Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Television Sports Viewing Value Chart

As billions listened to our radio program this morning, I unveiled my TV Sports Viewing Value Chart, which turned out to be highly controversial. The idea was born from a Corby tweet, wondering about the sanity of anyone choosing to watch an early-season Rangers/Astros (Astros!) game instead of the Final Round of the Masters. I agreed with his sentiment, adding that, in my view, only Ron Washington had a valid excuse for not watching the Masters. Tackling this sports problem meant retreating to my laboratory to develop the following chart. If you follow this chart, you will be a well-rounded sports fan. If you often find yourself in violation of this chart, you may need to reassess your life (Dr. Carlton Maxwell is an outstanding Sports Psychologist, and he's accepting new clients as I write this).

This chart is similar to a Poker Hand Value Chart. Please do you best to abide by it, and please report any violators of the chart to the proper authorities. You may not have much crossover between sporting events, because of the seasonal schedules. However, if you find yourself with a Masters vs Rangers problem on your hands, consult the chart.

Royal Flush

The Super Bowl. The highest sporting event hand possible, it trumps all other contests. This should be obvious.

Straight Flush

All other championship events in major team sports: World Series, NBA Finals, Stanley Cup, NCAA Football and Basketball (the deeper the series goes, the higher the hand--in other words, a Game Seven always trumps a Game Three). Also note that, based on popularity, NFL events rank higher than the others, with MLB and NBA being even, and NHL events ranking fourth--this system applies throughout the chart).

Four of a Kind

Anything else down the team sport playoff ladder: AFC/NFC Championships, followed by earlier rounds; ALCS/NLCS, followed by earlier playoff rounds; NBA/NHL Conference Finals, followed by earlier rounds, Final Four football and basketball, followed by earlier rounds.

Full House

Cowboys regular season game. Applicable in these parts only. The Cowboys are so big (insert joke here) and play so few regular season games, that each one is a major event. The only exception is if it's a meaningless, late-season game when they are resting all of their starters for the playoffs (insert joke here).

Regular Flush

Golf Major, Final Round; Ryder Cup; Big regular season college or NFL game (OU vs TX, NE vs DEN, etc).


Regular season "playoff push" game--usually only in the last month of a season, for NBA, NFL, NHL, MLB, major college sports.

Three of a Kind

Tennis Grand Slam Final, Daytona 500, Indy 500, Horse Racing Triple Crown event, Tour de France, European Soccer League important match. Any slightly more fringe sport--the major events in these sports should always trump basic regular season action in the major sports.

Two Pair

Regular season, non-playoff push, Mavs, Rangers, Stars games; also regular season, non-important college football action. Games against teams like the Sixers, Astros and Panthers are worth less than games against the Thunder, Red Sox and Blues.

One Pair

Non-major golf event, tennis event, NASCAR race, etc. Schedule-fodder events.

High Card

Regular season college basketball.

Crap Hand

High school sports, Little League World Series.

Wild Cards

Olympics, World Cup. These events are so big, and held every four years, that they don't really fit into the chart. So, you are free to watch them above or below any other sporting events, with impunity.

This is the official end of the chart. Godspeed.

Special Author's Note: This chart is to be taken in a general sense. I understand that there will be "special occasion" games that may cause the value of the hand to change a bit. For example: Corby wearing a mohawk may make a Mavs regular season game more interesting than the Columbus/Pitt NHL playoff pairing. I am willing to give in certain situations, but, IN GENERAL, this chart should be followed as closely as possible to ensure optimum sports-viewing health.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Best/Worst DFW Coaching Hires

My Top 5/Bottom 5 lists are a DFW radio staple, and can be quite controversial. Today, on The Ticket, I presented my best and worst head coaching hires in Metroplex history. In case you missed it, here it is again, but this time in print form, so that you can see it with your own eyeballs:

Top 5

1. Tom Landry: Built the Cowboys from expansion team into America’s team. A pretty good hire by Clint Murchison back in 1960--Landry stayed on the job for 29 years, an NFL record for one stop, 20 straight winning seasons, an NFL record, 5 Super Bowl appearances, and 2 titles. That, friends, is the best hire in DFW coaching history.

2. Jimmy Johnson: Built a team from scratch into back-to-back Super Bowl champs. Picked the players, and coached them--and was near-perfect at both. Master builder and motivator, and really, responsible for 3 Super Bowl wins.

3. Rick Carlisle: Don Nelson was too offensively minded, Avery Johnson too defensively minded, Carlisle was just right. Maybe the best ever in this area for getting the most out of the least. One magical title delivered to the long-suffering Mavs fans.

4. Ken Hitchcock: The perfect follow-up hire to Bob Gainey. Intense, demanding coach. His players responded, and won the Stanley Cup. Also created the Ticket's Charity Challenge on Ice, perhaps his greatest accomplishment.

5. Gary Patterson: People wondered what life after Coach Fran would be like, and it’s been pretty good. 14 seasons for Patterson, a 120-44 record, a 7-5 bowl record, and a Rose Bowl win. At TCU.

Bottom 5

1. Quinn Buckner: No coaching experience at any level when chosen by the Mavs in '92. Hired from the broadcast booth. Went 13-69, the worst record in the NBA during the 92-93 season, and the worst record ever for a rookie head coach who lasted the full campaign. He was fired two days after the final game of the year.

2. Eddie Stanky: Hired by the Rangers in 1977 during the season after Texas fired Frank Luchessi. Stanky managed one game, a 10-8 win over the Twins, then, 18 hours after he took the job, he quit. He told Rangers VP Eddie Robinson that he was resigning because he was homesick and wanted to go back to Alabama. Robinson’s response was “you’ve got to be kidding me.” Not a great hire when you can't even get your new coach to stay on the job for 24 hours.

3. Todd Dodge: Attempting to make the huge leap from high school coach to Division One college head coach, he went 6-37 in 3 1/2 seasons. Only six coaches in the 150 year history of college football have won fewer games in their first 3 1/2 seasons. 2-10 was his BEST season.

4. Dave Campo. Not sure if it was all his fault, but three straight 5-11 seasons marks the darkest chapter in Cowboys history. A great defensive assistant, he never looked at ease as a head coach--highlighted by the time he took the team to Sea World during training camp in San Antonio, where he appeared to be the only one interested in the whales.

5. (tie) Tim Somerville and Vic Trilli: Both with .180 winning percentages during their times at TCU and North Texas, tied for the worst college hoops coaching stints in DFW history. Hired as the head basketball coach of the Horned Frogs in 1972, Somerville lasted just two seasons and went 10-43, turning in his letter of resignation immediately following his final game in 1974. Trilli somehow lasted four seasons in Denton, but went 20-87--his best year was 7-20. The Trilli low point was a 132-57 loss to Maryland--the 75 point loss was the largest margin of defeat in a game featuring two Division One teams in NCAA history.

After I presented this list in a very professional fashion on the show, I heard from a lot of listeners who wondered why Ron Washington didn't make my Top 5. It's my belief that the coaches in my Top 5 were either a big or the biggest reason why their teams won championships. In other words, I don't see the Cowboys producing 20 straight winning seasons without Landry, or another coach doing what Jimmy did, or any coach this side of Popovich winning a title with the Mavs in 2011, etc. However, I think the Rangers would have won those AL pennants with any number of managers at the helm. I don't think Wash sucks, but I also don't think he's a dominant factor in the Rangers success of the past few seasons. Plus, he hasn't won a championship, and there are many that hold him responsible (I don't, necessarily) for questionable managerial moves in the postseason, especially in the 2011 World Series.

And that's the way I see it. Keep in mind, I'm supplying this sports talk content free of charge, so take it for what it's worth.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Ranking the Jerseys

A few months ago, my buddy Mark Followill (the TV Voice of the Mavericks, who is also a huge pro cycling fan) asked me a question: Is it more prestigious for a rider to win the overall at the Tour of California, or the white jersey for Best Young Rider at the Tour de France? A solid question--the TOC has turned into one of the biggest early season stage races on the UCI calendar--but my answer was the white jersey at the Tour, because, well, it's the Tour. To set yourself apart on the sport's biggest stage makes more of an impact on your career than winning a much lesser stage race.

His question got me thinking about the prestige factor of the various jerseys in the sport of pro cycling, so I've decided to rank them. For the purposes of this list, we're going to say the rider wins the jersey, not just wears the jersey--in other words, he wins the Tour's white jersey in Paris, not just wears it for a day in week one.

1. Maillot Jaune, Tour de France

This is the obvious number one. However, if I was given the choice of wearing the yellow jersey for just one day early in the race or winning the World Champion's or Giro's jersey, I would easily take winning those vs. wearing yellow. Yes, the career of many a racer has been made complete by just wearing yellow for a day in the Tour--it changes their lives, and they can dine out on that moment in the sun forever. But the true legends of the sport don't just wear yellow, they win yellow. Still, it is, without question, the most prestigious piece of cloth in cycling, and always will be.

2. Rainbow Jersey, World Champion

The best thing about winning the rainbow jersey is that you earn the right to wear it for the next 364 days. Every race you take part in, you will be recognized as the World Champion. The event itself is a one-day race, but it's the biggest one-day race on the calendar. And, when worn with traditional black shorts, it's the best look in the peloton.

3. Maglia Rosa, Tour of Italy

The pink jersey (insert joke here) is worn by the leader (or winner) of the Tour of Italy, the second most prestigious Grand Tour in the world. I rank the pink just behind the rainbow, because I believe most riders would rather be World Champion than win the Giro--because when you win the World's, you are the best of the best one-day racers, but when you win the Giro, you are the best of the second-best Grand Tour riders (behind the winner of the Tour). Still, the Maglia Rosa is a beautiful, tradition-rich, romantic garment. If you win it, you become a legend.

4. Red Jersey, Tour of Spain

For years, the leader of the Vuelta a Espana wore a yellow-ish, golden-ish jersey. A few years ago, race organizers decided to set themselves apart from the yellow jersey of the Tour de France, so they switched to red. There are three Grand Tours (three week stage races), and the Tour of Spain is definitely the third of the three. But it's still a major event, and the Roja is the fourth most prestigious jersey a racer can capture.

5. Polka Dot Jersey, Tour de France

It's the most obnoxious jersey in the sport, but also one of the most recognized and revered. The competition has become a bit bastardized over the years (many times the winner is not actually the best climber in the Tour, but instead the best at winning enough points along the way), but the winner instantly becomes one of the most popular faces in the sport. To be called "the best climber in the best race" has a nice ring to it. Winners include Tour idols such as Coppi, Bartali, Bahamontes, Gaul, Jimenez, Van Impe, Merckx, and Hinault.

6. Green Jersey, Tour de France

Ranks slightly behind the Tour's Polka Dots. The Maillot Vert goes to the leader/winner of the Points Classification, or the best sprinter in the race. Legends like Van Looy, Merckx, Hinault Maertens, Kelly, Zabel and Boonen have all won this jersey. Because the most romantic aspect of the Tour de France are the climbs, the prestige of the Polka Dots ranks just ahead of the prestige of the Green. But it's close.

7. Yellow Jersey, Tour of Switzerland

Looking very much like the yellow jersey of the Tour de France, the yellow of the Tour de Suisse is, nevertheless, very prestigious. While not a Grand Tour, the TDS is recognized as the fourth most important stage race on the calendar.

8. Yellow Jersey, Paris-Nice

I might have placed this jersey above the Tour of Switzerland jersey had the Paris-Nice organizers kept the traditional white jersey look for their race leader. In 2008, they went to an all-yellow jersey, much to the chagrin of those velo-nuts who loved the white jersey look. Both the Tour of Switzerland and Paris-Nice (which is a week-long stage race) began in 1933, and both have been won by many big names in the sport. They are almost equal in terms of prestige.

9. Belgian National Champion Jersey

Practically every country holds a one-day national championship race, but no country's champion is more respected than the Belgian's. If you are the crowned best of Belgium, then you are a true badass. Plus, the color scheme (black, yellow, red) is very cool, and stands out in the group. It's a race so difficult to win that Merckx only won it once. Like the World Champion's jersey, you get to wear a national champion jersey in every race for the next year, adding to the prestige.

10. Italian National Champion Jersey

The wearer of the green, white and red tricolor is worshiped in cycling-crazed Italy, and respected throughout the peloton.

11. French National Champion Jersey

One of the "Big Three" national championship jerseys, the French winner's garment also comes with a storied history. Bobet, Poulidor, Hinault and Fignon are just a few of the legends who won this race.

12. (tie) Yellow Jersey, Criterium du Dauphine
Yellow Jersey, Tour de Romandie

Yes, more yellow. These races both started in 1947, and both have been won by some very big names. They are each on a level below the big stage races listed above, but they rank above the bevy of "other" stage races around the world.

14. White Jersey, Tour de France

Awarded to best rider under the age of 26 at the Tour, this jersey has a high prestige factor because it announces you as a future star in the world's biggest race. Several winners of the white jersey have gone on to win the yellow jersey, including Fignon, LeMond, Pantani and Ullrich. It also means you get to stand on the final podium in Paris, one of the highest honors in the sport.

15. (tie) Blue Jersey (Mountain Classification), Tour of Italy
Red Jersey (Sprint Classification), Tour of Italy

Great trophies for any climber or sprinter to have, but not nearly in the same league as the Polka Dot and the Green from the Tour de France.

Honorable Mention:

The Cycling Jersey Czar has spoken.