LaDainian Tomlinson signed a one-day contract with the San Diego Chargers, and then promptly announced his retirement from the NFL.

I could spend a paragraph or two regaling you with L.T.’s numerous accomplishments on the field, he re-wrote the Chargers record book and set several NFL records, he retires with the 5th highest rushing yards total in NFL history. But I’d rather hit on a few other things.

In 2006 I took my daughter to her first Chargers game. L.T. was having a season for the ages and was ultimately named the NFL’s MVP. With just under four minutes left in the game, L.T. scored a touchdown giving the Chargers a 41-20 lead over the Broncos. This touchdown was Tomlinson’s 28th, tying the NFL record held by Shaun Alexander. I told my daughter that with so little time left and a big lead, L.T. would probably not have another shot at breaking the record that day, but at least she got to be there to see him tie it. Well, what the hell did I know?

After the ensuing kickoff, Denver was playing for pride and trying to move the ball down the field rather than just run out the clock. On the second play Shawne Merriman stripped the ball from Jay Cutler and recovered the fumble near the goal line.  Holy shit, the stadium erupted! EVERYONE in that stadium knew what was going to happen now. The Chargers knew, the Broncos knew, the fans knew. He scored on the first snap and broke the record. The crowd went nuts, chanting L.T., L.T., L.T.! It was a magical time to be in the stadium, and I was thrilled that my daughter was there to experience it with me.

On the day of this photo I had heard that L.T. was in town hanging out with Shane Mosely. I got a tip that they were going bowling, so I “suggested” to my wife that we go bowling. When they walked in I was like a little kid, I was awe-struck. I wanted to get a picture with him, but was too scared to ask. Luckily my wife didn’t follow football at the time, so he was just a dude to her. She asked him if we could get a photo, and he was happy to oblige. Thanks Michelle and thanks L.T.!

I’d like to hit on the 2007 AFC Championship game that L.T. takes a lot of heat for. For those that don’t remember it, he was injured and tried to go a couple plays and knew he would not be able to continue. TV coverage showed him several times seated on the bench with a parka and his helmet on. He took a lot of grief over that, even from alleged Charger fans. It was complete bullshit, and anyone with half a brain should have known so. This man had NEVER missed a game due to injury, he was a tough and durable back. He wanted more than anything to be on that field, and he was just physically unable to do it. People point to Philip Rivers playing with essentially no ACL, but it’s not the same thing. A running back cannot play on a seriously injured knee, it just doesn’t work. I think his demeanor on the sidelines was about two things: being cold and dealing with the biggest disappointment in his professional career.  He wanted SO BAD to be on that field, but his knee let him down. Anyone that questions his toughness and desire is a fucking idiot.

Finally, a big FUCK YOU to the haters. The morons who proclaim derisively “there is only one L.T.”  Yes, Lawrence Taylor was the original L.T., but stop being so fucking stupid. First, they are Ladainian Tomlinson’s initials. Second, there have been other instances of shared nicknames, Sugar Ray Robinson and Sugar Ray Leonard immediately come to mind. It’s just beyond silly for people (normally New York fans) to make these comments as though Tomlinson is not worthy to use his own initials as a nickname. As incredibly stupid as the idiots who answered “Should not be mentioned among all-time greats” in a poll about his place in NFL history. He is one of the greatest running backs to ever play the game, be happy that you got to watch him on the field.

I have to admit that I was a little disappointed with some of the things L.T. said after he left the Chargers. But I prefer to remember him for all the great games I saw him play (four TDs against the Bengals in a comeback victory when I went to Cincinnati), everything that he did for the San Diego Chargers, and the great human being that he IS.

Have a happy retirement L.T.!

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Apparently there was a fight last night, and to the astonishment of NOBODY there was a controversial decision. I was more surprised to hear that boxing still exists, and that people actually pay to see it.

Long ago, I was a HUGE boxing fan. Whenever there was a big fight we’d all kick in a few bucks to get the PPV and have a party in Tom Marquez’ garage. But then there was the Julio Cesar Chavez-Pernell Whitaker fight.

As usual, we were at Tom’s house for the fight. There were a lot of Hispanic dudes there, and they LOVED Chavez. I had a pretty good idea Whitaker was going to give him trouble and had wagers with about half of the guys there. For 12 rounds Whitaker dominated Chavez, it wasn’t even close. Guys I had bets with were pulling out money getting ready to pay me once the decision was announced, they already knew.

But then a funny thing happened.

Somehow, the judges scored the bout a draw. As in a tie, as in the fighters were equal, no winner could be determined. Were they shitting us? The announcers on the PPV unanimously concluded that Whitaker had won, everyone in that garage knew Whitaker won, Chavez knew Whitaker won. There was no way in hell that Chavez won that fight. But you see, the judges were provided by the WBC. The WBC was headed by Jose Sulaiman, essentially a puppet for Don King. And who was Julio Cesar Chavez’ promoter? Why Don King! After the fight nobody seemed to be able to round up the judges scorecards. It was bullshit, everyone knew it was bullshit.

That was it for me. After the numerous other bullshit decisions I had seen in my time watching boxing, that was the last straw.

Beyond all that boxing is just silly. Not the sport itself, just the people who run it and rape it’s once proud corpse. Boxing originally had eight weight classes, and now there are SEVENTEEN. Meanwhile, there are four major boxing sanctioning organizations: International Boxing Federation (IBF), World Boxing Association (WBA), World Boxing Council (WBC), and World Boxing Organization (WBO). At any given time there can potentially be at least four “champions” at each weight class (some organizations recognize multiple champions in a weight class). The reason for all of these weight classes and sanctioning bodies is simple, more champions equals more championship fights, equals more money for the promoters and sanctioning bodies.

But here’s the thing – how many fights does anyone (outside of hardcore boxing fans) actually want to see?  The answer right now is essentially one: Floyd Mayweather vs. Manny Pacquiao. Once that fight happens, and the obligatory re-match and third fight of the trilogy, boxing will pretty much be dead. Perhaps if boxing fans demanded some accountability and less bullshit among the promotors and sanctioning bodies, MAYBE it can be saved. But that’s not going to happen.

There are a lot of reasons the NBA sucks ass. Here are ten:

  1. Baskets are pretty much meaningless – Yes, cumulatively they determine the winner of the game, and key baskets at certain junctures of the game are important. But by and large a single basket means nothing. Each team is going to score a whole bunch of them so who cares? You could go to the bathroom, miss 10 baskets and you will not have missed anything because there will be a bunch more.
  2. Too much filler – Since most baskets mean nothing, the game doesn’t even really start until the end of the 4th quarter. You have 46 of 48 minutes where a basket scored doesn’t really affect anything until you add them all up at the end of the game. So the vast majority of the game you don’t even really need to be watching. You could show up in the 46th minute and not have really missed anything. Why not just give each team 90 points, flip a coin to see who gets to be ahead by three, and play the final two minutes. It would essentially be the same thing.
  3. The dunk is the most overrated play in any sport – I’m not saying I could do it, but in a league where most players are tall and athletic, my guess is that at least 98% of the players in the NBA can probably dunk. So why is it such a big deal when someone does it? It seems like it should be expected, but people lose their shit over something most guys can do. And despite the ridiculous amount of attention a dunk gets, it still counts for only two points, just like a layup or a five footer. I have heard it said that a dunk changes momentum, gets players fired up, whatever. But I would guess that if someone had the time and inclination to do a study, it would be found that the team that made the “big dunk” probably wins half the time and loses half the time.
  4. Fouls – It doesn’t seem to take much to commit a foul in the NBA, and the game is constantly stopping because of them.
  5. Too many time outs – EIGHT timeouts per team in 48 minutes of play. That is a timeout for every six minutes of play. Do the coaches not cover anything at practice, why do they have to stop and talk about shit so often? By comparison, the NFL has six timeouts for 60 minutes of play, the NHL has one timeout for sixty minutes of play, and soccer has no timeouts for 90 minutes of play.
  6. Intentional fouling – Basketball is the only sport where intentional breaking of the rules is an accepted and encouraged strategy for trying to win a game. It has also been an encouraged strategy to intentionally foul certain players because of their inability to hit free throws.
  7. The Slam Dunk Contest is tired – They have been having this forever, and I’m pretty sure almost every dunk has been done, and done, and done. And as mentioned previously the dunk is ridiculously overrated anyway.
  8. The playoffs are entirely too long – The playoffs take a month and a half to two months, depending on how badly the NBA wants to torture me. One reason they are too long is…
  9. Too many teams make the playoffs – 16 of 30 teams make the playoffs, or 53%. More teams make they playoffs than don’t. How is this possible? Shouldn’t your team have to actually perform in an above average manner to have a chance at winning the championship of the league? The entire first round of the playoffs is just MORE filler. NBA teams essentially play 1230 games to determine which teams get to get eliminated in the first round. Since the NBA went to a 16-team playoff format in 1984, there have been 232 first round matchups. And of those match-ups only five times has the 8 seed beaten the 1 seed, or just over 2% of the time. So what the fuck the point of having that match-up?
  10. Almost every game looks the same as every other game – If you watch a basketball game, when it’s over you will think to yourself “I have seen this before.” Here’s what will happen probably 98% of the time: Teams will trade baskets for most of the game. During the game some team will go on a run to create a gap between the two teams. Later, the other team will go on a run to close the gap. The teams will enter the final two minutes separated by less than 10 points. The intentional fouling will begin and there will be a lot of free throws. A bunch of timeouts will get called. The last two minutes will take about a half hour.

There you have it, the NBA sucks.

Previously I used this web site as a place to discuss whatever happened to pop into my head about whatever subject. After awhile I found myself doing that elsewhere, so I was rarely posting anything here. I have left all the old posts here under the category “Old Blog Posts” so if anyone ever wants to check them out they still exist.

Going forward I am going to use this web site to comment on sports. I make no claims to be an expert on sports, a reporter, or that I have access to anything more than any other sports fan. I’ll just be offering the Savage Lizard perspective on things.

I will begin posting again soon for the 3-4 of you that read this on occasion.  I will be switching to sports commentary, it will be more fun.

See you soon.

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