Ron Hall aka Red Zone Ron

Ron Hall aka Red Zone Ron

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The Saints, Packers, Auburn, and more

What a weekend! It started early as Titan’s owner Bud Adams realized that Vince Young is not what is needed in Nashville. Now wrap your brain around the following scenario; most experts think that defensive players will dominate the early draft picks. The Titan’s select Cam Newton with the eight choice, then pick up Donovan McNabb as a free agent, and let Newton learn from the closest thing to a Steve McNair type there is in the league. McNabb would do well under Fisher’s type of leadership. He is not the egomaniac that Andy Reed and Shanahan are. Newton would learn from a good example both on and off the field. Get the job done and get McNabb.

Moving on to the NFL playoffs, what a great Saturday it was! The Seahawks defeat the Saints, and Peyton Poo’s Colts have their season ended by the Jets. Seattle came into the game with nothing to lose, and walked away with the win. Rex Ryan and the Jets once again proved that more often than not Manning will lose a game when the pressure is on. If you doubt me look it up, pressure games and Peyton more often than not losses. The Ravens take care of the Chiefs, but beware KC is a team on the rise and will be heard from for years to come. Then, Aaron Rodgers and the Pack take care of the Eagles and we can finally put an end to the non stop Vick lovefest. Doesn’t anyone remember how inconsistent he was in Atlanta? I said it when he was drafted, and will continue to say it, MICHAEL VICK is a great athlete but you will never see him lift a Lombardi Trophy as a quarterback. He is not consistent, and not a leader. The Falcons have now put three consecutive winning seasons in the books and it was with Matt Ryan as the signal caller, not Vick. It is time for the Falcons and Ryan to get the respect they deserve.

Now we move on to the divisional rounds, look for wins by the Pats, Steelers, Bears, and Falcons.

The BCS Championship once again goes to an SEC member. Auburn takes the crystal trophy after a game winning field goal as time runs out. The expected fireworks between two high powered offenses did not materialize, the game became and old fashioned hard nosed match up. I wonder if I am the only one that thought ESPN was heavily biased toward Oregon. Musburger and Herbstreet continually heaped praised on the garishly uniformed Ducks. Yes, I said garish which simply put means repulsive. Yellow socks? ESPN did have the good sense to bring Nick Saban and Urban Meyer to the big show. Only a coach from the SEC can lend intelligence to the conversation when there are Corso’s around. Granted, Oregon has good athletes, but remember one thing, they are playing Pac 10 football, not SEC. Les Miles has removed all doubt as to the dominance of the conference by again turning down a job at his alma mater Michigan.

Now we get to listen to the TCU fans wine and cry that they should be able to lay claim to a portion of the championship. Look at the top SEC teams and think to yourself could the Frogs best Auburn? No. Alabama? No. LSU? No. Mississippi State? No. LSU? No. Florida? Doubtful. South Carolina? Perhaps. They would not be able to even compete with the top four SEC teams. They do not have the speed or the size to handle a full sixty minutes of football. Oregon couldn’t!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Hall of Fame Day

Today is always a special day in sports as we await the announcement of who will be inducted in Cooperstown this year. After years of being shunned Bert Blyleven should finally get what he truly deserves, enshrinement in sports most respected hall of fame. We are now at the time where those implicated in the steroid scandals start appearing on the ballot of the BBWA which is the body responsible for the selection to the most prestigious of all sports halls of fame. The Baseball Hall of Fame is the ultimate recognition of a professional athlete’s career. The NFL will induct those that had only a few good years, and will also allow in those of questionable character, such as Lawrence Taylor and Michael Irvin just to mention two. The list is long of possible Canton inductees that have failed to live their professional and personal lives as they should and the hall does not include those that have brought shame to the game.

The NFL for some reason does not take character in the equation for induction. Taylor and Irvin (among many Dallas Cowboys of the Jimmy Johnson era) have well documented arrest records before and during their NFL career. Can you say O.J. Simpson? When was the last time you heard a Cooperstown plaque holder have such issues? Steve Garvey is just one example of a baseball player that deserves enshrinement, but due to questionable personal conduct during and after his career has been denied entry into the hall. The most obvious absentees Pete Rose and Shoeless Joe Jackson are easily the two most notorious that brought shame upon the game and do not deserve induction.

Those that argue for Pete say only his stats matter. He was indeed one of the greatest of all time, but he admitted he gambled while playing and managing. He knew it was wrong, but continued to do so. He failed to realize or just ignored what fate had dealt Jackson, and his arrogance cost him the sports ultimate prize. Many will say when Terrell Owens gets his name hall of fame ballot that his attitude will keep him out. For that I say HOGWASH! Owens does not have a string of drug arrests (Irvin and Taylor) nor does he conduct is personal life in a manner that would embarrass his family. Does he have attitude? Yes! Was he a show off? Yes! However, he was not a regular on COPS, or TMZ.

We are now starting to see the steroid users in baseball appear on the ballot for Cooperstown. None of them deserve entry into the hallowed halls. McGwire, Palmero, and Roger THE ROID HEAD all lied to Congress, and should go to prison. A Rod and Barry Bonds should never be considered for induction, they both admitted to using steroids. It is just that simple, you all brought shame to the national pastime and no matter your accomplishments, there is not a place for you in the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Moving to the first weekend of the NFL playoffs, your winners will be: Packers over the Eagles, Saints over the Seahawks, Ravens put an arrow in the Chiefs, and the Jets will dispatch Peyton Poo to Thunder Farms for the winter.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Weekend rant

The long holiday weekend is over, and so many things to comment on but so little space.

I realize I have harped on this to no end, but the outcome of the bowl games involving Tennessee and Georgia are proof that teams which do not possess a winning do not deserve a bowl game. Say what you will about a bad call, the bottom line is TENNESSEE LOST. I am in shock at the arrogance of the Georgia fans that believe the Liberty Bowl loss was a new low for the Dawgs. Let us examine these two facts. First, UCF is a MUCH LARGER school than UGA, with an enrollment of 45,000 students compared to Georgia’s paltry 33,000. Second, the Knights were ranked and the puppy dogs weren’t, a fact that the local Georgia beat writer failed to mention in his whining over the loss. The UCF athletic program is on the rise, the basketball team is ranked, and their baseball program is one of the best in the NCAA, so give them some respect, and quit crying! You lost to a better team and probably a better university. Not to be outdone in arrogance, Tennessee is selling tickets to a signing day party! Are you going to pay twenty five dollars for this? Good grief, give it a rest Vols!

Alabama, Mississippi State, and Florida, show why the SEC is the best conference hands down. The Tide and Bulldogs open two huge cans on Michigan State and Michigan; and Florida dispatches Penn State in Urban’s final game. It goes to show that top to bottom the SEC is the best in the nation, even if Tennessee and Georgia are playing, and will add their FIFTH BCS championship when Auburn takes care of Oregon. In the Rose Bowl, TCU beat Wisconsin, and the worldwide leader would have you believe it was the championship game. Have you wondered why TCU is going to the Big East? Simple, there is no way they can compete in the SEC, Big 10, Big 12 or Pac Ten, so they go to the home of U Conn. Television ratings for the game were very low, and the worldwide leader taking almost total control of the bowl games is the reason. Growing up I knew four certain things would happen on January 1, the day would start with the Sugar Bowl from old Tulane Stadium on ABC, then to the Cotton Bowl on CBS with the legendary Lindsey Nelson and Paul Hornung, followed by the Rose Bowl and then the Orange Bowl on NBC. Now if you don’t have cable or dish you will not see most of the games.

The NFL regular season is over, and much like college ball, there are losers getting rewarded. Seattle is going to the playoffs with a losing record, and the Giants and Bucs are sitting home with their 10-6 season marks, which is disgraceful. The national media continues to show the Falcons very little respect, preferring to kiss up to the Eagles, Packers, or Saints. Atlanta has the best record in the NFC and yet you would think they have no prayer in the playoffs. CBS, NBC, Fox, and ESPN all give out props to the Saints, the same Saints that lost yesterday! The Packers who barely survived against the Bears and the Eagles are all being spoken of as the favorites with the boys from Atlanta being afterthoughts. GIVE ME A FREAKING BREAK! While we are at it, give all this Vick for MVP talk a rest. He has had a great season, but yet it does not compare to Tom Brady’s. Would the Eagles be where they are without Vick? Probably not; but he is not the MVP, Tom Brady is.

Is Brett “bigger diva than Cher” finally gone for good? Let’s hope so. A great quarterback that has become a joke, refuses to cooperate with the NFL investigation, his reputation is forever tarnished.

Have we seen the final game of Jeff Fisher in Nashville? A local writer seems to think Fisher should just walk away and let Bud and Vince continue their love affair. Does this guy not have a clue? This is just as ESPN’s Tom Jackson said a case where the players are in charge and not the coach. Much like Brett “The Diva” led to the demise of Brad Childress in Minnesota, VY is using his relationship with Adams to force Fisher out. This is wrong! Coaches are in charge, not the players and it is indeed sad that spoiled, unappreciative athletes have so much control. On the flipside though it was very refreshing to see the interview with Rams signal caller Sam Bradford and when asked what his first big purchase with the biggest contract in the league, he was humble when he talked about a ping pong table being the only big ticket item he has bought. Hey Vince, you should have one quarter of the class of Bradford. Heck Diva Favre should take a few seconds and watch so he can see what humility means.

Finally, my only resolution for the new years is this: TO BE MORE OPINIONATED THAN I HAVE EVER BEEN, and if you disagree with me, then tell me why, but remember you are coming to a gunfight unarmed.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas 2010

The past year has been unique to say the least. It will be good to move on to a new year, and hopefully a better 365 days ahead.

First and foremost, I need to thank all of those friends that have helped me in an otherwise pretty difficult year personally. You can’t comprehend how difficult it can be when your car dies, Nathan, Rusty, and Scott have been invaluable in providing much needed transportation, thanks guys, I do realize sometimes it was problematic to help, but you did and that is a sign of a true friend.

I have been doing some Christmas shopping and here are a few of my gifts for this year.

To Stump Martin: Induction into the Old-Timers Hall of Fame, it is time for you to receive local recognition. Contrary to what some members say.

To Nick Bonsanto: Continued climbing ratings, just don’t get so self important that you “high hat” folks.

To Russ Huesman and the Mocs: Reservations for Frisco, Texas in Jan 2012.

To BCBST: A knowledgeable representative with on air experience at TSSAA events.

To the TSSAA: A new person in charge that sees Cookeville for what it is, a joke!

To Scott Herpst: The opportunity to showcase your work on a national level.

To Bill Price and Signal Mountain: Five minutes in a locked room with Clay Bennett.

To Rick Nyman: Recognition that he is one of the best sports anchors WDEF has ever had.

To the Times Free Press: A supply of blue and gold ink so you can trash that orange and show the HOMETOWN team some love.

To Peyton Manning: A special bodyguard proficient in the Heimlich maneuver, because you still choke in most big games.

To Jeff Fisher: An owner that backs your decisions.

To the Atlanta Braves: A .500 season.

To Tennessee Vols fans: The realization that you team is becoming what Vanderbilt already is.

To Ringgold Rob Covington: A new quadrant, with winning teams.

To Waymon: Two new shopping carts for your can business.

TO EVERYONE: A healthy and safe Christmas and the best 2011 that you can possibly have.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

A non sports blog

Everyone has a Christmas memory, no matter how much a scrooge I have become over the years, I still remember so much about past holiday’s and realize no matter how hardened I become, those thoughts will both take the edge off the sharp edges, but yet as the years go by a sadness in a way that those are the past.

Children are waiting in anticipation for Santa to arrive, and my brother and I were same was growing up. Our parents sacrificed to make sure we had what we wanted, and I was the same way with my children. It was the satisfaction of knowing you made your children happy that removed any worries about what bill would be paid late that month. Did the kids appreciate it, honestly I don’t know. I hope they did.

As the kids have grown older, and live their own lives it seems to have diminished the holiday spirit. Perhaps it’s the jaded part of me that has seen this season become more about what the gift is, than the gift that was given to mankind in Bethlehem so many years ago. Retail stores now decorate for the season shortly after Labor Day! Thanksgiving has become an afterthought it seems as box store after box store, and malls bombard us with gift ideas.

My parents loved Christmas, and perhaps their not being with us any longer is what lends a certain amount of sadness during the holidays knowing my children never experienced with my parents what my brother and I had growing up. Our father passed in 1979, and Mom in 1983, needless to say my kids were not even around, but I wish they had been able meet two of the finest people the ever walked this planet. I have no doubt they would have been a huge influence on Amy and Chris. Would it have changed the way things have happened? I don’t know, but I believe that some pitfalls would have been avoided just from their quiet guidance.

Over the years, knowing that my kids are elsewhere on Christmas, people ask how I will spend the holiday, I will spend it remembering the greatest gift I ever received, my parents.

There is never a day that passes that I don’t think of them and wish they were still here, but no matter what I have the memories and although sad in a way, the memories are always the greatest Christmas gift I could ever receive.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Mocs football

The season is now over, and the Mocs post another 6-5 campaign. Looking back, everyone should realize just how close Chattanooga is to becoming one of the top FCS programs in the county.

Attendance is up sharply, so much that the 2010 is the largest average attendance in Mocs’ history at close to 13,000 per game. Spirited crowds are becoming the norm, and 2011 looks to be just as exciting. Coach Huesman, along with the assistants breathed life into program that was near death.

For many years the gripe among the truly uniformed fans was that if you had more local players people would turn out, but you have to understand the game to understand that myth is just that; a myth. In the past granted many area players have chosen other schools, but for the majority of those it was more of a young athlete wanting to leave Chattanooga than playing for their local university. Yes, there are exceptions but for the most part the Mocs of the past two decades are just that: the past. The one overriding fact in the increased attendance is WINNING.

In the last five years we have seen more and more local products on the field. This year alone B.J. Coleman, Keon Williams, Joel Bradford, Chris Harr, Mike Hammons, and Gunnar Miller started all or part of the season. Sloan Allison had a tremendous year, and Thomas Green saw plenty of action on special teams. Harr, an all SoCon performer is drawing plenty of attention from the NFL; do not be shocked to see him along with Buster Skrine taken in the next draft.

In my many years of covering high school football it was rare to see a Chattanooga coach at a game. The last two seasons I have run into Assistant Coach Will Healy almost as much as when covering his days as the Boyd Buchanan QB. A player capable of playing at the FCS level is not overlooked. In the years to come, look for more and more local players to be on the roster.

The Mr. Football winner Jacob Huesman and McCallie’s Jared Coleman have already committed to the Mocs, and before you say it, this was not about one being the coach’s dad, and the other the brother of the quarterback. These athletes can play at the FBS level, and were being recruited by both ACC and SEC schools. This is an instance of why not be part of something special right here at home. How many more area athletes will follow the lead of Huesman and Coleman is yet to be seen, but with those two it’s a great start for the 2011 recruiting class. In fact, with the weekend additions of Synjen Herren of NW Whitfield, and Dustin Christian of Calhoun that gives Chattanooga four of the Times Free Press Dynamite Dozen. When was the last time one school received four of the twelve honorees? Not to mention two members of the state champion Alcoa team.

Appalachian State and Georgia Southern are taking the first steps in what could become a move up to the FBS. App most assuredly will climb the competition ladder, it remains to be seen if a school located in Statesboro would be capable of such an endeavor. One thing for sure, if one or both of them do step up with the big boys or even if the remain in the SoCon, the Mocs again have the respect of its peers that was lost for so long.

I am outta here……

Monday, December 6, 2010

Weekend rant

The weekend is now in our memory, and a lot of things come to mind.

South Pittsburg wins the TSSAA Class A championship, and Signal Mountain claims the AA title in two blowout wins. Kudos to Vic Grider for another championship and a long overdue wait for a Bill Price coached team to get the gold football. South Pitt should be odds on favorite to repeat in 2011, but Signal will be moving up to AAAA, and a huge jump in the level of competition. Graduation will hit the Eagles hard, so they should enjoy this moment, as next season could be a rough one.

The television coverage of the BlueCross Bowls was unique’ as a variety of announcers were used. Randy Smith and Andy Kelly were good on the games they worked, but once again Mike Keith proved beyond any doubt he is the best in the business. For instance, during the Greeneville and Hendersonville game he and his Titans cohort Larry Stone called the game as if they had been with them during the entire season. The between game interviews and features were a little confusing, and so slanted toward the mid-state region that it was too obvious that one person, Murphy Fair had too much control over the content. The TSSAA would be well advised to get someone with extensive on air experience to take over. Once again, the title sponsor’s representative had nothing of substance to bring to the table. Just show your commercials, if you are going to send a representative to do on air segments, have someone with knowledge of the sport and not someone that looks like a deer caught in headlights when the red light is on. You can do better as a title sponsor, step up to the plate and swing for the fences.

I was fortunate enough to fill in as the public address announcer for the Chattanooga Lady Mocs game Saturday. Before the season, there was not much hope for a repeat championship for the most dominate sports program men or women’s in the SoCon. In the game against Georgia Southern the Lady Mocs hit sixteen three pointers which is a new single game conference record. Whitney Hood in the paint is a physical force that will be tough to stop as the season rolls along. Kayla Christopher, Tenisha Townsend, and Kylie Lambert can light it up from behind the arc, and play well defensively. Coach Wes Moore is doing a good job getting these players ready for the heart of the conference schedule, and this Saturday host Kentucky and that game will show just how far this team has come so far this season.

Tennessee, Georgia, and Kentucky are rewarded for being mediocre football teams by extending their season with a bowl game. None of the three had a winning record! Is it just me or does this just not make sense? Vols and Dawg fans are living in denial if they truly think these two teams should receive a pat on the back for finishing the season at .500. Dawg fans specifically have no clue what they are getting into when they arrive in Memphis to take on UCF. That little school in Orlando is not as little as you might think, and for the last decade they have been playing some good football, and it is time they get to face Georgia again, who only defeated the Knights by one in the first meeting.

It will be Auburn and Oregon for the MYTHICAL national championship. My question, is why the hell to do we have to wait over a month for the game to be played? UConn has four losses yet get an automatic qualification to the BCS, it is time to drop the Big East from the mix, and add another at large team. Michigan State deserves a slot, but instead is sent packing to the Capital One Bowl.

Are we witnessing the end of the Jeff Fisher era with the Oilers/Titans? The Titans have not scored an offensive touchdown in over three games and look hopelessly inept. The question is where would they be if they had never drafted Vince Young? The Falcons are the best team in the NFC hands down! Matt Ryan is performing like a seasoned veteran, and the defense is relentless. A showdown with the Saints is looming.

Tiger Woods goes winless for 2010, but his game is improving. The loss in sudden death to Graeme McDowell may have been a blessing in disguise and 2011 will be the return of the greatest player the game has ever seen.

Until next time…