Saturday, December 24, 2016

Texans Admit Tom Savage Getting a Little Too Hyped For First Start Tonight

Teammates Report Quarterback Has Been Screaming "Oh Yeah" For Last Three Hours, On Sixth or Seventh Bag of Cocaine

 


Friday, December 16, 2016

The Stache Shall Rise Again, Other Directionless Coverage

2016 has proven a devastating revolution for many, as beloved actors, broadcasters, musicians, among others, were lost in its reign. Pitt, it seems, has had its share of turbulence throughout this time. Thankfully, however, it hasn't been related to a new hire immediately unleashing a merciless beating on the punching bag he called a 'love one,' nor was it a flat-top-brandishing knobgobbler who relies on more vacuous buzz words and deception than a second-rate promoter and used car salesman.

That said, as Pitt has risen to reclaim its title as the undisputed king of 'acceptable,' eight-win seasons in football, it has not been without turnover: offensive coordinator Matt Canada has chosen to take his talents to below sea level and pave a path to a big-time coaching gig, while athletic director Scott Barnes looks poised to head back west to light one up as he directs the programs at Oregon State. The loss of Canada and the possibility of Barnes vacating his position leaves the university in a tough bind to replace them with competent counterparts who can try to push Pitt's programs to that next level. How will they do that? You've come to right place to find out.

IF BARNES BAILS, THE STACHE PREVAILS

Why Dave Wannstedt would be an ideal replacement for Pitt as athletic director, assuming he remembers that Nordenberg retired and isn't leaving voicemails on former chancellor's house phone instead of university offices

Dreadful rhymes aside, which are still a thousand-fold superior to the modifier 'high-octane,' there's undoubtedly one man who was paging furiously through his contact book upon hearing somewhere that current athletic director Scott Barnes looked certain to leave Pitt and head to the west coast. That would be none other than Baldwin native Dave Wannstedt. Like any candidate for such a position, he has his failings, but his advantages and potential areas for success suffice to overcome them in spectacular fashion. Let's explore then why Wannstedt could shine as Pitt's new AD.

1. He Won't Be Late Because of Traffic

Nothing is worse than a high-profile employee who doesn't invest him- or herself in the region. By choosing to step out from his mother's reproductive organ -- powerful individuals like Wannstedt are able to consciously make this decision -- in the confines of Allegheny County, the former Pitt boss forever dedicated himself to what is demanded of the locals: understanding a grid of poor planning, shoddier construction, and speed-limited, two-lane roadways with stoplight timing mechanisms that haven't been tweaked since the invention of the cassette player.

Think about it: a possible new hire is waiting in an office at Pitt, and where's Scott Barnes or his potential replacement? That's right, sitting in bottleneck traffic on the Veterans Bridge, trying to connect to Oakland via Boulevard of the Allies, where he will then progress slowly through the stages of lights that dictate movement along Forbes Avenue. By the time he arrives, that hire will already be off to cause an accident on the 40th Street on-ramp to 28 on his way home. But Dave Wannstedt -- the well-mustached fox that he is -- will call up this potential hire, smartly invite him to check out some of the facilities on upper campus, peel off to the right towards Downtown, cut up through the Hill District, and be there at the Petersen Event Center waiting patiently as if he had intended such an outcome all along. The hire will be sealed, and the untold story will be Wannstedt's savvy navigation of Pittsburgh motorways.

2. He Will Do Whatever It Takes to Get the Best -- to Win, Not Ethics or Any of That Shit

While Wannstedt's tenure as head coach did not produce any incredible season to look back upon, he did know how to recruit the kind of players he wanted. Many critics will argue that Pitt's biggest shortcoming is missing out on the top-tier of recruits in both football and basketball that sets the nation's top programs apart. We know exactly what that means: the team doesn't need aspiring attorneys, dentists, engineers, and CPAs; it needs communications majors -- breathing masses of flesh that can write their name down semi-legibly and vaguely grasp the concept of 'plausible deniability' when it involves questions of academic integrity. Nobody interested in a job in southwestern PA knows this demand better than Wannstedt.

Wannstedt was undeservedly bounced from his position prior to the 2011 season. As documented here, though, he had long been assembling the right crew of personnel to take Pitt to its next step. Namely, his program had 22 ('student-')athletes with a criminal charge on the roster. That, jags and jagettes, is a dedicated to what is needed to win, not to placate some fleeting desire to maintain a reputable public image. Perhaps none was better than Jabaal Sheard, an NFL regular, who once projected a man through a pane of glass to prove his point. Not to overlook the fine details -- surely a Wannstedt-inspired trait -- he went outside to assault the man physically until pepper-sprayed in the eyes. If Pitt hopes to win, it needs a man who can walk the uncertain terrain of results and the cost for bail. Wannstedt can be that man.

3. He Somehow Won Football Games (Multiple!) With Bill Stull and Tino Sunseri at Quarterback

Harping on this idea of doing what is necessary, Wannstedt will have to know his budget limitations as well; he simply won't have the excess cash to overpay for a coach who's a national name. It is likely that, at times, he will have to be creative with his money and his targeted hires, but a quick look at his rosters will demonstrate his unequivocal ability in this regard.

Need I remind you, Wannstedt  won games -- as in more than one; several, in fact -- with both Bill Stull and namesake-riding Tino Sunseri behind center, both of which, though especially the latter, should have garnered him support to win countless coaching honors, and the patience for which he must have popped up on the radar for several humanitarian awards as well. One may argue that both of these players simply handed the ball off to LeSean McCoy, Dion Lewis, and Ray Graham 7,000 times a game, to which I readily agree! To design that many run plays, pass plays within ten yards, and somehow to convince the other team that either of these players was going to be trusted to throw the ball more than a half dozen times in total is a feat that perhaps no other coach in major conference college football can boast. Imagine the way Wannstedt can cleverly allot his resources to maximize his budget and clout as an experienced member of 'the business.'

Should that not be enough to make this worthwhile, please take a quick look at this picture of Tino Sunseri.

This is an absolutely real, undoctored photo of the man put in charge of the offense, and despite have a man who evidently aspired to be a overcooked calzone under a heat lamp at quarterback, Wannstedt still managed to make bowl games.

4. God Damn, Is That Mustache Not a Ravishing Piece of Facial Hair?!

It asks for neither attention, nor respect; it simply obtains them from its own existence. Salt and pepper hues underscore the wisdom and latent vintage power within. Neatly-trimmed and fitting for all occasions, it may look no better than it would behind an expensive desk on an Oakland campus. I am writing, of course, of Dave Wannstedt's extraordinary, possibly omnipotent mustache. If nothing else, it will seize the moment and take any school's programs to new heights.

But the question really is, does Wannstedt want the gig if it becomes available? Let's turn to my jag cousin Rick to see what's rumbling with another segment of Jag on the Inside.

JAG ON THE INSIDE: THE LATEST SCOOP FROM MY COUSIN RICK

Dave Wannstedt Invites Media to Impromptu Press Conference Held at His House

"No reason in particular [for conference]," insists Wannstedt, who then asks, "So, any hot buzz on some new jobs out there?" 

Current football analyst and veteran coach Dave Wannstedt spontaneously assembled Pittsburgh sports media at his house last evening for a meeting that appeared to be an unplanned press conference.

The former college and NFL coach, most recently with the Pitt Panthers, stated that he had no particular intent for calling the media to residence other than to "chat, you know, about stuff in the sports world."

"I don't know," added Wannstedt. "I figured there might be some good tips on jobs or something on horizon."

Since his abrupt departure from Pitt in 2011, the Baldwin native seemed to show no interest in getting back to the sidelines. This meeting, however, came at peculiar time, following several reports that current Pitt athletic director Scott Barnes may leave his position in favor of one at Oregon State.

When asked about this point, Wannstedt was quick to dismiss any truth to it.

"No, no, no," he said, brushing aside a few balloons with the Pitt logo adorned upon them. "I mean, Scott hasn't said anything about it, right?"

Wannstedt was just as cryptic when asked about the Pitt backdrop he had hanging from his living room ceiling and the crude drawing of a man, labeled "me," cheering as walked to a destination listed as "Pitt."

"Just tidying up the house," he claimed. "Just like I'd do as the AD at any university that, oh, I don't know, may be looking for someone to fill that position soon."

Inquiries about Wannstedt's pro-Pitt surroundings were answered with an assertive shrug of the shoulders and blank stare at the back wall.
 Before the media could press Wannstedt more about the motives of his meeting, he excused himself to answer a call from Pitt football coach Pat Narduzzi, whom he contacted to look over his resume "for no reason whatsoever."

 

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Jag on the Inside: Hard-Hitting News from My Cousin Rick

First, pardon my absence from the profanity-laden sports insight that you so desire: my hockey publication is coming along, however, and the first edition of it should be available to all seven people who still read for pleasure shortly.

In the meantime, my jag cousin Rick refuses to stop harassing the world around him -- hey, those court orders are still be contested at the moment -- to provide the best scoops and most pressing information to the public that adores him. Here's his latest:

ADULTS NEED NO SLEEP TO FUNCTION, INSISTS RESEARCH TEAM THAT REALLY NEEDS TO GET THIS FUCKING PROJECT DONE

An impromptu study has found that adult humans only require between zero hours and "not a single, fleeting wink" of sleep to perform competently, asserts a team of researchers whose most recent project is due at 8 a.m. tomorrow morning. 

Researchers employed by the Institute of Scientific Discovery say they started the study shortly after an e-mail from a client that rejected the group's appeal for an extension on its current project. "Nothing gets results like having your nose to the grind stone -- right to the fucking grind stone," admitted project manager Dr. James Baker.

The study concluded in record time as well, completed after fellow researcher, Dr. Thomas Cogliano, began blasting Van Halen's Panama on repeat over the loud speaker. Despite the atypical results, members of the research team vouch for its authenticity and accuracy.

"Absolutely, 100% valid," remarked Dr. Shelly Kline, between frequent sips of her eighth Red Bull. Some of her colleagues were even more emphatic in their support of the findings.

"What -- does somebody have a problem? Because I'll cut them," warned Dr. Greg Sampson, who contended that he was not overwhelmed by the stress and that he "always bled from nose" and that "[the press] should stop asking questions."

"Panama!" added Dr. Sampson, while pantomiming a guitar solo.

Even with the project's deadline fast approaching, Dr. Baker states that the team has considered undertaking other same-day studies, including how many pizzas it will take "to get through this shit alive" and how many ounces of "research material" everybody wants from his guy.




Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Chuck's Moment: Today -- a Refreshing Reminder You Weren't Far From Being a Semi-Professional

The mid-evening sun in August is scorching. It burns the retinas, the skin, the senses, and dulls the spirit -- perhaps because it tires the body driving it, perhaps due to something deeper within. The river augments both the imagery and intensity; the water is a double-edged sword: blinding to the eyes, but its breeze is relieving to the skin, if only for a brief respite. 

This scene receives no national coverage, no extreme displays of fanfare, and offers no opportunity for a golden moment retained within the public persona. And yet, stationed within this barrage of heavy, soggy heat and obscurity, there they are -- the fans -- and there it is -- Highmark Stadium.

This, quite simply, is a Riverhounds game.

The surroundings alone show clear reverence for what the Steelers have done with Heinz Field -- not for its size or its overall grandeur, but for its serene position along the Monongahela as it splits from the Point. The rivers, despite their reputation for uncleanliness and exciting ride along a path of lead, are the wellspring of Pittsburgh's geographical heartbeat, and the Riverhounds organization did well in choosing a location that can connect to it. The crowd that amasses before the game, its humble numbers notwithstanding, seem to draw power from the three rivers, demonstrating the same ferocity, anticipation, and propensity for binge drinking as any fan of another local sports team. It's a heartening show of support for a team that must work desperately to make its imprint in a city that offers so many outlets for competitive sports.

A view from Highmark Stadium. I had an incisive quip to shove in here, but decided to save it for later.
Then there's also a soccer game.

That is, if I'm to be honest, a different story.

After witnessing two sinful attempts at a touch into space and several immediate passes that land directly in possession of the other team, the clean, modern design of the stadium and view of the river rushing by the city are quickly nullified. Chalking it up to cold legs and early-game jitters, the eyes forgive, though the mind is skeptical; "just getting warmed into the game," you concede.

Another thirty minutes of straight-line, obvious runs in attack, a disappointing commitment to textbook tactics, and goal-scoring opportunities that arise more from player error than a profound understanding of time and space, and a beer run becomes imminent by necessity.

Which, fairly, leads me to my next point and -- maybe, maybe not -- my greatest discovery about Highmark Stadium and Riverhounds game: relatively speaking, beer is affordable here. That's right, Magic Hat #9 16 oz. bottles are only $4 and serve to make this experience a more reasonable choice for a social gathering than, unfortunately, a showing of soccer acumen.

There is, of course, one final cause that can draw you to a Riverhounds game: the gratifying reminder that you are only (the refusal of) a couple orders of nachos removed from breaking the big time as a United Soccer League semi-professional soccer player. 

Nothing is quite as smoothing to the spirit as attending a (semi-)professional performance event and being able to say with conviction, "A little bit of work, and I could do that," and a Riverhounds game can provide this sensation in staggering proportions. 

Of course, you can't do "that," because you're several too deep and you've already been warned once by the part-time security guard about your excessive volume. But these warnings, these limitations can never suppress your ability to dream of the top -- the day you could play down at a stadium and then waste your salary later that night at Buckhead('s)*.

Don't let the dream die.

*By the way, it's called Buckhead Saloon, but I, as well as the rest of the city, depend upon the non-proper pluralization of or addition of a possessive 's' to proper nouns -- I know most of you just said "JCPenney's" and "Giant Eagles," or perhaps "Iggles," in your head -- to survive, so bear with me.


Monday, August 1, 2016

Let Them Smoke The Kush

Sorry for the brief hiatus, jags and jagettes. That said, I can assure you that it's for good reason: I'm currently writing a book about hockey that I want to release before the season starts back up, and it's vital that I stay on track despite the goings-on in the world of sports.

Before I go any further, let me say that, yes, I am in fact capable of stringing together enough statements infused with fury and curse words to create such a publication, and that the book will be created as a PDF, so that you can indulge in your Kowalski tirades at home or while on the go.

So what, then, could have stirred such fervor to divert my concerted efforts? Why, the NFL, of course, and its never-ending practices and policies of antiquity and covering its own ass at the expense of the foot soldiers who readily discard their lives for the league's benefit.

NFL TOP OF THE CLASS IN DOUBLE STANDARDS

But league still trails in understanding irony, realizing years of violent blows to the head make your brain not work

 

As this article verifies, the NFL pulls in more money annually -- upwards of $9 billion -- than a significant portion of countries around the world. What's more, they do so as a 'non-profit organization' that is therefore granted tax-exempt status. That's right, folks: the NFL is a mom and pop operation that in no way intends to make money and does not have to pay a single friggin' cent to the tax base that it manipulates so regularly to line its pockets with the hard-earned income of fans, alongside the trauma-ravished brain tissue of its direct-impact employees who, as it were, do have to pay taxes.

If I may grant myself some journalistic license -- that's rhetorical, by the way -- the NFL has established itself as a flawless allegory of the underhanded, profit-driven machine of inhumanity and hypocrisy that has infiltrated every sector of American life, from healthcare to education, and against which people of all political, spiritual, and social convictions rally and lobby in their own way, yet are so powerless to stop. It's serves only itself, and yet it is handled with more diligence and care than basic civic needs. Pittsburgh is merely one of many shining examples, as our city was ready to front the bill for Heinz Field, but continues to endure an outdated transportation system, disorganized infrastructure, failing public education offerings, and designation as a city in financial distress as per Act 47 in Pennsylvania. The Steelers, meanwhile, have faced no such financial woes.

These greater seeds of evil and debilitating self-sabotage can be tough to ingest for the loyal base of constituents who nourish the machine with their own ignorance, so let's step back and tackle the original target of my vitriol, the NFL.

Le'Veon Bell, the Steelers running back, is the most recent victim of the league's ridiculous policing of its players. Lest this thought be sent to derail my argument, let me make one thing clear: I don't give two shits that it is a Steelers player in question. I can already foresee it as the final verdict on Bell is passed: every half-witted pundit who gets paid to talk sports in this town will hoist himself -- because our city wouldn't dare honor the opinion of a 'herself' -- upon that pedestal of neutrality and journalistic duty, deriding a majority of the discourse he needs from the general public to keep his job, under the pretense that he comes from another town or can separate himself from the team or whatever pitiful device he can conjure up to obscure the fact that he is doing something that any generally intelligent, somewhat articulate sports enthusiast could do with a little patience and a paycheck. Hell, I do it with no patience and no paycheck.

Moving on, Bell's success on the field has cemented his popularity both locally and nationally, but it hasn't restrained him from making waves in other ways. Namely, Bell was arrested for driving while under the influence in August of 2014 and created a verse in his own rap song more or less demanding that he be paid in the proximity of $15 million a year. But these behaviors are merely fodder that distract the public from a more important point: smoking weed and playing football have nothing to fucking do with one another.

Whoa, simmer down your internal James Carville -- there's plenty more to expand upon here.

Foremost, yes, it is illegal to drive under the influence and Bell fully deserved the consequences for it that ought to have been dictated the set legal precedent for such an offense. Instead, the NFL suspends him from his job because, well, it can.

Furthermore, yes, marijuana can have a profound effect on your job performance, but if you're clearly performing well at your job, then the team shouldn't give a shit about your recreational habits. If you start to suck at your job, then maybe your employer is right to question what you are doing prior to showing up for work.

Most importantly, the NFL has adopted such a stringent policy on marijuana use because, regardless whether league reps will admit it, there is concern that it will reflect poorly on the league and stall the lofty ascent of its multi-billion dollar revenue stream. This particular argument overlooks, yet again, some crucial information: (1) football players are not hired to be role models; (2) marijuana does not begin to match the negative effects of domestic violence or gun violence, yet is punished more strictly; and (3) the NFL is a worse role model than any individual player.

Indeed, some football players are role models: they are highly dedicated to their craft, spend time giving back to the community, and do their best to demonstrate positive lifestyle choices. That said, there are custodians, garbage men, plumbers, accountants, stay-at-home parents, dishwashers, cashiers, and gas station managers, among others, who display commitment to a job, hobby, and family and whose behavior is commendable. The one issue is, of course, these people don't make a ton of money. In this case, NFL owners and league executives operate under the premise that "hey, we pay you a bunch relative to the average population, so 'shape up' or we'll show you," which is a standard derived purely from self-interest than in some dedication to the greater good. Maybe, then, we should consider altering our criteria for role models, or maybe just do a little less worshiping of professional athletes, and such a problem would disappear.

More damning, though, is that the league itself puts in no better performance at enviable behavior:

(1) The league chose to turn its head from obvious evidence in the Ray Rice domestic abuse case, among others. This avoidance of a serious crime is made worse in light of the proliferation of mandated reporting laws, where health care employees -- you know, who often work in real non-profit organizations -- are obliged to report any suspected abuse of individuals in their care.

(2) The league gives little to no regard to alcohol abuse, which could prove just as damaging as use of other recreational drugs. Though it stipulates that players who have had problems in the past must adhere to sobriety, alcohol is completely acceptable as long as it falls within limits that don't warrant a player seeking help.

(3) The NFL, via its favorite lackey, Roger Goodell, continues to turn a blind eye to concussion and the long-term impact of head injury. It isn't difficult to grasp: continuous damage to the head leads to irreparable damage to the head. Yet the league keeps dismissing scientific reports, silencing outside criticism, and denying any connection between the two to avoid paying anything to players who have suffered from long-term effects and to ensure the public that everything is just fine in the good ol' wholesome world of professional football.

This screen capture was taken from a NFL-provided feed of a press conference with Roger Goodell. Media outlets were denied access to the original video. Note the fishy characteristics of Goodell's appearance.

Luckily, thanks to the efforts of some online advocacy and hacking groups, the original film was located and disseminated. You can now see Goodell in his true form.

So what's the greater take-away(s) from this tirade? Let's take a look:

(1) The public needs to hold more organizations accountable and be more vigilant for its own cause: that is, we ought not let the NFL and its ownership groups get away with egregious offenses because we find the product entertaining; we can have both. It will require, however, impartiality to the player involved in disciplinary situations and more careful consideration of how we view professional athletes in general.

(2) Stop treating occupation and income as the main indicator of model behaviors and attitudes:  unfortunately, the NFL is beast that we have helped to create and sustain; accordingly, we must reign in our reverence for it. OK, so Uncle Dave might not drive a fancy sports car, run a 40 in 4.2 seconds, and tells that one joke over and over again, but he enjoys his life, enriches the life of those around him, and is a dedicated ice sculptor -- oh and he's never done cocaine off a hooker's ass crack and then beat her mercilessly with a table lamp.

(3) Players should be held to the standards of everyday humanity: you know somebody who smokes weed or, knowing my readership, you're smoking a bowl right now. Professional athletes are no worse for it than anyone else, so let's judge them for the behavior they display no matter their toxicity report, not for eating a pot brownie and falling asleep while watching re-runs of Rocko's Modern Life a few days before a drug test.

(4) Separate the heads from the beast: simply put, if a team doesn't want individual's of a certain moral character on their team, then perhaps they should be in charge of deciding what is worthy of dismissal and suspension, not the league. It would be ideal for things to work themselves out that teams with an absurd 'morality clause' will be missing out on good players and possibly good people as well, whereas teams with too loose standards will be harassed by their fan base not to support convicted abusers and the like. Of course, they could also be Cowboys fans and not care if he orchestrated a terrorist strike on their own household as long as he wins them a Super Bowl.



Thursday, July 7, 2016

Germans Taking Lyric 'Throw Your Hands In The Air Like You Just Don't Care' A Little Too Literally

Welcome back, jags and jagettes. Another day, another confounding handball by the Germans, who were unable to bounce back against France to secure a place in the final round of the European Championship. As the game wore on, the Germans showed the devastating impact of their tactical cohesion, much like they did against my Polish namesake as documented in a post from years ago, though it was aimed this time at the French defense and not an unassuming pierogi shop that turned into a battle zone of guns and artillery and potato and butter; needless to say, my family lost this particular skirmish.

Though getting to the semi-finals is no failure, this German machine expects nothing but victory, and this defeat has undoubtedly raised a multitude of questions. Why were the Germans so undisciplined in the box? Were set pieces a major concern for the team? What were they thinking? Well, don't worry: all these questions will be answered in the latest pieces here on Sports Unfiltered, so let's get right to it.

JAG ON THE INSIDE: THE LATEST SCOOP FROM MY COUSIN RICK

Löw Regrets Bringing On Dirk Nowitzki To Help With Set Pieces 

"A good idea at the time," says Löw who watched players dominate the backboards and box out the opponent, regrettably in a game where it is illegal to use your hands 


The set piece: always a dangerous moment in the game of soccer. It can be so dangerous, in fact, that it is not unusual for teams to rely on these dead-ball opportunities as an ace in the hole against opponents of superior technical skill and tactical prowess.

The German team is the reigning World Champion. They possess an intimidating combination of ability on the ball and movement off of it.  There are few teams who could attempt to challenge their soccer acumen, let alone eclipse it.  For these reasons, they are the common target of the set piece strategy, and so when training for the European Championship, German trainer Joachim Löw was faced with a serious dilemma: how does he best prepare his team for the onslaught of orchestrated free kicks and corner kicks?

The solution was simple, he thought: bring in a professional.

What better man for the job than fellow German and professional NBA player Dirk Nowitzki?

"You want to find someone who not only is an expert in his field, but will resonate with the team," said Löw, who considered several others to take the position, "and Dirk is a world-renowned basketball player, who is also German, so the fit was ideal."

Löw and Nowitzki, who insisted on wearing his national team jersey, celebrate Boateng's monster board in training

It appeared to be a perfect match -- Nowitzki the missing piece for a German team poised on securing another major championship. The 13-time NBA all-star began immediately schooling his soccer counterparts on how to win the aerial game, conducting drills with obvious influences from professional basketball: basic jump ball exercises, small-sided games centered at winning a loose ball, and extensive practice demanding the opposition "get the fuck out [the player's] house."

Löw was enthralled at first at his squad's rapid understanding of the principles introduced by Nowitzki, but as the training continued, he started to notice concerning changes.

"Corner kicks, which tend to feature aggressive confrontation as is, were getting even more intense," stated Löw, citing one corner kick at training where striker Mario Gomez violently swatted the ball out of the air and began beating his chest. "It was at that moment that I had to reconsider the effectiveness of my decision."

When Löw saw veteran defender Jerome Boateng throwing talcum powder in the air prior to Germany's quarterfinal match against Italy, his nerves worsened.

"I was on the sideline when it happened and instinctively yelled 'Ach nein,'" Löw recalled. 

Boateng asked teammates to call him 'Jerome der König' (King Jerome)
The Germans confirmed Löw's fears, committing two costly handballs during the knockout round of the tournament. Against Italy, Boateng challenged the shooter Chiellini hard, only to realize that his block is completely impermissible in the game of soccer; facing France, captain Bastian Schweinsteiger made a great desperation play on a corner at the end of the first half that was nullified by the fact that there is not a single reason a field player should be flying at the ball hands-first.

After a penalty was issued, Schweinsteiger began to complain to the referee under the impression that he had received a technical foul.

"I thought the ref had 'T'd' me up," he said in a press conference, utilizing a piece of basketball slang he had learned from Nowitzki. "Then I remembered that, you know, you're supposed to use anything but your hands."

The goal put France up at half against the run of play, and the Germans were unable to overcome the deficit. Despite the loss, Löw insists he will continue to innovate the way he trains and manages the team.

"This particular attempt did not work out as intended, but there are plenty of areas that I can improve upon," he said.

Nowitzki, for his part, relished his time with the national soccer team.

"I thought it was great. I think I learned a lot in my time here, especially from Jogi (Löw)."

Most recent reports state that Löw is on the phone with Dallas Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle who keeps asking "why the hell [Dirk] is kicking the ball all over place."

(END STORY)
_______

The only thing more amazing than two egregious handballs in consecutive games is the unrelenting daggers of insight provided by my jag cousin. He never fails to impress. Now onto second piece today on Sports Unfiltered: another round of dissenting viewpoint commentary called Jag Talk.
_______

JAG TALK

Today's topic: corner kick at end of first half in Germany-France game


Jag #1: Bastian Schweinsteiger
  Position
I'm pretty sure I can bat this one out of here with my hand -- no problem.

OK Bastian, keep your head in the game. Near the end of the half here and your team is playing well; no need to do anything rash.

Corner kick. Find your mark, find your mark. There he is -- #3. Got him. Now relax. Keep your eye on your man. Don't let him through because if he scores...

Stop! Enough negative talk. You've done this a million times, Bastian; just do it once more and get yourself to halftime. Keep it simple: time your jump, up and away with header -- this is easy. You're a pro, dammit; why are you making it so difficult?

OK, here we go. Here we are; he's kicking it. Just gotta keep an eye on... Uh oh. Shit, shit, shit -- where is he?!

There he is! Oh fuck, you've done it now. Move your ass! Move! Move!

Not gonna make it. Panic time. I mean, this ref -- how much could he be paying attention? Time to get desperate.

You know what? Fuck it. I'll hit it with my hand. Make it look like a mistake. Yeah, that's it. It's almost too easy. Just jump up, get a casual skip off the arm, and everybody goes to the locker room none the wiser.

OK, line it up; time it right. Wait for the perfect moment, Bastian. There it is -- riiiiiight now!


Jag(s) #2: Every German Fan
Position
What the fuck are you doing?!

OK guys, let's do this. Just one corner and we get through to the half. We have to say, we're kind of irritated you haven't scored yet, but that happens, so do what you have to and live to bring them down in the next half.

So who's got who? Neuer looks to be in good position, on his toes. Boateng! Please. for the love of Christ, don't pull any stupid shit this time, will ya?

Who's got Evra? Schweini, you got him? Perfect. He's the consummate pro -- no way he would do something stupid or risky in a game like this.

Here's the kick. Who's got it? 

Um, wait... Schweinsteiger? What the?! What... How...

What the fuck are you doing, Schweinsteiger?!

Maybe they didn't see it. Nothing yet. But seriously, Schweini, you got away with a dumb as shit m...

Oh no. The line ref. He saw it. Oh come on -- please, no. Shit! Shit! 

Seriously, Schweinsteiger, what on Earth were you thinking, you asshole?!
 
OK, don't panic. Neuer's got it. He's good. He's the best. He won't let you down.
 
Let's do it, Neuer! Here we go, here we go.
 
Shit. Holy handballing shit.

Fine. We'll handle business in the second half then. France should take it easy on us, anyway, after that giveaway. I mean, what have we ever done to them?