Paul Daugherty has been an Enquirer sports columnist since 1994 and has been chronicling Cincinnati sports since 1988. He has covered almost every major sporting event in America, as well as five Summer Olympics. Along the way, he has been named one of the country's top-5 sports columnists four times, and Ohio columnist of the year on seven different occasions. Last year, he was voted 2nd-best sports columnist in the country, by the Associated Press Sports Editors.
Thanks to all who called/listened to me on 700 tuesday night... radio is entirely different from column-writing...one's active, the other's passive, one's doing, the other's thinking... it gave me a greater appreciation for those who do it full time... it ain't as easy as they make it sound... but I liked working without a net for a change, and I don't think I said anything incriminating or incredibly stupid... if you heard it and have a critique, I'd appreciate it... Live big, Imus...
I've gotten this e-mailed to me several times today, from all over the country...
1. What do you call a drug ring in Cincinnati?>>A huddle.>>2. Four Cincinnati Bengals in a car, who's driving?>>The police.>>3. Why can't Chris Henry get into a huddle on the field anymore?>> It is a parole violation for him to associate with known felons.>>4. The Cincinnati newspapers reported yesterday that Paul Brown>Stadium is going to take out the artificial turf>>because the Bengals "play better on grass.">>5. Coach Marvin Lewis has adopted a new "Honor System" for his players>>"Yes, your Honor, No your Honor".>>6. The Bengals had a 9 and 6 season this year:>>9 arrests (literally), 6 convictions.>>>7. The Bengals knew they had to do something for their defense, but>they couldn't get the defensive coordinator they really wanted:>>Johnny Cochran>>8. How do the Bengals spend their first week at mini-camp?>> Studying the Miranda Rights.
covington blues fest
I'd always heard what a great guitarist Sonny Moorman was. Now, I know. Saw him last night at the blues festival in Covington. What a deal: $5 got you into a dozen bars/restaurants up and down Main Street. Each had a blues band waiting. This might be old news for some of you, but it was a revelation for me. Great music, great atmosphere -- I never knew how many cool corner bars there were in Covington -- great time. I don't know if they do this sort of thing in the summer, but they should. As for Moorman: You don't often see such effortless virtuosity. He coaxed an amazing amount of quality sound from his guitar... played a flawless Little Wing and followed it up with a couple Stevie Ray Vaughn standards. That, after a set filled with ZZ Top. I'd have paid $20 just to see him. Anyway, as someone down there said to me, there's a lot of music talent locally, that not enough people know about. After last night, count me among the fortunate.
you wanna super-size that?
It's Friday, time to lighten up. (Notice I said light"en'' up, Bengals. Not light up. Lord, please give us a few weeks between arrests, to reload our outrage.) I'm at a restaurant a few days ago and the server says what most servers say now: "I'm Mortimer, and I'll be taking care of you tonight.'' Anybody else hate that?
You're not taking care of me. You're bringing me food. You wanna Take Care of me? You don't have the time. You wanna pay my mortgage, make my coffee, wash my dog, swat my kids, fix my brakes, shovel my driveway, invest my money, iron my shirts, hassle my wife, straighten my slice, renew my plates, answer my "fan'' mail, write my blog, empty my garbage, explain to my 20-year-old that Failure to Launch was not a documentary, tell my 17-year-old that music doesnt have to peel paint to bring pleasure, suggest to the local parenthood that I'm not Reefer Mad, argue with teachers and administrators over the education of a child and... and... and...
Take Care of me? Just bring me a Guinness and we'll call it even.
one last Joseph rant
Of all the silly things we see in sports, nothing is sillier than the notion of athletes as role models. I wrote a column the other day, after J. Joseph's bust, suggesting that a little perspective might be in order. He wasn't driving. He wasnt field-tested, so we don't know if he was high. Cops found a misdemeanor amount of dope in his bag. Maybe it wasnt even his, though, obviously, it probably was. Point is, leaping to judgment before facts are established is a great way to look stupid. We were ready to banish Mike Vick to Rickey Williams Land last week. Until all the accusations were wrong. Oh. Never mind.
Anyway, I was bombarded with indignant e-mails, from apparent parents convinced that I must smoke more dope than Jerry Garcia (rest his hippie soul) and that, given what I wrote, I must not have kids or if I do, they must spend their days in a purple haze. I even had 1 guy tell me I was corrupting his children. To That Guy: You are insane.
What Joseph did was mindless and illegal. That we should expect better of him is obvious. That we continue to expect pro jocks to be better behaved than the rest of us -- or even as well-behaved -- is naive. Has been since, I dunno, Babe Ruth. Further, to think athletes should have any bearing on how our children act is so far beyond naive, I wouldnt know where to begin.
Let's try this: Admire athletes for what they do. Not who they are. That distinction is as obvious as Barry Bonds' big ol' Buddha head. Athletes aren't role models, no matter how much we try to make them that way. Most athletes need role models.
If you suggest that athletes influence how your children act, that's your issue. Not theirs.
carson, willie etc
They've made it clear how they feel about the ongoing actions of team knuckleheads. Good for them. Now, it's time for them to do something about it: Take control of your locker room. Peer pressure is a powerful thing in pro sports. If enough respected players take charge and set a tone, everyone else will follow.
That's a reason Marvin Lewis loves Ray Lewis. Ray is all business, and his ability speaks for itself. The Ravens attitude, on defense especially, springs from him, not Brian Billick. Marvin Lewis has been unable to create the winning culture his team needs. Maybe some of his players can do it. You've talked the talk, Carson, Willie and, um, Sam Adams. Start walking.
cheech, chong and marvin
The bigger issue with this latest self-righteous uproar over another Bengal bust is this: After four years, Marvin Lewis has failed to create a winning culture inside the home locker room. The best coaches find good players who are also solid people, and let them police the locker room. That's what Belichick has done in New England. It's what the Steelers have done, what Tony Dungy, by force of his quiet, calm decency, has done in Indy. It's missing here. Winning is not about having the best players... the Patriots proved that this year. It's about having good players who understand what it takes to win, and behave accordingly. The Bengals don't have that. They're not even close. I don't blame Lewis for offseason problems. But if he doesnt get minds right, this collection of playoff-quality talent will always underachieve. And that's on him.
sunday hangover in the 3-Dot Lounge
If the Colts don't conquer the Belichick mountain today, they never will. It's shaping up as a defining moment in Peyton Manning's career. Right now, he's the face of the most popular league in history. If he fails again today, the jokes will commence... BOOO-vers
25 years ago Wednesday, the Bengals lost their 1st Super Bowl to San Fran. Here's a great story about the 49er alumni from that game, and the pain that football exacts...http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2007/01/21/SPG6JNM6MN1.DTL
Look at the Reds salary numbers in John Fay's analysis in Sunday's Enquirer, and you know part of the reason they are where they are: 9-mil for Eric Milton. 4-plus for Kyle Lohse. 2-mil each for Mike Stanton and Jeff Conine. The burdensome salaries of Junior and Dunn. Throwing good money after bad...
Anyone seen Letters From Iwo Jima, Eastwood's companion piece to Flags of Our Fathers? I'm a WWII nut, and was a little disappointed w/Flags..the book was much, much better...
I've never seen a college coach go off on a referee the way Mick Cronin did at the end of regulation yesterday. He made Huggins look shy. Given that Cronin ran clear across the court and cursed the guy the way Dennis Hopper cursed in Blue Velvet, it's a wonder he didnt get a second T, and tossed.
Nothing new, but I remain amazed with the writing on the TV show 24. They've taken a one-year concept and kept it compelling for, what, 5 years? Already, this season looks as good or better than any of the others. Free TV gets no better...
Bet The Ranch If You Dont Mind Sleeping on Cardboard: Bears 20, Saints 17... Colts 27, Pats 26.
A dream debuts
Permit me the occasional self indulgence. Jillian Daugherty is dancing at halftime tonight. Loveland against Somebody. It could be the Lakers, for all I know. Doesn't matter. Jillian is dancing at halftime. What a win for the human spirit.
It isn't just because she is my daughter. OK, maybe it is. But it's also this: She's good at this. She's nearly as good as her teammates, which is remarkable, given she was born with Down Syndrome. Jillian's no charity case. She went to summer dance camp, she has never missed a practice. She spends hours in front of the full-length mirror in her bedroom, practicing.
Too often, we define the lives of people with disabilities by what they can't do. Jillian never got that memo. The last time we were on the Loveland bike trail, we rode 20 miles. If you've ever seen a dance team at a basketball halftime, you know these kids need the bodies of a contortionist and a pro jock's coordination to pull it off. That J. Daugherty can manage this, and manage it nearly as well as "normal'' kids, well, you have no idea how that makes me feel.
They'll be bouncing to Run DMC's version of the Aerosmith tune, Walk This Way. If you're in the mood for a little miracle, come to Loveland HS tonight and check it out. Live extra big, my beautiful little girl. You make me very proud.
afc title game
How well is New England coached and quarterbacked? The Pats won at San Diego with one Pro Bowler, D-lineman Richard Seymour, on their team. The Chargers had 10. The Pats won playing Artrell Hawkins at safety and with Jabar Gaffney catching 10 balls. They are the best prepared, most postseason-savvy team now, maybe ever. And yet...
They were one play away from losing last week. Tom Brady's third interception should have done them in. Had Marlon McCree not been stripped by Troy Brown, we'd still be mentioning Brady and Joe Montana in the same sentence, but they'd be separated by a couple commas. Now, Brady is 2 wins from being the best postseason QB ever. Brady benefits from flawless preparation and a team savvy and confidence that borders on unbeatable. However...
The Colts will beat them Sunday. It's not quite now-or-never time for Peyton Manning. But he is approaching that Elway stage of his career. Just when we were ready to crown Elway "The Greatest QB Never...'' he won, and won again. Manning's on a similar flight path. Don't ask me why. I just think it's his time. Plus, Manning has a defense. Bob Sanders -- the latter-day David Fulcher -- has keyed that unit's resurgence. Manning doesnt have to be great. He just has to bust a few big plays which, against the Pats' mediocre secondary, won't be hard. And Adam Vinatieri is on Indy's sideline now. Colts, 27-20. Live big, Naptown.
A New York Times story about a man and his blog. Is it as good for you as it is for him? http://www.nytimes.com/2007/01/15/business/media/15carr.html?_r=1&oref=slogin
Three-Dot Lounge welcomes Phil Simms
Why do football announcers feel they have to say "the football'' every time they refer to the ball being used? Phil Simms did it 35 times in the 1st half yesterday. I counted. You know: This is a big play in this football game. He needs to take better care of the football. Great football players make great football plays. Is that right? Do they think that we think the football is a cantalope? Do they think it makes them sound smarter? You don't hear baseball announcers talk about the baseball. Simms is by far the worst offender...
Nice stories over the weekend about Indy stealing the Colts. Having grown up in MD, albeit as a Redskins fan, I remember the pain Bawlmer felt. To get a sense of what the Colts meant to Charm City, rent the movie Diner. Not only is it among the greatest guy movies ever, it pays loving tribute to Colts devotion, circa 1959...
You could see Schottenheimer's throat compacting in the 4th quarter yesterday... Brady has reached Montana status when the money is on the table... but Indy will beat New England, because its defense has come to play. Imagine doubling Harrison and Wayne with, gulp, Artrell Hawkins... and it's too bad a second-rate team like the Bears will make the Super Bowl, but that seems likely...
Been here since '88, can't remember another year when UC, X and Miami all mediocre or worse. Stanley Burrell so perfectly defines the Muskies, his face ought to be on their jerseys.
This is the sort of weather that makes people move to Florida. Google Seasonal Affective Disorder, see a street map of us.
Living on the (de)fault line
Straying from sports to real life, here's a fabulous and sobering story about those among us who try to live on or close to the minimum wage. It's the sort of story all of us need to read, if only for perspective. It's also the kind of thing newspapers still do better than anyone else. Give it a look and count your blessings:http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/01/09/AR2007010901812.html
florida dots buckeyes
The most shocking thing about OSU's loss Monday night was the old stereotype it so plainly reinforced. We'd been hearing all week about Florida's speed. We dismissed it because, wasn't Ohio State almost as speedy? Um, not even close.
It was sad, watching the Heisman winner's college career end in a heap in his own backfield. Troy Smith better have gotten Derrick Harvey's mailing address. Harvey was in Smith's face so often, they got to know each other very well. Florida was fast; OSU was clunky, especially on the offensive line. Isnt that how it used to be? Big, strong, slow Big 10 vs. lean, quick, athletic Florida teams, be it Miami, Florida or FSU.
For a half Chris Leak, Florida's average QB, looked like Peyton Manning against the Bengals. He found every hole in the OSU zone. The kid's not known for his deep ball, yet OSU's linebackers spent lots of time 20 yards off the ball. How come?
While we're at it: What was Tressel thinking going for it at his 29, down just 10 in the 2nd quarter? And doesn't college football have to do better than 51 days between games?
It's no coincidence that warm weather places like Florida (also defending NCAA hoop champs) and USC are on a nice run, especially in football. That's where the country's population is shifting. More kids = more athletes = more championships. Meantime, we in the Midwest awake this morning to 28 degrees and grass stain on our faces. Big and strong was enough, when it didnt play big, strong and fast.
Notre Dame in a BCS bowl. Right... Andy Furman starts his new job Monday, 4-7, on I think 96.5 FM. Promises to have on Junior Griffey at some point... I wonder if the new boss will allow him unlimited use of the postage meter, the way the old boss did... Bill Walker looked frazzled last night, but the kid's a player. Huggins will get him bulked up and fearless. If he stays 2 years, he's all Big 12... three, he's all-American... New Dylan CD, Modern Times, is surprisingly good, if you can handle the old goat's voice... Favorite TV Show While Waiting for 24's Return: The Unit... is The Shield done? Anybody know? Boise State was a wonderful story, but all the re-clamoring for a playoff on their behalf is wrong... they were ranked 8th, Oklahoma 10th. They were supposed to win. And does anyone really think they'd compete with OSU, Florida or USC? As usual, those bleating for a playoff don't tell me how it would work logistically, beyond the same old fantasy league explanation. Eight teams? Any less would defeat the purpose. If your team plays for the title, that's 3 games. Who goes? How many folks have the time, money, inclination to go to 3 games in 3 weeks? Answer: Not many. Do they play the games in a TV studio? For all the carping about the BCS, it got it right again, it appears.
why sportswriters are cynical
While Marvin Lewis was doing a masterful act of contrition/spin job for the fawning local media yesterday (myself included), he was signing a guy who'd spent almost 300 days in jail. While Lewis was promising to be a hardass, he was bringing in a convict. Maybe he should become a prison warden.
Look, I like Lewis a lot. Away from the mass media feeding sessions, he's pleasant and straight up. He maintains that off-field junk has nothing to do with onfield performance, so signing Jason Berryman isn't exactly inconsistent with that. But to do what Lewis did yesterday does nothing but add another layer of mistrust. I wasn't born cynical. There is no cynical gene that I'm aware of. People in this business become cynical because of the people they have to deal with. Cynicism is the best armor we have to keep from looking foolish.
Lewis can bring in safecrackers, con men, tax cheats and arsonists, for all I care. Just be honest about it, and be prepared for the backlash when you don't win. And don't be as incredibly disingenuous as you were Tuesday, when you so sincerely addressed the character issue and swore it would be dealt with.
For the record, Berryman was an outside LB at Iowa State before they kicked him off the team in '05. In '04, he served nearly 300 days, on assault and theft convictions. No one took a chance on him, until now. It's hard to see Marvin Lewis in the same light today as I did yesterday.
honeymoon's over for Marvin
I'm a little tired of hearing about selfishness and responsibility and chemistry. Marvin started to sound like Huggins used to: I coached great, they didnt listen. The Bengals were next-to-last in the AFC in 3rd quarter point differential. That's a stat geek's number, but it reflects poorly on the staff's ability to change gears at halftime...
They continued to overemphasize Rudi Johnson. Heavy Duty's a nice, complementary player, a straight-ahead plower who doesnt screw up often and comes to play every week. He isnt the focus of this team's attack. Or shouldnt be. Rudi had 100 yards against Indy and Denver. So?
The play-calling got ridiculously predictable. 2nd-and-long, give the ball to Rudi. Carson changing the play, give the ball to Rudi. When Palmer was getting hammered routinely middle of the year, rarely a draw, screen or 3-step drop. Silly reverses to TJ and Chad, 3 yards a pop...
Speaking of Chad, he's the obvious target of the "selfish'' sniping. Just stop. How about this: Cover someone. Tackle someone. Hit someone in the numbers with a pass before the 4th quarter. Make an extra point. Stop with the false starts in Week 17. Chad is selfish, though. That explains 8-8.
Stop taking chances on guys with a history. Stop saying it doesnt affect the team. Stop thinking you're a good enough coach to overcome that. You're not. Develop a better relationship with the media, who are your conduit to the public, like it or not. Ease off the condescension. You've had it easy here for 4 years. Next year will be different. You might need your friends in the press. Next year's the swing year for this coach and this franchise. 8-8 won't make it.