Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Remembering Alex Karras (1935-2012)

Alex Karras died this morning after battling kidney failure at the age of 77.

Karras was a star defensive tackle at the University of Iowa before spending his 12-year career terrorizing offenses for the Detroit Lions. It was a career with four All-Pro seasons and a missed 1963 season after he was suspended by then-Commissioner Pete Rozelle for gambling. The missed year was not enough to knock him off the Pro Football Hall of Fame's All-Decade Team for the 1960s.

For those of a younger vintage, however, Karras was better known for his acting. He was the dad on TV's "Webster" during the 1980s and other television series. However, his most memorable role, at least in this writer's opinion, was that Mongo in Mel Brooks' "Blazing Saddles," which featured this memorable scene.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Ready for college hoops season?

In the widening world of sports media, we here at Wait Til Next Century are always on the lookout for creative ways to promote teams. The White Sox, among others have had some fun ones in recent years, and anything that promotes and remembers that sports are supposed to be fun and games is almost always a good thing.

Fast forward to this year, and this creative spot for the Marquette University men's basketball team featuring junior Jamil Wilson that is designed to gear us up for the upcoming season, with practice beginning in just a couple of weeks.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Save a couch

Over the years, it has become a bit of a tradition for West Virginia University football fans to burn a couch after a big win or a particularly tough loss. According to the college football blog Crystal Ball Run, the punishment for such an act has jumped from a $1,000 fine and a misdemeanor conviction to a felony punishable by up to three years in prison. With that in mind, the student government at West Virginia has come out with this public service announcement reminding all of us to not burn our couches.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

What if other professions had replacements?

For those not in the know, the Packers, simply put, got robbed last night.

While NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell's experiment (what else can we call it?) in using replacement officials while he locks out the regular ones over a dispute of $3 million in pension pay, the replacement refs continue to go from bad to worse. While this site, being the Chicago sports site that it is, is no fan of that team from up north in Wisconsin (and the loss helped put the Bears back into first place in the NFC North), the Packers were hosed by the refs on that last second "touchdown" by WR Golden Tate from QB Russell Wilson, giving the Seahawks an improbable 14-12 win, with the NFL upholding the call in a statement issued this morning.

To show they at least have a sense of humor about it, WGBA-TV, NBC 26 in Green Bay brought out their "replacement weather guy" to do the weather forecast this morning.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Bears win, but work needs to be done

Source: AP/Pantagraph
Yep, the Bears managed to pull out the 23-6 win over the Rams Sunday at Soldier Field. Obvious to anyone who watched the game, it was ugly in spots, pretty good in others. Let's examine:

The good: That defense, left for dead after the debacle in Green Bay last week, came out in style, holding Sam Bradford, Steven Jackson and the rest of that St. Louis offense to two field goals and only 160 total yards on offense. There was also that brilliant pick-six in the fourth quarter by safety Major Wright off the deflection by teammate Tim Jennings that pretty much sealed the game, and Bradford spent much of the game running for his life, getting sacked four times. Yes, it had what in any other circumstance could be deemed a stupid personal foul penalty on Julius Peppers, but it could be deemed a questionable call by the replacement refs who seem to be getting worse every week (more on them in a moment).

We also had RB Michael Bush, who picked up 55 yards and a touchdown on 18 carries as he filled in for Matt Forte, who sat out with an ankle sprain. No, he's not Forte, but he did the job much more admirably than last year's backup, Marion Barber, whose performance against Denver in December stills haunts this writer. He's a keeper, to say the least.

The bad: That offense. Yes, QB Jay Cutler put up a decent performance, putting up 183 yards passing with only one INT. And yes, he was sacked only twice. But, as Comcast Chicago Kip Lewis put it, it appears that Mike Martz is back coaching the offense. WR Brandon Marshall, who was so dangerous in Week One against the Colts, had five catches, but it looked like he was hardly an option for Cutler most of the game.

The ugly: The officiating by the replacement refs seems to be getting worse every week. The worst example was, outside of that personal foul penalty on Peppers, which hardly looked like anything (despite Fox announcers Jim Nantz's and John Lynch's agreement with them), was after Cutler threw what turned into his lone INT to Rams CB Cortland Finnegan in the first quarter. With some question as to whether Finnegan fumbled at the end of his return, the Bears could have snapped the ball and let play resume. But the refs dawdled on making any call whatsoever before finally allowing Rams coach Jeff Fisher to throw the challenge flag. Granted, the replay allowed the refs to make the correct call, but it took way too much time. We can't get the regular officials back soon enough.

The Bears get an extra day before they travel to Arlington to take on the Cowboys on Monday Night Football. That offensive line will have to be at the top of its game against a Dallas defense that held Josh Freeman and the Buccaneers to only 166 yards of offense Sunday.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Cutler attacks hypocritical

The attacks on Bears QB Jay Cutler during the last week have been interesting at best and hypocritical at worst.

For those not in the know, Cutler stunk it up last Thursday as he threw four interceptions and had a quarterback rating lower than Congress' approval rating as the Bears lost 23-10 in Green Bay. He also was sacked seven times and had a well-publicized altercation with his left tackle, J'Marcus Webb, shouting at him before pushing him aside as they returned to the sideline.

It was that altercation with Webb that got much of the attention, with pundits on both sides of the issue weighing in. Greg Couch at Fox Sports was perhaps the worst of the bunch, saying it was time to consider Cutler the latest of the bad QBs the Bears have had since Sid Luckman, adding that Cutler will never be the superstar he thinks he is.

Really? Just a few days before that mess in Green Bay, seemingly everyone was praising Cutler and the Bears' offense for being explosive as they led the way to a 41-21 win over the Colts in the season opener. Cutler threw for 333 yards and two touchdowns, including one to new/old teammate Brandon Marshall, who had his own breakout game with 119 yards receiving and a touchdown.

Now, we see the latest in the "what have you done for me lately" mentality in this country as he has a bad game. Wasn't we just saying he was a great QB, the best the Bears have had since Luckman? What happened to that?

Yes, we have his performance against the Packers, a game that he could have truly made a statement in with a good performance. And yes, we are wondering about him after he said on his radio show that he was "proud of his performance" last week. However, let's look at that a little more closely.

We have those seven sacks. That's the main problem with that offensive line that the Bears have that can at times be truly offensive. Anytime we see a quarterback sacked seven times, including 3.5 by Packers LB Clay Matthews in a performance that had the NFL Network guys joking that they hoped he wouldn't sack them on the sidelines, it's never a good thing. So for Cutler to yell at his tackle for not protecting him, at the guy that was charged with keeping Matthews off of him, it was justifiable. In addition, Cutler rarely threw to his big money man, Brandon Marshall, who had only two catches for 24 yards.

Plus, Colin Cowherd of ESPN had a good take on this on both his radio show and "SportsNation" in that it's mainly an image issue with Cutler. Despite his radio show (and maybe his radio show is an attempt to fix this), Cutler hasn't been the most personable guy around. Cowherd compared Cutler with Tim Tebow, who despite lackluster performances in wins and his now backup status to Mark Sanchez in New York has a great public image. Cutler, on the other hand, has been seen as standoff-ish and not a personable guy. Should that matter? Of course not.

Not does that make Cutler an elite quarterback? Considering he has yet to win anything of significance, let's play the wait and see game on this.

Now this Sunday he has a chance to redeem himself in front of a friendly Soldier Field crowd against the Rams, the NFL's equivalent of the cupcake team major college teams feast on early in the season. If he can come back with a great performance, you can be certain we'll all be singing Cutler's praises again all of next week, until the next game.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Jay Cutler apathetic?

Somebody out there has a twisted sense of humor, playing off Bears QB Jay Cutler's yelling and shoving of teammate and J'Marcus Webb last week against the Packers. We bring you "Smokin' Jay Cutler," showing Cutler in his, um, Photoshopped finest.

We'll have more on Cutler and the rest of the Bears soon.