Saturday, February 11, 2006

= Durex Works in Product Placement at Opening Ceremony

Before we get started, can we clarify one thing: Is it "Opening Ceremony" or "Opening Ceremonies"?

There will be a familiar sight on the sidelines at Raiders games next season...and no, I'm not talking about a dejected Randy Moss. Art Shell has relinquished his cush job as the NFL's Senior VP of Football Operations & Development to rejoin the Raiders as head coach. Being asked to coach the Raiders is a bit like having Star Jones propose to you: the money is good, but the gig sucks.

Some of the other interesting candidates approached for the head coaching position include Ken Whisenhunt, Mike Martz and James Lofton. I was hoping Dick Vermeil might be considered, to no avail. But the nefarious, bespectacled man in a white jumpsuit (hereafter referred to as "Al Davis") made a good choice. Shell was fired by the Raiders in 1994, but Davis is certainly not averse to changing his mind (see: Oakland Raiders' return to Oakland in 1995). And Shell was no slouch as a coach during his first go-round with the Silver & Black, finishing 56-41 in 5 seasons.

Here's the personnel Shell gets to play with: a strong-armed dim-witted quarterback (Kerry Collins), an incredibly athletic dim-witted receiver (Randy Moss) and a physically strong dim-witted defense (always one of the most penalized in the NFL). If the Raiders are The Bad News Bears, consider Shell their Walter Matthau (or Billy Bob Thornton, for this second go round). But I wish Shell the best of luck and congratulate Al Davis on being the first and only owner to hire a minority as a head coach this offseason. Shell was actually the first minority head coach in the modern era of the NFL (1989), and it looks like after only 17 years, we've run out of other possible candidates...

Bode Miller is stirring up controversy again, though it isn't because of something he said. At the Opening Ceremony in Turin, Miller chose to bring up the rear of the American contingent, coat unzipped and head uncovered. Was this to express his displeasure with Nick being kicked off Project Runway this week? Was it a protest of skeletoner Zach Lund's Olympic ban for Alopecia? Or was it just Bode trying to stay relevant? When your sport is only in the spotlight every four years, and sponsor dollars allow you to maintain a certain type of lifestyle, it is imperative to remain relevant and on people's minds. So as long as Miller continues to exercise civil disobedience, and doesn't have to go in front of a civil jury (see: Kobe Bryant), he should continue to be respected and rich...

You gotta love the Chicago Tribune's Rick Morrissey's article on Michelle Kwan that incorporates into its first sentence the following three components: Liberce, Thomas Kinkade, Jessica Simpson. I myself was actually thinking about incorporating into today's edition Elton John, Kunta Kinte and OJ Simpson. It seems a bit redundant now, though...

So Michelle Kwan is thinking about dropping out of the Olympics, huh? At 25 years old, she's way over the hill anyway. I mean, she is less than half the age of the oldest Olympian this year, 54 year old curler Scott Baird. But curling isn't really a sport, and in figure skating you're usually through by the time you're old enough to legally drink a glass of victory champagne. So it's only fitting that the penultimate figure skater to get bumped from a rightful spot in the Olympics (Kwan, allowing Nancy Kerrigan to compete), may cede her spot to the most recently bumped skater (Emily Hughes). Kwan may never win the gold medal, but she'll win a gold star in our hearts if she cedes to the younger, more prepared Hughes. Or she can be an obstinate...

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