Saturday, December 30, 2006

Now that's "Hawkeye football".

I only have a few minutes before the newscast, but wanted to express how impressed I was with Iowa's effort in the Alamo Bowl. Where's that team been since September?

I shouldn't be surprised, although I am, because Kirk Ferentz told me two weeks ago that he was re-energized and refocused on returning Iowa to "Hawkeye football"; that's the kind of play we've come to expect from Ferentz-coached-teams. More hustle, harder hits, fewer penalties, etc. Somehow it all went missing for most of this disappointing season and Kirk didn't pass the blame. He took responsibility and said he needed to make sure the Hawks did all the little things. Today in San Antonio, they did.

Well, almost. The game first turned on the ineligible receiver call. At first blush, I thought it was a horrible call, but upon further review of both the play and the rule book, I think they got it right. Chandler was in motion, so to be eligible he needed to either be on the end, which he wasn't, or in the backfield, which he really wasn't either. He was slightly behind the line, but not enough. 21-3 turned into 14-10, and the penalty had nothing to do with whether the play worked. The second biggest impact play was the ill-advised trick play with the game on the line late in the fourth quarter. It's true, if it worked, we'd all praise the daring call, but Iowa needed three points. This is one time conservative would have made more sense.

Other than that, a good all around effort from the coaches and players, especially Andy Brodell, who left the Longhorns stunned that a white guy from Iowa could run that fast, and Drew Tate, who once again proved he has enough heart to nearly make up for his temper. Nearly.

Great game. Glad I got to see it. I also think we witnessed that Kirk Ferentz will not let the "little things" slide again. I also hope everyone in Hawkeye country, including the coaches and players, realizes Iowa should have won this game. Big improvement, but not all the way back yet.

Happy New Year.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Tate interview feedback.

Drew Tate sure polarises the Hawkeye fan base. His comments on living in Iowa sparked wide-ranging feedback. Some fans want to run Tate out of town on a rail while others praise the Iowa quarterback for candidly speaking the truth. (If you're scratching your head right now, and you don't have dandruff, please go back to the sports page and watch the Tate interview.)

Like most people, my take is somewhere between the two extremes. I do think too much has been made of this, and no, I don't think we're responsible. Tate's comments were interesting and did belong in our newscast. Furthermore, I love that the 13Raw feature at provides us the opportunity to show you an entire interview so you can see the complete context, including the line of questioning on both sides of the sound byte. The story had legs because people couldn't stop talking about it, and that includes a lot of non-sports fans.

I don't think Tate meant any great offense, nor do I think he was joking. I think he honestly feels like he's faced so much criticism because many Hawkeye fans have nothing to do but obsess about Iowa football. There is some truth in the obsession, but not the lack of entertainment and cultural options. Tate lives in Iowa City, a place you'll find even Cyclone fans admit has a lot to offer, though not the NFL (especially this season). As for corn stock, it does matter to a lot of us, and even makes its way into newscasts, but we shouldn't be defensive; it beats the heck out of stories on crime rates. More than anything, I think Tate's verbal darts show he's aware of his critics, they hurt him, and this is how he explains them.

It was not a smart thing to say. He sounds ungrateful and condescending. We all say things that were taken more harshly than we intended, especially those of us who have been married. You have to think before you open your mouth, even if you're just 22 years old.

I've been both a supporter and a critic of Tate. I applaud him for often playing hurt and giving everything he's got on game day. Maybe too much. There are times I think he was too banged up to help the team and he played anyway, but there's no questioning Tate's heart. I do have a problem with his on-field leadership. It's true, when Iowa was winning, we praised Tate for his fiery leadership, but now that the Hawks are losing, he's put down for similar behavior. I think there's a fine line between fiery and temperamental, and Tate crossed the line way too many times this season. Why do you think Kirk Ferentz put him in timeout during the Minnesota game... because he was acting like a child. Screaming works better when you're winning because it keeps players grounded. When you're losing, it can shake already fragile confidence. A good leader knows the difference.

Bottom line, I don't think what Tate said was a huge deal. It gave some people the opportunity to pile on a guy they've already made their minds up about, and gave others a reason to smile at the same old standby stereotypical put-downs of Iowa. Each time I watch the interview, I'm less offended. My initial reaction was similar to the way you feel when someone makes a derogatory comment about family. After a deep breath, it's not as bad as it initially seemed.

Tate didn't choose his words wisely, but he shouldn't be persecuted for them either.

Thank you for all your thoughtful feedback.


Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Drew Tate interview

Did Drew Tate take a shot at the state of Iowa and the Hawkeye fans who live here? Or was he just joking?

You can see the interview here on the sports page or under "AS SEEN ON 13", look for "13Raw".

Please watch, vote on our web poll, and then discuss on the Murphy's Law feedback. I'll give you my thoughts next time.

I hope you had a great holiday.


p.s. Thank you to WOIA, the NBC in San Antonio, for shooting the interview with Tate for us.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Back from vacation with a head full of thoughts...

Update: Way to go Round Guy! He's back from the Biggest Loser, 51 pounds lighter. Read and see for youself at

but please read the rest of my original post first.

... In random order:

Airline Travel: Thanks a lot terrorists; you've made air travel at best, inconvenient, and at worst, unbearable. Nothing like having your two year old son have to remove his Thomas the Train sneakers to check for a shoe bomb. The latest wrinkle is no liquids. I watched a mother in Orlando have to pour out her baby's formula before going through the security.

Terrorists suck.

Casino Royale: Apparently the Bond people watched the Bourne Identity and took notes. They've reinvigorated the series with a jolt of gritty realism. Bond movies had turned downright silly. Once you've had Denise Richards play a nuclear physicist, who pronounces nuclear like President Bush ("nucular"), you've jumped the shark. Enter Daniel Craig.

Craig is fantastic as Bond. The series makes a brilliant decision to go back to the beginning and show how Bond became Bond. Best line, when asked if he wants his martini shaken or stirred, Bond says, "Do I look like I give a damn?" Craig never winks at the audience, and you will believe this guy has a license to kill, and uses it. Plus, the men who watch this will feel like they need to do pushups after the movie. Craig works out more than Andy Fales. Casino Royale gets an A. A tad long, but the best Bond movie ever.

Drake Dollar Days: Props to the Drake athletic department for doing anything it can to convert Central Iowans into Bulldog fans. This is a good start. Dollar tickets, dollar popcorn, and dollar hot dogs. That's unheard of in this age of runaway spending on college athletics.

Dollar days would be a good deal if the Dogs were playings like, well, dogs, but Dr. Tom Davis has Drake playing its best basketball since he surprised us all by taking the job. Drake stunned Iowa State at Hilton, came from 18 down to snuff out the Anteaters of Cal-Irvine, and rides a five game winning streak into Saturday's showdown with Iowa. Is the year the Bulldogs finally take down the Hawks?

Borat: Still haven't seen it. John Bachman found it a little on the mean-spirited side, while Andy Fales thought it was flat out hilarious. This probably tells you as much about John and Andy as it does Borat. High five.

Best Christmas Pageant Ever: Another crowd pleaser from the always reliable Des Moines Playhouse. My 5 year old, Cade, said it was his favorite play ever.

Ricky Bobby: Speaking of baby Jesus, "Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby" is out on DVD. I bought two copies today, just so I have back-up. This ridiculous movie made me laugh like no other this year, although Little Miss Sunshine had the single biggest gut-buster. Ricky Bobby isn't for everyone---Andy thought it was just "okay"---but I loved it. (Warning: It's disturbing how much Will Ferrell looks like Jon Miller in this movie.)

Troy Smith Wins Heisman: I voted for Troy. Everybody voted for Troy. ESPN still had to fill an hour, and with zero suspense, it was nearly unwatchable. Smith deserved the trophy, but I hate the way the Heisman has turned into an offensive MVP award from the best team. Gino Torretta? Jason White? Come on.

By the way, Smith tried to fly back to Ohio with his Heisman, like fellow Buckeye Eddie George did years ago, but Smith couldn't get the trophy through airport security. He had to ship it instead. Did I mention the terrorists suck?

Iowa State - Iowa basketball game: Hawkeyes dominated. Cyclones looked awful. All those turnovers must keep Greg McDermott up at night.

The game had less buzz than any I can remember. I think people cared more about the Iowa-Iowa State wrestling match. Brands and Sanderson jolted that series like Daniel Craig did for 007.

UNI Panthers: Best basketball team in Iowa, and still only ranked as the 4th best in the Missouri Valley. The Valley is a beast. Drake could be much better and still not have the wins to prove it.

Return of the Jedi: My son Cade watches this about three times a week. I remember loving it, but why didn't I notice how silly some of the musical scenes are near the begining when Jabba shows up? Is it just my childhood memory or did George Lucas make these scenes even cheesier when he "updated" the original movie? And don't get me started on the Ewoks. The Empire Strikes Back remains the best of the six, with Stars Wars right behind. I'd rank Revenge of the Sith third, but the series never recovers from losing Hans Solo.

I sound like a dork.

Jill Martin Out for the Season: That's a shame. Drake will lose a lot of games it would have won with Martin in the line-up. Let's hope she gets a medical redshirt.

Heroes: Great show, and a much needed hit for NBC, but Heroes is not for small kids, as I found out the hard way. Cade's nightmares should end in a few months.

Body Hair: I remember watching City Slickers 15 years ago, and wondering what Billy Crystal was talking about when he was turning 39 and warning children about the perils of growing old. Now that I've hit my forties, I am experiencing the absolute horror of the occasional stray hair poking out of previously unchartered patches of skin, like the ears! It's awful. I realize this is a sharing violation, but if you're a man under 40, consider yourself warned. If you're a man over 40, I feel your pain. If you're a woman, I have newfound respect for all that grooming you do.

Best Parenting Advice of the month: I get asked to play golf all the time, and although I'm not good, I love it. However, I agree with Cris Collinsworth: Put the golf clubs up until your last kid leaves for college. You'll have plenty of time after that. The exception, if your kids take a natural interest in golf, it is a great opportunity to talk and bond. John Bachman makes this work with his now grown kids, and his wife, Barb. The guy makes it all work.

Thank you for your patience, and your feedback.