Thursday, May 10, 2007

Thank You, Nashville

Today's post comes directly from my travels. It is also brought to you by Todd Heap and the Campbell's Chunky Soup Curse, which has already reared it's ugly head in the Charm City via the Music City...

One year after the Titans and the State of Tennessee screwed him over by locking him out, Steve McNair was sent another stern message that he is not wanted in Nashville: he was arrested for DUI, while sitting in the passenger seat. This is due to a law in Tennessee that permits the police to arrest the owner of the vehicle for someone driving drunk in their car. So I'll reiterate: Steve McNair was arrested for Driving under the influence when he wasn't driving!

First things first, let's clear up this law. Essentially it acts as a way to prevent people from enabling to drive drunk. The law is that if the owner of vehicle allows another person to drive their vehicle while under the influence, then the owner is liable for the DUI as well. It seems like a good law, because it prevents people from enabling others to drive drunk by holding them accountable. Unfortunately, it came back and bit us in the ass.

McNair was allowing his brother-in-law to drive the vehicle, and the moron apparently went too fast or too reckless and drew the ire of the police (you have to hate an idiot brother-in-law). The brother-in-law then failed a field sobriety test, and when it was discovered that the vehicle belonged to McNair, they were both arrested and charged with DUI. They were both released this morning, just in time for everyone to wake up and hear the great news.

OK, I understand where both were in the wrong. McNair allowed his brother-in-law to drive the vehicle under the influence (after two drinks... lightweight), which is against the law in Nashville. The brother-in-law was in the wrong for driving unsafely while apparently under the influence. But it just seems weird to charge McNair for DUI, and he wasn't D. They should charge him with Enabling, or Allowance, or Being a Passenger Under the Influence. DUI just paints a horrible picture of what actually happened.

It's now in the NFL's hands to figure out if this merits any punishment. I am firmly of the camp that it should not, because, quoth McNair, "I was trying to act responsibly. I have to go through the court process now, and I understand that". McNair knows he technically broke the law, but it was because he was most likely more drunk than his brother-in-law. He figured it would be better to let his less drunk brother-in-law drive, which in theory sets a good example. He is saying "Let other people drive when you're drunk"; he just needs to add a caveat at the end: just make sure they're not drunk too.

The story was a real big deal in Baltimore, I'm sure, but it was also a big deal down here in Nashville. When a service guy at a Dodge dealership in Nashville (exceptionally long story) noticed my and my party's Ravens apparel, he said he couldn't believe McNair was arrested, but also thought it was absurd to charge him with DUI. Nashvillians (Nashvillites? Nashvillains? Nashtrash?) still love McNair for all the great things he did for the Titans and the city, but also realize that he is not above the fundamentally sound albeit slightly odd law.

The NFL knows McNair is a great guy and was not trying to intentionally hurt himself or anybody else. This story seems bigger than it really is, however, in the wake of Josh Hancock's death. In the week when baseball teams are taking alcohol out of their locker rooms in an attempt to curb drinking and driving, McNair really could not have had worse timing. All in all, I blame it on Todd Heap and his Soup friends.


Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Why, Todd, Why?

You can preach and preach, but sometimes the people nearest to you just do not listen...

The marketing gurus at Campbell's announced who will be carrying the cursed banner of Chunky Soup this year. In an effort to really get the name out there this year, the fine folks at Campbell's decided to lower the hammer on an unprecedented eight players this year! Unfortunately, one of the unlucky is someone who needs no help being cursed.

The Unlucky Eight are: LaDainian Tomlinson, Jonathan Vilma, Larry Johnson, Maurice Jones-Drew, Demarcus Ware, Devin Hester, Matt Hasselbeck (some people never learn), and Todd Heap. While the rest can go and get injured and be unlucky all they want, I make this lone request of the football gods: leave the Heap alone. For the love of all things holy, leave the Heap alone.

The seven players who do not don the purple and black can do however they please, because they all represent obstacles that just stand in the way of the Ravens reaching the pinnacle of football. The issue I have with using eight players in a cursed ad campaign is the impact it has on the fantasy footballers of America. LT, LJ, Jones-Drew, and even Hasselbeck all carry some weight when it comes to the only game America loves more than football. LT and LJ are sure to be top 5 picks in every draft, and Jones-Drew will most likely be taken in the late first or second round rounds of most drafts. All of these players now have huge targets on their backs, and join Vince Young as people to be avoided in fantasy drafts.

But how? How do we avoid five premier offensive players in football just because of some goofy curse? The answer is, we can't. I am firmly of the belief that Campbell's is overloading the curse in an attempt to break it. By using eight players, Campbell's is trying to guarantee itself that at least one will escape the season unscathed. They have used a multitude of diverse players in the past, but never all in the same year. Past Soup sponsors have included Donovan McNabb (Mr. Curse himself, falling victim to Campbell's, Madden, and Super Bowl Loser), Reggie White late in his career, John Elway, Terrell Davis, Jerome Bettis, Brian Urlacher, and the official spokesperson of motorcycle safety, Ben Worthlessberger. All of these players experienced unusual amounts of hardship in the year they ate the soup. It's not coincidence, but it might be ending.

This is an unprecedented attempt at breaking a curse. Nobody has ever thought to overload it in an attempt to drown it. The Red Sox beat their curse the only way they know how: get it so overexposed in the media that even the baseball gods couldn't take it anymore. But Campbell's is looking to be a pioneer in curse breaking. They're going to face the demon head on and try to beat it. If this works, maybe next year the Madden cover will feature a group photo of every player in the NFL.

All that aside, what the hell are you thinking, Todd Heap? Do you not hurt your ankle bad enough each year already? Every week you look at the injury report, and it's "Todd Heap, Questionable, Ankle". We don't need more of that, and tempting fate has never been the Ravens' forte. It just seems to me that the Ravens were better suited to fly low under the radar this year, and now Heap has gone and blown that, and for what? Free Soup? Campbell's Chunky isn't even that good. Soup should be smooth and soothing, not chunky. Chunky soup is just a fancy name for stew. If Todd Heap was a faithful reader and knew that Kurt does in fact know best, he would have read the end of the very first post: Here's hoping that the Ravens are eating Progresso this year. So much for that. Thanks a lot, Todd.


Tuesday, May 8, 2007


Okay, here's the deal... I'm trying to blog on the road this week, so I'll try to find time whenever I can to write what I can. It probably won't be up to the same quality that my faithful reader(s) is used to, but what can you do? With that in mind, let me clear up this past weekend in sports...

  • Will somebody please tell Roger Clemens that baseball season starts in April, not June. This isn't the Little League.

  • The Yankees are going to spend just over $25 million on Clemens for just about four months of work. Conversely, the Devil Rays employ 24 players for just over $24 million for six months. That means the Devil Rays will pay about $167,000 per player per month, while the Yankees will pay Clemens $6,250,000 per player per month. I don't know for sure, but it seems to me like the Yankees could have purchased an actual rocket for close to the same overall price.

  • I hope you all took the time on Saturday to remember and honor one of America's greatest heros ever, Barbaro. Words cannot express the gratitude I feel for a great American who did so much. Barbaro, as any history buff will tell you, freed the slaves, single handedly won World War II, and even made an unsuccessful attempt at becoming president. All of this is just an addition to his awe-inspiring dash toward the Triple Crown, where he won the first jewel, and no others. I believe I speak for all of America when I say Barbaro deserves his own holiday.

  • OK, the above bullet may seem a little harsh, but honestly, at the end of the day, he was just a horse. I love animals, and I enjoy the Triple Crown, and what happened to Barbaro was really sad, but to call Barbaro a hero when we have cops and firefighters and teachers and soldiers doing so much more than Barbaro could ever do just sounds ridiculous.

  • How about that Mayweather v. De la hoya fight? The "Fight to Save Boxing". So much for that. How can you begin to save you sorry excuse of a once great sport when there are no knockdowns, and the match is decided by a bunch of overweight, old white guys who probably haven't boxed ever? No knockdowns. None. I wasn't at the fight, and I didn't see the fight, but I would have been pretty peeved if I had just spent good money to see the "Fight of the Century" and nobody was even good enough to knock the other person down.

  • I saw an interesting piece on ESPN yesterday about a great new sport sweeping through Europe: Chess-Boxing. This is the ultimate test of both brain and brawn. Chess-Boxing is just that: chess and boxing. Two athletically gifted and smarter than the average bear men face off in an interesting match. The first round features speed chess, standard rules apply. The second round is a round of the sweet science, standard rules apply. Then it's back to chess, then back to boxing. This goes on until there is either a checkmate or a knockout. This sport has really gained a faithful following in Europe, and the World Chess-Boxing Organization (it really does exist) is planning to move the sport to Las Vegas soon enough. All I can say is good luck. We already don't like boxing, and they're going to go and bore it up even more with a round of chess in between each round. I think this is one thing that the Europeans can keep to themselves.

From the road, Peace.

Droppin' El Whammo: Tampa Bay Devil Rays