Friday, December 31, 2010

Johnny D selects the NFL 2011 Hall of Fame Class

As the regular season closes, thoughts turn to the playoffs, and ultimately to the Super Bowl. Each year during Super Weekend the new members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame are announced. What follows is the 26 names that have survived so far. This list will be cut down to 15 in early January. From those 15, the panel will get together on super weekend and give us the 6 to 8 names that will be our new members of the HOF.

Getting from 26 to 15 should be relatively easy.

Jerome Bettis RB (1993-2005) - is a shoe in. He’s currently top 5 in lifetime yards. More importantly he’s a media darling.

Tim Brown WR (1988-2003) – No worse than sixth place in any career WR statistical category.

Chris Carter WR (1987-2002) – Like Tim Brown he’s tops in WR statistical categories

Don Coryell: My first exemption. While Air Coryell was amazing, I simply don’t feel that Don made a significant impact on the league.

Roger Craig: RB (1983-93) - Less than 8200 yards over 11 seasons. A good RB, not a hall of famer!

Terell Davis RB (1995-2001): 7,607 yards over 7 seasons. If this guy had played longer he’d have been really something, or he’d have faded away.

Dermontti Dawson (1988-2000): Replaced Mike Webster in Pittsburgh, and didn’t miss a beat. Named to the 90’s all decade team, 7 time pro bowler. It’s amazing that he wasn’t a first ballot inductee.

Edward Debartolo Jr. Owner: presided over a great dynasty. This one is a tough one. I’m not familiar with the inner workings of the NFL. He’d be an on the bubble candidate for me.

Richard Dent DE (1983-1997): 137.5 sacks putting him #6 on the all time list.

Chris Doleman DE (1985-1998): 150.5 sacks. #4 all time

Marshall Faulk RB (1994-2005) Tenth all time RB with 12,279 yards rushing.

Kevin Greene LB (1985-1999): 160 sacks over 15 years. Only two men are credited with more sacks.

Ray Guy P (1973-1986): I love Ray Guy too. He’s 71st among all punters for career average punt. 42.4 yds. Not HOF numbers

Charles Haley DE (1986-1996): 23rd all time in sacks. While I believe that sacks is not a statistic that tells us how good a D-lineman truly is. I believe Haley is on the bubble. His time is not due.

Lester Hayes CB (1977-86):

· 5× Pro Bowl selection (1980, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984)

· 1× First-team All-Pro selection (1980)

  • 5× Second-team All-Pro selection (1979, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984)
  • NFL 1980s All-Decade Team
  • 2-time Super Bowl Champion(Super Bowl XV, Super Bowl XVIII)
  • 1980 NFL Defensive Player of the Year
  • Raiders single season leader in interceptions with 13

Cortez Kennedy DT (1990-2000):

Curtis Martin: RB (1995-2005)

Only three men have rushed for more yards. Only six men have more rushing Touchdowns.

Art Modell: Modell has been an owner in this league since 1961. Owners, in my opinion, deserve to be inducted, and an owner, even one that moved the beloved Cleveland Browns franchise to Baltimore deserves recognition after being an owner for nearly 50 years. That being said, among this group of candidates I must pass over Mr. Modell.

Andre Reed WR (1985-2005):

Eleventh all time in reception yards, Tied 11th all time in touchdowns. For me Reed is on the bubble. Wide Receiver is a tough HOF position.

Willie Roaf T (1993-2005):

Simply on the strength of being named to both the 1990s and 2000s all decade team, it would seem willie is more than deserving of induction.

Ed Sabol: Contributor: I voted on the website for Ed many times. I think his contributions thorugh NFL Films should be recognized. If there were a separate category for owners and other office type contributors then I’d consider him a shoe in. The fact that he’s up against football players pushes him off my ballot.

Deion Sanders: Deion needs no numbers nor explanations. First to third down he shut down opposing Wide Receivers, on fourth down we had the chance to see him run back a punt for a touchdown. First ballot inductee, anything else would be a travesty!

Shannon Sharpe TE (1990-2001):

Paul Tagliabue: Great commissioner. Players deserve spots more than the commissioner though.

Aeneas Williams CB/S (1991-2004):

George YoungContributor: A fantastic career, yet not enough spots available to spare for George.

After reviewing the 26 I had to eliminate 11 to get down to 15. Actually I eliminated 12. Once I was down to 14, I looked at the 12 eliminated and decided to advance Andre Reed.

Jerome Bettis

Chris Doleman

Curtis Martin

Tim Brown

Marshall Faulk

Willie Roaf

Chris Carter

Kevin Greene

Deion Sanders

Dermontti Dawson

Lester Hayes

Shannon Sharpe

Richard Dent

Cortez Kennedy

Andre Reed

I believe that the NFL Hall of Fame needs to induct more members per year. Look at these 15, I can’t imagine eliminating 9 of them to make a class of 6. I am going to create a Hall of Fame class of 10 for 2011. I will eliminate 5.

Lester Hayes. I hate to remove this guy from the list, I thoroughly enjoyed the way he played the game. Looking at his accomplishments he just looks to be a step below some of the other names we have here.

Marshall Faulk immediately comes to mind. His stats are great, his contribution is great. I just believe he’s not quite as great as some of the others here.

Kevin Greene. While his stats are definitely top notch, I watched him play here in Pittsburgh. While he was able to gain stats he wasn’t nearly as dynamic a linebacker as Greg Lloyd was on the other side of the defense. I can’t, in good conscience, make him a hall of famer when he wasn’t even better than his teammate for a good part of his career.

Andre Reed, While he’s got several impressive entries in the record book he’s just not a member of that elite group called a Hall of Famer.

Shannon Sharpe. It’s my list I get to decide. He certainly is worthy, but looking at the other names on the list, I find him to be less deserving than the others.

Here’s my Final Ten

Jerome Bettis

Chris Doleman

Tim Brown

Curtis Martin

Chris Carter

Willie Roaf

Dermontti Dawson

Deion Sanders

Richard Dent

Cortez Kennedy

Now that I’m down to Ten. If I were forced to trim this list to eight I think I know who I’d eliminate.

No matter who you’d eliminate here, it would be brutally unfair.

I’d leave Chris Doleman and Cortez Kennedy out. Both are very deserving, yet if I have to eliminate two, they’d have to be the choices.

There you have it, the Johnny D class of 2011 Hall of Famers will be

Jerome Bettis, Tim Brown, Chris Carter, Dermontti Dawson, Richard Dent, Curtis Martin, Willie Roaf, Deion Sanders.

I’ll be glad to hear your opinions. I’m glad that I went through the list the way I did. Until you do, you have no idea what a difficult job the selection committee has. All 26 men are deserving (well maybe not Tagliabue or Sabol). I recommend that you contact as many of the men on the selection committee as possible and try to influence them.

Here are the men that select our Hall of Famers.


Kent Somers, Arizona Republic


Len Pasquarelli,


Scott Garceau, WMAR-TV


Mark Gaughan, Buffalo News


Darin Gantt, Rock Hill Herald


Dan Pompei, Chicago Tribune*


Joe Reedy, Cincinnati Enquirer


Tony Grossi, Cleveland Plain Dealer


Rick Gosselin, Dallas Morning News*


Jeff Legwold, Denver Post


Tom Kowalski, Booth Newspapers

Green Bay

Cliff Christl, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel


John McClain, Houston Chronicle*


Mike Chappell, Indianapolis Star


Sam Kouvaris, WJXT-TV

Kansas City

Bob Gretz,


Edwin Pope, Miami Herald*


Sid Hartman, The Minneapolis Star-Tribune

New England

Ron Borges, Boston Herald*

New Orleans

Pete Finney, Times-Picayune

New York (Giants)

Vinny DiTrani, Bergen Record

New York (Jets)

Gary Myers, New York Daily News


Frank Cooney, The Sports Xchange


Paul Domowitch, Philadelphia Daily News


Ed Bouchette, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

St. Louis

Bernie Miklasz, St. Louis Post-Dispatch

San Diego

Nick Canepa, San Diego Union Tribune

San Francisco

Nancy Gay,


Mike Sando,

Tampa Bay

Ira Kaufman, Tampa Tribune


David Climer, The Tennessean


David Elfin, Washington Times


Darryl Ledbetter, Atlanta Journal-Constitution

At Large

Howard Balzer, The Sports Xchange

At Large

Jarrett Bell, USA Today

At Large

John Clayton, ESPN/ESPN Magazine

At Large

John Czarnecki,*

At Large

Dave Goldberg, AOL Sports/Fanhouse*

At Large

Peter King, Sports Illustrated

At Large

Ira Miller, The Sports Xchange*

At Large

Len Shapiro, Miami Herald*

At Large

Vito Stellino, Florida Times Union

At Large

Jim Trotter, Sports Illustrated

At Large

Charean Williams, Ft. Worth Star Telegram

* Also serves on the Senior Selection Committee.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Crystal Bowersox – Farmers Daughter .. Johnny D’s Advance Review

Crystal Bowersox, American Idol’s season 9 runner up, has her debut CD completed and it will be released on Tuesday December 14.  I’ve managed to obtain copy of the CD and I have spent the last two days listening to the 12 tracks. 

Those of you that follow Idol Chatter at (here) know that Crystal has been my favorite topic of 2010.  I’ve been very vocal in my Criticism of Ms. Bowersox.  I’ve expressed on several occasions that her CD would be a great disappointment to her fans. I’ve said that the comparisons to Melissa Etheridge and other established female singers is completely unwarranted and that Crystal has a very weak voice and is not strong enough to be compared to such great voices. 

Well, early yesterday I come to possess a copy of her cd.  Immediately I listened to track #4, Farmers Daughter.  I’ve seen a performance of this song on YouTube and was not impressed.  I spouted off that her stubbornness to have Farmers Daughter switched to the first single released would be her demise.  Well, this version is a little more polished than what I’ve heard on youtube,  Yet I still don’t like it.  It would seem that Crystals mom didn’t like being a mother and was an alcoholic.  Even worse, her mom on one occasion beat Crystal til she broke bones.  The story is a disturbing one. I’m sure we all are stirred when hearing a story of child abuse.  My heart goes out to Crystal for what she had to endure in her formative years. I feel for her that, even now, a well grounded relationship with a loving mother is something she’ll never know.  I’m even more thankful for the love my mother gave me and I’m reminded how much I miss her.  There’s just disconnected emotions here.  Perhaps I’m over critical, I have been accused of that once or twice before.  In my opinion, Crystal should have listened a few times to a song like Alive by Pearl Jam.  If she could have captured a bit of Eddie’s expressiveness this song could be a huge hit.  As it is, it is a very amateurish presentation.  As I listen to this first song I have to give her credit that her vocals are well delivered even if I’m not approving of her happy humming.  In fairness, I’m giving this song a tie.  Every bad song on this CD will be a win for me. Every good song will be a win for Crystal and her supporters on Idol Chatter.

So, after I’ve checked out Farmers Daughter I start the cd at track 1.  Riding With The Radio is a sunshiny song that from the beginning reminds you of a countryish / rock song blasting from a classic 60s convertible riding down a country road.  Some of the lyrics are a bit clumsy but it’s mostly a fun tune.  Light in mood and sweet in tempo.

“If you wanna sing a song then just sing it.

If you wanna bring a friend just bring him”

Very nice.

Track 2 is a cover.  Buffalo Springfield’s “For What it’s Worth”.  This song suits me just fine because I get to criticize Crystal.  I think it was a bad choice of a cover for her.  It’s a song from the sixties that, to my thinking, had some significance in the sixties.  Crystal, for me, accentuates the “going down” in a way that really means nothing.  It’s as if she has something she’s trying to say but refuses to let us in on it. 

At this point, Crystal is 1-1-1 … a win with Track one, For What it’s Worth is definitely a loss, and Farmers Daughter is a no contest. (she doesn’t win and i don’t win)  My internal scoreboard is prepared to deliver a TKO to Crystals CD and I’m looking forward to it. 

Next up, Holy Toledo.  A song we heard a snippet of during the week of three on Idol.  Remember, she went home to Toledo and performed at “Bowerstock”.  It starts out…

“Living life from day to day,

reading books from page to page,

I know life is just my stage.” 

I’m drawn to the tenderness of her voice from the start. The simple guitar and the tender backing vocals draw me right in.  Of course we’re brought to the chorus with Crystal questioning “How do I get to heaven from here”.  A very cliché type of lyric but it really serves this song well.  As the song moves toward the end she goes higher in her register demanding to know “how the hell am I going to get to heaven”.  Singing High notes was a a spot where I had believed Crystal was lacking during her run on American Idol.  Here on this song she sounds just fine.  Holy Toledo and Farmers Daughter were two songs that going in I had resolved to find fault with.  After listening to both, Holy Toledo has switched lists. It’s now one of my favorite songs on this CD.

Crystal is winning right now 2-1 with Farmers daughter still a no contest.

Track 5, Lonely Won’t Come Around.  This starts out almost like the cutesy music you’d hear on a song by The Script or Train. This is a song that I totally can’t describe.  A quick tempo and a lightness of heart that I was not expecting to hear from Ms. Bowersox.  i wish I could remember what I thought of this song the first time I listened. I’m on about the 8th play of the disc now and I’m liking this one a lot.  If there’s any song to compare it to I would say it’s All I wanna Do from Sheryl Crowe.

Track 6, Hold On.  Within the first 30 seconds you know that this is the song Kara and chad Kroeger wrote for her.  I went to the net and checked her twitter page and found out that I was right.  This song will be a hit for her.  You have to figure that her label will make sure that this single gets a shot at radio.  With Kara and Chad writing it you’d think that it almost has to.  It’s true what many have said about this cd.  Six tracks in and even my uncultured ears hear the Country influence to these tracks. There’s a lot of music backing her and her voice is just right all the way through.  Great production here as well.  the end of the song is fantastic. 

Crystal’s ahead 4-1 but there’s still a tie where the song “Farmers Daughter” is concerned.

Track seven “On The Run”.  Even more of a country sound coming at us.  A playful bluesy feel to her voice as well, some harmonica in there then a deep gravelly “i’m on the run”.  Quick step through the hopscotch quick licks, back to the lyrics with that playful edge to her voice “I’m just looking for some fun”.  Never during her run on American Idol was she ever even as close to sexy as she would be if she were standing across the street from it.  Now she’s sauntering right down the middle of that heralded avenue.

Kiss Ya.  Here’s a rock tune.  Perhaps this is what some AI viewers were thinking of when they would say that Crystal can sing Janis Joplin.  While i believe this is far from Joplinesque (i just invented a word) it is certainly a rock tune.  This song is top three on the album for me. I really think this could be a mass media hit if it weren’t for her insistence on the word “Shit” making a starring role in the chorus.  There’s some nice keyboards and some good ad lib by Crystal two and a half minutes in. You notice about now that she has chosen backup singers wisely as well, they really do add something special to this song. 

I forget the score now. I do know that I have one win. 

#9 Speak Now.  I feel for Brian Mansfield right about now. Finding something unique to say about every song on a CD is hard work.  In short, this is an enjoyable song, a bluesy feel, a story teller kind of song. I really like the crescendo that Crystal takes us to at the end of the song. I know that Lee Dewyze is the one that performed with Chicago on the finale of American Idol, but I could very easily see Crystal doing that song with a full band like Chicago.  Just imagine a great horns section being added to this song! 

I remember now, the score is 7-1 crystals way with one tie on the song Farmers Daughter.

Crystal’s due for a bad song, I mean, come on, seven out of nine songs are good so far.  This tenth song has to be crappy.  Wrong again!  Mine All Mine.  I am no expert but this sure feels like it leans more toward a country song.  A wonderful piece of piano in there and that certain guitar sound that I think they play horizontally with the steel tube running along the neck of the guitar.  Crystal shows us her girly side.

 “no one else will do,

Baby are you mine all mine”.

  I can see her in a southern belle ruffled dress swinging on a rope swing from an old oak tree by a lake, day dreaming about a mister right in her future. 

Dammit, 8-1-1.  Now we’re up to Mason.  A song that Crystal wrote with her husband Brian Walker and they sing this song together.  It’s a country song, rich guitars and very warm music. Lyrically this is the best song on the disc. Hell, THIS IS THE BEST SONG ON THE CD, and, there’s a sharp pain where my negative opinion of Crystals ability used to reside at the base of my skull. This song had better be released as a single.  the song starts with both voices then the music joins them

“I wanna be your mason baby,

I wanna build a life with you.” 

Brian:  “I wanna take all this love i feel

and make a love that is stronger than steel with you”. 

This is an excellent duet.  The chorus is just beautiful.  It’s the sort of song that makes me want to find a woman to love just to sing to her.

So we’ve made it through 11 songs, I’ve taken a huge beating and am down 9 good Crystal songs, one bad crystal song (and that’s the Buffalo Springfield cover) and one “no-decision” the abused childhood song Farmer’s Daughter.

Now Arlene.  My imagination goes here, is this some feminist anthem?  I could really get myself worked up in a lather and go over the top with criticism of something like that.  To be honest, even after the very first listen, I figured I’d probably like the last song. 

Well, it’s hard not to like this song.  Arlene opens to a single rich guitar.  The opening music goes almost thirty seconds before Crystal’s voice comes in.  I’m not very good at finding an interpretation for songs.  To my small mind I’d believe that Arlene is the name that Crystal has given to the girl that lives inside the mirror of her bathroom medicine cabinet.

“her diesel’s humming,

she’s gaining ground,

she don’t need another man just hanging around,

she knows that money don’t equal wealth,

if you want it done right,

you’ve got to do it yourself”

To my friends from Idol Chatter, I humbly forfeit.  We’ve spoken about record sales predictions and how I believe that she’ll sell as few as 25,000 units her first week and that this album will leave her merely a memory from the season nine Idol competition.  I am now of a mind that if this album does not receive critical acclaim, on the same level if not greater than Adam Lambert from season 8, there’s something wrong with the average music listener. 

As we ended Idols season nine I had pounded my chest and declared that Crystal had no shot with the Folk Rock sound that she was most likely to bring with her first record.  Well it would seem that me, and most Idol fans were totally wrong. Crystal has brought us an album that is practically equal parts rock and country with a healthy dose of blues and just a touch of that feminist or folksy feel.  I wish I could remember the names of my friends on Idol Chatter that insisted that Crystal was a totally unique artist and preached to the rest of the group that we were silly to attempt to pigeon hole her.  You, my friends, were totally right and I was totally wrong. I’m very glad. 

I would remind you that back in January of 2010, when I first saw Crystal perform during Chicago auditions, I predicted she’d be huge. As you can see, as we will all see, Crystal has a big future ahead of her. 

I’d be glad to hear your thoughts,



Thursday, December 9, 2010

Christians have something new to be upset about… Fox News is there to back up the 700 Club.

Layout 1So I’m watching O’Reilly factor tonight.  He has two gorgeous blondes on the show with him and they’re going to have an intellectual conversation about the Atheist Billboard that we’ve all seen decrying The Myth of Christmas. 

Blonde number one did some research about this billboard, she claims that the organization’s website puts forth the following argument.

"atheists feel alone at Christmas. They feel closeted, they can't  come out to the people that they love at Christmas time who are Christians."

then the Blonde in the red top  "Christians feel alone at Xmas, because they have to be tolerant of every religion except Christianity".  Is that similar to how a smart person has to be tolerant of a stupid bimbo when she says something stupid at a dinner party.  We smart folk just ignore the foolishness that the airhead goes on and on about.  It’s more polite, wouldn’t you agree. 

A few minutes later Blonde in red top says this "In a recent poll 91% of Americans say they believe in God or a universal spirit". Then, towards the Atheists "Get over it"  O'reilly: "Get over what?" .. Blonde in red "Get over the fact that an overwhelming majority of Americans don't believe in your billboard".   Why do the Atheists bother her so much?  Can she be so intolerant of another point of view? 

Well Blonde in red, congratulations on fighting on behalf of the majority.  Look, right now I'm leaning towards Atheism and away from Christianity.  The idea that there is no supreme being just seems to be more believable to me than believing in God almighty.  You do know, that even though the Christians believe in "an invisible guy in the clouds that listen to your prayers, judges your sins, but forgives even murderers who ask for forgiveness", an atheist is viewed as foolish for believing that there is no guy in the clouds that can save lives of dying cancer patients if he chooses but doesn't save every single one, but, the ones that god doesn't save, his ambassadors on earth (priests and pastors) sell you on the fact that "god called her home". Does that mean that the cancer patient that achieved a remission wasn't "called home" by the invisible guy in the clouds.

Look, I envy Christians their beliefs. I envy them that they have the faith to believe the stories that I find difficult to believe.  I do not put you down for having faith in, to me, completely ridiculous stories.  The fact that Christian holidays and stories completely mirror those of pagan religions that are older than Christianity is totally lost on most Christians.  The fact that Christians have such contempt for any other religion (in most cases) speaks to the value of ignorance in breeding faith among Christians. 

While I currently have more faith in the idea of Atheism than I do in Christianity, I also believe that the billboard encouraging Christians to see the ridiculousness of the Jesus birth as myth is in poor taste.  While I'd not do it myself, I don't think  that the Christians should get very upset.  After all 91% of all Americans believe the Atheists are wrong.  Perhaps the 9% are onto the more believable story.  My question for the 91% that believe in God, why worry about what less than 9% of people believe? Be a little tolerant of the minority opinion.  Your mom, and your priest, will tell you it’s the Christian thing to do. Tolerance is a virtue after all.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Will ending Bush tax cuts hurt small business? -

It's hard to find the facts about all of these taxes. I started searching tonight for information as to how much taxes would be generated if the Bush tax cuts for single people earning 200k or couples earning 250k per year. Well I couldn't find a number, but I did find an interesting article that debunks the assumption that the 250k earners are made up of "50% of all small business owners". Once again, common sense rules the day. It would seem that 98% of all small businesses have an adjusted gross annual income less than 250k. This does not mean yearly sales, we are talking adjusted gross income.

I love watching Bill O'reilly and keeping up with what the Right wants us to believe. His is not a news show, even though it is broadcast on a cable news channel. He pretends to be a journalist but he's actually nothing more than an entertainment talk show host. He takes creative liberty with the news on many occasions. How does he get away with this. Simple, he presents a story that is much more appealling than the obvious.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Tax Cuts … Duh

Monopoly-Guy-248x300Okay, so I’m watching the O’reilly Factor tonight and Billy Boy has a cute FOX correspondent with him. They show a clip of a Democratic  Congressman named Sherrod from Ohio.  In this clip, Sherrod is obviously addressing two hot topics that our congress is debating this month.  The Tax cut for americans making 250k or more per  annum, and extending unemployment compensation benefits for the  over nine percent of americans that are acknowledged to be unemployed.

The congressman says that he believes that the money spent on extending unemployment compensation will directly benefit our country’s economy while he believes that the 10 thousand that the tax cut would save high earners would simply sit in their savings account doing nothing to spur our economy. 

Billy’s guest says that she’s heard from Macroeconomists that have argued both sides when it comes to benefits of the tax cuts to the lower upper class.  Immediately Billy Boy decided to interrupt Blondie and interject “isn’t it widely accepted as fact that the Reagan tax cuts spurred the huge growth of the 80s”, “isn’t it true that immediately following Bush’s tax cuts that followed 9/11 there was growth”.  It was an admirable attempt by Billy Boy to keep the message flowing that he wants to flow.   The actual economic truth is that aid to lower income people spurs much more spending in our stores and restaurants than a tax cut for the wealthy.  Think about it, don’t wait for some talking head from the television or radio to tell you what to think.  That guy that is awarded an unemployment extension is using that money this week to buy xmas presents, and put food on his table. He’s going to take his kids to the movies this weekend to see Yogi Bear. 

Most of economics is small people with small needs carrying out their lives.  Economics isn’t difficult.  Ask a trickle down economist if the growth that Reagans regime presided over would have been possible solely with tax cuts and absent the massive deregulations of trade laws as well as the weakening of monopoly laws.  An honest economist will point out that the weakening of justice played an equal role in the economic boom, along with keeping the FED under strict control. 

95% of us are controlled by the top 1% of us (earners).  We don’t have to give them everything they want.  There is such a thing as a revolution.  Revolution starts by you deciding that the entities in control are treating you unfairly. It’s time for the average American to realize that we’re getting a raw deal and to look for things in our power to tip the scales back in favor of justice and fairness.