Friday, February 16, 2007

Chicago Bears Not Given Head Coach Lovie Smith New Contract; Team Upset - reports on this terrible state of affairs.


Keep a close eye on the situation in Chicago, where the Bears have still not given coach Lovie Smith a new contract, and where there is no evidence that significant discussions between the team and the Super Bowl coach aimed at extending the deal that expires after the 2007 have begun in earnest.

A source with knowledge of the situation tells us that some members of the team have agreed among themselves to refuse to do any contract extensions or restructurings until Smith gets rewarded for the team's performance on his watch.

And there's also an intention among some of the players to be candid with the free agents whom the Bears plan to target in March, with some current Bears players ready and willing to tell any new recruits not to count on Smith being around in 2008.

We think the team should move very quickly to lock Lovie up for the next four or five years, at $4 million or so per season. That's fair value for a guy who has one Super Bowl appearance and three years of total head-coaching experience.

The sticking point could be that the Bears hope Smith will have reduced expectations because the team lost in the Super Bowl. Then again, the guy who lost Super Bowl XL ended up with an extension that reportedly pays him $7.5 million to $8.5 million per year.

Smith would have had more leverage if he'd tried to do a new deal in the dead week before Super Bowl preparations, since there was a much better overall feeling in the air about the Bears and their coach before the team put on a so-so at best performance in the February 4 loss to the Colts. But Smith gambled that the Bears would win the Super Bowl, which might have put him in line for a deal worth more than $5 million per season.

Wally Matthews Of Newsday Might have something more going on then most mainstream sports media!

I'm starting to Like Wally-He's finally Making Sense!

Wallace Matthews
Lesson in Tiki's leaving
February 15, 2007

It is more than a little distressing that here in the 21st century, too many of us still have a plantation mentality when it comes to our professional athletes. Too many of us want ballplayers, even the best and brightest of them, to say nothing more than "yes sir," and "no sir."

It is not racist, per se, but it is certainly classist. No matter how good they are or how much they get paid, they are the entertainers, the hired help. They are supposed to just shut up and hit the baseball, shoot the basketball or carry the football.

Case in point: Tiki Barber. The other day, to kick off his new career as a television commentator, Barber made the perfectly reasonable observation that his former coach, Tom Coughlin, could be a tad inflexible.

In doing so, Barber implied that his decision to walk away from the NFL at the peak of his career was aided in no small part by the realization that if he were to come back, he would have to play another season for a man so obsessed with some warped version of discipline that he would not allow his 31-year-old running back, who had more touches than anyone in the league over the past four years, to take it a little easier on Wednesdays.

For this, Barber has been roundly criticized as disloyal, egotistical, self-centered and a headache the Giants will be better off without. And that's just from members of the media, who ought to know better and who ought to want more from the people they cover than a lowered head, a shuffle and an "Aw, shucks, ma'am" brand of false modesty that should have been banished from the vernacular around the time Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier.

It is bad enough when the fickle fans start bashing a player such as Barber, who brought his A-plus game every Sunday and never missed a start in the last five years, for talking out of turn. But when journalists start becoming more concerned with what people say rather than what they do, then the world has officially gone nuts.

Now, white is black, day is night, down is up and wrong is right.

Today, Tiki Barber is the bad guy, Tom Coughlin the victim. Doesn't he know that only fans, commentators and journalists are allow to analyze, criticize, pontificate?

The truth is, six months from now Barber will be missed a hell of a lot more than Coughlin will be wanted. The "headache," Barber, may be gone, but the tumor, Coughlin, lingers on.

The Giants knew Barber was leaning toward retirement more than a year ago, but did nothing to plan for his absence and took no steps to procure his replacement. And as this past dreadful season wound down and it was obvious the only Giant worth holding onto was Barber, the Giants made no known effort to dissuade him from his decision, even out of respect.

Can you imagine if a week from now, Derek Jeter tells a reporter he is thinking of retiring after the season? You can bet your baseballs the Yankees would spend all season trying to talk him out of it. Yet there is no evidence anyone in the Giants organization, from John Mara to Ernie Accorsi to Jerry Reese to Coughlin himself ever sat down with Barber to ask what, if anything, could be done to change his mind.

Instead, they treated the best player to wear their uniform since LT, and arguably the best offensive player in their history, as if he were Barry Bonds, saying goodbye but thinking "Good riddance!"

And all because he had the temerity to say what he was thinking, rather than what they would have wanted him to say.

You ask me, he should have gone all the way and told the whole truth, said that it was running backs coach Jerald Ingram, not Coughlin, who really taught him to kick his fumbling problem; that the Giants will never win with a befuddled kid like Eli Manning at quarterback; that the sainted Accorsi was actually a failure as a GM, and that Reese, his successor, was a willing accomplice as his head of player personnel.

He could have said that without him, there will be no real reason to watch the Giants offense next season, and that unless they overhaul the defense and pick up some linebackers, there will be no reason to watch a Giants game for the next several seasons.

He could have pointed out what an injury-prone malcontent Michael Strahan has become since he signed that big contract a couple of years ago.

And he might have added that while running backs like Tiki Barber come along once in a generation, losing coaches like Coughlin, guys who lose their tempers, their players, their teams, their games and ultimately their jobs are a drug on the market.

But we don't want that from our athletes. We want them to shut up and do their jobs, and leave the talking to those of us who can't do anything else.

SO i finally agree 100% with Wally! I don't dislike Tom C as a Coach, because he was what the Giants Needed after "Fast" Jimmy Fassel, but he can be overly Strict at times, as Tiki can attest to. He kind of reminds me of my High school coach Marty Tamchester, who had a Brief NFL career with Cleveland, and NY before becoming a Stock Broker, and then Burning out on Wall St. and becoming a Teacher and Football coach. He was always working us Hard up untill the day before a game, too hard for some. Years later I would work for him as an asst. coach in Semi Pro Ball with The NY Bandits and i asked him " why Gassers the day before a game? " "Bill" he said. " if you can run like that in Practice, you can run like that in a game."
That's that old Vince Lombardi Mentality which worked in the 60's and 70's, but doesn't work with the Players of today who have the advantage of medical advances that tell us not to overwork players or they get injured more often(see LaVar Arrington)......