Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Shaq Vs

Ok, I'll address the elephant in the room first. We sucked Saturday. End of story. I was in Boston where apparently its against the law to televise any sporting event that does not involve a New England team, so all of my updates were via text. It got to the point I stopped checking my phone because it was killing my buzz. I'll go with the blanket "preseason doesn't count" and move on.

My regular readers know of my growing fascination with Shaquille O'Neal. So here is my recap of his new show, which debuted last night on ABC. In case you missed it, don't worry. I took notes (sadly, I am serious) and will fill you in on all the unintentional (or maybe intentional) comedy that you missed.

Right off the bat, we were treated with a gem of a quote by Mr. O'Neal himself: "This is Shaquille O'Neal, the greatest athlete ever formed. Look it up... google it"

They go on to introduce Ben Rothlisberger, superbowl champion, to which Shaq replies, "Why you gotta throw that in there... super bowl champion??" My thoughts exactly.

This is followed by some friendly trash talking between the two, including Shaq telling America he is a better quarterback then Ben Rothlisberger, and Big Ben telling Shaq that he throws like a girl scout. One of the funnier parts of this segment shows Shaq leaning out a window in a car to some random girls asking them who is better, him or Ben, the girls shriek and scream "YOU!!".

It's at this point I notice we're only about 10 minutes into the show, and while I'm sufficiently entertained thus far, I can't help but think that it is completely unnecessary for this show to be an entire hour long. We clearly could have squished trash talking and the subsequent athletic feat into a half hour. But where's the fun in that I guess?

Next we have some overly dramatic announcers on a cheesy set who I can only hope are taking themselves too seriously in an self aware, ironic sort of way. The phrase "ultimate in cross training" is thrown around quite a bit, so hopefully that equates to success come basketball season.

Another Shaq quote as they show various training montages, "No one's ever got in Ben's head... I will" If this is the case, sign him up for the Browns! THE 2010 CLEVELAND BROWNS, led fearlessly by Shaquille O'Neal and LeBron James (thanks State Farm for that idea, which I will now never let go!)... I'm in!!!

So finally we learn what the rules of this little competition are going to be. Each one of them will QB a team in a traditional 7 on 7 game of football. Big Ben starts from the 40 yard line, and Shaq starts from the 20, but that is the only handicap. Two hand touch, no rushing, no field goals, only passing and you either score a TD or get stopped by the defense. Each QB gets 3 possessions, highest score wins.

Aside: I was watching this with one of my girlfriends and at this point we were having a discussion on how in general the quarterback is usually one of the more attractive players on the field. Tom Brady, Tony Romo, Brady 'pretty boy' Quinn, hell, even Tim Couch, who I hated with a passion wasn't so bad to look at. But Big Ben? Ick!

Anyway, moving on. Shaq has to do some of the combine drills and we learn (surprise surprise) that he's pretty freaking slow. But he does "possess a certain lateral quickness" and the announcers comment on how impressive it is for a 7 foot tall guy to move like that. So maybe that's good news for our Cavs?

Now comes the real competition. After a coin toss, it's decided Shaq gets the ball first. It takes him 3 downs, but TOUCHDOWN!!!!!!!!!!!!! The Cavs now officially stand a better chance of scoring an offensive touchdown than the Browns do. Dear Mangini, please sign Shaq as he already has more TD passes than both of our two potential starters combined.

Ben's first possession takes a few more attempts, probably due to the fact that he's starting from further away, and he too scores a TD. Shaq's next possession is pretty boring, but yields another TD. So now going into Big Ben's 2nd possession, Shaq is up 14-7.

Ben gains a yard on the first down, and on 2nd and 9 he throws the ball, when all of a sudden... SHAQ FOR THE INTERCEPTION!!!!!!!!!! (from the sideline?!?!)

As the announcers put it, "Shaq was thinking outside the box, and WAY outside the rule book. That was in no way legal. Creative, but illegal" I freaking love it though. Amazing. I want sideline interceptions from our bench every game. Ben goes on to throw a TD (the defense is horrible, this is a little too realistic for my liking) and tie it up.

On Shaq's final possession, he decides to get a little crafty again and becomes a receiver?! "He drives down the field like a 7 foot gazelle... just look at those soft hands" (again, I hope these announcers are taking this so seriously to be ironic, but I'm not entirely sure). So we've now learned that not only can Shaq take the place of our QB, but he can also take the place of Braylon Edwards as well. I really really really hope that Mangini includes this when he's going through film with the team this week in Berea.

The rest of Shaq's final possession is not quite as impressive. He throws an incomplete pass to the end zone, followed by a pump fake resulting in an interception. Now that looks more like a Cleveland QB.

Big Ben scores on his final possession to win the game, and I find myself screaming at the TV "THIS IS FIXED!!!!"

You know what though, it was probably closer than it should have been. So eat that Pittsburgh!

So my verdict on the show? It was mildly entertaining, and something to watch on a Tuesday night in the summer when nothing else was on. It made me like Shaq a little more and Ben Rothelisbrger a little less. Like I said before, all of this probably could have been accomplished in a half hour, but I will probably tune in again next week when he faces Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh for a beach volleyball match. Although I think I was drawn to this weeks episode not just for Shaq, but for the common enemy component.

And even though Big Ben may have won, as my friend watching the game with me so observantly noted, "Yea, but who looked better in football pants? SHAQ!"

Friday, August 14, 2009

Hot Sauce in my Baaag

If you haven't seen this yet, take the next 7 minutes of your day to watch it immediately....

Mr. West at his finest. Glad to see he's keeping a healthy diet in the off season

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Training Camp: Close Encounters Edition

I haven't lived in Cleveland in the summer since I've been 19, but every year, I make a trip home to go to training camp. I consider it a pilgrimage of sorts. This year's pilgrimage is a bit different in nature, but we'll touch on that at a later date.

But I digress. Like I said, I go to training camp every summer. My family lives in Berea, so they're literally right down the road. That being said, when I go, I usually just show up in the middle of a practice, watch some drills or a scrimmage from the opposite end of the field, make a few remarks to whoever I drag up there with me, and call it a day.

This year was different. A friend of mine is a club seat holder and invited me to go to Tuesday's practice for club seat appreciation day. We showed up close to on time, and made our way towards the sidelines. We found ourselves literally 2 feet from where the practice was being held. Even though we were just watching drills or a simulated scrimmage without full on hitting, I was in awe. Being that close to the action was awesome.

I don't really have a whole lot to comment on football wise. Its still early on in training camp. I will say that from what I saw, it's either good news for our offense, or bad news for our defense. I'm hoping for the former. As has been the story in Cleveland for the past few years, "the starting quarter back job is up for grabs" so it was nice to see both DA and BQ getting reps. DA appears to be leading the race right now, but I have a feeling this is a day to day thing. I will say that the receivers were making both of them look pretty good though. On one play BQ threw into coverage, and the receiver managed to catch it, one handed, around the defender. One of the more impressive receptions I've seen from a Brown in quite some time. And speaking of Browns receivers, it was nice to see Braylon way off in the distance on the stationary bike (note: that sentence was dripping in sarcasm)

Back to being so close to the action. Like I said, we were literally 2 feet from the "sidelines" where the players were subbing in and out. Close enough to hear the comments they were making to each other. Close enough to hear them being berated by the coaches. And close enough to realize how FREAKING HUGE they are. Now don't get me wrong. I have known many football players (high school and college) in my day, and realize that they are larger than the average human being. But some of these guys are just absolutely BEASTLY.

The biggest and beastliest of them all being Shaun Rogers. I'm pretty sure I've commented in the past on his size and how I would not want him barreling towards me. But being close enough to him to reach out and touch him, I'm convinced that he is not entirely human. I think he is some strange man/bear hybrid. I mean one of his legs is the size of my entire body. And he LOST 40 lbs this off season. I have a new found love/respect of this man for his sheer size alone. When a player commits a penalty at training camp, they have to run a lap. When man/bear Rogers was sentenced to such a fate, my one friend made the comment "why does he get to walk his lap". I replied with, "I'm pretty sure that is him running". When you are the size of an industrial refrigerator, you're not exactly going to be setting any speed records. I am going to be spending some more time at training camp this summer, and my new goal is to get my picture taken next to him.

All in all it was a great day. I won a free hat, was able to appreciate training camp more than I ever have in the past, and got really pumped up for the up coming season. I love the excitement that comes with a new season. This year we've got a new coach, and a fresh start.

Here we go Brownies....