM NFL Radio show the other day what position is the most important position in sports. I said quarterback, followed by starting pitcher. He said quarterback, followed by hockey goaltender. That's what watching Tim Thomas for two weeks will do to you. Well done, Bruins.
i. I see saboteurs opened up fake Twitter accounts to try to lure Anthony Weiner into relationships. Another great day for America.
j. Coffeenerdness: I think about a quarter of the items on the Starbucks drink list now contain coffee. I'm guessing frozen daiquiris are next.
k. Beernerdness: From my SI compatriot Tim Layden -- My new favorite: A red ale called ``Cascazilla'' from the Ithaca Brewing Company (in the home of the Cornell Big Red). First sampled it on tap at Dinosaur Barbecue in Rochester (where Kevin Layden is in college) and this week my daughter bought me 12-pack for my 55th birthday. Not as good as on tap (what is?) but still mighty fine. Hard to find outside central N.Y., though.
l. How great is that! Contributors for Beernerdness!
m. My Beernerdness: I told you recently that I'd gotten to know the Bukowski Tavern, a few long fungoes from Fenway Park, and liked the beer menu. Good variety, and not too reverential. Speaking to the non-reverential part, this is what the beer menu says about the lower-calorie selections in-house, and those NOT in-house: "Light beer refers to beer which is reduced in alcohol content, or in calories, compared to 'regular' beers. Sorry, but we do draw the line when it comes to losing taste, and therefore we proudly do not carry MIC ULTRA. Have a glass of f-----' water.'" I see.
n. I don't know LeBron James. Have never met him. And I don't cover the NBA, so I'm not positive what Gary Washburn wrote the other day in the Boston Globe is right or wrong. But it sure sounded very smart.
Washburn's take on James' playoff flameout: "The resentment toward James stems from not only 'The Decision' but the fact that he doesn't maximize his vast natural talents. James is more of an athlete who plays basketball than a true basketball player. Unlike Jordan and Ray Allen, who spent hours during sweltering summer days working on their games to not only keep up with the oncoming rush of talented youngsters, but exceed them, we're not really sure what LeBron does on his offdays besides stay physically fit. He enjoyed a spike in his 3-point shooting during the playoffs but has yet to develop a consistent midrange or post game. And when those points are brought up by the media, he responds by becoming sensitive and not showing humility.
"And we have yet to see LeBron fully respect his coaches, pursue guidance, or admit that this life that he chose and its demands are overwhelming him. Instead, we are witnessing mental breakdowns on the court, stretches of ambivalence followed by uncertainty, and finally desperation. He needs help, an older person to pull him aside and explain that bravado and arrogance are not always appropriate. And big paychecks, large houses, and extravagant parties on South Beach will do nothing to camouflage the pain and embarrassment that riddles him.''
Pretty good stuff.
o. Happy next month, people. See you right back in this space on July 25 ... and possibly before that somewhere in the SI empire, if the labor negotiators come to their senses and my conscience gets the best of me.
p. There will still be MMQB. In my absence, I'll have guest columnists. Stay tuned for their identities and good reads on the next four Mondays.
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