The Washington Post

Jan 10, 2011

Every morning, Post columnist Tracee Hamilton discusses the most amazing and outrageous news from the world of sports.

Not enough sheds on the practice field.

Ba dum dum.

Is this thing on?

Lots happened this weekend, not all of it good (so long, Chiefs!), so let's get started.

Seems there are college bowl games still going on. Is anyone watching? Dragging college football so far into January is a big mistake.

Put me down as not watching, and as agreeing. Enough!

I'd enjoy their victory more if their coach had not wrecked the USC program, leaving it in ruins as he fled to greener pastures.

Yes, that was an exciting win, and I love to see underdogs come through, but it was hard to watch him prancing around the sideline. No consequences. Very annoying.

Hi, Tracee. I hope your procedure went well. I'm sure you've read Friday's chat, which blew me away with the tough questions for Eric Prisbell. He was attacked on all sorts of grounds. Apparently people still hate him for having written an article saying that Gary Williams plays by the rules! Then, after one of the most substantive chats in recent memory, someone wrote in to say it was boring. I realize you often get far more questions than you can handle and so must pick and choose, but I've never seen anything this mean-spirited. I hope they're not doing the same to you behind the scenes. We love you, but we don't hate him. Or at least we shouldn't.

Prisbell's got a thick skin, but still ... I am really sorry that chat turned out the way it did. I owe those guys big time. But then again, as I said, they both can take it. They've taken a lot of abuse since that series ran.

When a NFL player gets clobbered and has to go the locker room, the announcers typically mention something like, "they went into the locker room to get their ankles taped." Is this code for, "this injury would keep most people on crutches for a month and they are really just getting lots of pain killer shots so they can further destroy their bodies without knowing it?" Do they hide this nasty part of the NFL from the reporters, or is it just done out in the open? Thanks from those of us who only see the game from the nosebleed seats.

I always thought it was code for "he had to go to the bathroom". Usually they can get taped up on the sideline. Heck, they get full massages on the sideline sometimes. So I think it's either your code, or my code. I don't think they need privacy to remove their dainty cleats or anything.

Sorry about the Chiefs. I was rooting hard for them. Any suggestions of how I should pick this week's slate of games? I went 0-4 this week... Also, on a scale of 1 - 10 (1 being the Seinfeld Pilot, 10 being George's whale story) how great would it be if Seattle made it to the Super Bowl?

Again, great if Pete Carroll were somehow not coaching them, I guess. I forgot to make my picks; I think I would have been 1-3 or maybe 2-2 at the very best. I enjoy the games more when I don't pick, I must say.

Of course the chances of the NCAA adopting any of her suggestions are none and none, but I appreciate her effort. Keep up the good work!

When Sally scolds, she scolds.

The exception being Seattle. Did you see that one coming? Ravens looked good but I still don't se them beating New England. Patriots-Bears Super Bowl?

I didn't see Seattle coming, I admit it. I was fairly surprised at how inept the Chiefs looked. Ah, well, this season was a vast improvement. Mustn't be greedy. I don't see anyone beating the Pats right now. Bears to the Super Bowl? Maybe. I said Falcons earlier and I ought to stick with it, I suppose.

Yes, Ms. H, for no doubt the only week in this year's Big 12 basketball season, my Huskers stand above your Jayhawks in the standings. Of course, KU hasn't played a conference game yet, and NU edged Iowa State by only one point in Lincoln, BUT, I'll take whatever I can get. Hey, if Seattle can win a playoff game after a 7-9 season, why not NU maybe reaching the heights of a .500 season? AHG (sorry about the Chiefs, but getting pounded in the playoffs is better than not making them at all)

AHG, after seeing my boys against Michigan yesterday, you deserve to be ahead of us in the standings. Godspeed!

Re Sally's 1/10 column on the NCAA, here's one more suggestion: Scholarship athletes who bolt for the pros before completing their college eligibility should have to repay all the tuition, fees and other assistance provided them. This would not apply to an athlete who stays for the duration. On the other side, a college should guarantee that any scholarship athlete who goes the distance should be able to keep attending class at no charge for as long as it takes to get a degree. Fairness on both sides. The college recoups its investment in the pseudo-student who's using it as a training camp, and the athlete who's serious about an education and fullfills the obligation to the school gets a degree.

Sally, what say you? Seems fair to me.

I'm pretty sure that Prisbell knows that you only have to publish the questions you want to answer. (I can't imagine what questions go unanswered.) If he didn't like the questions, then don't publish them. This isn't a presidential debate.

That's true, and he's never one to duck criticism. As I said, he's got a thick skin.

Well, you can't minimize what Pete Carroll has done with a smaller payroll than he had at USC. And I hope they make the Super Bowl and lose, so they end with a losing record just to drive the laceheads crazy.

Ha, good one.

Tracee, I mean, I exercise 4 times a week, and yet, I've gotten "a little puffy," if you will, the past few weeks. Is this post-holiday puffiness, or the beginning of the inevitable spiral down that is mid-life? I await your sage advice!

You exercise four times a week and you're puffy? Inevitable spiral, my friend.

Just kidding. You'll be fine.

I assume they took him into the lockerroom so they could x-ray the ankle before they decided whether he should continue playing.

Sometimes they X-ray. Heck, I think they have surgical theaters in some of these stadiums.

Can the NFL PLEASE stop with the Saints "saving New Orleans" angle? Last year it was just on and on and on and on about how great they were for the city, as if all of the poverty and hardship there just disappeared overnight when they won the Super Bowl. The Monday morning after came and many still had to deal with the aftermath of Katrina and all that came with it, but the NFL gets on its high horse and paints its franchise as having saved the city or some such nonsense. I only bring this up because they still wouldn't let it rest on Saturday. When it became clear the Saints were going to lose, the play-by-play guy lamented it as some tragedy and started waxing poetic about how "sociologically important" the Saints were and how devastating the loss would be for the city. Enough already. Please. Okay, I'm off my soapbox now, thanks :)

I'm here to help. And yes, old storyline.

Ms. Hamilton, sorry about your Chiefs. At least you made it to the dance. And for what it's worth, I still dig your unis! Hey, you have a team headed in the right direction, unlike a certain local team that has a lovable pocket-sized return man that, oddly, I keep finding between my couch cushions.

Is THAT where he's gotten to? I keep checking my coin purse.

Yes, I can't complain about this season. They're on the right track.

Good morning, Tracee. I ran across this quote this weekend and for some reason thought of this chat. "Never grow a wishbone, daughter, where your backbone ought to be." -- Clementine Paddleford. A good thought for the beginning of the week, no?

Not bad at all.

Do you expect the Fridge to be coaching football next season?

This is a great question. I don't, unless he wants to be a coordinator somewhere. There is usually a "cooling off" period for these guys. But I'd be happy to be wrong.

There is a god. Doesn't say much about the NFC east. Old skins fan

I have the feeling there is a certain amount of this outlook going around town today. And no, it says a lot about the NFC East, none of it good.

Liars. Here's what the Washington Post said would be on the radio: 1 p.m. Baltimore at Kansas CityWUSA (Channel 9), WJZ (Channel 13), WWXT (92.7 FM), WWXX (94.3 FM), WTEM (980 AM) 4:30 p.m. Green Bay at Philadelphia WTTG (Channel 5), WBFF (Channel 45), WSPZ (570 AM). Yet not one of those radio stations had the games, which is surprising given that the Ravens are arguably a local team. Instead, all I could find were 570AM and its duplicate 980AM -- both the same ESPN Sportscenter broadcast that seemed to be pre-recorded -- and 1260AM which was a mindless chat show. Is it no longer possible to hear a NFL game on the radio doesn't involve the Redskins?

I'm posting this for the edification of the editors. I'm guessing playoff games aren't like regular season games and aren't going to be carried by local affiliates, but someone in the office will have to check. I'm very sorry about that.

However, I don't honestly think anyone lied. That seems perhaps a bit over the top. Why would we deliberately put incorrect information in the paper?

So the only home team to win was 7-9 Seattle. Do you think the Bears lucked out with the #2 seed, with ATL and GB matching up in the other semi.

I don't know, the way the Seahawks played, if I'd consider the Bears lucky. And of course we know from experience that the Bears are not always ... the Bears. Sometimes they are much, much less than the Bears.

Tracee, welcome back! Just an observation: the Friday fill-in team was subjected to some of the most hostile questions I think I've read on FTF. Not everyone was rude, but there were a couple of people who just would *not* let go of something that was published three years ago! The hosts were polite and gave thoughtful responses, and one even stayed for I think a full two hours. It wasn't like they were acting like Wilbon used to, i.e.: "i can't believe you asked me such a stupid question!" I don't know if your regular chatters stay away when you're gone or what... It was really unfortunate. Not the tone I check-in here for... ~Pats Fan

Really sorry to hear this. We try to be vitriol-free here as much as possible.

Some of the worst performances turned in this bowl and playoff season have one thing in common: a coach looking for a better job. Take, for instance, the awful performance by UConn in the Fiesta Bowl and yesterday's stinker from the Chiefs offense (one notable exception: Stanford's Harbaugh, whose team trounced VT). You have some experience with this, as I fervently believe that if Roy Williams would have been more worried about coaching his team and less worried about meeting with Carolina boosters, then Kansas would have won the Big Dance in '03. Personally, if I were an AD or an owner and I saw my prospective new coach phone in his final game, I would be leery of hiring that person. - RHG

You make a great point, RHG, and you give a great example in ol' Roy.

I don't begrudge professional athletes for using their celebrity to endorse good products and earn endorsement fees. Such is part of the American Dream. But it bothers me to see athletes wearing/endorsing Power Bracelets (the $30 hologram bracelet that the creators claim is "designed to work with your body's natural energy field" and was suppose to be "a favorite among elite athletes for whom balance, strength and flexibility are important". Fans spend lots of money supporting their teams and buying team merchandise. Popular athletes who endorse bogus products risk damaging their credibility and their fans' bank accounts. In Nov 2010, ESPN's Outside the Lines reported on scientific research by exercise physiologists at University of Wisconsin La Crosse for the American Council on Exercise (a consumer watchdog) that debunked power bracelets. The UW research tested 12 men and 9 women (20 of them UW athletes) and found the $30 hologram "Power Bracelet offers no performance benefit when compared to the $0.30 placebo bracelet." This week Power Balance admitted in writing "that there is no credible scientific evidence that supports our claims" that their wristbands and pendants improve balance, strength and flexibility. This admission resulted because of action by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission which took the company to task for their bogus claims. The Company signed a Dec 22, 2010 agreement with the Commission to stop making the claims and give aggrieved purchasers their money back. Fans accept that some professional athletes are superstitious and may go through various rituals before games. However shouldn't popular athletes who endorse products (as Shaq does on the Power Balance website -- he says it works) be held to a higher standard of judgment, and make sure the products work? Otherwise they might contribute to bilking fans out of their hard earned money and appear to believe that famous quote "There's a sucker born every minute".

I can think of no product I would buy on the word of an athlete, not even an athletic product. The same would be true of rock stars, movie stars, etc. They're being paid to sell something! As a result, I can't get worked up about it. If people believe a huckster is telling the truth because that huckster is famous, then they get what they deserve.

I didn't come away with the same conclusion about Friday's chat. Don't you have choice over which questions you answer and post and which you don't? I didn't sense a 'bad vibe'. And please don't take offense, but the Qs were for the most part all sports-related and not about TV shows, beer, and the other misc. topics that take place in your chat.

Like today's, for instance? The questions I choose are pretty representative of what's in the inbox. Some days those are mostly sports questions, some days not so much. Today, almost all are sports questions. I'm glad you didn't feel a bad vibe.

Terp fans a really passionate about basketball and sometimes it hurts when the truth comes out and it's not as great as you hope. That's really all he did with that series. Probably explains the vitriol. I'm a big fan of the Terps and I also thought that series was one of the better things I've ever read in a sports section. But a lot of people just expect sports reporters to be cheerleaders I think, and then they get all angry when it doesn't happen.

That's very true. Prisbell and Yanda are excellent reporters. But killing the messenger is a time-honored tradition.

Tracee: I have a longstanding concern about this network, and this is it: it seems that whichever of these stations I listen to, I constantly have to switch between these stations because they "fade" out frequently. For example, I could be listening to 94.3, then I drive 100 yards, and I hear static, so I switched 980, drive 100 more yards, switch again. Is this a problem you have heard about from other readers or experienced yourself? If so, is Dan Snyder trying to do anything about this? Bottom line is that it is incredibly annoying.

None of their stations is powerful, and yes, I have trouble with reception all the time. If I'm near any kind of heavy-duty power lines, forget it. I don't know of Dan Snyder is trying to fix it. I know there are many, many complaints about it and he has to be aware of it.

The Ravens game was carried in DC on 1500 AM. That may be true next weekend as well.

Thanks. The way the listings work, usually, is that the radio stations submit their programming to the Post. Sometimes, of course, that doesn't happen.

Could you say that the Ravens are the best run franchise in the Baltimore-Washington area? They have an "identity" as a defensive minded team. They consistent make the post-season. Much of the credit should go to Ozzie Newsome. Why don't the Orioles-Redskins-Nationals-Wizards use them as a model?

Don't forget the Capitals. I think that is a very well-run organization as well. But yes, the Ravens are very well run and Ozzie Newsome gets the lion's share of the credit for that.

After the public outcry about a 7-9 team making the playoffs (and two 10-6 teams sitting home), it seemed that there may have been some momentum to revisit the methodology of who gets in. But now that the team--widely believed to have no business playing on Saturday--pulled out the win, would you say the methodology is vindicated or is there a chance it will be reshaped in the future? While I can't stand Pete Carroll, he didn't create these rules...he just happened to be the lucky benefactor this time around. It thought it was an exciting game to watch and proved that on any given week, anything is possible in the NFL!

I wouldn't change the setup. If you do, you diminish the importance of winning your division, which in turn diminishes the importance of those games, and so on. The Seattle thing was clearly a fluke; I wouldn't expect it to happen every year. And what they did with the opportunity was great for them and great for the game, truthfully. It was a great game, especially that run -- I could watch that forever -- and it was good for the NFL.

It seemed to me that it was just one individual asking the same question over and over in different ways. Eric did what he could, but sometimes there's nothing you can say to get people to get over it. Really, in the grand scheme of things does it matter??? Apparently to this guy, but not so much to everyone else. On another note are we still gluten free???

That's possible. I could almost get who that individual would be, too. :) I am not gluten free-free, yet. Won't find out until probably Friday or early next week. But the indications are positive.

So will the eagles now go to Kolb and will the skins go after Vick?

My gut tells me no, and no.

I can sort of see this, but as someone who likes cats, I would take my cat on a road trip. Would you? And does Yanda's hesitation make him drop a peg or two in your view?

No, I would not take either of my boys on a road trip, and Yanda has the right idea. I would love to have the company, but the cats would hate it. So I'd rather leave them home where they can watch old movies and eat tuna right out of the can till I get back.

To my respected FTFers: to those highly critical of Eric Prisbell (or as I suspect his wife calls him, "E-Pri"), what's the big deal with how he ran the chat? He was unfailingly respectful and personable. Okay, he took some criticism for stuff that perhaps he could have done better on, but there's only one flaxed-haired T-Ham, and moreover, does it REALLY matter? Lighten up on the chap!

My sense is that the FTFers really admired Prisbell's conduct. I'm sure he was quite confused by the beverage and ghost questions, though. :)

Ms. H: I wish RHG's note about poor bowl performance by teams with coaches going to greener pastures explained NU's loss to Washington (unless Tressel is leaving OSU and Pelini is secretly on his way there). AHG

Well, there are exceptions to the rule. :)

I'm a North Carolina fan, so I love Roy, but I really have to question the idea that Roy's gametime distraction is what lost the '03 championship. I mean, let's be honest. His in-game coaching is not the reason why we hired him. (CALL A TIME OUT ONCE IN A WHILE, ROY!!!) Plus, it's not like Roy's distraction cause Collison to miss all those free throws. (I only say this with love. Tracee, you can feel free to bring up the '08 Final Four game in retaliation).

Posting this in the interest of fairness. :)

I have to disagree with putting the Caps up with the Ravens. The Caps haven't won the Cup, while the Ravens have a Super Bowl. Let's see what the Caps look like in 5 to 10 years and when Ovie is on the decline. Right now the Ravens rule the roost. They even did HBO like 10 years ago.

Fair enough, but I don't think we ought to lump the Caps in with the Nats, Wiz and Skins, either. They've earned a bump.

To follow up on a post from last week, I used to spend a lot of time a the dog park imagining which dogs I would choose for my dog football team. Obviously you would want Newfies or St. Bernards for your interior line positions, and maybe slightly more athletic breeds like Mastiffs for ends. Boxers look like good line backers or running backs, and of course there would be no better recievers than Labrador retrievers. you would just have to train them to not bring the ball back to the quarterback. My Ridgeback would have been a shut down corner with hands liks Carlos Rodgers, or maybe a hard hitting safety. Throw in a Brandon Banks-esq Chihuahua on returns, and you would be in pretty good shape. I thnk you might need the intelligence of a Border Collie to run, say, Shannahan's two minute drill, but but I have yet to find a dog who can throw a tight spiral.

I wish we had more time for this topic because I have a feeling we could really make something weird and pseudo-sporty about it. Maybe tomorrow, if it's a slow day. (Oh wait, national championship game tonight. Hard to remember it's not been played yet.)

I was thinking about you Saturday - watching the Wildcats and Tigers fall must have boosted your recovery! Can't quite figure out these Cats. They're clearly not the elite team some were hoping for, but just as clearly have tons of potential. It will be interesting to see how Frank and the team react to events so far - if they do get better, they could still be really good. Looking forward to the Kansas Day showdown! Speaking of which, how do you celebrate Kansas Day? I usually bake Kansas-shaped sugar cookies, decorate them with small sunflowers and bring them into work. I know someone else who shares bags of sunflower seeds with his work colleagues. Other state just don't do this, you know? -K-Stater

I usually just bore everyone by telling them it's Kansas Day and then singing the songs and quizzing them on the state animal, etc. Everyone in the office loves to talk about Kansas. They literally can't get enough Kansas.

I do have that Kansas-shaped cookie cutter, too. :)

K-State is a mystery. I saw a lot of them when I was home. They have some talent but I'm mystified they were picked to win the conference over, well, us. Of course, that could still happen. Again, I'm not bragging after seeing my boys yesterday. Frank Martin's got his work cut out for him, though.

Oh boy, must dash. Thanks, everyone, for joining me today for a mostly sporty chat. Who knows what tomorrow will bring? Dog football, perhaps. Let's talk then.

In This Chat
Tracee Hamilton
Tracee Hamilton has worked at the Post since 1993, toiling in office obscurity as an editor before someone said, "Hey, you've got a lot of opinions and can write a little. Why don't you become a columnist?"

Her interests range from genealogy to Nordic combined to Kansas basketball. If ever there was a Jayhawk who once flew off a ski jump, she'd know where he was buried.

Her list of pet peeves is considerably longer, but includes Missouri basketball and poor subway etiquette. She welcomes dissenting opinions -- in the way Great Whites welcome open-water swimmers.

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