Jan 24, 2011

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

Jay Cutler may or may not be back with the Bears, but isn't it likely Todd Collins will be available soon?

Please let this be sarcasm. Please let this be sarcasm.

And good morning, everyone, from Chicago. We have a lot to talk about before I have to head to the airport so let's get going!

Is a little snow in the air too much to ask? Chicago looked almost balmy. More to the point: did their refusal to run the ball in from the 5 qualify--as my Jets-fan friend would suggest--as "the Jets finding a way to not win"?

It snowed Saturday and it's doing something today. Believe me, it wasn't balmy yesterday. I love watching in the snow except when I have to find a cab/get to the hotel/get a flight out. Then I'd prefer balmy. If I was sitting in my living room, then yes, make it a blizzard!

Well, I saw about four minutes of the Jets-Steelers game -- the last four minutes -- sitting with Maske in the hotel lobby. But it sounds like your friend is correct.

Tracee: Typically good column. Thanks. With only one meaningful football game left this season, single digit temps, the SOTU tomorrow, and Syracuse losing Saturday (sorry about KU, too), I need something to lighten the mood. Can you think of anything?

No. :) Seriously, my mood's been a little dark this weekend after a certain event. I need to get home to the cats.

Do teams like the Packers actually lose money in the playoffs by going on the road for 3 straight games? Or do they get part of the ticket money from the home team?

They get paid something; the main thing you lose out on in concessions, plus all the influx of money in town when you host a game.

Go see the movie The Way Back. It's a very good movie and the first hour is set in winter in Siberia. 10 degrees will feel absolutely balmy when you walk out of the theater.


That the Wiz can build on Saturday's game. Regardless, it was great to see a come back win.

I was stunned to see that result. Stunned. But at home, they really aren't as bad as they sometimes seem. Still, even seeing them do a few things well against Utah, I would never have thought they'd beat the Celtics.

Has anyome ever better personified the little girl with a curl? No one who saw him play against the Redskins would have given a plugged nickel for his chances of getting his team to within one game of the Super Bowl. It's fascinating to watch, since I am not a Bears fan.

The worst professional football game I ever sat through was Bears-Skins. If you had told me that day that the Bears would have been in the NFC title game I'd have laughed myself sick. And yet, they did it. So hats off to them. I wouldn't want my quarterback to be Jay Cutler, though. And a lot of Bears fans seem to feel the same.

So now what am I supposed to do? Can't root for the Packers and really can't root for Big Ben (I am a woman and I have basic standards ). How many days until Pitchers and Catchers report? Also did you have any good meals in Chicago? I love Frontera Grill! Did you see Wilbon?

Two words: Puppy Bowl.

Less than a month for pitchers and catchers. No good meals. I did see Wilbon -- we had a late breakfast Saturday morning and got caught up.

My boss's boss is a Steelers fan and I am a Ravens fan. For the last few weeks, he's been coming to my office first thing Monday morning and giving me grief about the two teams. What's the best way to tell him to $#%* off and not get fired?

Well, you can't, of course, unless he's the kind of boss you can cheerfully curse at with no repercussions. The best way to get people like this to shut up is just to kill 'em with kindness and don't let on he's bugging you at all. In fact, before he can open his trap just start with "Congratulations on your big win this weekend." Head him off at the pass.

Her tennis commentary is marginally tolerable at the best of times, but her obsession with the weight of female of tennis players hit a ridiculous note this weekend. She basically accused Venus Williams of being fat, even attributing Venus' injuries to this alleged fatness. Let's suppose Venus gained a few. She can afford it! The woman has been bone thin her entire life. It's as if Pam is incapable of providing more substantive commentary. She needs to go.

That is crazy. Venus puts on a little weight when she's been injured but she plays it right off again. And it's not like it keeps her from moving around the court. Maybe Shriver saw what happened to Todd Woodbridge (for texting about Clisters' weight) and wants some of that attention.

Ms. H: As KU sunk in the 2nd half, I was thinking about how I could take a small shot at you, but after NU gave up more points to by far the the worst team in the Big 12 than it did to KU, and blew another very winnable game, I can't say much. As far as the championship games are concerned - if I had been told Rogers would have a q-back rating of 55 and Roethlisberger 35, I would have bet the house on the Bears and the Jets. AHG

Well, this is why I don't like being highly ranked. NU may have played its best game of the season against KU. Texas certainly played its best half (and its worst). KU played the worst second half I've seen in ages. No idea what the problem was beyond Thomas Robinson's personal tragedies. Poor kid.

And yes, I thought Rodgers looked merely human yesterday, but it was still enough.

Well ... yeah. Still a lot of talent. Still a little time. I'm worried that KU will sense a chance to end their season on Saturday. Could be ugly. Anyway - - - happy week-leading-up-to-Kansas Day! In honor of the coming sesquicentennial, I thought I'd offer some Kansas athletic trivia this week. Today's question: Which future Harlem Globetrotter played basketball for the Jayhawks while Tracee was a student there? -K-Stater

I'm sort of glad KU lost the home court streak before K-State came in. I was sick of that stupid streak; Self says he didn't care about it but I think the kids did. Hopefully they can quit worrying about crap like that and get it together in time for Saturday.

And I admit I have no idea what the answer to your question is!

If guys like Rodgers and Roethlisberger aren't allowed to be touched without a penalty, why don't they have red jerseys so that the defense knows they are untouchable? Why don't we just give them a flag to pull? (I know I'm biased because I was cheering for the Bears and Jets, but guys like Rodgers and Roethlisberger each weigh over 220 pounds, but they aren't allowed to be tackled.)

I didn't see any hits on Roethlisberger, but the roughing the passer call on the Bears was justified. Two guys hit him, both with their helmets. Not deliberately, but replays showed the helmets hitting. Urlacher and Briggs, I want to say. So I don't think that call was unfair.

So the Pro Bowl is in Hawaii again? But it's still the week before the SB not after, right? I think they should just go back to the way they had it so that SB players can play as well. I also think they should play the SB the week after the conference championships and ditch the extra week. Your thoughts?

I'd be fine without the two weeks between the conference title games and the Super Bowl but the NFL would not. I think it helps most teams not to have a week off -- look at the Packers. But the extra week does give injured guys time to heal; I get the reasoning.

As for the Pro Bowl, I'll be honest -- I don't care. To me it's the most worthless of the all-star games.

Thanks for the column, Trac - exactly what everyone wanted to know about. No one on the Bears is anything but supportive of Cutler; we will learn more in the next several days about the extent of his injury. Now that that's settled, is there any chance Bruce Allen can pry Hanie loose from the Bears? -- Rico

Ha! I'm guessing the answer is no, Rico. Given the way Collins played yesterday, Hanie's at least No. 2 going into camp next year, if there is any justice. He looked comfortable and in control out there.

Only downside of this match-up ... some guy in Pittsburgh is going to be locked in the truck of his car, by his loving wife. Two great teams, I haven't decieded who I should root for ... should be a fun two weeks of build up as there are no knuckle heads on either team. (Assuming Big Ben keeps out of trouble.) Let's Go Royals

Yes, poor Pittsburgh Husband. I wonder if he gets an exception because it's the Super Bowl? Or can he watch at least the pregame stuff? I'm sure Pittsburgh Wife will let us know.

Hey, Tracee, the game itself wasn't that memorable, but I loved the guy who did the National Anthem. He really belted it out, with no embellishments. Do you know anything about him?

He's the Blackhawks singer, and he's enormously popular here. Jim Cornelison is his name, I believe. He sang before the Skins-Bears game as well and I noticed then, too, that the fans cheered the whole way through.

I'm not sure when I hurt my fingers, but I can't put any pressure on to plant and type... FH

I'll find a third-string poster, FH. No worries.

You probably don't know about this but a massive water main break has flooded and basically shut down the Beltway in PG County. Meanwhile, here in Albany, NY it is 11 below. Please tell me you are headed someplace warm. Like Toronto.

Gack! Oh, the commute this morning must be awesome. I wish I was headed someplace warm. Well, I am, I guess -- back to the recliner with the heating pad and kitties.

OK. I really shouldn't be quite so excited but I am. I guess I should cheer for the Steelers in the SB as a thank you but I had Greg Jennings and the Packers D on my fantasy football team this year and they done me good. So I'm leaning towards the Packers. Sorry about KU losing at home to the Horns and congrats to the Wiz for beating my Celtics (I still can't quite believe I'm typing that line). Heat got fixed on Friday so I was only freezing for a few hours. Stay warm today. Local Pats Fan (BTW - where do you stand on the 1 vs 2 spaces after a period or colon? Raging debate in Milbank/Petri chat last Friday.)

Glad to hear your heat got fixed, and as a Celtics fan myself I wasn't too outraged at the loss to the Wizards. Hard to begrudge those long suffering fans. 

I am a one space gal, but in the old days, I believe you had to put two spaces for a reason, and some of the old-timers still do that. Or at least I think they do. There aren't any at the Post any longer or I'd ask 'em.

...for all of you Resdkins fans who were clamoring for me to start over Jason Cambell a couple years ago, let me say that your gratification may simply have been denied. As luck would have it, you seem to have an opening at QB, and my agent just told me that I will soon be available. Please forward me Mr. Allen's phone number; I had Mr. Cerrato's office number, but a friendly voice just told me that the number was disconnected. That's odd. Sincerely, Todd Collins.

Good luck with that, Todd old boy.

Ms. H: Your cats don't care that much when you get back, as long as they' have plenty of good and kitty litter, as opposed to dogs, who will greet you enthusiastically when you come back inside after getting the WPost off the driveway. AHG

Oh, AHG, just not true. My cats rush to the back door when the hear the garage door go up. They follow me from room to room during the day. They are dogs that don't have to be let out 10 times a day. I'd love to have a dog but I'm pretty darn happy with these cats. In fact, I've never had a cat who didn't come to the door to see me off in the morning and greet me in the evening.

I was at the game. Bottom line: The Celtics kept missing wide open shots, even dunks. The Wizards did nothing really to win the game. I imagine that it was just a bad night combined with playing on the road. It was a gift.

Well, it goes without saying that the Celtics weren't at their best if they lose to the Wizards. I'm just saying the Celtics can afford the loss and the Wizards needed the win. I don't think anyone thinks that was the first step toward winning the Eastern Conference.

On MLB on XM radio on Saturday the question of the day was what has been the most desperate move this off season. The Nats acquisition of Werth was touted as one of the top two. I just don't see how it's desperate. Yes they had to pay more then they should have but they need better defense and he clearly makes the team better. What I suspect is that this is just a general lack of respect for anything the Nats do.

I don't think the acquisition was desperate. I think the contract money was, and the Nats admit that. But they didn't just write an enormous check to the first guy they saw. They wanted Werth.

I may not have Boz's infectious enthusiasm for the Nats -- fueled in part by 5-Hour Energy Drink -- but that criticism seems a bit forcedl.

Cutler is getting a lot of razzing about, supposedly, giving up on a game due to a small injury he should have beena ble to shake off (though we don't know the true extent of the injury yet). I saw one column state that he in fact had a reputation of playing through bad injuries, in which case the current criticisms, based on one part of one game, weren't unfair. I really don't know the answer. What is his reputation?

Given the way the Chicago media reacted, and the way the Bears reacted to the Chicago media, apparently his reputation in this regard isn't great. Brian Urlacher was asked what he said to Cutler after he came out of the game and Urlacher snapped "Don't remember!" and had the worst look on his face.

The best part of that news conference was the radio idiot who did a live report DURING Urlacher's time. He was furious and was giving the guy the worst looks. Of course, the guy was sitting right behind me and I thought Urlacher was giving me the stink eye, and then he started saying, "Am I BOTHERING you?" really loud and I finally figured out it was the guy behind me. Thank God.

I am not a Bears fan, however, I am just stunned that so many are calling him soft. The public...fans and players...had no idea how hurt he was, or what the decision-making was around him leaving in the third quarter. Yet, criticism was immediate and appalling. It turned out the medical staff didn't want him playing, even after he asked them to play, because his leg was wobbling with every step. People really need to get he facts before they tweet.

Yes, in a word. I tried to be fair in the column because I'm not a medical doctor. A lot of people have the attitude that it's a big game, suck it up. Sometimes that's the case, depending on the injury, but as a player you have to determine whether your injury will in fact hurt the team. Hopefully that's the criteria he was using.

I am not condoning harping on weight. However, Martina constantly has stated that she became a much better player when she lost weight, and if you watch those players...male and female...who become winners at that sport, it is virtually impossible to find people are anything but either skinny or adonis-like, or both. So, I think Ms. Shriver is on to something if she is saying that weight is contributing to a player's losing.

But Venus? And at the first major of the year? I don't know; I didn't see her and Pam Shriver did. Serena's never been a thin woman and she's in incredible shape. Depends on the player, I think.

I have no rooting interest in the Superbowl, Tracee. But in the battle of the hair, if you will, wouldn't you unequivically go for Aaron's?

Short answer: yes.

Was the question in jest? Nobody was flagged for a roughing the passer penatly against Big Ben. In fact, the criticism all year has been that he and Michael Vick took more shots with fewer penalties than other quarterbacks because they are both mobile QBs. Sorry that you're disappointed in your teams, but don't make up reasons that another team won.

Sorry, didn't know that when I posted the question. I was honest in saying I saw four minutes of that game so for all I knew there WAS a call.

simply due to Cutler's "entitled frat boy creepy Justin Bieber" hair? For me at least, it would be dreadful to watch 2 quarterbacks in the Superbowl with such offputting hair. Shallow? Yes. Sorry, everyone.

Interesting we're talking about women's weight and men's hair today.

Do you think Cutler "wussied out," as some have suggested, or do you fall into the "the dude was hurt, leave him alone!" camp?

I think he ought to have an MRI on his knee before we make up our collective minds.

I'm a guy and I can't cheer for Ben. He's a famous quarterback for a NFL football team and he still can't find a willing participant in a bar full of drunken women. Says a ton about him that he can't take no for an answer. He'll always be a loser no matter how many Super Bowls he wins.

There's going to be a lot of similar sentiment this week.

Hi, Tracee. Let's say you were in the opening paragraph of a really important column, and, through no fault of your own, felt a painful twinge in your finger as you furiously typed. And then Cheese Boy filled in for you, but was quickly yanked due to to ineffectiveness. Would you allow B-Svrl to complete the job, or would you, as I suspect, tough it out, unlike Jay Cutler?

I would tough it out. Unless a bunch of huge men were trying to tackle me. Then I'd have to think it over. Would my injured finger lead to too many typos? Would my ineffectiveness put my colleagues in danger? I'd let Barry finish for me if I decided the risks were too high.

2 spaces always--that's what I've been taught and what I've done all my life.

Never heard that, not even in typing class. I will say this:  I don't think it makes a bit of difference one way or the other.

A few seconds of video toward the end of the Steelers first drive, showed Sanchez and Brunell on the Jets sideline, in long green coats, when (sorry, here it comes) Sanchez picked his nose and placed the results on Brunell's coat. Brunell had a smile and something to say, couldn't make that out, though. Ugh!

Now I'm glad I wasn't watching.

When I lived in Baltimore, I learned that one space is enough...but you have to put a couch there while you're at work.

Slow this morning -- it took me a minute to get it.

Tracee, to me, it's one of those things, perhaps like a hand blender, that seems air-tight as a gift to oneself or others. But, after like 4 uses, it remains on your counter for 18 years before anyone even notices it again. How about you? If someone graced YOU with a waffle iron, would it get much use in your kitchen rotation, or would one inevitably find behind the Corn Flakes in the recesses of a long-forgotten cabinet?

Not a waffle iron gal. I'm pretty ruthless in getting unused stuff out of my kitchen. In fact, I'm overdue for another purge.

Ha! I thinke this is Tracee's version of, "I'll know more after I see the film".

Oh God, you're right!

Wasn't it so editors had room to put their editing marks?

Maybe. I learned to edit before computers and I think we typed our stories with two spaces between sentences in those days but truthfully, that was 30 years ago. Now, some typesetting programs don't like the extra spaces.

I let PH watch the trophy ceremony! He will not be watching the Super Bowl, but I may have him watch the Puppy Bowl & the Kitten Halftime. Sorry about KU, Tracee. How about Pitt's big win over DePaul 80-50!

Well, you can't get that excited about beating poor DePaul, but okay. Pitt's the best team I've seen this year, TV or otherwise. Need to see more of Ohio State though. Missed most of that game Saturday.

Wow, he's banned even from the Super Bowl. Will you DVR it and let him watch later?

When I was living in Raleigh, this kind of thing existed constantly between Duke, Carolina, and NC State fans. It's all in good nature, so best just to congratulate the winner.

Agree except sometimes it's not all in good nature, as you say. There are some people for whom it's not meant to be in fun and who dish it out but simply can't take it. I've encountered a few over the years, and no matter how gracious you are, they will not stop. And those people must be destroyed.

The guy got the snot kicked out of him all year and kept coming back for more. Early in the season people were genuinely concerned for his safety. If he isn't tough enough to play the game, why would he possibly wait until the NFC championship game to act on it?

That's very true -- I'd forgotten the Game of the Nine Sacks. Like I said, I say we wait to hear what the doctors say. I just don't see a quarterback, no matter who he is, wanting to come out of THAT game in THAT situation.

From a Redskin fan's point of view, I see the point of the poster who wants special quarterback jerseys. I can't stand it when Michael Vick runs for 30 yards and then slides. If he is allowed to run that far, he is allowed to get tackled like a running back.

I can't get on board with that, I'm afraid.

Cutler wouldn't be getting this flack if there was a moment TV viewers could see he got injured. If there was that moment and people see him get off the ground limping/trying to walk and then buckling to the ground, there would be no controversy. It just seemed like after a commercial break we see him on the sideline with trainers and are just told he has an injury. That was all we got, so of course speculation started

Yes, I wrote that today, and the Bears were vague about when it happened. Maske and I noticed after one hit that he got up, turned his back to the field (he was in the end zone) and had his head down. He seemed to be examining his foot. But then he turned and went to the huddle and there was no limp. We sort of thought maybe he got his bell rung and was giving himself a minute, because his head did hit the ground on the play. But that may have been when he felt something wrong with his knee. I don't know. He might not have limped because he didn't want to give the Packers the idea that he was hurt. But the Bears didn't help him by being vague on the play.


So if you are coming to us from Chicago today, should we expect you'll be logging in from Dallas following the Super Bowl?

Nope, not Super Bowl bound. Not this year.

Shouldn't we all put down the cookies and coffee, get up from our desks and pop out a few knee bends and pushups (followed by some good deep breathing) in honor of the guy? I remember thinking he was kind of silly when I was a little kid and I saw him on TV and now that I realized he lived to be a very vibrant 96, maybe we should pay a little more attention to what he was saying...

Yes, thanks for reminding me about Lalanne's death. He was so far ahead of the curve, wasn't he?

Any chance the Skins go after him?

Oh, surely not!? Surely they'll go the draft route. Everyone wants to groom their own guy these days.

Hi TH. Love the chat, usually read it during my lunch break. Alas, I am currently in the clutches of some malevolent microorganism and had to call in sick today - I hate calling in sick on Mondays - some people may think "Yeah right, sick." Anyway, since I'm home and reading live, thought I'd post - - I can't wait for this Super Bowl. I was hoping for it when the playoffs started. Two of the legendary franchises of all-time finally playing each other in a Super Bowl. Have a nice trip home.

It's a good matchup for those of us with no dog in the hunt and whose teams didn't get close enough to still be feeling the pain. Two storied franchises, great stories on both sides of the ball. Should be a good game. And no, I won't be making a prediction.

Would someone remind me why Pittsburgh husband is not allowed to watch football?

When he watches, her teams lose.

Did you see the way he ran across the field to knock a guy out of bounds? Awesome! On a Raji note, I bet Albert H. is eating his heart out.

Yes, no hair discussion is complete without Polamalu.

Oh my, I've run over and I need to grab a cab and get moving. Thanks, everyone, for being here. Let's talk tomorrow!

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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