While Tebow makes strides, Raiders take step back

581110.jpg

While Tebow makes strides, Raiders take step back

The Denver Broncos decided for a day not to remake Tim Tebow in their image, and with apologies for the Biblical suggestion, and succeeded by making themselves in his.This is a simplistic analysis that gives Tebow too much credit for Denvers 38-24 come-from-the-afterlife win over Oakland, but if you view Tebow not as the religious conscience of American sport but as a quarterback whose game was perfectly tailored to the college world, this was a significant development.As well as a damned impressive win.

All along it has been postulated that the Broncos have thrown Tebow into the wildly technological world of Sunday afternoons in hopes that they could get through this mutant experiment as quickly as possible. Sunday showed that they are more willing to work with Tebows idiosyncrasies, and become a more collegiate, if not collegial, offensive operation.Were starting to utilize a more collegiate style of offense, head coach John Fox said after watching his team move to with a game of the lead in the freefalling AFC West, where defense is essentially an afterthought. Were not there yet, but were working on it.Yes, they are indeed. Running a version of the classic option series, the Broncos got 163 yards from Willis McGahee and another 117 from Tebow -- both representing more yards than they gained in Tebows 21 pass attempts (when you include the 11 yards in sacks).And the acknowledgement that Tebow is a square peg who isnt going to triumph against a round hole was central to the Broncos win. Their offense isnt fully square yet, but it had more Tebowian edges to it Sunday, and will have to find a happy middle in order to beat the defenses that will learn from what the Raiders did not.Or would not.Either the Raiders didnt prep for it properly (the Broncos did gain 190 in a 45-10 loss to Detroit a week ago, so its hard to imagine how they couldnt), or didnt take it seriously enough. Whatever the reason, they chased a full house from the Coliseum well before seagull time, and have now cast doubt over a promising start to the season. Theyve given up 66 points to divisional opponents at home in successive weeks, and look as tattered and threadbare as they did in the worst parts of last season, and the seven before that.As for Hue Jackson, he offered this very Callahan-ic analysis of his team, its day, and its place: We're not a very intelligent football team right now.Fifteen penalties for 130 yards, 30 more than they accumulated running the ball, was one thing. Allowing 298 rushing yards a year after gaining more than 300 on the ground against the same team was another. They seemed collectively listless, confused, frustrated and, by the time of McGahees game-sealing 24-yard touchdown run, inert.Not intelligent, is entirely a matter of opinion. Not energetic, is indisputable. Clearly this is a rockier road they are going to travel than at first we thought, and Jackson has to find a way to relocate what this team did well early on, or risk losing it as his parade of predecessors have.Because, and this is the important point to make here, what Denver did was not all that radical, or different from what theyd tried to do in the past two Tebow weeks. But they committed to it more Sunday because the Raiders chose not to deal with it in an adult way.Tebow is still an erratic passer, and probably always will be. He will not be a classic anything, but he will thrive against teams that dont believe he can beat them. He put off the Armageddon of re-losing his job, and he is still part of the can-he-or-cant-he debate that gripped the nation early last week.As for the Raiders, they have reached the critical point that they have failed to conquer for most of the last decade -- confronted by their shortcomings in belief and detail work, they must regather themselves or watch the ground rush up to hit them in the face.But if it helps at all, Tim Tebow is praying for them.

Internet immediately goes to DefCon1 on Chip Kelly-to-Cal

kelly.jpg
USATSI

Internet immediately goes to DefCon1 on Chip Kelly-to-Cal

In what can be considered your standard bolt out of the blue, California head football coach Sonny Dykes has reportedly been fired.

In what can be considered your standard spur-of-the-Internet-moment-connect-the-dots inspiration, the Internet went immediately to DefCon1 on Chip Kelly-to-Cal rumors.

The logic, of course, is impeccable. Dykes never really snapped the Cal program around, taking a bad program and making it, well, mediocre, and he has spent much of the past two years aggressively seeking out other jobs, so one can assume there was at least some trouble in paradise, even if you want to make the case that Cal football and paradise are somehow connected.

And Kelly just got canned by the 49ers as part of Jed York’s latest I-will-not-be-made-to-look-ridiculous twitch, so he could sign a properly modest contract at Berkeley and still get his full $6 million with the offset from the three years left on his Jed deal.

So it makes perfect sense . . . which is why it should be judged with considerable skepticism.

For one, Kelly can almost surely do better in the college job diaspora. Cal is a big name with modest ambitions due in part to constant budget constraints, and there are better jobs out there even if he sits for a year.

For two, Cal and Kelly are an odd fit, given the persistent tensions between academia and athletica at Berkeley.

For three, the job comes with massive roadblocks, including Stanford, USC, Washington and (potentially) a resuscitation of the Oregon he left behind. Success will not come easy, if it does at all.

For four, Cal just finished four years of gimmick offense and overburdened defense, and Kelly would provide a more successful version of the same.

And for five, this is too easy, too simple, too convenient. Something about this scenario must be wrong somewhere. When people hit the Internet with photoshopped Kelly-in-Cal-costumes within minutes of the Dykes announcement, you know this is too obvious to actually come to fruition.

Why? Because we don’t live that well, that’s why.

The beauty of a triumphant Kelly at Cal glowering down at the charred ruin in Santa Clara seems more appealing than it actually is, because try as they might, Cal fans will never be backing the more popular horse here, and Kelly won’t win that battle unless he takes Cal to the Rose Bowl while the 49ers are still grappling over draft positions.

In that way, reality sucks. The idea that Jed York could be mocked in collegial absentia by his two biggest coaching hires is delicious but almost surely illusory.

But until we get more on why Dykes got canned 43 days after the team’s last game – recruiting, academic issues, legal issues, photocopier problems from him sending his resume out so often – all we have is the Chip Kelly rumor-ette to keep us intrigued.

Okay, to keep us amused.

Okay, to keep us from falling over in a coma. Cal should matter more than it does, but it’s been 13 years since the Holiday Bowl zenith of the Jeff Tedford Era, and 25 since Bruce Snyder took the Ursines to the Citrus Bowl. The evidence since 1990 is of a team with bigger dreams than means that is slightly below .500 (160-164). Sonny Dykes leaving means one more coach who didn’t make an impact unless his departure leads to either reassessment of the program’s standards, internal or external sanctions . . .

. . . or what the hell, Chip Kelly. Let’s face it – in these dismal days for wacked-out rumormongering, this is pretty intoxicating stuff.

Warriors are most geographically vague team in history of American sports

warriors-map.jpg
Geology.com

Warriors are most geographically vague team in history of American sports

The Philadelphia/San Francisco/Golden State Warriors have always had a casual attitude about their home court, even by the once-flexible standards of the National Basketball Association.

Thus, it should be only slightly amusing but not actually surprising that Warriors chief arenologist Rick Welts is now waffling a bit (courtesy Comrade Poole) on whether the team will change its name to San Francisco Warriors when it moves across the pond in 2019-20, or retain its current geographic association with Narnia.

I mean Golden State. I often confuse utterly fictional locales – when I can be bothered to give a toss either way.

But the Warriors, whether they play in Oakland, San Francisco, Pier 30, Pier 32, Westeros, Hobbiton, the Duchy of Grand Fenwick, Curryvania, the Klingon Empire, the Death Star or Planet Nine, are relocating, and once they break the seal on the earth in 12 days, Welts and his fellow elves will almost surely play the team’s future name as a mildly tedious cliffhanger.

Hey, fun is where you find it.

The matter of the team’s relocation will be a sore subject among lifelong East Bay residents, who have put up with the Warriors for 45 years in various stages of development, including the current “We Almost Never Lose” stage. They regard the Warriors’ transplantation to San Francisco to be an unspeakable crime given the high level of fan allegiance afforded them in Oakland.

And yes, they regard Oakland and San Francisco as very real places, as opposed to Golden State, Freedonia, Vulgaria or the Nexus of All Realities.

It is not yet fully known what San Franciscans think of this development, but that’s the nature of the gamble here. They may embrace the Warriors as the new toy in town and then lose interest, and frankly, neither Welts nor anyone else knows the answer to that.

Either way, their die is cast, and Joe Lacob and Peter Guber are now future former Oakland fixtures. Yes, they are quite fond of the exciting new real estate values and their exciting new unobstructed view of the bay, but it has long been assumed that the move would also entail changing the name back to “San Francisco” for the snob appeal.

Now Welts, who has overseen both arena projects (including the one at Piers 30 and 32 which ended up with the piers beating the Warriors in a rout), tells Comrade Poole that the San Francisco Warriors might not end up as the San Francisco Warriors after all.

“Four years ago, I think the conventional wisdom in our building here in Oakland was that yes, we should attach a city name to the team, then it becomes a more global franchise,” Welts marketing-gobbledy-gooked. “There was a lot of head-scratching four years ago about where the Golden State Warriors even played, in other parts of the world. What’s happened with the team over the course of the ensuing years, until today, has made the Warriors if not the preeminent, at least among the three best-known NBA franchises around the world. And everybody who didn’t know where the Golden State Warriors were four years ago, if you’re a fan today, anywhere in the world, you know where the Golden State Warriors are.”

In Oakland.

Now, the mic drop.

“The team’s success has caused us to really rethink whether or not that’s something we should or want to do,” he added. “I guess it’s fair to say there’s been no final decision made. But if you were a betting man, I think you would probably want to wager that the name might remain the same.”

Of course. Why not stay fictional when specificity might move fewer hoodies?

Then again, this is a team that in its 70 years has played home games in Philadelphia (the Arena, the Civic Center, Lincoln High School and Convention Hall), Hershey and Bethlehem PA, Atlantic City, Trenton, Collingswood and Camden NJ, and Saratoga Springs NY . . .

(a moment’s rest here to catch our breaths)

. . . and then after moving west in 1962, the Cow Palace, San Francisco Civic Auditorium and USF’s Memorial Gym, the Oakland Auditorium, San Jose Civic Auditorium, San Jose Arena, Richmond Auditorium, then Sacramento, Bakersfield, Fresno, San Diego, Eugene, Seattle, Phoenix and Salt Lake City.

In fact, and you can swindle the gullible at your neighborhood tavern with this one, the Warriors’ first game in San Francisco occurred almost three years before the team left Philadelphia. The Warriors played the visitors to the Minneapolis Lakers, who moved to Los Angeles a year later and had already played a regular season game at the Cow Palace earlier in the year, so this game, January 31, 1960, could have been considered a civic scouting trip for both teams as they sought new homes.

In other words, the Warriors are almost surely the most geographically vague team in the history of North American sports. Moreover, they are about to become the first team in sports history to go home for the third time under three different city names – Philadelphia, San Francisco and Krypton, or whatever the hell they want to call themselves this time.