Today in sports: The Oakland Raiders have fired head coach Hue Jackson after one penalty-plagued 8-8 season, Les Miles lost a big chunk of change by not winning the BCS title game, and Tony Romo's ill-timed Vegas weekend.
The Oakland Raiders have fired head coach Hue Jackson on the heels of an 8-8 season. Jackson briefly and boldly tried to fill the organization's power vacuum in the wake of the death of owner and general manager Al Davis in October, trading two first draft choices to the Cincinnati Bengals for retired quarterback Carson Palmer, who played like he was retired in his nine starts with the Raiders. The Raiders set an NFL record fo most penalties in a single season, which Jackson tactlessly blamed on everyone but himself after the San Diego Chargers eliminated Oakland from playoff contention with a win in the final game of the season. New Raiders general Reggie McKenzie was hired away from the Green Bay Packers last week to provide the team with a more traditional front-office structure, which is tough to do when your first-year head coach with no front office experience is mortgaging the future to acquire retired quarterbacks. [Los Angeles Times]
Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo apparently spent last weekend in Las Vegas with friends, including singer Ryan Cabrera and actor Michael Pena, even though his wife Candace is "expecting their first child at any minute." Much like the times Romo waited until the last minute to pull out of a PGA qualifying event that would have kept him out of Cowboys' organized team activities or going to Mexico with then-girlfriend Jessica Simpson the weekend before a playoff game against the New York Giants, leaving his pregnant wife at home and living it up with Michael Pena would be less of a forehead-in-palm moment if Romo were an outlaw, or even a vaguely self-aware goofball, like Eli Manning. But he's not. He wants to be the kind of NFL quarterback who could appear in a United Way ad in 1989. The kind of quarterback who doesn't repeatedly get him in the face with errant shotgun snaps at the end of game. [Page Six]
Former Cincinnati Reds shortstop Barry Larkin was the only player the Baseball Writers’ Association of America elected to the Hall of Fame yesterday, much to the dismay of the Tim Raines and Jack Morris boosters who surface every year to tout their candidate's Cooperstown credentials and sigh as their guy again falls short of the 75 percent of the vote needed for enshrinement. The voting process, which has seemed arbitrary and laborious during the best of times, is going to reach a standstill as more and more players from the steroids era come up for consideration. The problem with the BBWA isn't that voters are adverse to voting for small-market players like Raines who are adored by sabermetricians: they don't like voting for anybody. David Cameron, an editor of the advanced baseball statistics blog Fan Graphs, notes that "of the 206 former players enshrined in Cooperstown, only 111 have been placed there by the baseball writers." Year-by-vote totals are also available online, including the results from 1966 when "6.6% of the electorate didn’t cast a ballot for Ted Williams. Ted Williams!" Even if you're unsettled about whether players linked to steroids are worthy of Cooperstown, the 75 percent threshold and exacting standards of the voters are hurting the integrity of an honor that is not just reserved for the, say, the 25 best players to ever put on a uniform, even if some voters would prefer a more exacting criteria. [Fan Graphs]
If LSU had found a way to win last night's BCS title game, head coach Les Miles would have been in line to earn a $5.88 million bonus, paid over the course of six years. Alabama coach Nick Saban -- who's already the highest-paid coach in college football -- didn't have as much on the line. He's going to get a $400,000 bonus for last night's win. [Forbes]
Former New England Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels will rejoin the team as an "offensive assistant" this weekend, just in time for New England's game against the Denver Broncos, which just so happens to be the team McDaniels was head coach of in 2009 and part of 2010. What a coincidence! McDaniels had the team trade up and select Tim Tebow in the 2010 draft, but barely played him, so it's not like he has more insight than anyone with game film from the last two months. What is interesting -- and mildly troubling -- is the speed with which McDaniels -- who spent this past year as offensive coordinator for the St. Louis Rams -- made the move back to New England. The Patriots informed the press ""little more than a half-hour after the Broncos’ game ended Sunday night" that McDaniels, just minutes removed from being released by St. Louis, would be on the sidelines coaching against his former team this weekend. With offensive coordinator Bill Brien departing for the head coaching job at Penn State, a return by McDaniels was seen as likely, but we can't recall another coach being added in the middle of a playoff run. [The New York Times]