Posted on: April 25, 2011 6:33 am

Smashville is More than a Hockey Town

There is some real-time celebration going on in the Music City right now.  In less than 12 hours, the Nashville Predators advanced to their first ever Stanley Cup Semi-Finals.  Vanderbilt alum Brandt Snedeker won the PGA Heritage Open and I am not done.  Those Vanderbilt Commodores are all over the national sport pages.   The Vanderbilt Baseball team is tied for first in the SEC, ranked seventh nationally and the basketball team is being hyped as a pre-season Top 5 before the season even starts with the return of John Jenkins, Jeff Taylor and Festuz Ezeli.  The atmosphere is unbelievable and  I have not seen or heard as much bragging and carrying on in Nashville, well since the Titans were going to the Super Bowl.  Eleven years of waiting for something like this has produced the perfect storm.

Right now the hottest item going in the sporting outlet stores is Nashville Predator apparel.  Flags, banners, and pennants but hats and jerseys in the home blue are number 1.  However you will see more Vanderbilt University ball caps and shirts. Tennessee fans, well right now you are in the minority.

The Nashville Predator hockey team made the playoffs for the sixth time in seven seasons.  A lot of talk at the end of last year’s near miss against eventual Stanley Cup winners Chicago Black Hawks was on how new management would address the off season.  Well, the Predators have exceeded expectations.  Nashville fans love the Preds.   They like the hustle and the success of no real household names unless of course your household is in Nashville.  However all that is going to change.  Predator goalie Pekka Rinne is about to become the league’s best goalie this season.  Smashville has other favorites as well.  Defenseman Shea Webber and Ryan Suter and Forwards: Martin Erat, Patric Hornqvist, J-P Dumont all has made themselves local favorites.  A favorite of mine is the young impressionable Colin Wilson.

The come from behind win in game 5 is Predator 360 and has everyone thinking this year we are a team of destiny.  Nashville was the best team on home ice this year.  If they can win one on the road by hook or crook in my opinion this team can finish what it has started.

The Vandy baseball team (32-5) reached number one nationally before losing two out of three to SEC rival South Carolina in Columbus, S.C.  Since then they have gone undefeated and retaken a share of the SEC lead.  This team is loaded and when three of the teams in the SEC are2,3;7 a 32-5 record is even more impressive. 

The basketball team which made it to the NCAA tournament as a fifth seed lost again in the first round, but nevertheless all season long they were a strong legitimate Top 25 team.  When you recognize that every starter is returning from last season well, they are certain to be amongst the best in the country again and while a Top5 is a stretch, they no doubt deserve to be a Top 10.

Finally, everyone has been waiting for Snedeker to rebound after his Master’s melt down two years ago.  His win this week brought back childhood memories I had of watching the recently deceased Mason Rudolph who I watched at the Blue Grass Country Club in Nashville.  He has a smile, charisma, and boyhood good looks.  This win could easily lead to more, but more importantly it reminds that while Vanderbilt football is not on the map, they sure produce a lot of quality athletes, just ask the Chicago Bears.



Posted on: July 7, 2010 6:48 am

Broadcasters Have Demeaned the word “Great.”

If you look in the dictionary at the word “great” you will see:

Impressively large

Bigger than others

Much: extreme or more than usual

Lasting long time

Important: very significant

Exceptional talent or achievements

Being a good example

Emphasizing exceptional qualities one possesses

Every time I listen to a broadcast, sportscast, or reading another analysis I am always looking and listening for the word “great”. As someone that has hosted a sports radio show, written articles, and seen sporting events for over 50 years, we and I include myself have overused the word “Great” to the point that almost every athlete and play is great.

Now I try extremely hard not to use the word unless I really mean it. I may categorize it by saying, that was a great play” but not make the athlete great. After all in pro sports they all got there because of exceptional talent and possessing qualities that others did not have. Still once at that level great has to take on much more.

One way I would choose to define great is that it must possess almost all the attributes assigned to greatness.

Does it:

Stand out large over everything else in the game or the event?

Is it bigger than others I have already seen? The caveat might be to say something like. “He played a great game tonight.” The greatness stands for one night only and doesn’t make the athlete great.

Go outside the envelope? Was it a new move? Maybe that athlete has a signature move that no one else can do. That has to be a great move but when others can do it, well how great is it?

Will the performance stand the test of time. This goes to points one and two in that I might withdraw the word “great” in defining a player one night when I have seen them perform at a much higher level and others as well.

Did the play or performance make a significant change to the outcome?

Also has this achievement been accomplished by several others. Can everyone be great. The HOF is supposed to help us define greatness with a combination of several criteria. Perhaps if broadcasters applied the same principle to defining a play, a game, a performance, a season we would know what is truly great.

Being a good example. Is that on the field or off the field? Should we caveat by saying, “Pete Rose was a great baseball hitter.” He certainly wasn’t the best baseball player at any position and his gambling exploits would hardly make him a shining example off the field. I use Pete as an example because I believe he did great things in baseball and is deserving of the HOF but if we understood the criteria perhaps we wouldn’t need to be still arguing this point. There were many in the HOF that were not of great morale character.

Again doe the athlete have exceptional qualities that define greatness? I believe this is something that reveals itself over time. A high school athlete my have exceptional talent against his or her peers but when they move to the next level the word great needs to be removed until such time the performances measure head and shoulders again above the peers on the field, court or whatever.


Category: World Sports
Posted on: July 4, 2009 10:54 pm
Edited on: July 4, 2009 11:00 pm

Steve, Thanks For The Memories

Steve McNairFormer Tennessee Titan Steve McNair is dead today; the victim of shooting that took place at 2nd Ave and Lea in Nashville, Tennessee.  Police discovered two bodies at the scene, one woman and a man.  The man was later determined to be former Titan QB Steve McNair.  The apparent cause of death, a single gunshot wound to the head.  The name of the woman is being withheld pending notification of the next of kin.  

Although details still remain sketchy what we know is this.  Police received a phone call at approximately 1:36 pm today.   There has been no official confirmation of what happened.  Speculation from an unnamed source indicated the double homicide may be a murder suicide.  

McNair was one of the most beloved players to ever wear the Titan uniform. His style of play was a combination of self-determination and grit that inspired many of his teammates around him.  He often played with unbelievable pain.  He suffered a broken sternum yet would not let it keep him away from the game he loved.  This giant of a man from tiny Alcorn State a largely unknown university played big time on the NFL stage as Air McNair. Perhaps most memorable performance as a Titan was in Super Bowl XXXIV in 2000, when the Titans attempt to tie the game ended one yard short.

Steve played tough and played hurt and was a true competitor.  Injuries ultimately led to his retirement following two years with the Baltimore Ravens.  Steve was a big presence in Nashville.  He had a home here, a restaurant over on Jefferson Street, and was very active in the community.  He held a football camp here in Nashville and that was one of his last events in the public eye. He leaves behind his wife and two sons. 

The news has come as a stunning shock of the Titan Nation.  McNair had made the decision to make Nashville his home and was becoming an integral part of the community just recently opening his own restaurant in the area.  Fans and spectators have already begun lining up along Second Avenue and Lea trying to find out exactly what has taken place and pay tribute to the one the so admired.  Just a week ago the former Titan QB was in the Jeff Fisher charity softball game at the home of the Nashville Sounds, having fun with current and former teammates and raising money for charity.  

We have learned that a possible witness was driven away by police at around 2 PM this afternoon.  What she knew is still unknown.  People continued to celebrate the 4th in an outside pool adjacent to the complex where the body of All-Pro quarterback was found.  Police and crime scene investigators as of 5 pm were reporting that the bodies have not been moved and that the crime scene is still being processed.  A woman, a possible witness, has been taken to the police station, and she too has not been identified.  

Once again, Steve McNair is dead today at the age of 36. Police got the call around 1:46 pm and he was found with a gunshot to the head. Police were notified by the apartment manager.  Although the bodies were discovered between 1:30 and 2:00 PM today police are still trying to determine the timeline.  It is possible the murders happened last night and were only discovered this afternoon.  Processing of the crime scene could take several hours. 

Posted on: July 4, 2009 6:16 pm
Edited on: July 4, 2009 10:55 pm
This entry has been removed by the administrator.

Post Deleted by Administrator

This message has been removed by the administrator.

Posted on: July 4, 2009 5:53 pm
Edited on: July 4, 2009 7:25 pm
This entry has been removed by the administrator.

Post Deleted by Administrator

This message has been removed by the administrator.

Posted on: March 3, 2009 12:04 am

Talk Back Sports

Broncos Will Have Their Eggs Scrambled

   The thought that the Denver Broncos were willing to trade Pro-Bowl Quarterback Jay Cutler for New England back-up Matt Cassel over the weekend had all the makings of the biggest wrong move ever.  Without question there is still potential for future fall-out from this “Mother of all Blunders.”  Cutler won’t speak to his new coach and even Bronco fans are calling Cutler “a baby” among other names. Denver spin doctors are saying they were just listening to the offer that would have in effect sent Cassel to Denver via Tampa Bay and Cutler to Buccaneers.  In the end the Patriots dealt Cassel to the Chiefs, along with linebacker Mike Vrabel.  New England got a second-round pick.

  I don’t know what the Broncos where thinking so I tried to figure out why Denver even entertained the thought of giving up their first round pick for Matt Cassel.  I also wanted to know why Denver fans are so quick to gang up on the Vanderbilt University grad that has done more with less than any quarterback in the league.  Then I realized the Denver idiots where not comparing him to any QB, but rather their beloved John Elway.   I decided to look at Cutler’s stats against those of Denver QB John Elway over the same period of time in their careers and see if they had good reason for their dissatisfaction.  Well, the stats don’t lie Cutler is exceeding the great John Elway in every offensive category.

John Elway in his first three seasons (42 Games) threw for 8,152 yds, 47 TDs, and 47 INTs, passer rating of 67.23% and a completion percentage of 53.4%.

 Jay Cutler in his first three seasons (37 Games), threw for 9,024 yds, 54 TDs, 37 INTs, passer rating of 87.1% and a completion percentage of 62.5%. 

Stats compiled from a href="http://sports.jrank.org/pages/
tml">John Elway - Career Statistics</a> and http://www.nfl.com/players/careerst

Sure I know Jay is quick to speak and is not shy about voicing his displeasure but on the field where it matters he is doing everything any legitimate Bronco fan should acknowledge.  There where games when he threw a pick at the wrong time but there have been equally a number of games where he pulled them back and gave them wins they would have otherwise lost.  These tend to even themselves out over the course of a season. Cutler with the right offense around him can take the Broncos to the Super Bowl as well.  Right now he needs a defense and a coach that believes in him. Its time Denver wiped the egg off their face and admits they did a terrible wrong to their franchise QB. 


Posted on: September 21, 2008 10:32 pm
Edited on: February 12, 2009 7:08 am

Titans Neutralize Texas (TNT) 31-12

September 21,2008 Titan Game Blog

Call it TNT.  I am not talking about dynamite.  ESPN says, "TITANS BLAST TEXAS."  I say they Neutralized the Texans.  Every time the Texans were about to go off, Tennessee went in an diffused them.  In other words, "Neutralized."  In the end the score looked like a blow out but that really was far from the case.  If it weren't the Texans the Titans were playing today I am afraid the Titans on any other day might have experienced some collateral damage. 

Coming home it looked like the Texans had every opportunity to win this game but did not have the experience or the experience of winning on the road to take advantage of Tennessee's mistakes.  When I got home and saw the statistics I was not surprised to see they were pretty even.

                            Tenn                               Texas

First Downs         19                                     18

Total Yds            343                                   317

Rushing              154                                  146

Passing               189                                 171

Time of Poss      29:19                              30:41


It doesn't get much more even than that.  The reason the score was so one way is because Houston never went for Field Goals.   As a result with I thing a half dozen times in the Red Zone and could not capitalize but rather were neutralized by Tennessee's devilish defense.  Today Tennessee's defense went around masking itself as the Texans moved toward the goal line and then showed up just went the Texans were lulled to sleep and thus two attempts in the end zone on passes in the first half ended up with no points, notta, none.   Okay they did get a field goal to go up 3-0 but  the attitude on the sidelines was an early sign of the air going out of a tire with a slow leak.

Collins did not play badly and he did not play well.  Several of his throws in the first half were high and off the mark.  He did well in the short game and did come away from the game having amassed 35,000 yds passing.  That must be the best of all times for back-ups.  Seriously the Titan offense kind of took a step back this week..  The one TD pass to Scaife  for 26 yds was a thing of beauty.  Collins is romancing the Tight Ends,  Other teams are going to pick up on that so the deep pass is going to have to come out  a little more often in comming weeks.

Defensively, what can you say?  On paper they were awesome with 3 sacks and 3 interceptions.  Corteland Finnegan got his 4th interception in three games; and to top it off,  this one was for a game sealing victory party.  I have to tell you though there was nothing more thrilling than seeing the Freak get his first sack of the season in front of the home town fans.  After the sack he flew around with that tremendous wing span and then flew to the sidelines.  Everyone loved it.  He is a folk legend in Nashville and we including this writer are glad he is back. 

However off the paper there was a dramatic drop off in intensity by the entire defensive front four.  There are times when you just don't get up for every game and perhaps Tennessee was not as up for this game as it should have been.  Nowhere other than here will you read anyrhing but this was a great game but I believe even coach Fisher will let his players know on defense that you can not continue to rely on the one big play on 4th and goal or the inerrent throws.  We did not face a stellar QB today.  Against the Colts we will have to play a whole lot better.  You may not agree but on this Blog, my opinion is what really matters.  Good night.

Posted on: September 14, 2008 3:57 pm
Edited on: February 12, 2009 7:10 am




The Colts (3-3) have a lot of questions to answer and are playing without a full deck however they still have Peyton Manning and the boys on offense that could very easily steal Tennessee's last bastion of enthusiasm.  You see the underlying excitement about tonight's game is that all of a sudden UT (University of Tennessee) is experiencing the blues, Vandy has lost 3 in a row and they Commodore fans are feeling blue so everyone right now is leaning on the Titans to reinflate and if I can say it allow the South to Rise Again.  Of course don't anyone tell all Tennessee fans, Alabama is doing enough for the South by itself.

Okay back to the game.  I will in a moment, gotta find some Hot Chocolate!

At Tailgate time the temperature is 47 degrees and dropping.  The windchill is giving those not next to the BBQ grill code blue fingers, noses and without a hat code blue ears.  Yes this is Nashville and tonight it's colder than NY accoridng to Boomer Esiason.   The Titans have made the most of this meeting between the Titans and the Colts who together have every title in the AFC East since it's inception in 2002.  That was the only year the Titans were the champions and now here they are with their best start ever (6-0) seeking to establish themselves as the top dog. 

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com