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In today’s online edition of the NJ Star-Ledger, Giants beat writer Mike Garafolo seems to be stoking a fire with his article entitled, “Burress won’t be soured”. On this week’s episode of As the Stomach Turns, Giant fans are treated to the following exchange instead of gearing up for a big preseason test against the Baltimore Ravens…

“I think his milk is going bad,” one player overheard one of the team’s veterans say. The player, who requested anonymity because he didn’t want to publicly question his teammate, said the joke was a reference to Burress’ possibly “milking” the injury he suffered on Aug. 2 so he could miss more than two weeks of training camp.

Garafolo dutifully notes that when informed of the “Joke”, Burress shot back..

“It’s fine. But when I get back on the football field, when I get back out there and back to being No. 17 and making plays, everybody’s going to shut up and get in line.”

Apparently the “Talk is Cheap Play the Game” mantra that Tom Coughlin wanted to use as a rallying cry is now officially dead. The fact that Burress is at the center of this mini-controversy should come as no surprise. Giants faithful have been wary of wide receiver Plaxico Burress ever since his bizarre free agency episode that led then GM Ernie Accorsi to publicly announce he was not interested in the lanky WR’s services, then reversing field and inking Plax to a five year deal.

Despite 139 catches, 2,202 yards and 17 touchdowns in two seasons, Burress still cannot outrun his image as a malcontent who doesn’t work hard enough. With Tiki gone, Shockey laying low and Gappy counting his pennies, Burress has become the official whipping boy. It all began 2 years ago with his refusal to train in the New York/New Jersey area and play catch with his quarterback. Throw in Burress’ dogging a play in which felonious Titans CB Adam Jones intercepted a pass intended for him, and you have every beat writer’s dream-a talented player turned emerging villain.

Ironically playing the role of anti-villain last year was absentee Defensive End you know who, when he commented on Burress’ questionable effort.

“He’s too great of a player to have people look at him and think he’s a quitter. Don’t be labeled as a guy who’s a sometimes player, I-play-when-I-want-to type of attitude. He’s too good for that.”

However, when pressed on the subject, Gappy did a 180 and exploded on ESPN reporter Kelly Naqi in the now famous PBJ Incident…

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“Look a man in the eye before you try to kill him or make up something,” he said. “Look me in the eyes…..So if you want to come here with the negative, you’re coming to the wrong guy, because I’m not a negative guy. I don’t kill my teammates. I’m a man, and I talk to my teammates.”

Gappy is the same man mind you who has not looked in the eyes of his coach or teammates since mini-camp, but that’s another story for another day. So here we sit, Burress not practicing and another anonymous veteran teammate voicing a not so encouraging opinion of his effort. Will this be the start of another back and forth with reporters dodging bits of sandwich flying between two front teeth or is it simply one guy busting another guy’s onions?

Only those who heard the milk comment know the context in which it was made, but the fact that it was brought to Burress’ attention is what is significant here. I hate to sound trite, but simply put, guys crack on guys all the time. We call each other names, make fun of each other’s beer bellies, cars, women, and the clothes those very women make us wear. Show an ounce of weakness, and your buddies will pounce on it. Players are out in the August sun sweating while Burress sits and waits to be fully healed, naturally that will cause a few groans from the guys practicing all day. But is it really that important?

That brings me to my long awaited point Giant fans and Burress haters-“Just Shut up and Watch”. Giant fans constantly rail the New York media for digging up controversy. And make no mistake, the relaying of this quote to Burress was intended to stir up a little controversy, otherwise it’s an innocuous comment from one guy simply giving another some grief. For all those who hate Burress for the Titans’ miscue, and not playing paddy cake with Eli in March and April, can I remind you of one thing…

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“Get that sh-t outta here”

The man makes plays no WR in Giants’ history has made. The man is alway open, even when he’s covered. The man blocks downfield on running plays as well as any player at his position in the entire league. Don’t believe me? Pop in a tape of any long Tiki Barber run and chances are you’ll see Burress burying a CB or shoving a safety aside.

Burress is an easy media target because his tenure as a Giant started with controversy and every so often he seems to be in the middle of something negative and newsworthy. Reporters write stories, and in New York it never hurts to stir the pot a little to get people interested in reading. So read the stories, and have your opinions but realize that on Sundays, few Giants are capable of making grown Eagles fans do this…

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So, before you go pointing fingers at Garafolo or any other beat writer for stirring things up, and before you go calling Plaxico a lazy no good so and so keep something in mind.  Good writers do their jobs, and get us to read, and come September Plaxico will do his job and get us to cheer.  Read the stories, form the opinions, stab your Burress voodoo doll if it helps but come Sundays Just Shut up and Watch.  You’ll be a much happier football fan if you do.

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I Hate the Media

August 10th, 2007

Seriously, is there anything worse than ignorance masquerading as lame humor and insight? And no I don’t mean me wise-acres, so watch it. I mean aside from hearing “We’re out of Guiness sir, can I interest you in a Bud Light?”, nothing fries my bacon more than unobjective unfuniness. Now let’s face it, if you’re just born dumb, embrace it. Be stupid, chase your socks, dream about making a rocket ship to the moon out of all those cracker jack boxes on your floor. Any self respecting idiot, you know who you are 90% of the world, should just be happy that you didn’t walk head first into something sharp. The last thing you should do is try to get a job telling people stuff and analyzing things about that stuff.

Unfortunately thanks to Al Gore, we now have the interwebby thing and it takes no talent at all to start a blog…well I mean some talent to type things and…stupid Al Gore. I have a job that pays me ok and I’m pretty good at it, but all over this great country people are handing over their companies’ hard earned revenue to lunkheads passing themselves off as writers. In our case of Media Venom today, I will take a look at a fellow who actually knows football down to the details, but he can’t write or crack a joke to save his life. He is in fact, my total opposite, aside from the football stuff which I know too, and I’m just assuming he’s ugly and women don’t faint when he appears.

Granted I have a bias against this particular article, I am a Giant fan which makes me inherently indignant toward pessimistic appraisals of my team, which is ironic given how much I think they stink. It’s like making fun of my sister, it’s fine if I do it but if you join in I’ll be forced to give you a fat lip. So Mister Football Outsider jerko, here comes the fat lip. In his most recent QWERTY diarrhea session Mike Tanier ranks the Giants coaching staff dead last in the NFL at 32, despite them leading the G-men to back to back playoff appearances. Nevermind that only one Giants coach since 1963 has done that, man by the name of Parcells. Nevermind that on Parcells’ staff he had future Hall of Famer Bill Belichick, along with Browns head man Romeo Crennell, Notre Dame head coach Charlie Weis and the often bullied Tom Coughlin. Let’s have a look at your rapier wit shall we mister poopy pants?

32 Giants (Last Year: 14)

Howlin’ Tom Coughlin alienates veterans and terrifies rookies with his abrasive style and obsession with picayune rules. Coughlin promises to be a mellower fellow this season; he’s reached Stage 3 of Coaching Cluelessness (“bargaining”) and should reach “acceptance” sometime soon. Kevin Gilbride is a refugee from the run-and-shoot era who specializes in getting his quarterbacks flattened. He thinks Max Protect is a 1980s cartoon superhero, so Eli Manning had better be ready for the blindside blitz. The Giants fired defensive coordinator Tim Lewis, their best coach, after his injury-plagued defense fell apart last season. Replacement Steve Spagnuolo is a longtime Eagles assistant who plans to install a more blitz-oriented attack. When the whole staff is fired on January 7th, Spagnuolo will land on his feet.

Good move starting your published piece on Fox Sports with a witty adjective cooled up by leavin’ off the g. Howlin’. I like it, I’m going to start giving people nicknames that make no sense and are spelled just a little bit wrong for effect. I wonder what Thinkin’ Ray Handley is up to, but I digress. That might not be considered a true digression, more of a minor hiccup but I always wanted to type that.

So, Coughlin “terrifies rookies?” You make him sound like he puts Icy Hot in their shorts and gives them swirlies when they arrive on campus. The man is a professional football coach in the NFL, not an overweight 8th grade bully who can only deal with his internal sadness by picking on others..(It’s OK Lenny, I know you just hurt inside and you never meant to pick on me..i forgive you, you tubby bastard). So does this mean that for all of your X and O prowess, which I do admire by the way, you just don’t care what you write about coaches?

Tim Lewis, their best coach???? The same Tim Lewis who guided the Steelers to a #15, #16 ranking in scoring defense in his final 2 years and who Bill Cowher personally fired because of his distaste for the soft zone coverage Lewis employed? The same Tim Lewis who upon departing saw the Steelers rise to #1 in scoring AND total defense immediately following his dismissal? The same Tim Lewis who oversaw 2 consecutive 26 ranked defenses with the giants, despite having 2 Pro Bowl DEs and a Pro Bowl MLB to anchor the defense??? The same Tim Lewis who was even more hated in the locker room and who not ONE player had a nice thing to say about once he left? I suppose if you think he’s our best coach and he stinks everyone else must be awful. How then do you explain in your oh so eloquent manner that Giants “injury-plagued defense” (your words not mine) was unable to derail a 2nd consecutive playoff birth?

Could it be that maybe, just maybe Tom Coughlin knows what he’s doing? Nah, couldn’t be he’s the worst coach in the NFL, but only one of a handful to take his injury plagued (you again) team to the postseason 2 years in a row. What a bum.

I’m guessing you have an axe to grind here Mike, after all you started your Coughlin bashing early on when you named the Lions coaching staff at 16.

Head coach Rod Marinelli is the last of the loose cannons — or at least he will be as soon as Tom Coughlin gets fired.”

SIXTEEN??? Marinelli managed to shave 2 wins off of the Steve Mariucci/Dick Jauron feat of 5-11, but I’m sure it was a brilliant coaching ploy to pick #2 and watch the Raiders gag and pass on Calvin Johnson so Rod could nab him. That is good solid coaching. But it’s the defense, supposedly Marinelli’s forte’, that actually plummeted from 17th in total D and 21st in points to 27th and 30th respectively. But yeah, that deserves a nice solid middle of the road ranking, just like Rosie O’Donnell deserves to be called, a little liberal and a little chubby.

Speaking of Dick Jauron, he of the one winning season in seven as a head coach and the proud owner of 1, 4, 5 and 6 win season, he was ranked 23rd. Not great, but 9 spots higher than Tommy C. for seemingly no reason at all. One winning season out of seven Mike and he’s better than Coughlin, really..really?? So you need incontrovertible proof of Anti-TC bias??? Look no further than the dart thrown in the wall method of ranking coaches who have yet to put on an officially licensed headset by Motorla, designed exclusively for you, the demanding NFL head coach…stupid commercials hurting my brain….

  • Ken Whisenunt, NFL Record 0-0, Rank 20th
  • Lane Kiffin, NFL Record 0-0, Rank 24th
  • Cam Cameron, NFL Record 0-0, Rank 25th
  • Bobby Petrino, NFL Record 0-0, Rank 26th (ironically a Tom C disciple!)
  • Romeo Crennell, NFL Record 10-26, Rank 27th
  • Norv Turner, NFL Record 58-82, Rank 30th

So four head coaches with NO TRACK RECORD of success are automatically deemed better than a man with nearly 100 wins and 5 playoff appearances? Norv Turner, NORV TURNER is ranked ahead of him. The Raiders didn’t want Norv Turner, the Raiders.

Look, I’m no blind Coughlin supporter just because he coaches my favorite team, but facts are facts and based on wins and playoff appearances, he and his assistants no matter how many awful made up 80’s references you can make (Max Protect-gah?) deserve better. Nowadays, the NFL is a meritocracy, and you earn your standing in the coaching ranks by winning football games.

Like him or not, Tommy boy has done more winning than losing and gotten some teams that seemed to be teetering due to injuries, to pull through and make a final push. He gets the most out of his players, just ask Tiki Barber who hated his style but appreciated his talent.

Look no further than the terms Tiki Barber and Hall of Fame in the same sentence and ask yourself this- Had he continued fumbling under nice guy Jim, would those phrases be linked, aside from in a forced NBC telecast from Canton starring the toothy wonder himself? Barber did his best work under Tom’s tutelage, there is no denying that fact, but facts don’t seem too relevant to your popularity contest.

If anyone out there wants a football 101 lesson, I recommend checking out Mike’s work. He’s very well versed in the X’s and O’s, and does a nice job explaining some very basic football concepts. Ranking coaches and comprehending won loss records just isn’t his thing. Asking Mr. Tanier to come up with an objective, thoughtful review of the head coaching fraternity seems to be as wise as Donald Trump for hair advice. Stick to the X’s and O’s Mike, your inbox will thank you.

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