Absolutely, NFL coaches, keep kicking the ball to No. 23. It’s an especially effective tactic when the Bears have absolutely nothing going offensively, which is most of the time, and the only possible way they can beat you is if Devin Hester breaks one for a touchdown.
Absolutely, NFL coaches, keep kicking the ball to No. 23.
It’s an especially effective tactic when the Bears have absolutely nothing going offensively, which is most of the time, and the only possible way they can beat you is if Devin Hester breaks one for a touchdown.
Or breaks two.
Denver’s Mike Shanahan became merely the latest opposing coach to get seduced by some early success at containing Hester only to get burned -- twice -- by the best kick and punt returner any of us probably ever will see.
"Any time a guy returns two kicks," Shanahan said after his Broncos lost 37-34 to the Bears in overtime Sunday, "obviously, you look back and say: ‘That wasn’t a very good decision.'"
Aw, gee, you think?
"Pride can kill you sometimes -- and in this case it did," said Bears tight end Desmond Clark, a former Bronco who knows the depths of Shanahan’s conceit. "You have the best return man in the game, and possibly in history, and you keep kicking him the ball and giving him that many opportunities to make a play. It backfired on them."
Broncos punter/kickoff man Todd Sauerbrun – the ex-Bears knucklehead who drove fans and coaches crazy during his time messing things up in Chicago – had said this a few days earlier: "We’re not gonna play chicken-(bleep) football. We’re not gonna kick away from him."
After Sunday’s game, Sauerbrun had this to say when asked how a team can stop Hester: "I guess by kicking the ball out of bounds. But not many people, including me, like to do that."
Of course not. It’s much better to be macho and lose to a team that had no business beating you.
The Great Devin Hester was just one of many topics I addressed recently in my blog, The Baldest Truth (www.thebaldesttruth.com). Here are some more excerpts.
Ohio State and Illinois got to sit back, enjoy plenty of turkey and cranberries and wait for the rest of the college football world to cannibalize itself.
With LSU’s loss to Arkansas, Ohio State is in darn good position to play for the mythical national championship -- something many assumed impossible after the Buckeyes fell to Illinois.
A Missouri loss to Oklahoma next Saturday would do the trick for Ohio State. (So would a West Virginia loss to Pitt, but that ain't gonna happen.) That also would help the Illini, who would slide right into the Rose Bowl ... just as most of us predicted after they lost to Missouri in Week 1, right?
Why Ohio State would be ranked higher than Kansas, which lost on a neutral field to a Missouri team that opened the season with a neutral-field victory over an Illinois team that won at Ohio State, is beyond me.
But hey, if all the Big Crappy Scam voters and computers say so, it must be true.
It’s all so dizzying. It’s all so fitting, too, that such a ridiculous
outcome could cap a ridiculous season for a ridiculous sport that refuses to crown a real champion.
The Bald List
Five multiple-loss teams that are superior to Ohio State but have no chance to play for the mythical title:
1. LSU. The unranked Arkansas team that defeated the Tigers in OT is as good as any of the Bad Eleven’s bottom nine.
2. USC. Tough to excuse the loss at Stanford, but the Trojans have been on a roll and are more talented up and down the lineup.
3. Florida. If the Gators played the Buckeyes right now, I’m guessing the result would be every bit as ugly as it was in the last mythical title game.
4. Illinois. Hey, wasn’t that Juice Williams converting another first down on the final drive in Columbus?
5. Notre Dame. Just wanted to make sure you were still reading.
Get ready for Bobby Hull Beanie Babies and Chico Maki Bobbleheads, everybody!
John McDonough, the marketing guru who teamed with Harry Caray to turn the Cubs from a ballclub that played day games before a few thousand diehards to a cuddly phenomenon that sells out Wrigley Field daily, is now president of the Blackhawks.
One of the savviest guys in Chicago sports history, McDonough realized that the new Cubs owners might want to hire their own president. So he got while the getting was good -- even if it meant he wouldn’t be able to deliver multiple championships to Cubbieland, as he had promised when he took that job.
Does McDonough know anything about hockey? I haven’t the foggiest idea. But he undoubtedly knows something about selling hockey, and that’ll be even more important as new team chairman Rocky Wirtz tries to bring the organization into this century.
The young Blackhawks are showing promise on the ice and, with McDonough at the helm, they’ll have a better chance to lure back jaded fans.
I just wonder what song "guest conductors" will sing between periods at the United Center.
From Elgin-area reader “DMC" about my choice of Notre Dame coach Charlie Weis as 2007 Turkey of the Year:
"You selected a football coach ... over an athlete who was convicted of abusing animals and over an athlete who (was indicted) for lying to a grand jury? One can only wonder if your hatred toward Notre Dame has clouded your perception of what truly is important in life."
My response: Michael Vick and Barry Bonds are just two of the gajillion athletes who are jerks, miscreants or both, but Weis had the unique distinction of presiding over the losingest season in Notre Dame football history. Oh, and I don't hate the Fighting Irish. Don’t care if they win. Don’t care if they lose. I don’t root for or against teams. That’s a fan’s job, not mine.
"I was just giving him a little shout-out, letting him know I still got it. He knew I still had it, but I was just reminding him."
-- Devin Hester, explaining why he imitated the famed hand-behind-the-head-while-highstepping-into-the-end-zone schtick of his mentor, Neon Deion Sanders.
"There’s no fun in moral victories."
-- Kirk Hinrich.
Yeah, and it must be even less fun for Bulls fans who realize the team captain actually called a 15-point loss to the Toronto Raptors as a moral victory.
Mike Nadel (email@example.com) is the Chicago sports columnist for GateHouse News Service.