There is Such a Thing as Too Much Money

In 2008 Ben Roethlisberger made $27.7 million for one season’s worth of work. Phillip Rivers was the top man in 2009 with $25.56 million; three players made more than $20 million and 21 made more than $13 million. The San Francisco 49ers averaged over a $1 million per player.

With all this money being made the NFL is still staring a lock out in the face for the 2011 season over money.

The money to be made in the NFL is crazy, yet these guys are so incredibly greedy that they have to have more. Is it not enough that with one season and a little bit of intelligence (meaning don’t blow your paycheck) and you never have to work again?

Oh yeah, you have to pay your agents this, and your lawyers that, and your personal travelling masseuse…Guys, you spend what you spend. If you don’t want to run out of money then don’t spend it; get your girlfriends to give you a back rub (like the rest of us).

Players use to make pennies to play the game. Jay Berwanger, the first Heisman winner in history and first player drafted by an NFL team asked for $25,000 over two years and was turned down (and never played football). In 1980, the highest paid player was Chicago Bear running back Walter Payton; he made about a $500,000. Many players even in the 1980s still had to work jobs in the offseason in order to make ends meet.

Guys use to pay for the love of the game. There was something about still being able to go out every day and play a game (and actually get paid something for it) that appealed to people. The fans loved it as well because these guys were actually just like us. Playing the game is about still being young; it’s about simpler times when all that mattered was putting the pads on and playing with your friends.

This offseason, Logan Mankins has turned down a contract that would make him $7 million a season over the next five years. Vincent Jackson is refusing to get paid over $3 million when he got just over $600,000 in 2009. Terrell Owens is insisting on getting paid $5 million a season (and is still without a job).

These guys need to listen to Iron Mike Ditka who recently warned about getting too greedy:

“I hear that [lockout] talk and I just can’t believe anybody is that stupid…If the owners or the players are that stupid that they are going to shoot this golden goose … I mean it’s laying golden eggs. It’s a multibillion dollar business. It’s the most popular sport in this country, don’t kill it.” (ESPN)

In the meantime I think I may try to watch more Arena Football and the UFL when it starts. Neither one of those leagues pay their players fortunes; the AFL averaged from $50,000-250,000 while the UFL pays most its players around $25,000. These guys are doing alright, but not making fortunes. They still know what it’s like to have to fight to get by.

Grow up guys; it’s not all about the money.

Beer: Simple Times Lager from the good people at Minhas Craft Brewery in Monroe, Wisconsin- in the interest of enjoying the simpler life without paying a small fortune for it I have chosen this beer.

It’s not the best beer in the world, but it is pretty good; a six pack of it will only cost you around $4 at Trader Joe’s too. The flavor will not get you coming back for more, but this lager is light, easy to drink and refreshing after a hard day’s work; there is no real aftertaste and really just a mild flavor at all. At 6.2% ABV a couple will get you nice and relaxed without breaking the bank!

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Confident Cowboys a Plenty

At first he may be afraid; he may be petrified (sing it Gloria Gaynor fans).

Unrecognized is one thing that Jimmy Johnson will not be when he appears as a contestant on the 21st season of Survivor. Confident (and careful) he’ll have to be to make it past the first tribal council.

Johnson rose to fame back in the 1990s as the head coach of the Dallas Cowboys after taking over for the only coach the Cowboys had ever had, Tom Landry. He would go on to revitalize the floundering franchise winning two Super Bowls before parting ways with the team.

Many of his former players have found time to get involved in popular television shows once their playing days were over. Two of Johnson’s ‘triplets’ have been on Dancing with the Stars (Michael Irvin and Emmitt Smith); Smith even won the show when he was on in 2006.

Johnson will be the second former Cowboy to be on the popular reality television series. Former Dallas Cowboy quarterback Gary Hogeboom appeared on Survivor: Guatemala in 2005.

He’s a little nuts for pitching  a male enhancement product. I do have to give the old man credit for putting himself out there—way out there— on Survivor. I got to give some love to the most cocky, confident kicker on earth. I’m talking about a kicker, Dave Buehler.

Buehler is a rarity among kickers in that he is one bad man, in better shape than most athletes on the field. To prove that he challenged cornerback DeAngelo Smith to a foot race and won. He went onto to say that he thinks he could be wide receiver Patrick Crayton or may be even Tashard Choice.

This guy even thinks he is as strong as some of the team’s biggest. In a recent report he said that he and defensive end Igor Olshansky were working out; Igor bench pressed 225 pounds 22 times and just to be a pest he did 23.

Dallas has not had much luck with kickers recently. Nick Folk couldn’t get it done and was cut in 2009; signing Shaun Suisham was a surprise after that. His not getting signed at the end of the season was not.

Bueheler was the team’s kick off specialist; he has not yet tried to kick a field goal in a regular season game. At 6’2” and 227 pounds this guy is no small man and he knows it. He’s big; he’s bad’ and he knows it.

With the confidence that this guy has, Dallas would not have to worry about this guy getting rattled. So far he is the Cowboys only kicker on the roster. At least they know this guy will not get rattled! Just a thought…

Beer: Dave from the good people at the Hair of the Dog Brewery in Portland,OR- in honor of strongman kicker Dave Buehler I bring you Dave, an English barleywine with one heck of a kick—29%ABV.

Sadly, you may have a hard time finding this one since they only made one batch and that was some time ago. To create a brew with such strength they basically just took 300 gallons of Adam, another of their stellar beers, and froze it three different times till there was just 100 gallons left. If you are able to find it be ready to pay a pretty penny for it, but then be pleasantly surprised by the taste. With such a strong kick to it there is an unmistakable alcohol scent and taste to go with a sweet taste that will remind you of brown sugar or chocolate. Drink this on a cold night and it will definitely warm you up!

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Timeout for T.O.

Anyone that has read any of my previous posts can tell that I love sports. I love the thrill of competition, the agony of defeat, and the celebrating that goes on when your team wins.

However, the one thing I hate is when the athletes start to act like they are bigger than the game and let their egos get out of control.

Like Terrell Owens.

Does anyone else find it interesting that this guy is going on various shows giving interviews talking about all the reports that teams say he is a disruptive force in the locker room and a cancer to the team., and then just saying they are all wrong?

By trying to plead his case (if that is what he is doing) he is just proving what everyone says about him. TO, man, you can’t argue with people when they say you are disruptive; by doing so you are being exactly what you say you are not! When most of the NFL seems to think you are bad for the team there must be a reason (other than the media misrepresenting you).

I love that this guy has not been signed by anyone yet, and I really hope that no one does; maybe it will show kids that eventually things will catch up with you. No one will want to play with you no matter how talented you are simply because, as a person, you suck. Maybe if T.O. would take some actual responsibility and appear sincere when doing so he might get signed. It worked for Randy Moss…

In the end, this guy probably does not care whether he plays or not this year (or ever again). Sadly, he’s enough of a personality that people will pay attention to whatever he does. VH1 is currently showing the second season of The T.O. Show. I can remember reading something during the summer about him getting into modeling. He’s made millions and he will continue to do so one way or another.

However, he will still be the guy that had to quit playing because no one liked him.

Beer: Fatso from the good people at where else but the Good People Brewing Company in Birmingham, AL- most imperial stouts are known for being the kind of beer you kick back and take your time enjoying. Fatso is not your typical imperial stout though. The aroma hits you hard, but since it’s a nice fruity one so that’s okay. Not real heavy, this is one easy to drink beer with a tremendous taste. At 8.5%ABV this one will sneak up on you if you are not careful.

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Lord Love a Fat Man

It seems like there have been a number of football players getting in trouble with the law lately.

You would have to be hiding under a rock not to have heard about Ben Roethlisberger’s exploits in Vegas, Georgia, and now on a golf course. Lawrence Taylor has been known for being a drug addict, and now he’s paying minors for some special loving.

Santonio Holmes thinks the rules don’t apply to him when he flies. I lost track of how many kids Antonio Cromartie has; to need an advancement on your salary to deal with child support issues is pretty telling about what kind of guy he must be. Vince Young gets in a fight in a strip club. Guys that kill people get out of jail (Donte’ Stallworth) and sign with someone in no time. Then there is the never ending exploits of Michael Vick.

Every time you check the sports page it seems that another athlete is involved in something shady, getting busted for driving drunk, or being arrested for some kind of domestic violence related charge.

Maybe we should do what the Japanese are doing.

They love their sumo wrestling about like we love our football. For them it is even more than what football is for us; footballs history and tradition pales in comparison to the extremely long history and tradition of sumo wrestling.

Much like what football players tend to think they are, these guys are literally and metaphorically speaking larger than life icons; except when they are getting busted smoking pot, getting in drunken brawls (can you imagine how much it would take to get one of those guys loaded?), and hanging out with gangsters.

Fans are staying away from a sport that has defined their culture for centuries. The scandals have gotten to a point where the public broadcaster that has broadcast three hours of live sumo wrestling daily since 1953 has cut it back to 20 minutes of taped highlights.

Sponsors are dropping their endorsements; many fans are staying away from events. Only one major network broadcast the tournament anymore. A recent tournament that historically played to a capacity crowd was only half full. That is what is happening to the honorable sport of sumo wrestling with so many of the participants acting like they do.

As far as we know, NFL players are not as connected to organized crime like many sumo wrestlers are with the yakuza. As rampant as criminal activity is becoming in the NFL it would not be surprising if that where next (right, Eddie Debartolo Jr.?)

Too many football players are essentially spitting on the game with their actions these days. Goodell can suspend all he wants, but until the teams quit signing these criminals and vagabonds then it will never change. Pretty soon we’ll have probation officers and armed guards having to travel with every team when they go out of state.

Beer: Big Foot Barleywine Style Ale by the good people at the Sierra Nevada Brewing Company in Chico, CA- if you are looking to drink your way into being a sumo wrestler than this is the beer for you. At about 330 calories a bottle this one will pack on the weight in no time.

Good thing is that it will be a beer you will like drinking as it turns you into a human mountain (or athlete if you decide to give sumo a try). A pleasant, fruity bouquet will have you thinking how nice this beer smells as you drink it down. As you finish, the deliciously balanced malts and hops will have you thinking ‘wow, it taste good too.’ When you do turn into a sumo wrestler, at 9.6% ABV (12.3% if you get the whiskey cask version) this one can still get you drunk without having to drink a keg!

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This Round is on LeBron

Fans of the Cleveland Cavaliers have every reason to be upset. After buying into the future of the franchise with LeBron James at the lead they have had the rug pulled out from underneath them.

Numerous stories have floated around about the outrage that the citizens of Cleveland have felt. Owner Dan Gilbert has made it clear that he could really care less whether or not James gets caught in a riptide frolicking in the surf down in Miami.

Years from now many of them will realize that was just a business decision. Gilbert knows how much money he would have continued to make with arguably the best player in the NBA on his team. LeBron will do just fine in Miami financially especially after the Heat win the NBA Finals next year (anyone that says they are not the favorite to do so is crazy).

There are some fans that have gotten beyond the outrage and disappointment of James leaving town and have figured out how to make a little money off of his departure—they have made beer.

The good people at the Great Lakes Brewing Company in Cleveland, Ohio, have re-released a bitter beer after being inspired by LeBron James and recent events. On Wednesday they brewed 30 gallons of what they called ‘Quitness Ale’; they sold out of it in three hours at their local brewpub.

According to the folks at the brewery, Quitness Ale has a bitter aftertaste to it, much like what the former fans of James now have in their proverbial mouths. Fans that want to drink it will have another chance on Saturday at the downtown Cleveland brewpub; much like the release on Wednesday it will probably go pretty fast.

I have talked about beers from this company in the past, and have enjoyed a few of their beers. These people have to be commended for what they are doing now. So far there has been noting but negativity in the media concerning the recent exodus of James from Cleveland. We get it; the team’s future has just gone down the drain and you are mad. It’s understandable.

But there is nothing anyone can do so why continue to gripe and complain? It’s done; it’s over with. It is time to move on. Boo the heck out of the guy whenever he happens to play in Cleveland and make him feel the ‘love.’

If you really want to relive the disappointment in the departure of LeBron you might as well do it in a fashion that is quite enjoyable; go down to the Great Lakes Brewing Company and enjoy a few pints. If you can’t get there, just buy a 30 pack of the High Life, drink it, and start tweeting James like crazy! It’s the next best thing to crank calling!

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Albert Haynesworth, the NFL’s Biggest Loser

The $100 million man in Washington has made his displeasure pretty well known concerning the team’s switching from a 4-3 style of defense to a 3-4. In it, Haynesworth is expected to take on the nose tackle position.

Nose tackles are generally very large, somewhat athletic men that are able to force teams to use multiple blockers to take care of him. As a consequence, the linebackers make all the tackles while the nose tackle does the hard work.

Haynesworth has not been too fond of this idea and has been trying to get the team to trade him, something they will not do. Since the team will not acquiesce to his demands he has decided to do the next best thing and make himself a less attractive option by getting in better shape.

(AP Photo/Nick Wass)

He’s losing weight. We’re not talking Biggest Loser weight, but a pretty decent chunk.

According to reports, Haynesworth is down to 330 from his previous high of 362 in April. The weight loss will not help him play the nose technique in a 3-4, but would be great if the team was still planning on playing a 4-3.

Haynesworth was one of the best in the league before coming over to the Redskins. However you look at it, he was disappointing in 2009. When you get paid what he did you should be able to produce a bit more than 37 tackles and four sacks.

It would be pretty funny, but what if the whole change to a 3-4 was just a ruse? What if Mike Shanahan looked at some tape after coming to the Washington Redskins and decided that ole’ Albert was not giving his all on the field because he was not physically capable? What if they thought the man had gotten too fat?

To spite the team, Haynesworth started working out. A small guy will not work at the nose position in a 3-4. While he is anything but small yet, the 32 pounds of weight he has lost is likely just the beginning.

Let’s say he drops down to 300 without losing any of his strength. He would be even quicker than before and even more deadly at his traditional tackle position. If the team were to switch it would look like they were bending to his demands, but in the end it would be the team that would benefit from an in-shape Haynesworth rushing the quarterback and stopping the run.

It would be crafty. It would be underhanded. It would also be pretty darn cool.

Beer: ALTerior Motive from the good people at the COAST Brewing Company in Charleston, SC- this beer was chosen in honor of those sly rascals in Washington and their ‘ulterior motive’ in switching to the 3-4.

What is impressive about these guys us that they make a good beer with relatively healthy, organic ingredients (as much as possible) and even run the brewery on waste feedstock biodiesel. The really impressive part is that these guys do not try to use that as a marketing ploy by getting certified as organic; they do it because they think it is the right thing to do.

It helps that their beer is pretty good too. A combination of Munich, Ashburne, and Pilsner malts along with German Perle and Herbrucker hops combine to create a beer that is smooth and easy to drink. Cold conditioned to give a clean, crisp taste; the 6.3%ABV will make you forget about your own diet plans if you drink enough of them.

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Cleveland Fans Rock!

With fans like this who needs LeBron James.

Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert has not had a good week. He’s seen his franchise player leave town, been accused of having a slave owner’s mentality, and been hit with a $100,000 fine. It’s enough to make a normal man crack.

What he does have though is the support of the city his basketball team represents.

Since his comments and letter criticizing his former star for leaving town the owner has received an impressive amount of support in the form of thousands of emails and phone calls. Some have even offered to help pay the fine that NBA commissioner David Stern recently imposed.

Gilbert has had this to say in response to the response he has had from the Cavalier faithful:

“The humbling offer by so many is another reflection of the strength of Cavs fans and the people who live and work in this region and are always the first to step up and have each other’s back.” (ESPN)

I can’t say that I blame the owner of the Cavs and the fans in Cleveland at all. As a lifelong Dallas Cowboy fan I was more than just mad when Tom Landry was fired by Jerry Jones; I was very upset when Hershel Walker was traded shortly after Jimmy Johnson took over. When Emmitt Smith became a Cardinal I thought that everything was wrong with the football world.

In time I began to realize something that is a painful but all too relevant truth about professional sports—there a business. The bad thing about business is that when push comes to shove the all mighty green dollar will win out in the end. It’s the responsibility of guys like Gilbert and Jones to field the best team they possibly can for as long as they can. At the same time it is the responsibility of guys like James, Smith, and every other veteran player traded before they retired to play as long as the market allows them to.

Fans like you and me sit on our couches and buy tickets to games so that we can watch these guys. We grow attached to these guys. We begin to associate with these guys that take up one day a week every fall for about five months. When they leave we get upset.

It’s all understandable. We should get upset, but at the same time we have to realize that this game (whatever it is) is a business to the owners and guys that play the game. For us it’s fun; for them its work. Just like you and I would quit out jobs for a hefty raise we should not expect them to do any different.

Personally, I’m a Rocket fan so I could really care less what LeBron, Dan Gilbert, or what anyone else does, but I do love the dedication the Cav fans have. I understand and appreciate their pain, but in the end the game must go on.

Beer: Blonde Bombshell from the Indigo Imp Brewery in Cleveland, OH- in honor of a friend of mine, one of the recently rejected Cavalier fans (who happens to be a blonde bombshell herself) I figured it was only appropriate to review this beer.

After a few of these, the 6.2%ABV might help dull the pain from the kick in the gut that LeBron gave Cav fans; with such an easy, drinkable taste it will not be hard to get a few down quick. Those imps at the brewery in Cleveland concocted a good mix of malts and hops  to give this beer a well-balanced character. I’m not 100% positive, but I think I tasted a hint of a nutty, banana finish to it as well.

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